Pray: To open your time together.
Read: John 6:14-15
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Imagine the scene. Jesus has just fed five thousand men (not including women and children) with nothing more than a loaf of bread and two dried fish he borrowed from a boy. The crowd is joyful with full bellies and buzzing with excitement. Finally, a leader has come who would not just preach at them, but would feed them!
Jesus senses what these people want. John 6 tells us that Jesus knew the people wanted to make him king because of this tangible need He had miraculously met. We learn so much about what Jesus came to do, and how He approached His ministry by the way he responds to this situation. To put it plainly, Jesus sneaks away by himself and once it gets dark walks across the lake (literally, but that a story for another time) several miles away from these people.
Now imagine a similar situation in our modern times. Can you imagine a powerful leader who has the people literally eating out of the palm of their hand running AWAY from the opportunity to gain power?
This Sunday, Pastor Evan said, “Jesus instituted a new covenant on the cross – if He wanted a new nation, He would have started one. Instead of a nation, He starts a church, and He ask those who are hungry and thirsty to come, lay down your life, and take up your cross and follow Him.”
- The people wanted to make Jesus their king. What does Jesus’ reaction to the people tell us about how He perceived His kingdom?
- When given the opportunity, Jesus chose to institute a church instead of a nation or government. Is that significant to you? How should we think about the role of the church in our life in light of Jesus’ example?
- Talk about the relationship between the church and power. As we have learned over the last several weeks, the church has a precarious relationship with authority. How should history inform how we think about our current situation in the intersection of church and politics?
We have a lot of history to look back on that tells us the church, in spite of its failures and flaws, continues to move forward by God’s grace. Each season of humanity presents new opportunities and challenges. What might God be up to in this season of history? What gives you hope?
Spend some time praying for one another. Pray for God’s grace to abound in the world, and particularly in His church. Pray for God’s people to embrace their role to be salt and light in the world, and not be tempted by power.