12 September 2010

Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
12 Sep 2010
Bible Base: 
Luke 15:1-10 and Exodus 32:7-14

1)      The context of these parables contrasts the attitudes of Jesus with the attitudes of the religious leaders. The religious leaders were concerned to maintain what they saw as proper boundaries. If you ate with people whom you regarded as unclean, you became unclean yourself. Tax collectors were unclean in their eyes because they were collaborators with the Roman (and Gentile) occupiers of Palestine. ‘Sinners’ probably describes those who struggled to keep all the observances required by the strict religious leaders. So they ‘muttered’ about the company Jesus was keeping. Who would we be tempted to ‘mutter’ about if they came into our church? Do others in Deepcar ever ‘mutter’ about the people we welcome to church? Are we nearer to the religious leaders or to Jesus in our attitudes?
2)      In these parables what does the thing lost have to do to be searched for? Was it a particularly good sheep or a particularly valuable coin?
3)      What does the searching and the rejoicing tell us about God?
4)      How long does the searcher search? What does this tell us about God?
5)      In Jesus’ explanation of these parables what does it involve for a lost person to be found by God? Does God just ‘accept us as we are’ (ie lost) or does he want more for us?
6)      According to these parables of Jesus, can we (or anyone else) ever be so lost that God stops searching for us?
7)      If time, look at Exodus 32:7-14. The context is the making of an idol (a golden calf) by the people of Israel in the wilderness. In his response to God’s threat of judgment of the people does Moses share the attitudes of the religious leaders in Luke 15, or the attitudes of Jesus? What does Moses teach us about our response to the wrongdoing of others?
8)      It is interesting that after this incident God shows Moses his glory in ch 34. Have a look at ch 34 v 19. What qualities does God connect with his goodness? Moses and Jesus both shared these qualities in these passages. How therefore can we show the nature of God to those around us?