5 September 2010

Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
5 Sep 2010
Bible Base: 
Luke 14:25-33 and Philemon
1)      Read Luke 14:25-33. What initial reactions and questions does this reading raise for you?
2)      This whole section of Luke’s Gospel is set in a particular context – look back to Luke 9:51. What would happen at the end of this journey to Jerusalem? Does this help to explain why this teaching of Jesus seems to be so hard?
3)      Have a look at the parable that immediately precedes this teaching (Luke 14:16-23). What is the essential message of this parable?
4)      The short parables in vv 28-30 and vv 31-33 give some clues into what lies behind Jesus’ teaching. At the time, there was a big building project at the Temple. Also many of Israel were looking for the end of Roman rule. Both of these projects ended in disaster. Jesus is spelling out the dangers of trying to follow him in such times. He had to be first.
5)      The scholars tell us that in the language of the Jewish people of Jesus’ day the word translated into the Greek for ‘hate’ should probably mean ‘love less’. What other teachings of Jesus show us that he cannot literally mean ‘hate’ your family?
6)      Nevertheless, in the emergency conditions of Jesus going to Jerusalem for the last time, he stresses that family must come second to following him. Where is the place of family in our own discipleship?
7)      Family was a central priority for the culture of Jesus’ day. What other things that are priorities for our culture might we be being asked to come second to following Jesus? 
8)      If you have time, have a look at the letter to Philemon. How does this letter show Christian faith challenging the values of the day? We don’t keep slaves, but what of our own society’s values does this letter challenge? (You might be interested to know that it is possible that ‘Onesimus’ later became a bishop.)