Small Group Questions: 03-03-2024

ICE BREAKER

On two occasions in Mark 12 people try to trick Jesus. Tell a story about a time you were tricked. Doesn’t have to be cruel or unkind. Could be a fun trick too.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Read Mark 12 together as a group. Feel free to pause and discuss things you notice, were reminded of, have questions about, etc. Once you’ve done this, feel free to re-read sections that are related to the questions below.

1. Eric showed some screencaps from the PreachersNSneakers Instagram page where well-known preachers/pastors are seen wearing expensive shoes.

-What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

-How do the comments & reactions resonate/not resonate with you?

-Do you think there is a valid concern about how preachers present themselves, especially concerning their attire, in relation to their congregation's financial struggles?

2. Eric defined integrity as “alignment between our attitudes and actions.”

-What does integrity mean to you?

-Where do you see alignment in your attitudes & actions?

-Where do you see misalignment in your attitudes & actions?

-How does your alignment/misalignment affect you and/or others around you?

3. Jesus tells a parable about a vineyard owner who sends servants & his ultimately his son to collect fruit from the vineyard. In each case tenants murder the servants & the son.

-Why do you think the Pharisees & Teachers reacted in the way they did?

-Why do you think the tenants acted the way they did with the servants & the son?

-We can sometimes think that we own what we’ve worked hard to possess forgetting that all we have comes from God. How can we avoid falling into thinking what is ours is “ours”?

4. Jesus’ story demonstrates God’s patience with the leaders of Israel as he offered them several opportunities to obey before he finally revoked their privileges. The Bible often speaks of God’s patience and its connection with repentance…the one being meant to lead to the other.

-Have you ever felt like you were guilty of abusing God’s grace?

-How does God’s grace with us challenge us in how we extend grace to others?

-When do we (or do we ever) turn the grace & “second chances” off & send judgment?

5. Some have thought that Jesus teaching on paying taxes is justification for the separation of church & state. That's not the point of the interchange neither is that the perspective of Scripture. Rather, the entire world and everything in it, was created by God and therefore all aspects of it fall under his sovereign and saving rule.

-Are there aspects of life that you are believe (or believed) are separate from religious conviction or don't have much if anything to do with faith?

-How might your friends, families, neighbors answer that question?

6. Mark records three different interactions Jesus has with questioners.

-What do you notice about the questioners & the questions?

-How would you answer each question?

-What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

-How does loving your neighbor as yourself demonstrate love for God?

-Have you ever been in a theological or ethical discussion with someone and felt like they were trying to trap you? Tell the story if you’d like.

7. In Mark 12:35-37 Jesus is discussing his identity.

-How does his identity as both a “son of David” and “David’s Lord” challenge traditional views of kingship and authority?

-How does this passage encourage reevaluation of our understanding of his role and what it means to follow him??

-Discuss this quote, “The passage should force the modern church to reconsider the way in which Jesus is king and the way in which God puts enemies under his feet. The Jesus of Mark is a servant and minister, not a militant and triumphant king. This concept of Jesus himself and of the Christian ministry needs to be recovered.”

8. Jesus chastised the Pharisees & Teachers of the Law for the misalignment of their priorities compared to that of God.

-How can we ensure that our priorities align with loving God and loving others, rather than seeking personal gain or recognition?

-How might we inadvertently fall into the trap of seeking praise or recognition for our spirituality, similar to the scribes mentioned in the passage?

9. Jesus draws the attention of his disciples to a woman who gave two coins to the Temple treasury.

-What questions do you have with this story?

-What struggles do you have with this story?

-What can result from ignoring, side-stepping, or otherwise explaining away the implications of Jesus’ teaching in this story?

-What can result from embracing, applying, or otherwise accepting the implications of Jesus’ teaching in this story?

-What lessons have you learned from the story of the widow's offering (and other teachings from the Bible) regarding wealth, money, sacrificial giving, and discipleship?

-How does this passage challenge our perspectives on what constitutes true value and significance?

10. Old Testament Israel was commanded to give a variety of tithes & offerings that kept the Tabernacle/Temple complex working & running. There is no such command in the New Testament. Instead, Christians are commanded to make generosity and sharing the priority.

-How do you decide when/whether/how much to give?

-Do you tend to view giving 10% as a rule, guideline, starting point, something else? Why?

-If generosity & sharing is the goal…when & how do we know we have accomplished the goal?

-How can we shift our perspective from viewing contributions to the church as “membership dues” to seeing them as acts of gratitude, faith, and generosity?

11. Mark 12 contains wonderful, beautiful, and difficult teaching from Jesus.

-What practical steps can we take collectively as a church to surrender both our attitudes and actions to God, particularly in the areas of time, talents, and treasure?

-What practical steps can we take as individuals to surrender both our attitudes and actions to God, particularly in the areas of time, talents, and treasure?

-How do you feel challenged or encouraged by the sermon and/or Jesus’ teaching in Mark 12?

-Are there specific actions or changes you feel prompted to make in response to what you've read, heard, and learned?

PRAYER PROMPT:

Let this prayer inspire your group to pray together. Feel free to pause after each sentence to let group members continue the prayer or read the prayer all the way through. Thank you for revealing to us the importance of aligning our attitudes with our actions. In fact we want to align our attitudes & actions with your attitudes & actions Lord. Help us to surrender both to You. Give us faith & clear thinking so that we might recognize that our security is found in your provision. Make us people of characterized by the greatest commandment, loving you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

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