Read: Rm. 3:9-26; Lk 1:26-38; Jn 1:1-18; Isa. 53:3-7; 1 Cor. 1:18-31
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our lessons this quarter focus on the role of Jesus Christ as Lord, not just as Savior, but as Lord. The regular study guide for this quarter notes that in the New Testament, many more texts refer to Jesus as Lord than as Savior. What does it mean when Jesus is truly Lord? That will be our theme for the entire quarter.
- Varied responses. During his ministry, Jesus experienced a wide variety of responses to his call to discipleship. How does each of the following instruct us today?
- Nicodemus: Reluctant patrician.
- Rich Young Ruler: Too high a price.
- Zacchaeus: Jubilant outcast.
- Thomas: Last one on board.
- Our great need. Romans 3 makes the point that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Is that sense of sinfulness intuitive in the human family? Or does Gospel preaching seek to awaken that sense of need as the first step toward salvation?
- The wise and the foolish. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul goes to great lengths to label the preaching of the cross as “foolishness,” a contrast to the wisdom of the world. He also notes that the Corinthians were mostly from the lower “unwise” segments of humanity. Does the Gospel still appeal most of all to the small and despised? To what extent should we expect the sophisticated people of our age to recognize their status through the “foolishness” of preaching?
- Promise: expectations and reality. To what extent was Jesus’ mission a jarring surprise to those who witnessed his life and heard his preaching? How does the focus of his ministry compare with the thrust of the Old Testament messianic prophecies?