TiO 45 – Alpha – Who is Jesus?
The Main Idea
Todd began our series on Alpha with Jesus. Specifically addressing the question of “Who Is Jesus” first coming from the mouth of John the Baptist and then moving this into our own hearts and minds.
Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)
Q1: Have you ever tried to get news about someone who was unreachable? Eg., accident, storm, lost at sea? Tell that story?
Q2: Would you rather hike in the woods or read about people hiking in the woods?
Q3: Did you play pretend when you were a child? What scenarios did you create?
Dig a Little Deeper
All of us who would call ourselves followers of Jesus must confront the question “Who is Jesus?”. And not just once in our lives but at each moment of crisis, at each choice, on each occasion where we would seek to be closer followers and more like him. Because who Jesus is is at the core of who we are as his followers. It is at the centre of the question of what he did for us: we’ll leave some of that for next week.
As Todd said In his message, we often think of the question “Who is Jesus” as one asked by people who are not yet followers of Jesus or are new on their journey with him. But Todd’s focus was on John the Baptist, the one who baptized Jesus, the one who saw a dove rest on Jesus, the one who heard the voice of God declare that Jesus was his son. John was not a new comer to the good news of Jesus, he was the one who Introduced Jesus to the world.
Read Matthew 11:1-19 together.
In verses 2-6 we see a question and answer between John and Jesus.
Q1: What was John’s question? Why do you think he asked it?
Q2: What was Jesus’ answer to John? Why do you think he answered in this way?
Todd talked about the significance of the skandalon, the word that is translated into English as offense in this passage. And he used the Illustration of a path that Is difficult to navigate but that has an Important goal at the end.
Q3: In what way can Jesus be an offense or an obstacle to people? Can he be an obstacle to his own followers?
Perhaps in defense of John’s doubt or maybe just to remind people of who John was Jesus begins to talk about John.
In verses 7-15 Jesus describes John.
Q4: What did Jesus say about John?
Despite John’s Importance In the life of Jesus and his message Jesus says something curious about him In verse 11.
Q5: What does Jesus’ statement about John In verse 11 tell us about the importance of the great and marvelous things we do?
Finally, In verses 16-19 Jesus provides us with an illustration. An Illustration of children playing pretend in the playground. Todd’s message from this was: “Jesus is who he is and if you have trouble with him that may be because you are looking for someone different.”
Q6: In what ways were the Jews in the first century looking for someone different than Jesus to be their Messiah, their saviour?
Todd concluded his message with the question, “Who is Jesus to you?” This is not an admission of an understanding of Jesus that can be “whatever we want him to be”. Instead, it is just the opposite. It acknowledges that we all want Jesus to be something. We all want him to do things for us, to answer certain prayers in certain ways. We want him to let us be who we think we are meant to be and, sometimes, not to bother us with difficult requirements for life. But Jesus can never be those things. For he is the saviours, he is the King, he is the Son of God and that is who he must be for us. Otherwise, we are simply following ourselves, our own heart desires, and calling that fake person Jesus.
Q1: Who is Jesus to you?
Q2: In what ways are you tempted to create a saviour who looks and talks like you and then put a name tag on him that says, “Jesus”?
Q3: Has Jesus been talking to you about something that you are holding onto that would get in the way of following him?
Pray that God would show you the ways in which you have made Jesus look like you and not the other way around.
In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.
Matthew 11:1-19 (NRSV)
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Here is a link to the Alpha video from last week. It is about 30 minutes long and well worth watching as you prepare to study this Talk it Over together.