Sermon Notes

Discussion Questions for Sunday 6th March

A Better Way

Read Matt 4:1-11

Wilderness

The wilderness is a place where there is not enough resource to sustain community. 

What personal experiences of wilderness have you had ? Has it been a place of God encounter for you ? Has it been a place where you have been formed ?

How do we attempt to escape wilderness today ? What makes it hard for us to be formed ? When did you last sit still without watching, or reading or inputting into yourself ?  

Hunger 

Everyone is hungry in one way or another and it is that hunger that can lead us to be tempted. 

•What kind of things are you hungry for? Money, love, acceptance, career, possessions? 

Which hungers might be drawing you away from building relationships and community? What other things might get in the way? 

God is also interested in our hungers, but at a deeper level. 

For reflection: What are you longing for ?

Showtime

The tempter asks Jesus to show off a little.  To stop being Clark Kent and be Superman and fly down from the temple. Jesus rejects it. 

It’s pretty common for christians to want God to ‘prove it’ to others.  We can find ourselves wanting dramatic healings or ‘gold dust’ encounters.  It’s understandable that we long for others to know the goodness of Jesus. 

Can you think of times and places where you wish God would just ‘do it’? You might want to have a time of prayer when you ask God for those times and places. 

Why do you think God doesn’t just ‘prove it’ ?

One writer says “he is born among us as Clark Kent;; he lives as Clark Kent;  he dies as Clark Kent; and he comes forth from the tomb as Clark Kent – not as some alien hotshot in blue tights who, at the crucial moment, junks his Clark Kentness in favour of a snappier, nonhuman style of being.”  Do you agree ? Why might this matter ? 

Who is the Boss ?

The last temptation is blunt. You can have it all, if only you make me boss !  This is about whose kingdom ?  “You can have the world and it’s splendours” says the devil, “just bow down to me and worship”. 

Community is important; its role is to support and sustain us. The test that Jesus faced in the wilderness had one purpose: by tempting Jesus to worship something or someone other than God the Father, it sought to break the community of God the Father, Son and Spirit. This close relationship centres on each loving and adoring the other. 

How might temptations cause us to break relationships ?  

What if 

If Jesus gave in to any of these, what would be lost ?  Each temptation offers a shortcut, and if Jesus took any of them, he would avoid the slow and complicated process of getting to know and be known by the disciples (and wider community). What would be lost is relationships with those who become his followers.

Jesus wants us to be in community with him.

Question for reflection :  If this is true, who is Jesus calling you to share life with ? 

When do you have time set aside to do this ?

If table fellowship means friendship, peace, acceptance and unconditional love – How are you doing with that ? 

Note the passage concludes with Jesus being cared for by angels. 

You could pray together and talk about how to best care for one another at this time.

Further credit 

(O.K. there’s no credit for this- but here are some other conversation starters)

In each of the temptations Jesus responds by quoting scripture.  It’s something outside of him.  What practises are you doing that help you connect to scripture ? 

Some writers find links between ;the temptations of Adam and Eve, the temptations of Jesus & 1 John 2:15-17 (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life).  Look them up.
What do you think ? What comes to mind when you think of these three categories ?  How would that apply to you ? 

Henri Nouwen suggests the three temptations are 1) the temptation to be relevant (I think at the cost of character), 2) the temptation to be spectacular, 3) The temptation to be powerful.
What do you think ? What comes to mind when you think of these three categories ?  How would that apply to you ? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.