“In the opening message to “The Abide in Me” Series last week, Pastor Heather shared how Mary washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and wiped them dry with her hair. This was a heartfelt display of her desire to honour him, show her affection & worship of Jesus, and also her willingness to take the role of a servant in washing His feet. (John 12). This week we see Jesus demonstrating this same act of servanthood, as an example to his disciples when He also washes their feet. This was an act of love, humble leadership and servanthood that He wanted to demonstrate for them to follow.
Read John 13:1-17
- How can we show our affection and worship for Jesus today? How do we spend time in His presence?
- Jesus demolishes the “pecking order” of society in His loving act. Where do you see this “pecking order” happening today? How can we be counter cultural to this?
- Read Philippians 2:3. What might this look like in your current context? Is this difficult to do? Why / Why not?
- Jesus shared with his disciples that to serve him would have many costs. What are some of the types of costs that a disciple may face in serving Him today?
- “We may serve without love, but we cannot love without serving?” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? How might either of these statements be a reality?
- What kind of attitudes do we have when the Lord calls us to serve? What attitude should we have?
We are all called to humbly serve Jesus through both serving and demonstrating our love to those around us who may not always be easy to love. Take a moment now to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to have His way in you, and to change and challenge you to grow as a humble servant following the example of our Lord Jesus.
What does God need to change in your heart for you to be more willing to humble yourself, and to serve God in a new way? What is your part in this?
“On the last week of His ministry, Jesus went to Jerusalem just as the Israelites were celebrating the Passover. He entered the temple court, which was the only place where Gentiles were permitted to worship God. This area had become a marketplace with money changers and animal trades, hustle and bustle, animal noise and excrement. Seeing all that was happening there angered Jesus. He was repulsed by how the temple had turned into a place of hypocrisy, greed and defilement. Fast forward centuries to where we are now. We are now the temple, both collectively as the church and individual. How are we treating God’s temple today?
- Think back to the last time you got angry. What triggered it? What did you feel before you were angry, when you reacted, and after you calmed down? Was it a different motivation to the anger Jesus expressed in our reading?
- Re-read the Bible passage. Pastor Heather mentions that Jesus was angry because of the hypocrisy, greed and defilement. How were they displayed at the temple courts? Why do we need to know the reason of His anger? How does this relate to the topic “Abide in Me”?
- Which of the following do you find most difficult to keep in check? Which is less of a challenge for you?
Hypocrisy — calling others out for things that we do ourselves.
Greed — turning our back from people in need.
Defilement — allowing sin to go unchecked in our lives.
- Jesus angrily cleared the temple courts. Now that you as an individual are His temple, how have you experienced this? If you have not experienced it yet, how might this look for you?
- Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. God is Holy and He desires for us to be set apart from the world and grow to reflect His character. How can you claim His promise?
- Read 1 John 1:9. We live in a sinful world. As believers, we need to be willing to both acknowledge our sin and to be forgiven for our sin. What is your understanding of the need to confess your sin to God? Why can this be hard to do?
‘Abiding in Him’ means that God will bring us to a place of honesty, where He will cleanse us too. We cannot cleanse ourselves of sin in our own strength. Only by abiding in Him, and confession to God, can we be cleansed and forgiven. When we are willing to do this, and are walking closely with God, people can best see God reflected in us.
Take a moment of personal prayer to confess your sin to Him. As a group, thank God for His forgiveness and ask God how you can partner with Him this week to let people around you experience His love.
“It was Holy Week and Jesus was on His final journey to the Cross. Jerusalem was crowded with people waiting to celebrate the Passover and perhaps anticipating the potential freedom of being delivered from Roman rule. It is in this context that Jesus tells His disciples of the need to “abide in Him”. What does it mean for us to abide in Jesus today?
Read John 15:1-10
- Quoting Jesus, John uses the word ‘abide’ 69 times in his biblical writings. Why do you think the word ‘abide’ was spoken so many times by Jesus and what does it mean to you?
- In this passage we see three steps to abiding in Jesus:
Jesus removes those branches that are not bearing fruit;
He prunes those branches that are bearing fruit;
We are called to remain in the vine to bear more fruit.
Why might “abiding in Jesus” be a process? What are the most painful steps in this process?
- Jesus says we are designed to be fruitful. We cannot be fruitful unless we abide. We cannot abide unless we are pruned. If we are fruitful and want to be more fruitful, we need to be pruned.
Do you agree with these statements? Do these statements conflict with the achievement of our desired goals?
- When we are tired, busy and lazy, we tend to drift away, get distracted and disconnect from Jesus. This may prevent us from being open to God and to what He wants to do through us. Read 1 John 2:3-6. If we desire to abide in Jesus, what is required of us?
- In order to abide in Jesus, there are three life questions that we need to continually ask ourselves:
– What (or who) are my priorities in life?
– What is one thing that I do that “restores” my inner being? How can I prioritise this activity?
– Am I praying and making room for the Holy Spirit to move in my life?
As we approach Easter, ask God to help us walk in simple steps with Him day by day, making choices that connect us with the presence of the Holy Spirit, and thus abide in Him. Our starting point is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. The second step is to be obedient to what He asks us to do.
What is one thing that the Holy Spirit has asked you to do recently? Commit to do what He asked of you this week. Take this step of obedience and abide in Him.