I Am – The Light of the World
Jesus throughout the gospels made numerous varied “I am….” Statements about himself. Over the next few months, we will be exploring a number of these statements and how they apply to us. Today we look at the statement “I am the Light of the world.” Jesus made this statement in the backdrop of a 7-day festival where Jerusalem was lit up each night for this period during this celebration which would have given an even more dramatic impact to the first century hearers of these words.
Read John 8:12-20, John 3:19-21, John 12:35-36.
- Read John 8:12-20. What do you believe that Jesus meant by the statement “I am the light of the world.”? How was this claim relevant to the early disciples? How was it interpreted? What might this statement mean to us today?
- Read John 3:19-21. Why do you think that Jesus contrasted good and evil with Light and dark? What was he referring to when he said, “Those who live by truth come into the light?” What does this mean to you personally?
- One point Pastor Tim made was that we do not need to Hide. Why do we tend to want to hide that which is not of God? Where might this thinking come from? What can we do to change this?
- Read John 12:35-36. What might Jesus have meant by the statement we are to “Become Children of Light?”
- Pastor Tim suggested that to be in the light we need to be obedient to God, and to obey the last thing or the next this that God has called you to do. What does this mean to you? What is the last thing that God has called you to do that you are yet to follow through on?
- To be a disciple that multiplies, we need to be willing to pass on what we learn to others. With whom can you share, that which God is teaching to you at this time?
For us to continue to walk in the light, we need to shift the needle in areas of our life that are not in alignment with what God is asking us to do. This may mean that we need to develop a discipline into a habit into a lifestyle.
What is one area in your life that God is currently calling you to adopt a new discipline in, to be light in the world for him? Make a commitment today to do this.
I Am – Messiah
Jesus had an intimate relationship with His Father in heaven and regularly withdrew, prayed, and spent time alone with God. He knew what it was to be guided and prompted by the Holy Spirit. Scripture does not indicate whether He knew the outcome in advance when He followed those promptings. Similarly for modern-day believers, often God does not reveal the reason for the Holy Spirit’s prompting ahead of time. He usually prompts us to take the first step, and then the next, and so on. The Bible provides many examples where the first step is simply being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Introductory Questions (optional)
- Have you ever had the sense that you just had to do something, and felt that you were being prompted by the Holy Spirit?
- What place does the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit have in your life? Read: Romans 8:14, Psalms 119:105
- What is the relationship between the written Word of God and being led by the Spirit of God?
Read John 4:1-42
- Dale explained that for the Jewish people there was a way to travel to the northern part of Israel without going through Samaria. However, verse 4 tells us, “He had to go through Samaria”. Considering that He was wholly human, why do you think Jesus was able to be so clearly guided by the Holy Spirit?
- Dale explained that it was not normal for Jews to go through Samaria in those days, let alone speak to a Samaritan, particularly as a man speaking to a woman. What can we learn from the way Jesus impacts the Samaritan village of Sychar simply by starting a conversation with one woman?
- Sometimes we need to be open to opportunities, even when outside our normal setting. In Samaria, Jesus’ starting point was a simple conversation. Share examples of how we can capture moments in our everyday life and turn them into meaningful conversations, just like Jesus did with the woman at the well.
- Read verses 13-18. Jesus moves the conversation to a spiritual phase that includes a ‘word of knowledge’ about the woman’s life, which then leads to an open and frank conversation about salvation. Discuss how this unfolded in the passage and share stories of moments when you have experienced conversations like this. What is the key to having these conversations?
- Read verse 23; “the Father is looking for those who will worship him that way”. What does Jesus mean here by ‘worship’? What is the significance of this statement to the way you and I do life today?
- Read verses 35-36. Jesus says, “Wake up and look around”. Do you think Jesus is making a statement of principle? How can we ready ourselves to be prompted by the Holy Spirit to do the following:
– Capture a moment by starting a casual conversation
– Move the conversation to a meaningful space
– Be led by the Spirit to move the conversation to a spiritual one
– Share a personal story of our journey with Jesus
In every moment and in every situation, culture, home, workplace, university or school, the harvest is ripe for the kingdom of God to grow. Each of us is commissioned to bring in that harvest. This may involve us changing the way we see ourselves and the way we look at the people and opportunities around us. Maybe we don’t see this as a strong point in our Christian walk, but never say never. Instead say, “God is not finished with me yet” and commit to being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
What is one step you can take this week to put yourself in a place where God can enable you to have a meaningful conversation?
I Am – The Gate
In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath and incurs the disapproval of the Jewish religious leaders. They invoke religious law against the miracle, and focus on the Law instead of leading people to Him.
- Think of someone you know personally who has been a good leader in your life in the past six months. Why are they a good leader?
- In the Bible, a shepherd is often used as a metaphor for a leader. Read Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34:7-10. What are some contrasts between these readings?
Read John 10:1-10
- Read verse 7. Jesus was talking to the Pharisees when He said “I am the gate for the sheep.” Who, then, does Jesus mean by thief and robber (v.1); shepherd of the sheep (v.2); the sheep (v.3); and the gatekeeper (v.3)?
- Tim teaches us that sheep need to be able to recognise the shepherd’s voice and follow him. What would be the danger of not recognising the shepherd’s voice? As God’s disciples in a world full of noise, how do we know which voice to follow?
- If we are to take up our call to be disciples, we need to (a) understand that knowledge is not enough, (b) see a living (but not perfect) example, and (c) make room for the Holy Spirit. Which one do you think you are doing well? How can you start to become a living example to someone in your life?
- For us to make room for the Holy Spirit, Tim teaches us to pay attention to Him through the Bible, what others are saying, and His prompts. Have you had an experience where you are at a life-changing crossroad and you need to follow the leading of the Spirit to choose a path? What did and didn’t you do?
- Obedience requires us to take risks. How can we be become more of a risk-tolerant person in our spiritual journey?
- Read verse 9. Everyone who comes through Jesus is safe, has access, and will find God’s provision. Knowing this, the hope of bringing a friend to Jesus should outweigh the imagined risks, which are often from the enemy. Is there a name in your heart that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to reach out to? What is one simple step of obedience you can make this week?
Each of us is called by Jesus to become a disciple. However small or big our social circle is, God has strategically placed us there to be a disciple, and to introduce people to Jesus in whom they can find peace and salvation. Jesus is the only way. The name you have in mind (question 6) is there for a reason. A simple step that you can take this week is to invite them to the Easter service. See where God is already at work.
I Am – The Good Shepherd
Jesus tells the disciples that he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his friends. Only Jesus knows the specific life journey that is best for each one of us. While we may vainly attempt to navigate our lives to avoid suffering, in reality our lives often contain more complexity and disappointment than we anticipate. However, if we believe that Jesus has our life in his hands, and if we submit to and trust in him despite our circumstances, even the darkest times can be a pathway to life transformation.
Read John 10:11-15, Psalm 23:1-6
- Read Psalm 23:1-6. What does the idea of God as our shepherd mean to you? What imagery do these verses bring to your mind?
- Pastor Tim challenges us to choose dependence on Jesus over control in our lives. What challenging situation have you been through where you have needed to fully depend on God?
- Read John 10:11-15. How do you understand the statement, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”? How does this apply to you?
- What do we need to do to allow Jesus to lead our lives?
- Why might allowing Jesus to lead us be challenging, even for a Christian?
- “Submission without obedience is just good intentions.” Discuss
- “Clarity comes in the midst of obedience, and not before.” Has this been your experience? Why might this be the case with Jesus?
On the journey of life, our celebrated ‘mountain top moments’ are often seeded as we journey through the valley of the shadow of death in very challenging circumstances. If we are willing to submit first to Jesus, and seek his clarity despite our circumstances, often we are enabled to move beyond our current challenges.
What circumstance or situation do you need Jesus to free you from today? Spend time in prayer now, either individually or in smaller groups, to seek his freedom in this area of your life.
Due to the school holidays and upcoming public holidays, Going Deeper will be in recess for the rest of April. The next study will be provided on 2nd May.