THE BIG IDEA:
Jesus is God and has the power to forgive your sins and give you new life.
In today’s society many have never heard about Jesus, don’t believe that he is God, or don’t believe he has the power to give you new life.
Believe that Jesus is God and come to him to meet our deepest need of forgiveness.
Just as this new plant is growing from the dead tree, Christ’s love and forgiveness gives us new life and frees us from our old life of sin.
- What I want the group to know and understand: Jesus claimed to be God and proved it.
- What I want the group to experience: Awe and amazement that Jesus is God and can forgive and heal.
- How I want the group to respond: Believe that he is God, come to him to meet our deepest needs, and follow him.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
This passage shows that Jesus is God and the kind of God he is. If Jesus is not God, then he is just a good man. If he is just a good man, he could be wrong and he could never have paid for our sins. Without the forgiveness of sins and exchange of his holiness for our sins, Christianity just becomes good a moral code to follow with no power to transform our lives.
Liven your lesson up with these creative ideas. A well placed video, illustration, game or activity can really make your lesson memorable. If you have idas you would like to share with the community, click here.
Xavier is having lunch in the cafeteria with some of his friends when one of his friends starts talking about a recent church service she attended. “I’ve always heard that Jesus is God, but I don’t know if I believe it,” she said. “Maybe he’s a prophet, but I don’t think he’s God.” “I don’t think he’s either,” another friend chimed in. “I just think he’s a good, moral teacher.” “I think Jesus is a myth,” a third friend said. If you were in this conversation, what would you say about Jesus?
Read Mark 2:1-12
1. Read verses 1-4, describe what’s happening in your own words.
Jesus is teaching people in a home when four men bring their friend, a paralytic, to him in the hope that he’ll heal them. They lower him through a hole they’ve made in the roof because there are too many people for them to get to him any other way.
2. In verse 5, what stands out to you about Jesus’ response to the paralytic and his friends?
Allow the group to discuss. Jesus responds positively to their faith. But he doesn’t respond to the paralytic’s obvious need for physical healing. Instead he addresses his greater need of forgiveness.
3. In verses 6-9, how do the religious leaders react to Jesus?
They resist his authority. They accuse him in their hearts of insulting God because they know only God can forgive sin, don’t believe Jesus is God, and don’t think he has that authority.
4. Why did Jesus say what he said to the religious leaders?
He’s saying that on the surface, it’s easier to say, “You’re forgiven” than heal someone because there’s no way to verify whether a person’s sins are forgiven. Yet it’s actually harder to forgive sin because only God can do this.
5. Read Mark 2:10-11. What does Jesus do to show his authority as God?
He declares that the paralytic’s sins are forgiven and backs up his claim by healing him. He calls himself the Son of Man, a term used in the Bible to refer to a divine king who would rule forever.
6. How does the crowd react to what Jesus did?
Everyone is amazed and praises God. They’ve never seen anything like this.
7. How would you have felt if you were there and saw what Jesus said and did?
Allow the group to respond.
8. Think about Xavier’s lunch conversation with his friends. What would you say about Jesus now?
Allow the group to discuss. Explain “Lord, Liar, Lunatic”: If Jesus is our Lord and God, we must choose either to accept him or reject him. If he’s not Lord, either he knew he wasn’t telling the truth or he didn’t know. If he knew, he’s a Liar. If he didn’t know, he’s a Lunatic. Which alternative makes the most sense: Lord, Liar, or Lunatic? In light of both the biblical record of Jesus’ life and the impact that Jesus has had on human history for the past 2,000 years, it’s hard to conclude that this incredible person is a Liar or Lunatic. That really leaves us with him being Lord. If he’s Lord, we all must choose whether to receive him or reject him. If you aren’t familiar with the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic argument, visit thrivestudies.com/lordliarlunatic for some videos and explanation.)
9. Jesus wants to meet our deepest need for forgiveness. Have you asked Jesus to forgive your sins? Have you invited him to be the Leader of your life?
Allow everyone who’s willing to talk about how and when that happened for each of them or where they are in the process of receiving Jesus’ forgiveness. Make sure they know that the “Leader” of your life is whoever you have given the right to be in control of your life. Whoever has the final say in what is right or wrong for your life, and what you do with your life. Some in your group may not have asked Jesus to be their forgiver and leader. Affirm where they are in their journey with God, just like you would do for those that have asked Jesus for forgiveness.
10. Jesus is a good God who meets our obvious needs in ways that are best – like he did with the paralytic. What’s an obvious need in your life you’d like Jesus to meet?
Allow the group to discuss. Examples of obvious needs include a need for Jesus to provide financially for your family, a need for friendships at school, a need to make a certain grade in a class, or a need for healthy relationships with parents and other family members. Explain that Jesus is good and loves to meet our obvious needs in ways that are best for us. But this doesn’t mean he always does what we want him to do. Close in prayer inviting Jesus to meet our deepest and obvious needs according to his will.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.