During the season of Lent, we’ll be exploring the passages of Scripture where Jesus invites people to follow him. As we’ll see, this invitation often means people need to learn to unfollow something else. These invitations extend to us today, challenging us to investigate what really matters in our life. Today, we talk about what it means to follow Jesus and unfollow our desire for power.
If you had one superpower, what would it be and why?
Matthew 9:9-12; Philippians 2:5-11
- Why do so many people generally like to be in powerful positions? What do you think drives their thirst for power?
Read Matthew 9:9-12
- Why is it significant that Jesus asked a tax collector to follow him? What job/status might be a modern day equivalent of “1st century tax collector” be?
CONVERSATION TIP: This weeks message said: “Tax collectors were hated because the Romans had conquered the Jewish people and they recruited locals to collect taxes from their countrymen….If you signed up for that gig, you were essentially selling out your own people. You were taking a position of power over your own countrymen by overburdening them with taxes. Tax Collectors were viewed as traitors. They were treated like outcasts.”
- What would motivate someone to take a job like tax collector in Matthew’s time? Do you think those motivations are still drivers today?
- How do you see those motivations at work in your own life?
- When Jesus invites Matthew to “follow him,” what sort of power or control is he asking Matthew to give up?
- When Jesus invites you to “follow him,” what sort of power or control is he inviting you to give up?
Read Philippians 2:5-11
- This passage is often known as the Philippians hymn. How does this hymn depicts Jesus’ relationship to power?
- This hymn ties God’s exaltation of Jesus is directly tied to Jesus’ humility and meekness. How are humility and meekness signs of power in God’s Kingdom?
- How does this view of power confront typical conceptions of power in our world today?
- This passage is an admonition to exemplify the humble power of Christ in our day-to-day relationships with one another. Can you think of examples when you or other people have exemplified this sort of power?
- What is holding you back from unfollowing typical conceptions of power and following the power of Jesus?
Diving Deeper: Christian Humility
- Read the following quote from Ravi Zacharias:
“Our insecurities also drive our attempts to prove ourselves, to show that we are strong and have made ourselves useful to God and those around us. Yet all of this is not humility because it is about us, not God. We make the mistake of fixating on our own earthen vessels, either trying to make them appear more pleasing than they are or obsessing about their flaws. The cure for our insecurity is not to become more secure in ourselves, but more confident in God. Confidence in God is the core of Christian humility.”
- Can you be aware of your shortcomings while not being insecure? How so?
- How is Christian humility different than typical conceptions of humility?
- Does being a humble follower of Christ mean you are just being passive and opening yourself up to abuse? Why/why not?
- Pride and Humility by Thomas A. Tarrants, III (C.S. Lewis Institute)
- Crucifixion, Resurrection, and the Reversal of Power by Kelly Brown Douglas (Goucher College)