Welcome to another Community Groups Semester! Please lean into this guide as much as you need to; use this as a tool to help facilitate fruitful conversation, but please do not let this become a script if you do not need it to be. You know your group better than I do! The goal for this evening is to explore the lostness of the older brother, and to wrestle with he ways in which he is more lost than his more famous, wayward sibling. If you can arrive at that destination with your group more efficiently with different questions, please feel free to simply use these as inspiration!
Have you ever felt taken for granted or as though you had not gotten something you deserved? What happened, and how did you handle that situation?
Set the Stage
Luke chapter 15 opens by telling us that all sorts of people are being drawn to Jesus, including tax collectors and sinners. This prompts more than a few raised eyebrows from the religious establishment. Jesus responds to their incredulity and obstinance by telling them one long three-part parable, culminating in the story of a man who has two sons…
Read Luke 15:11-32
Leader’s Note: The parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and of the prodigal son are actually a single, three-part, parable. It may be helpful to read or summarize all three parts in order to dig in more deeply to the story of the prodigal son.
1. Does anything jump out at you or surprise you from this story?
2. What are the motivations of each of the three characters in this story, as you see them?
3. Describe each the way each of the sons relates to the father and to eachother in this story. What do you think the father wants for each of the sons?
4. Who do you think most needs to hear this story, and what does it have to say to them?
5. What is this story speaking to you?
Diving Deeper: Repenting of self righteousness
In Matthew chapter 11 Jesus Levels some pretty serious rebukes against a hand full of towns where He had performed numerous miracles. According to Jesus, if the miracles He performed there had been performed in Sodom, the people of Sodom would have repented long ago.
Read Matthew 11:20-24
Notice that Jesus does not condemn these towns for being incredibly sinful in one way or another (nor do we have evidence that they were), but rather for simply refusing believe they needed to repent. What are some things that lull us into kind of complacency?
What can we do to overcome these temptations?
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller