This week we are returning to the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is on the move from Galilee to Gentile regions and back again. On the journey he meets two people in great need of help.
Read Mark 7:24-37.
Simple Questions for Small Groups:
To start your group, have everyone share one way they have seen God at work in their life this week.
1. Jesus comes to us in grace, vulnerability, and empathy. How does Jesus show grace, empathy and love in these two stories?
2. We must come to Christ in vulnerability and humility and yet in boldness. Where do you see these traits being demonstrated by the Syro-Phoenician woman and the deaf man?
3. In the sermon we said that vulnerability brings empathy and empathy brings healing (or love). Have you experienced this? In what ways? Do you practice vulnerability and empathy?
4. In what ways can you as a group help move people from outsiders to insiders? How can you invite and include others into your group?
5. Review the Fighter Verse- Hebrews 4:16. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We can draw near to God with boldness. How does great truth allow us to be vulnerable with God and each other? How does going to God boldly honor God and allow for a deeper connection?
For Deeper Discussion:
1. How Jesus Comes To Us
Jesus comes to us as both God and Man. Where do you see Jesus’ deity in these stories? Where do you see his humanity? (7:55- Jesus sighed/groaned. This shows his relationship to creation. All creation groans awaiting the new creation).
Jesus comes to us to bring outsiders in. Where do we see this demonstrated in these two stories? Think through the woman’s (female, gentile, pagan) and the man’s (deaf, mute) social status.
Jesus comes in empathy. How does Jesus show empathy for the woman and the deaf man?
Jesus comes to give grace with honor. How does Jesus honor the woman and the deaf man? How is this honor undeserved, therefore requiring grace?
*Note: The Syro-Phoenician woman and Jesus have entered into a verbal honor challenge. Jesus, by the standards of that day, does not need to listen to or talk to this woman. He could stay silent or send her away and still be honorable. When Jesus speaks to her and even insults her, he is actually honoring her by engaging in the challenge and inviting her to respond in faith- which of course she does.
2. How we come to Jesus
As Christians we come to God both humbly and boldly. How does the Syro-Phoenician woman illustrate this?
The starting point in these two stories is to see ourselves as the “dogs” (like the woman did), and as deaf. In other words we are spiritually dogs and deaf. This means that mostly we need Jesus to be our savior. Why is it so important that we start there and not start with Jesus as our example?
3. How we go as Jesus
*Once we accept Jesus as our savior and receive his empowering life in us, we can go out as Jesus into the world.
In the sermon we mentioned four ways to go out as Jesus:
1) with grace and honor,
2) with vulnerability and empathy,
3) with bold faith,
4) bringing outsiders in:
Grace and honor- do you give grace to others in order to see them gain honor?
Vulnerability and empathy- are you willing to be truly known while getting to know other sin such a way that you can help them see their need for Christ?
Bold Faith- Do you go out boldly in Christ’s power through your weakness? Do you pray boldly?
Bringing outsiders in- Do you welcome and make room in your life and heart for outsiders? Do you actively try to develop relationships with people who aren’t like you?
What can your group do to help the marginalized? The refugee? The victim? The hurting or homeless? Strategize about some ways you can serve together to help outsiders.
This week read the stories in Mark 7:24-37 with your children. Help them to identify the “outsiders” in their lives (kids at school, neighborhood families, people of different faiths, races, etc.). Talk to your children about how Jesus treated the people that were outsiders- He loved and honored them, he showed grace, he healed them.
Come up with some ways that you as a family can welcome outsiders in.