Passion. Webster’s dictionary defines “passion” as “the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death.” Passion isn’t something we like or something we really enjoy. Genuine passion is what we are willing to die for. God demonstrated His passion for you and me by sending His Son to give His life for us. The week in the life of Jesus called “Passion Week” began with a cheering crowd and a stand for justice.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. What are you passionate about- passionate enough to lay down your time? Money? Life? Anything?
2. What stood out/intrigued you from the message?
3. Read John 11:17-44.
a.) Make some observations about this passage (What does the text say):
- Who is talking?
- What is the circumstance?
- Any repeated phrases?
- What surprised you?
- What stood out to you?
b.) Make some interpretations (What does the passage mean)
- What questions do you have?
- Summarize the passage in 1-3 sentences – what are the main points?
- What do you learn about the nature and character of God as you read this?
- What do you learn about yourself or the world around you?
c.) Now make some applications (what’s my response)
- How do you respond to what you are reading?
- How could this apply to your life today?
- What is the central truth that you could put into practice from this?
- Who could you share this with for the sake of encouragement?
4. Read Luke 17:20-21 & Luke 12:31-32. The people in Jesus day thought the Messiah would come and establish his kingdom by overthrowing the oppressive Roman Empire. Instead, Jesus says God’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that exists when people turn their hearts to God as their leader and let Him change their passion from self-interest to devotion to a God who desires healing and restoration for all people. Day to day is your focus on the kingdom of self (my will and ways) or the kingdom of God (knowing and loving God more and more)? What evidence of that is there in your life?
5. Read Zechariah 9:9-10. The people in Jesus day expected a powerful king riding on a chariot to move in force in order to free his people from oppression. INSTEAD the King of Kings rode in on a donkey. This is a perfect example of God’s upside-down Kingdom and way of ruling. He doesn’t rule with a first but with humility and gentleness. What are your thoughts about the fact that this is the picture that Jesus gives us of who God is?
6. Read John 15:18. We live in a world that is hostile toward God. So, that is why it is important that you decide—what’s worth your passion? Because if you don’t decide, it will be decided for you. What could/does it look like in your life to passionately live for Jesus, who loved you enough to passionately die for you?
John 11:17-44 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles[a] from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Luke 17:20-21 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Luke 12:31-32 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Zechariah 9:9-10 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
1. When we are passionate about something we give it thought, planning, time, attention. If you are a Christ Follower take some inventory this week to evaluate where you spend the majority of your time, thought, & planning and what that says about your passions. Talk with God about what you find and make 1 change to move your time and attention toward your relationship with God:
a. Where do you spend your free time?
b. When you have a break at work (or whatever occupies the majority of your time during the day) what does your mind wander to? What do you do?
c. What do you plan for?
d. If someone were to observe your life what would they say has your attention?
2. If you wouldn’t say you are a Christ Follower. Spend some time reading over the story of Jesus told in the book of John (one of Jesus followers). Ask these questions as you read:
a. What is Jesus like (who is He kind to, what does He spend his time doing, who does He hang out with)?
b. What does He claim about himself?
c. Would you follow a person like Him?
d. What holds you back from putting your faith in Him and becoming a follower of Jesus?
3. Case for Heaven is coming out in Movie Theaters all over the Austin Area April 4, 5, 6 at 7 PM (FOR ONLY 3 DAYS). This is a great opportunity for you to begin (or continue) a spiritual conversation with a co-worker, friend, family member, or neighbor. Say something like, “Hey, there’s a movie called The Case for Heaven. Lee Strobel, A former Yale Trained Lawyer & editor of the Chicago Tribune, is investigating the evidence for Heaven. My pastor talks about Near Death Experiences as evidence. Go with me and give me your opinion.” To get tickets do a google search, “Case for Heaven Movie tickets”. Let’s live passionately for Jesus, not keeping the greatest news on earth quiet!