These questions are connected to the message: “Self-Preservation or Jesus Emulation?” from Sunday, May 29, 2022. You can watch it here.
Dive In: Read this passage in The Message translation. You can find it here.
- As you read this passage in an unfamiliar translation, what caught your attention?
- What from the passage or sermon challenged your assumptions, “ruffled your feathers,” or caused you to pause and re-evaluate?
- Describe your experience of re-evaluating long-held assumptions or ways you realize you’ve just adopted the ideologies of the culture.
- What are the challenges for us as Jesus followers who live in a society dominated by capitalism and democracy and rights? (This is not to suggest that these are inherently bad). Where might the lines get blurred?
- Theodicy (the origins and problem of evil) is a prickly topic and certainly a thorn in the side of Christianity. What are some of the ways, both helpful and unhelpful, that you have understood or been taught to deal with it?
- When you look at “the Church” in general in North America, are you hopeful or discouraged? Explain. Do you think the church represents Christ well to the watching world? Where do you think the church has gotten off the rails?
- What are some of the ways we react, think, spend, and vote that are more informed by capitalism and Costco than the cross? What ideologies or systems have we bought into that are actually antithetical to the way of Christ and more reflect the values of the world?
- Levine and Witherington III in their commentary on Luke state: “Parables, like all literature … are open to multiple interpretations…. Any analogy will be inexact, and each will only capture part of the fuller meaning.” Do you find this freeing or disconcerting? How have you previously understood the function of parables?
- When you examine the parable in verses 6-9 who do you think is the Landowner? The Gardener? The Tree? The Vineyard?