Lakeside Church

Luke 9:23-27

These questions are connected to the message, “The Way of Love,” from Dec. 5, 2021.
Background: One of the most famous of Roman roads was called the Apian Way. Many events took place on this road but perhaps it is most famous for its role in the slave revolt lead by Spartacus in 73 B.C. After the Roman army subdued the insurrection they crucified more than 6000 slaves and lined the Appian Way for 130 miles with their bodies. The memory of this event would have been baked into the lore of Israel, and kept alive by retellings handed down from generation to generation.
Dive In: Imagine this is part of your history — conceivably a grandparent was alive at the time (much like how WW I & II stories are passed along in families today). Now read this passage slowly, a couple of times, in an unfamiliar translation of the Bible (e.g. N. T. Wright’s The New Testament for Everyone, Contemporary English Version, Amplified Bible, or The Message) with this story and image in your mind. What must it have been like for the disciples to hear these words?
  1. Consider these words in light of Mary’s Song in Luke 1:46-55, Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1:68-80, Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18-19, the miracles and deliverances you’ve seen, or the Transfiguration if you’re Peter, James, or John. What are you thinking? Feeling? How is this declaration fitting with everything you’ve heard and seen thus far?
  2. In your journey of faith, how much of a role has self-denial played either in teaching or practice? Has it been “healthy” or masochistic and legalistic in nature? Marc gave some examples in the sermon of a misuse of self-denial (e.g. women being told to stay in abusive relationships, pastors’ and missionaries’ children neglected because their parents were “doing the Lord’s work,” people burning out because “Jesus needed them,” etc).
  3. In our current cultural context, self-indulgence is a threat to the integrity of the church. Discuss how you walk the line between self-denial and appreciating God’s creation and goodness. (“Self denial is not an agreement to a miserable life.” Marc Gagnon)
  4. When Jesus said “take up your cross” it was before the redemptive layers of his crucifixion vindicated by his resurrection. At this point, it was simply capital punishment. Discuss what you think “taking up your cross daily” really means in this context.
  5. In our post-enlightenment, scientific context, belief is an intellectual exercise — you assent to a certain set of beliefs or doctrines. How does this differ to what was meant in the New Testament context of belief? (Hint: Did Jesus differentiate between belief and action, faith and following?)
Digging Deeper:
Verse 27 is a well debated verse among scholars with many suggestions posited for its meaning. Here are some of them:
  1. Jesus was wrong.
  2. Jesus was speaking to all readers at all times and teaching that at some point the Kingdom will break in fully.
  3. Perhaps for Luke he saw the Kingdom manifest in the growth of the church (Acts).
  4. Perhaps we can all see the Kingdom if we have eyes to see it.
  5. Many scholars believe that this is fulfilled in the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).
  6. The Kingdom may be in the future but it is also in the present as Jesus will say: “The Kingdom of God is among you” (17:20-21).
Act on it:
What is something from this passage or sermon that you can act on this week — a practice or experiment to help you live it out? Perhaps share it with the group and purpose to share your experiences with the practice or experiment.