Day 2: The Kingdom Inaugurated (1:21-45)
(1) Does knowing God has already defeated Satan empower us to live more boldly (pg.8)? How does this help us with evangelism?
(2) Pastor Cook mentions how Jews missed the true Messiah by hoping He would abolish Roman rule (pg. 8). In what ways does our flesh desire a different messiah?
(3) Are our lives saturated in prayer? Why? Why Not? Do we pray intently about the critical moments in our lives? What are some reasons we don’t pray more? What can you do to develop more consistency in prayer (pp. 8, 10)?
(4) Do we allow people to determine or guide our agendas? If so, why don’t we rely on God and seek his direction for our lives (pg. 9)?
(5) Do you believe that God is willing to help you (pg. 9)?
(6) God has already defeated Satan. The Kingdom has arrived and is expanding. How does Jesus’ victory and rule give you confidence in your fight against sin and boldness in sharing the gospel?
The Kingdom of God has already broken into this world and Satan is defeated and rules the darkness of the world as an humiliated rebel, knowing it’s only a matter of time before he is put down forever. I have for a long time known that it was not my own abilities that determined the success of evangelism. But I don’t think I grasped the relationship of Christ’s victory to the method of that proclamation. The good news is to be preached into contexts where is absent, where there is abundant brokenness and disorder and want for Jesus to heal through his body. When I enter such situations my mind often rushes to questions of safety. Even my compassion in situations like this feels overwhelming, and I have often had the despairing thought as I walked around Bardstown Road and saw many men and women in need, ‘I don’t have enough to give them all!’ The good feeling of smallness and dependence on God becomes a temptation to apathy. But Christ’s assault against the demonic stranglehold on the world is very similar to his healing of the broken and his proclamation of the good news to the poor. They are all God reclaiming what is and always was his. The darkest places in Louisville, the country, and the world are God’s. They’re his by right of creation and now they are his by right of Calvary-shaped conquest. What point does fear have when there is a PERSON in front of me who is perishing because their life is sold to dark powers that hate and degrade them? The victory of Christ over Satan is God’s own preparation for Christ’s own compassion to flow through me to those in need. In 2:41 Jesus touched a broken man with his body and he was made whole. He intends no less with his body today.
Phil and I loved the visualization of “being saturated in prayer.” It made us evaluate the difference in when we pray for direction and when we pray so fervently to the point of saturating that event and decision in prayer. Definitely a difference. We also discussed how Jesus demonstrated taking action after his prayer time. He got out and got his hands dirty with people. He sought out those who needed him, rather than wait for them to come to him. A beautiful example of what his church is called to do.
I was taken back by the insight Dr. Cook made about the importance of prayer in the ministry of Christ, especially how Jesus was saturated in prayer before every major moment in his life. For me, prayer has been one of the hardest disciplines in my life, and while I feel like I have made strides in praying more throughout the day, to call it a discipline in my life may be an overstatement. What it all comes down to is my awareness of my dependance on Jesus, or lack thereof. Since about a year ago, I’ve started praying through the Psalms in the morning, and more recently, I have been praying on the way to work instead of listening to music. However, I feel like I can still do more. What I can start doing is using nap times of my daughters as times to get out of the apartment to walk around outside and pray (thank God for warmer wether now!). Thankful for the example of Christ to show me what true faithfulness looks like.
I remember when I struggled to share Jesus with people. It wasn’t because I was ashamed of Jesus but I felt I would shame God by messing up my words and cause someone to flee from God. The pressure and anxiety was quite immense.
However, after time and time again of sharing Jesus and being in prayer and daily devotions, the Spirit led me to understand that God has already brought his Kingdom in. He was already bringing glory to his own name whether I participated in serving the Kingdom or not. It was at that moment that sharing Jesus and fellowshipping with God was not just easier; but, it also felt more alive and real than it ever did.
So I am thankful for the Kingdom already being ushered in because I can now just participate in the Almighty God’s awesome work of bringing those to him he is already seeking out. I get the joy of watching God bring glory to himself.
This resonates with my experience as well. Thanks for sharing!
After reading this section, I was literally tired in my mind thinking about all the things Jesus did in such a short time frame! Then I read… “let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 🤯 After teaching, driving out demons, healing simons mother in law, healing all the sick and oppressed from that town that came to him, and then rising early in the morning to pray…. he wanted to continue on. Jesus was God but he was also man. He felt weariness the way we do, but was able to preserve through that for the Glory of His father! WOW! Super humbled by that.
Good word, Miranda!
Jesus withdraws to pray—He depends on the Father to lead, guide, and direct. On pg. 9 Pastor Cook writes, “Jesus’ agenda, however, will not be determined by the disciples, or the crowds, but by the Father.”
I should always seek to honor what God wants rather than man—I can only know what God wants of me by studying His word and spending time with Him in prayer.
I was moved today by the story of Jesus being moved with compassion to help the leper. He not only healed him but gave him more than the man maybe even realized he needed when he touched him. Jesus truly loves us.
Amen Gabriel. That passage on healing the leper struck me because Jesus didn’t have to touch him. In a day where we’ve lived in such isolation and distance , we’ve dealt with a different kind of “leprosy”. We, like the leper, find people pulling away from us as if we are unclean. To have the Messiah not only heal him but touch him. Wow. Jesus knew the healing needed that touch.
Rose, you are so right! How many times this past year have I longed for a hug or just to be near someone? We have all suffered from the lack of physical contact more than we realize. Jesus has compassion on us too. I’m so glad!
Jesus knows our deepest needs and only be can meet them.
I was also moved by the fact that Jesus touched the man, but instead of becoming unclean, He made the man clean.
I too was thinking about the leper. My mind went to the passage in Matthews Gospel, where Jesus was giving a series of woes to the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees. In that passage, Jesus is saying that the importance is not on what is on the alter but alter itself. I am awed by the fact that Jesus would reach down and touch me to make me clean. It is not about my cleansing but about Him who did the cleansing.
Humbling and we say, “Thank you, Lord!”