Small Group Guide:
Open with prayer.
Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?
If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
- 1. Jesus’ sacrifice provided forgiveness of sins, and allowed us to have a direct connection with God
Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
- 2. Jesus’ work on the cross drives people to respond to Him in one of two ways. Our job, as believers, is to continually present people with the Gospel.
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.
- 3. Realize there is always a way to glorify God
- Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die before? Why couldn’t God have just forgiven our sins without killing His Son?
- Read Luke 23:34. Jesus, on the cross, was loving towards those who were actively killing Him. We too can be loving to those around us, because we have received God’s mercy and grace in our own lives. Who can you be more loving towards? In what ways can you be more merciful and gracious towards that person/those people?
- Read Luke 23:47. The Roman centurion certainly would have witnessed numerous amounts of crucifixions, but this one struck him differently, and he chose respond to Jesus’ sacrifice out of faith. When people hear about Jesus’ sacrifice, it drives them to respond either out of faith (such as with the Roman centurion) or out of disbelief (such as with many of the other people who witnessed Jesus’ sacrifice). Our job, as believers, is not to force people to believe, but to rather present the good news of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, to the best of our ability, to everyone who we come in contact with. How can you present the gospel to those around you the best way you possibly can? See 1 Peter 3:13-17.
- Read Luke 23:50-53. Joseph of Arimathea didn’t agree with the other religious leaders, but he decided to glorify God how he could, in the situation he found himself in, with the resources that he had. Do you find yourself in a situation where the people around you are not glorifying God, or are even hostile towards God, just like Joseph of Arimathea found himself in? How can you, despite your circumstances, glorify God with everything that you have, just as Joseph of Arimathea did?
- What is your biggest take away about how this passage affects your life? How can your small group keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.
Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:
Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?