Session 2 - Why is Jesus so important to Christians?
Aim: To have participants think through their own beliefs about Jesus, why He matters, and why others might have other opinions about Him.
Leaders Note: This session needs to be handled sensitively, as people can become very defensive when asked questions about something precious to them. Be aware that people may react against the questions you are asking, not because of what you are saying, but because of what they THINK you are saying.
Before the session download and print the Jesus Facts sheet (download at the bottom of the page). Have a copy between each pair and have them sort through them. They are aiming to sort them into:
- things widely believed about Jesus
- things Christians believe about Jesus
- things handed down to us by tradition.
- Have the group feedback how they went about dividing the different things, marking on your Jesus Facts sheet any notes you want to make.
- Are there any common themes that stand out to you in the way your group thought about these ideas?
- Were there any of the ‘facts’ cards that seemed strange, out of place, or that stood out to them for another reason?
Watch the video above or download the video at the bottom of the page.
Often in our talk about apologetics we can lean on the ‘facts’ that we have, but in the case of Jesus the facts we have are very few. At the same time, we can dismiss our experience of faith and our personal reasons for following him. This means that when we try and share our faith with others, we can run into obstacles as we rely on something we have little of, and ignore what we have a wealth of.
Split your group into smaller groups so that each person is able to contribute to the conversation. As a group ask them to list three reasons they think Jesus is so important. Emphasise that you are looking for their personal reason, rather than the ‘correct’ answer. Once they have done this, have them feedback centrally, and as they do so tally whether the reason is:
- To do with Jesus’ life.
- To do with Jesus’ death
- To do with Jesus’ resurrection
Are your groups reasons in one particular area? Is there one of the areas that is missing? If you think it is worth exploring you could ask the group why that might be, or encourage them to see if they can think of a reason from the missing area.
If we know so little about Jesus, and if so much of what we ‘know’ is actually belief, why is he so important to Christians? How has someone who left so little ‘factual’ information had such a dramatic impact on world history?
There are several answers to that question, which follow on from one another;
- Because of the impression he made on his early followers, and the way this made them rethink how they lived in the world.
- Because of the way his early followers lived and drew others to him
- Because of the way his early followers developed into a life-changing community which outlasted them.
You will notice that missing from the above reasons are the more theological reasons. That is intentional; theology can easily become abstract, and abstract ideas can easily become about perspective rather than truth. In a postmodern culture, where truth is relative, we need to point to the impact of our faith before we speak about the truth behind it. You may need to unpack some of these ideas for your group, but remember to keep it accessible and practical.
How does your group find this way of explaining Jesus’ lasting impact? Is it a way of thinking about it that they have come across before? Are there answers that they would add in instead of the ones above?
Emphasising Jesus’ life and teachings can be a really important part of the way we share faith in a contemporary culture. Using the Bible stories below have your group think about how:
- These might connect to people today
- They might lead us to talk about Jesus’ eternal impact on us.
Are there any common ideas that you can draw out of what has been discussed about these stories? What groups them together?
These stories have been selected has they connect with widely held ideas in contemporary culture. It is through these connection points that we can then talk about Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the forgiveness that we receive through them. You may need to walk through some of these ideas clearly with the group, as often we feel that unless we are talking about Jesus’ death we are not really talking about the good news He brings.
Have three words printed out on sheets of A4 paper, or download the prayer sheet. These words are:
Give each participant a stone, candle, or some other way of marking their engagement with this prayer. Lay the paper out on a table and invite the participants to ponder which of those words is most important in their relationship with Jesus. When they have spent some time thinking about this, have them lay their marker down on that piece of paper.
Once all of the participants have done this, pray for the week ahead, that they would know Jesus’ presence with them, that they would be reinvigorated in their faith, and that they would be reminded of why they follow Him.
Next Session: Click Here
Session 2 Materials
Download Session Sheet
Download Session Video
Download Jesus Facts Sheet
Download Prayer Sheet
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