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Sent into the World:
Christian Formation for the Mission of God

What does it mean to be a disciple? How has God equipped us to share the message of good news? Together or apart, our call to be ambassadors of Christ leads our journey of discipleship, or formation, and invites us to grow, engage, and connect more closely with God. We invite you to join Dr. John Franke of Second Presbyterian Church, as he leads you through six classes at the heart of discipleship.

Sections:

  • Part 1: So I Send You: John 20:19-23
  • Part 2: Listen to Him: Mark 9:2-8
  • Part 3: The Greatest Commandment: Mark 12:28-31
  • Part 4: The Mission Statement of Jesus: Luke 4:16-21
  • Part 5: The Great Commission: Matthew 28:16-20
  • Part 6: That They May All Be One: John 17:20-24

Part 1: So I Send You

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John 20:19-23 (NRSV)
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • What does it mean to be at peace? How do you practice peace with yourself and with others? Why is this important?
  • Why do you think Jesus showed his disciples his hands and side after saying “Peace be with you”? What does this mean to you?
  • Do you think it is significant that Jesus says, “Peace be with you” again before sending the disciples to continue his mission? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think the Father sent Jesus? What is the mission of Jesus in the world?
  • What do you think of the idea that Jesus sends us to continue his work? What does that mean to you? How do you live into this calling?
  • How does the Spirit help us/you in the work of continuing the mission of Jesus? How do you experience this, or not, in your life?
  • What do you think of the idea that the church has the ministry of forgiving sin? What does this mean? How do we do it?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?

Part 2: Listen to Him

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Mark 9:2-8 (NRSV)
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How do you imagine the transfiguration that this passage reports? What do think this looked like? What does it mean to you?
  • Why do you think Elijah and Moses appear to the disciples and talk to Jesus? What is their significance for you?
  • Why do you think Peter wants to make dwellings for Elijah, Moses, and Jesus? What do you think of this?
  • Why do you think the disciples were terrified as they experienced this event? How do you understand this “terror” in the presence of Jesus?
  • How do you think the disciples understood the words of the voice and the presence of only Jesus after the voice had spoken? What does it mean to you?
  • Do you listen to Jesus? If so, how? Why is this important for discipleship?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?

Part 3: The Greatest Commandment

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Mark 12:28-31 (NRSV)
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • Why do you think the scribe asks Jesus which commandment is the first of all? What does he want to know? What questions do you want to ask Jesus?
  • Why do you think Jesus answers with “Hear, O’ Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one” as the prelude to loving God? What does this mean to you?
  • What does it mean to you to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Does head, heart, and hand capture this? How do you love God in each of these ways?
  • What is the connection in your mind between loving God and loving your neighbor? Why is this central to the life of discipleship?
  • What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? How do you practice this? How do you care for yourself spiritually and physically? Why is this important for Christian formation?
  • How does loving God with head, heart, and hand and your neighbor as yourself relate to the mission of God? How can you grow or improve in relation to this teaching of Jesus?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?

Part 4: The Mission Statement of Jesus

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Luke 4:16-21 (NRSV)
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • What do you think of the idea that this passage is the mission statement of Jesus? Does this make sense to you? Why or why not?
  • How do you understand the substance of what Jesus says here? What does it mean to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed?
  • Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How do you think the vision of the new heavens and new earth recorded in this passage relates to the mission of Jesus in Luke 4 and in other parts of the New Testament?
  • How does this understanding of the mission of God and Jesus compare to your own thinking? Is it similar, different, or new? What do you think of it? Does it challenge you? How will you (or do you) participate in it?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?

Part 5: The Great Commission

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Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV)
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • How do you understand the connection between worship and doubt in the passage? The closest disciples of Jesus both worshipped him and doubted at the same time. How do you relate to this? Why do you think it matters in making disciples?
  • Jesus says all authority on heaven and earth has been given to him. How do you understand the Lordship of Jesus? Why do you think it is significant for the work of making disciples?
  • Notice that Jesus calls his disciples to teach the nations to obey everything he commanded. What does Jesus actually command? What is the relationship between belief and action? How do these relate in the work of discipleship?
  • How do you understand the significance of baptism in relationship to discipleship? What does baptism mean in this context? Why do you think baptism is included in this great commission? How do you understand the act of baptism?
  • Why do you think Jesus closes this commission by reminding the disciples that he is always with them? Why is his presence important in the work of making disciples? Do you experience the presence of Jesus in your life? If so, how? What can you do to increase your awareness of his presence?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?

Part 6: That They May All Be One

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John 17:20-24 (NRSV)
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Here Jesus prays not only for the disciples, but also for those who will believe in him through their word (v.20). Who is it that Jesus is praying for here? Why do you think this is significant?
  • What do you think it means when Jesus prays that all those who believe in him “may become completely one” as he and the Father are one (v.21-23)? What do you think this would look like? Is this a possibility? If so, how?
  • Note the connection that Jesus makes between the unity of those who believe in him and the belief of the world that the Father sent Jesus (v.21, 23). How do you understand this connection? Why does it matter?
  • How do you understand the “glory” that the Father has given to Jesus (v.22, 24)? How does Jesus give this to his followers and how does it make them one in the way that he is one with the Father (v.22)?
  • What is the significance of this for Christian discipleship and witness?
  • What is particularly significant to you in this passage?
  • What questions do you have?