Scripture Discussions – The Way of Jesus

Scripture Discussions follow the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday.  These recordings air on the radio in Kigali, Rwanda on the following Monday.

If you are thinking about or preparing to preach from the Lectionary passages for Sunday (Proper 8), you may enjoy listening to our radio discussion this week.  Brandon and I are talking about Jesus’ mission to Jerusalem and discipleship along the way from Luke 9:51-62, with some connections to the Elijah narrative in 1 Kings 19:15-21.

Listen Now!

Support our radio ministry 

Did you like this? Share it:

Today’s Ministry Challenge

I have been wanting to start an adult Sunday Bible Study with our church in Kigali.  Usually, people mingle after the service having tea, but don’t stay around long.  With the start of Lent, we felt like it was the right time to give it a try.  Lent is five weeks of more focused spiritual discipline, including Scripture reading.  So we will be studying the Sunday Gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, which is read in many churches all over the world.

Today we launched this Bible Study.  It coincides with an English service childrens’ choir.  The idea being that parents can stay for the study since their kids have something to do, and vice versa.

I was all set to lead a discussion of the Temptations of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.  I also prepared myself with low expectations about how many people would show up.  Although I am sure that most of our congregation would affirm the value of a Bible Study, often times people need to see you stick with something new before they get involved too.

As prepared as I was, nothing could have readied me for the way things went.  No, it wasn’t an amazing turnout, just about 10 people.  And it wasn’t that the study was particularly interesting, though I think we learned something together.

The real surprise came from a young man who happened to be visiting the church this morning.  When he walked into the group, I already knew things would be difficult.  During the service he had interrupted the senior pastor a few times, getting up and whispering in his ear.  He also made a surprise appearance in Sunday school, I later learned, wanting to share a song with the kids.

During the study we looked at the 3 temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.  I prefaced the discussion by noting the Holy Spirit’s role of leading Him there.  The temptations weren’t a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Jesus was there by Divine direction and purpose.

As we discussed each temptation I encouraged the group to share thoughts:  What is the nature of the temptation Jesus faces?  How does it relate to his purpose and his cross?

It was in our discussion that the young visitor made his presence known.  He had something to say for everything, it was hard for anyone else to get a word in.  But about half way through he dropped the bombshell.  “The boy who sits before you is bewitched”, he shared. Yes, “bewitched”.

How was I to respond to that?  I tried of course, as did a few other people.  We reminded him that in most circumstances the words spoken over us only have the power that we give them.  Ultimately, it is what Jesus says of us that matters.  We even pointed him to the passage at hand.  He continued to try to tell us how he came to be bewitched, and later he made an awkward comment about another person in the study who was causing him “temptation”. It was challenging.

I was sitting there, across from this young man, with my Bible open to the Temptation of Jesus, and wondering if there was some correlation.  It was definitely tempting in that moment to imagine the Lenten Bible Study sinking on its maiden voyage.  I felt tempted to ask him to leave or shut his mouth until we were finished.  Could it be that Satan was using this guy to derail the study so we wouldn’t hear what God had to say to us?

I’ve been wrestling lately with how I respond to people who come to the church for help.  I don’t think I always see them as human, but rather, at times, as a problem.  Yet, Jesus in his faithfulness through temptation shows us what it means to be truly human.  He is, after all, the son of Adam as well as the Son of God.  I want to accept people as they are, no matter what their motivation is for coming, because they are made in the image of God.

The boy who believes himself to be bewitched and each of us finds a place in the wilderness with Jesus.  We can learn how to face temptation with the truth of the Word of God.  We are invited to identify with Jesus, who identifies with us, and to follow his way of faithfulness, a faithfulness that takes him to the cross.  Jesus embraced our humanness, not so that we could stop being human someday, but so we can be truly human, living lives of worship.

Please pray with me for that young guy.  Also, pray that the Bible Study will continue and grow and be an opportunity for many in our church community to grow deeper in their faith.

Did you like this? Share it: