Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How Do We Know Jesus Is With Us?

Another really really old Release Time lesson, needless to say.
Matthew 11:2-11

2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sometimes we wonder if Jesus really is with us. Why do we wonder? Do we look for Jesus in the right places? Do we see the signs that tell us Jesus is there?
  • Could Jesus be in: the house next door? The Ashmont train? A traffic jam? Our church? A burger place? The grocery store? The local Taco Shop? At your school? In the church on the other side of town? At home with your family?
  • For each of these places, Why? Why not?
Back in Jesus' day, people had the same kinds of questions. God had already told his people about some of the signs that the Savior, Jesus, would be with them. These signs included a brand new way of being and acting. Like people being kind and thoughtful to each other, people feeling good about being themselves, people being able to see or hear again or for the first time, poor people being treated fairly. And especially the sign of resurrection—people being raised from death! That's something we celebrate especially every Sunday and in a most special way on the Easter Sunday.
  • If you were going to find God, where would you begin to look? Explain.
In Jesus' day, people sometimes looked for God where they wanted to find him, instead of where God said. How about us?

But God already had come to them right where they were, right where they lived. God came to them in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. So when people ask Jesus if he's the Savior or the "One Who Is To Come" he says, "Look around! What do you see?" He tells them to look at all the signs of new life around them.
  • Is there anything about your life you'd like to see changed or made new?
  • Can Jesus change those things?
  • Will you let Jesus change them?
God sends Jesus into our world and our lives right where and how we are. When we wonder about his promise to be with us he said, "Look around! What do you see?"

When we trust Jesus is here and see him in our everyday world, he comes into our lives and stays with us. Jesus Christ makes our lives new!
  • How do we know Jesus is with us?
  • What does it mean for something to be changed or made new?

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