I write as a person who is committed to Jesus and his message of the kingdom of God. Jesus calls us to be his disciples. That is his primary call. We respond to his call by faith and this is symbolised by baptism. We are to live out our baptism by living as Jesus’ disciples in every aspect of our lives. As we continue with our Christian lives, we need to grow in our faith and understanding and serve God’s purposes as is appropriate to us and our circumstances. We do so as part of the Christian community.
In preparing this Lenten Bible Study, I have focussed on two of the biblical texts given to us for each Sunday in the Lectionary (for Year B). These include the Gospel reading and one other – either Old Testament, Psalm or Epistle. Out of these readings, I have drawn some aspect of discipleship for each week. People are invited to consider what the biblical texts have to say to us in our context. The other two readings each week are mentioned as something people can read as follow up as they wish, noting how they link up with the readings considered.
In the studies I have made use of some quotes from well-respected Christians and some stories related to the theme for the particular study, inviting people to reflect on them.
The six weeks of Lent will cover the following themes.
1. Jesus’ message summarised – Respond to Jesus and his message of the kingdom of God.
We will consider Psalm 25:1-10 and Mark 1:9-15,
a quote from E. Stanley Jones and an Alpha story about Andy Green.
2. What discipleship involves – Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus.
We will examine Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 and Mark 8:31-38,
a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a story about Bobby Mallory.
3. Jesus cleansing of the temple – Be willing to take prophetic action against what is wrong.
We will consider Psalm 19 and John 2:13-22,
quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and stories about climate change action.
4. God so loved the world – Believe in Jesus and live for God.
We will examine Ephesians 2:1-10 and John 3:14-21,
a quote from Robert Kysar and stories of two people who used their skills to help disadvantaged people.
5. The hour has come – Be ready for the time of testing.
We will consider Hebrews 5:5-10 and John 12:20-33,
a quote from David Watson and the story of Polycarp’s martyrdom in the second century.
6. Into Jerusalem on a donkey – Be a person of peace like Jesus.
We will examine Philippians 2:5-11 and Mark 11:1-11,
quotes about peace and the story of Gordon Wilson.