Key Texts: Matthew 14:22-33; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 4:36-41; Mark 6:51, 52; Luke 8:25; Luke 24:37
Key Ideas: We encounter a number of stories that are well-known. First, there is the story of the disciples at sea and Jesus coming to them, and Peter walking on water. There is also the story of Jesus calming the storm. Finally, there is the interchange over signs and the leaven of the Pharisees. From these stories, we there are numerous lessons we can learn about discipleship.
1. In the calming of the storm story found in Mark 4, the disciples asked Jesus a tough question, “Master, do you not care if we perish?” Does this question show up in the lives of disciples today? How shall we deal with it and its implications?
2. After the storm was stilled, the disciples were afraid of Jesus and his power. Is there reason to be afraid. how might the power of Jesus be reason for joy?
3. What lessons might we learn from Peter walking on the water?
4. In Matthew 16, we have the incident where the religious leaders came to Jesus asking for a sign. Jesus answer leads us to ponder the fact that signs are not so good. Should we ask for signs? What relationship do signs have to faith? What are some things you fear in matters of discipleship?
5. In many of the stories, we find the disciples being fearful. Why do you think they were so often afraid in the presence of Jesus? Is fear associated with discipleship today? If so, is it beneficial, or is it a sign of lack of faith? What shall we make of the assertion in I John 4:18 that perfect love cases out fear?
a. Consider the suggestion that fear is something that can be of great value in ministry/discipleship. It can remind us of our limitations as humans, that we are not the primary agents of God’s work. Secondly, if we press through the fear, it is often the case that the Holy Spirit shows up to do the real business of the kingdom.
6. Matthew 16 contains the interchange between Jesus and his disciples over the “leaven of the Pharisees.” What do you think that was? Is there a modern counter-part that we should be aware of?
7. Clearly, Jesus intention was to ready his disciples for purposes of witness. Do you think people “do” witnessing, or is it more correct to say they “are” witnesses? How might we refine our witness?
8. How shall we relate to people hostile to Christian witness? What internal resources do you think are necessary for us to love our enemies and those of the faith?