Questions and going deeper resources
CONNECT: What area of life do you struggle to live consistently in line with Godʼs will? Bring it before God.
- Do you know anyone for whom suffering has been a significant ʻbelief blockerʼ? Have there ever been times in which your own experience (or witness) of suffering has caused you to wrestle with your faith?
- What are the typical responses to suffering in our culture? When have you experienced/witnessed Christians demonstrate helpful and unhelpful responses to peopleʼs suffering?
Read Matthew 9:35-38
- What has Jesus been doing so far in chapter 9? What does he dispatch the disciples to do in chapter 10?
- When Jesus saw the crowds, what did he feel for them? Why did Jesus feel this way?
- If Jesus has compassion for us – longing to be our shepherd – how is this encouraging news in the face of suffering and struggle? What does it mean for you to know that Jesus comes alongside us?
- What helps you to experience Jesusʼ compassion day-to-day and especially in times of struggle? Has there been a time – of suffering – in which you experienced Jesusʼ compassion at work in your life?
- How have you witnessed Godʼs compassion at work through Christian community?
- On one of your main frontlines, how can you be a bearer of Jesusʼ compassion?
- Why is it a dangerous idea to suggest that all personal suffering is connected with our own personal sin?
- As sin entered the world, in what ways does this create a brokenness in the world? If sin is the root cause for the brokenness of the world, why would God create us with the capacity to sin?
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9
- What is Godʼs solution for suffering in the world? How does Jesus taking all suffering on himself show us definitively that God is neither cruel nor powerless?
- In what ways were Jesusʼ healings both a demonstration of compassion and a pointer to the complete healing weʼll receive when he returns? How is Jesusʼ resurrection a victory for us all?
- In your experience of suffering, how does the combination of Jesusʼ current presence and future return help you to persevere and make sense of the pain?
APPLY: Twofold: (a) What would help you to bring your suffering and struggles to Jesus in order that you may experience his compassion? (b) On one of your frontlines, whatʼs one opportunity to demonstrate compassion?
On Your Frontline This Week: How are you going to invite people along to Alpha? Maybe ask if they want to join you for the launch party, or take a postcard the next time you see them.
Listen, Watch, and Read:
- Article: “Why does God let bad things happen?” by Dan Paterson
- Listen: “On Suffering (Undeceptions)” by John Dickson
- Watch: “C S Lewis and Suffering” by Amy Orr-Ewing
- Watch: “Faith in a Time of Suffering” with Ruth Padilla de Borst
- Read: “Putting the World to Rights - Chapter in ʻSimply Christianʼ” by Tom Wright.
- Series Resource Guide: www.stbarts.com.au/bigissues
- Book: “Confronting Christianity” by Rebecca McLaughlin.
- Book: “Bullies and Saints” by John Dickson.
- Book: “Where is God in all the Suffering?” by Amy Orr-Ewing.