I as sorry to say that there is no Audio for this week but here is what we talked about:
God Is with You When You Need Grace
If you are a dog owner, you’ve experienced your pet’s shame when he or she does something wrong. Maybe you walk into the house after being out for the evening, and the first thing you see are pieces of your couch cushion chewed up. Or the cake on the counter is mysteriously missing. Instead of greeting you at the door, your dog is off cowering in a corner, waiting his punishment, ashamed of what he has done.
Humans aren’t much different when we make mistakes. Our instinct is to run and hide…..to avoid the call, the apology, the text. But shame will never heal us. At some point, confession, repentance, and restoration are needed. In the end, we find that even though the steps toward restoration were difficult, the restoration was completely worth it.
Jesus well understands our human failings. Although his disciples spent nearly every moment with him during his time on earth, they were certainly not perfect as he was. They messed up frequently. Judas betrayed him into the hands of the Pharisees. Peter denied three times that he even knew Christ. The rest of the disciples abandoned Jesus at the cross.
The disciples also had their failings when it came to Jesus’ most staggering miracle—his resurrection from the grave. Most of them doubted. One of them refused to believe until he was the evidence firsthand. One of them saw the empty tomb and believed. Regardless of their actions and reactions, Jesus still loved them. And displayed this love in an incredible way. He didn’t add to their same or punish them. Instead, he chose to be present with them after his resurrection. He was a safe place for them to confess, repent, and ultimately to believe.
We all have similar failings as disciples. Yet the promise of the gospel is that no matter how much we doubt God, mess up, or fail, Jesus is ready to forgive us and be with us. He offers us the same gift as he offered to the disciples: grace. When we are in Christ, we are truly never alone.
How do you typically react when you feel shame over something you have done? Do you think this is a healthy or unhealthy response?
Read John 18:15-18, 25-27
- Even though Jesus prepared the disciples for what would happen to him, they still abandoned him the night of his arrest and during his trial and crucifixion. Why do you think the disciples did this? What was motivating them?
- Peter had boldly cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Why do you think Peter so soon afterward denied even knowing Christ? In what ways can you relate to Peter’s experience?
- Read John 21:15-19. What is symbolic about the way Jesus restored Peter to himself? What does this say about Jesus’ character? What does it say about his willingness to extend grace?
- If the distance between Jesus and Peter consisted of a hundred steps. Christ took ninety-nine and a half. But Peter still had to take his step. What was that step that Peter had to take? What does this say about the part we play in our restoration?
How do you feel as you end this study? Grateful? Peaceful? Confused? Maybe you feel mixed feelings? Identify what you’re feeling and bring that before God. Thank him, ask him whatever lingering questions you have or simply sit in his presence?
- God is with you in the ordinary. How have you experienced His presence in your everyday life?
- God is with you when you’re stuck. What have you learned about how God can help you when you are stuck?
- God is with you in the storm and dark. Where have sensed God’s presence in a storm that you have endured? How has God helped you see something new in an area of your life that was once dark?
- God is with you in the valley. What have you learned about God as you consider “the valley of death”—either your own or that of a loved one?
- God is with you when you need grace. Where has God met you in your shame?
Wrap Up—Which of these promises did you need to hear at this time in your life?