BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon
- Read Isaiah 52:13-15 & 53:1-12
- Get a feel for the Book of Isaiah as a whole by WATCHING THIS VIDEO
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants you to share during your group's time together.
ISAIAH DEVOTIONAL: THE SNAKE CRUSHER
Every week, enhanced content will be provided for those who want to take things beyond their group's gathered time to be used for personal enrichment.
Isaiah's portrait of the suffering servant king as the true victor over human evil didn't come from nowhere. It's a profound development of that strange, poetic image we are introduced to all the way back in Genesis 3:15, about the suffering "seed" of the woman who would destroy the serpent:
And I [God] will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
This, we discover, is how God would overcome the horrific evil that has duped humanity into thinking they are God. This is how God will become the victor over the human evil that resulted from that tragic error. God would send a son of Eve to conquer evil by allowing evil to conquer him, and then overcoming its power of death by his love and eternal life.
There's a reason why the poem of Isaiah 53 is introduced with the phrase "good news," and there's also a good reason why all four stories of Jesus in the New Testament were eventually called "The Good News" or "The Gospel." It's the strangest good news you will ever hear, but also the best news. It's the story of God's defeat of evil so that you and I can be rescued from the human condition and the death we see all around us and inside ourselves. In this story of the servant's death and resurrection, we discover the love of God that leads to true life.
Read Genesis 3:1-15 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and consider this:
Where is the servant's victory described? Why does the servant die? What results from the servant dying? Recall how Jesus saw himself as freeing people from slavery to the snake's influence (see Luke 13:16 and Acts 10:38). How does the rest of the New Testament describe that same freedom in the lives of Jesus' followers? (see Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of how your group can invite God into your time together.
Open up in prayer asking the Lord to reveal the areas of your heart that need to receive a clearer view of his sacrifice for you and for the world. Thank him for the forgiveness we now have because of the suffering that he endured.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Have everyone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend's message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say "Pass."
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This weekend's message came from Isaiah 52:13-15 and 53:1-12. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- The book of Isaiah is filled with the predictions of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection – hundreds of years before they were fulfilled in the historical New Testament accounts. What thoughts come to mind when you discover that God speaks through ordinary human beings, like Isaiah, to demonstrate his power and promise?
- Have there been any promises made in your own life that you have seen fulfilled or some you are still waiting on? Although Isaiah never saw his prophesies fulfilled, he still trusted God with what he couldn't see and wrote them down. Why are we called to trust in things that we haven't yet experienced? How does that affect our faith?
- What are some of the worst parts about personally suffering, or when you witness the suffering of others? What about our daily living demonstrates that we don't take Christ's suffering for granted?
- When have your own thoughts and actions betrayed the reality that you didn't trust that what Jesus did on the cross was enough for you? Why do we have sins from our past that we have a difficult time letting go of? What does that say to you about where you still need to grow in your understanding of his substitutional suffering, grace, and forgiveness?
- At the foot of the cross, every single one of our sins were paid for by Jesus' willing sacrifice. What is God saying to you about moving from expressing your repentance to trusting his mercy?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of what your group could talk about with God in prayer.
Thank Jesus for his sacrifice and the grace that he so freely gives. Through prayer, remind yourself and each other that God's love for us is the reason for his sacrifice.