It is Friday, May 31, 2019. Scripture records that only one of the original twelve disciples (John) stayed and witnessed the execution of Jesus to the bitter end. But two new disciples, both members of the very Jewish Council who pushed for the crucifixion of this "blasphemer", proclaim their allegiance to Christ at possibly the most difficult point imaginable. Let's read and be encouraged by the faith shown by these two men who put EVERYTHING on the line in their devotion to their Master. Chris Adomanis
The following guide is a resource for you to use in your personal time of solitude with the Lord as well as when you connect with the Community that you facilitate. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
CATCH-UP- What was your high and low from last week/yesterday?
SING + PRAY- Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER (IN LARGE GROUP)
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
[ John 19:38-42 ]
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[a]by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds[b]in weight.40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
_ Compare and contrast John's version with the other Gospel accounts (Matthew 27:55-61, Mark 15:40-47, Luke 23:48-56). What more did you find out about Joseph of Arimathea in these verses?
_ Is there a "problem in accuracy" in the fact that Nicodemus is mentioned only here in John's gospel and not in any of the other Gospel accounts? Why or why not?
_ List all the factors (dangers) faced by these two men for making this stand for Christ. Here's a few hints: Family, friends, religious event participation, their standing in the synagogue, their standing in their community, their financial fortunes, how they would be viewed by the Roman authorities, etc...
_ What do you think led Joseph and Nicodemus to finally believe and follow Jesus? What "did it" for you? What kept Annas, Caiaphas and Pilate from making that decision? What is the "blocking point" for people you know? How can you help them?
PROCESS (IN BREAKOUTS OF 2-3’S, GUYS/GIRLS)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time
_ I love the version of this story found in the Gospel of Mark where it says that Joseph "took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus". We may never face a situation where our allegiance to Christ could cost us our life or our job, but are we even willing to be seen as "not intelligent" or as a " religious whacko" or as "narrow minded" because of our faith in Jesus? Repent for past failings and "take courage" going forward!!!
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., Build trust by spending time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)