Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me a sinner.
Early morning black skies
hang around like hard
shields of ice, cold and
Warm my still soul, oh Lord,
in Your glorious light.
Awaken my heart
and mind with Your breath
upon me, making me
more than dull dust.
[This is part of a series of prayers for Sunday worship preparation that begins here.]
This from Christian Wiman in his moving book My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.
Christ speaks in stories as a way of preparing his followers to stake their lives on a story, because existence is not a puzzle to be solved, but a narrative to be inherited and undergone and transformed person by person. He uses metaphors because something essential about the nature of reality – its mercurial solidity, its mathematical mystery and sacred plainness – is disclosed within them.
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Prepare,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “Appearing.” The text for this week is Luke 3.
- What are some of your traditions for preparing for Christmas? What special preparations are you making this year?
- This week marks the beginning of our next series with the Gospel of Luke, “Appearing.” This weekend we look at Luke 3, a chapter that focuses on the life and ministry of John the Baptist and the transition to Jesus. Begin your study by asking God to speak to you from His Word, and then read Luke 3:1-38 aloud.
- With chapter 3, Luke’s telling of Jesus’ story jumps from Jesus’ childhood to John the Baptist’s ministry as an adult. The listing of political and religious leaders in 3:1-2 helps us place the timeline at A.D. 29. Reading 3:2-6, how would you describe John’s life and ministry?
- What stands out to you most from John’s message in 3:7-9?
- Now look at John’s interactions with people’s questions in 3:10-14. What would you say is the theme of John’s responses in light of his overarching message (3:7-9) and mission (3:3-4)?
- What do you think it looks like to produce fruit in keeping with repentance today? What are of your life might need to produce fruit in keeping with repentance?
- John’s message lands him in prison (3:19-20), but not before he baptizes his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth (3:21-22). What does the baptism episode tell us about Jesus? (You may also want to look at parallel passages in Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11.)
- The genealogy in 2:23-38 tells us that Jesus is David’s heir, Abraham’s seed, and the Son of God. Which of these titles of Jesus means the most to you?
- What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.
Daily Reading Plan
To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.
Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.
- Nov. 28 Luke 3:1-6; Matthew 3:4-6
- Nov. 29 Isaiah 40:3-11
- Nov. 30 Luke 3:7-14; Matthew 3:7-10
- Dec. 1 Luke 3:15-20; Matthew 3:11-12
- Dec. 2 Luke 3:21-23a; Matthew 3:13-17
This weekend at Eastbrook Church I began the second part of our extended journey into the Gospel of Luke entitled “Appearing.” This series looks at Jesus’ public appearing in ministry in Luke 3 and 4. The first message of this series, “Prepare,” looks at the preparatory preaching of John the Baptist, specifically his call to produce the fruit of repentance.
You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Also, join in with the weekday reading plan for this series here.
“The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:2-3)
John’s Call to Prepare (Luke 3:1-6)
Prepare through Repentance (Luke 3:7-9)
Prepare the Fruit of Repentance (Luke 3:10-14)
Prepare for Spiritual Fire (Luke 3:15-20)
Prepare for the One (Luke 3:21-38)