Small Group Discussion week 24

The Gospel of Matthew
Week 24 – Intro to the Culture of Christ

Last week we covered one more area where Matthew reveals Jesus’ incredible authority—in being able to forgive sins on God’s behalf. For those who were present at the actual event, this would have created a severe crisis of belief. Who is this? Does He truly have the authority to forgive sins for God? Jesus proved that He did indeed have this authority by healing a man whose affliction was caused by his sin. Jesus did not give people any margin for remaining neutral about His identity. The same is still true today. Either Jesus is the one
and only God-man or He isn’t.

This week we head in a new direction. Jesus calls Matthew to be His disciple, the Pharisees do not understand why Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners, and there is confusion over the disparate
practices of those following John the Baptizer and those following Jesus. Throughout each of these episodes, however, it is still evident that Jesus is unquestionably in full command.

Opening Questions:
• How would you describe the culture of your church? ...of your family? ...of your small group? What cultural
values are most important to you and why?
• Have your actions and/or motives ever been misunderstood? If so, tell the story of what happened. On the
other side, have you ever misunderstood someone else’s actions and/or motives? If you are comfortable
doing so, share that story as well. What did you learn from it?

Matthew 9:9-17

Discipleship Questions:
• The invitation from Jesus to Matthew to follow Him is very brief. Suppose you are one of Matthew’s first
readers of this gospel (and are a Jew), what impact would it have on you? What meaning does it have for you
• Why do you think the Pharisees were concerned that Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners (v10-
13)? What is your understanding of Jesus’ response to their concern and what bearing does it have on you
• Why do Christians often expect people who do not yet know the Lord to get their lives straightened out
before they surrender their life to Him? When have you personally seen this happen? Are there some sins
that we are more likely to do this with than others? What can we do to keep ourselves from yielding to this
• In v14-17, the culture of John the Baptizer’s ministry is contrasted with that of Jesus. What characteristics of
the two cultures are being contrasted and why is it problematic to some? What cultural characteristics of
those who follow Jesus today are seen by some (who are outside of the faith) as being problematic? What (if
anything) can be done about it?
• In explaining the difference of the two cultures (that of His followers versus John’s), Jesus mentions a
wedding, a patch, and a wineskin. How do each of these things help His followers to understand the cultural
• In explaining the cultural difference between His ministry and John’s, Jesus says, “The days will come when
the bridegroom (meaning Himself) is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” This implies that it is
fitting to fast when He is no longer physically present with His followers. What do you make of this and what
impact ought it to have on a church’s culture today (if any)? What meaning does it have for you personally?

Prayer time:
Pray that we will be faithful in following Jesus so that our church culture mimics the culture of