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Discussion Notes for the Facilitator

Mark 8:27 Tell me, who do people say that I am?

Jesus wanted them to draw their own conclusions. Biblical scholars will usually agree that at no time did Jesus impose his identity on his disciples. His simple proclamation of what he believed about God and the kingdom influenced people to keep asking who he was. This kind of influence has been ongoing in maintaining Jesus' messiahship as a faith conclusion ever since.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me all who are tired from carrying your heavy loads and I will give you rest.

Jesus gives a promise and invites his listeners to try it out. Giving such alternatives to otherwise carrying heavy loads strongly influences his listeners toward peace as it still does. Where parents live out their own faith as an alternative, new generations are more likely to take them seriously . When absolute declarations are made about the faith, it is more likely rejected by the next generation. We have an abundance of history to demonstrate how true that has been.

Luke 9:54 Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven and consume them?

Luke goes on to say that Jesus rebuked them. People cannot be forced to take seriously the promise of Jesus and the gospel. Parents who force their children to attend worship with them are likely to lose them from the church because they hear law rather than Gospel. When children see what the faith does to their parents in terms of loving acceptance, they are more likely to be back in church after confirmation.

Use of Influence
Jesus' many statements about the kingdom seemed to be spoken of as his understanding of the truth of the kingdom. His listeners were always left to decide their own response. The impression one gets is that Jesus spoke his truth sparingly lest they end up as power over others. Whenever Jesus corrected the scriptures, e.g. ("You have said of old, but I say unto you…") he always took responsibility for his view. Whenever he referred to a third person e.g. ("you have heard it said…") it was never used to overpower another person.

Uses of Power
The Leviticus chapters from about 17 to 22 are generally power threats over others. To quote some of them would serve as evidences of such use. It can be very humorous to quote some of these passages and ask participants whether these demands would be listened to in our day.

Permission is granted to reproduce this module for use in ELCIC congregations. Any other use requires copyright permission. Please contact bfast@elcic.ca

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