Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members to:
Ask for a volunteer to read Matthew 25:14-30 to the group, praying a short prayer that – however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d get to know him better as a result of your time together.
If you’re not gathered in person, the leader should project the video for the group through sharing their screen. If you’re using Zoom, make sure you have optimized your screen share for video.
Suggested questions to help your discussion.
In verse 26, is the master admitting to harvesting where he had not sown and gathering where he had not scattered seed?
Some readers think not. They think that the master is simply repeating the third servant’s words back in amazement, and using the servant’s own words as a basis for his judgement (Luke 19:22). People who prefer this interpretation point to the fact that the master appears to be incredibly generous, both in entrusting his riches to his servants and in rewarding them in their faithfulness.
According to this reading, the third servant shows how much he doesn’t understand, thinking his master to be harsh. He doesn't understand that the master gives generously out of his abundance and that the proper response is to share and increase, whatever the cost to himself.
But perhaps the plainer reading is that the servant knows exactly what his master is like. Figures known as ‘bandit leaders’ existed in Jesus’ day. They would swoop in and out of the hills, raiding the farms of others. Bandit leaders were known for their ruthlessness. They simply took what they wanted from others – and got rich on it.
If this is what Jesus is had in mind, he’s not implying that God is ruthless like this. He’s making a simpler point: we demonstrate our faithfulness to an absent master through committing ourselves to what matters to him. The parable of the sheep and the goats (which follows immediately afterwards) pictures part of what this looks like: offering risky love in small but tangible ways to those around us, especially those who are vulnerable.
We might add that faithfulness to Jesus is also shown in sharing the hope that can only be found in him with others.
Turn your discussion on the second question into prayer. Pray especially for the ways in which people would like to show their faithfulness to Jesus in their present circumstances.
Watch this video (4 minutes), which considers the theme of faithfulness when it comes to speaking of Jesus:
This is the final session in The Surprising Stories of Jesus. Next term, we’ll be looking at the Psalms and the theme of welcome. But things don’t have to stop here for those who’ve attended your group who don’t yet know Jesus.
Ask someone to close your time together in prayer.
Taking it further – links you might like to share with your Impact Group
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