Take time to welcome any newcomers and catch up on the past week (over drinks or snacks if possible). Then discuss the following question:
Over this term, we’re exploring eight of Jesus’ claims starting, each with the words ‘I am.’ Not only will this help us understand Jesus better, but we’ll come to understand ourselves better too.
Ask for a volunteer to read John 14:1-14 to the group. Then pray a short prayer asking that, however much group members have previously come to know God, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
Jesus has just dropped the bombshell announcement: he will soon leave (John 13:33).
Jesus doesn’t just claim to tell the truth, but to be the truth. Perhaps when we’re troubled, what we actually long for is a friend to wait with us rather than an instruction manual to guide us.
As he reassures Philip, Jesus promises that those who believe in him “will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (verse 12). What can this mean?
Jesus’ ‘works’ refer to the things he did during his earthly life that pointed to his true identity – including his miracles. Jesus probably doesn’t mean that his disciples will do a greater number of miracles, or that their miracles will be more spectacular than his.
The whole section is about being confident in Jesus’ identity. Jesus promises that the works the disciples will perform will point even more clearly to who he is than the things he did in his earthly life. After all, Jesus is “going to the Father.” Jesus emphasises that this will allow him to send the Spirit (John 14:16-18, 26; 16:7, 13). The Spirit will be God’s own witness to Jesus. Jesus’ promise is that the Spirit will use human works so that people across the world and throughout time will come to see who Jesus is.
Christians disagree on the extent to which the Spirit uses spectacular means to lead people to Jesus. They agree that the Spirit’s testimony is often steady and quiet. But all the human means the Spirit uses, quiet or loud, are part of the ‘greater works’ Jesus promises. Indeed, Jesus adds, if we pray that our works will be effective in leading people to faith in him, we can be confident he will answer these prayers (verse 14).
Jesus’ claims feel absolute, especially in a religiously diverse place like a British university.
How do you react to the idea that Jesus is the only way to God?
Take a moment to pause and personally consider your response to Jesus claim John 14:6.
You’ll have plenty to pray about resulting from this session. Ask group members to share what’s on their heart. Encourage them to direct unanswered questions to Jesus, the truth. You might also like to pray for friends who are looking somewhere other than Jesus to be their way, truth and life.
You could close by reading a prayer written by Desiderius Erasmus, reckoned to be the greatest scholar of the 16th Century (and after whom the Erasmus scheme is named!):
O Lord Jesus Christ, you have said that you are the way, the truth and the life.
Help us not to stray from you, who is the way,
Nor to distrust you, who is the truth,
Nor to rest in anything other than you, who is the life.
If you’re able to sing in your group time, there are plenty of songs that will help you commit to trusting Jesus even when things feel insecure, including: Blessed Be Your Name; Cornerstone and Saviour of the World.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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