There are seven types of story that come up again and again across every time and culture. This term we’ll explore those stories, consider what they tell us about our humanity, and how they help us understand the true story of Jesus
Today, we’re thinking about Overcoming the Monster Stories.
Ask for a volunteer to pray a short prayer that however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
Welcome people to the group, and ask people to introduce themselves.
Share the vision for your group. Touch on the fact that as we grow as a community we want to be impacted by God’s word, and then think about how to impact the university for good in Jesus’ name.
There will likely be a mix of Christians and those who are exploring faith in your group. You might say something like: ‘All of us will be at different stages of our faith journey. Some of us will be following Jesus, some of us are just exploring things. Wherever you are at, you’re welcome here. Feel free to join in with discussions or just listen along.’
Ask group members:
This video tells the true story of Malala Yousafzai, a woman who had to overcome a monstrous threat to her life.
Overcoming the Monster stories are about a fearsome enemy being defeated. Examples include Jaws, Godzilla and most James Bond films.
Overcoming the Monster stories are easy to relate to, because all of us have adversaries we long to see destroyed.
Ask for a volunteer to read Luke 4:31-44.
This video will help your group see the power that Jesus has over monstrous evil.
|What is the threat?
|How does Jesus overcome these threats?
|What is the result?
‘The good news of the kingdom of God’ is that Jesus is the hero who will defeat all monstrous evil forever, including our own ability to be monstrous. One day all evil will be gone. Jesus’ healings were a foretaste of this future reality. If we trust in him, healing and wholeness can be our future.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus states his purpose for which he has come: to bring the good news of his kingdom (Luke 4:17-21). Put simply, God’s kingdom is Jesus’ kingly rule and reign over all things. Jesus’ kingdom is where there is no suffering or sin and where all people recognise Jesus as Lord.
Jesus’ arrival launches his kingdom. Through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, all who have rebelled against God can be forgiven and welcomed back into relationship with God, sharing the hope of his future kingdom.
In Luke’s Gospel we get a foretaste of this kingdom as Jesus wields authority over evil, heals the sick, defeats death and is raised to life. We await the final form of God’s kingdom, when Jesus returns.
We might feel uncomfortable with the talk of demon possession and can be tempted to think that the descriptions used in the Gospels are merely describing illnesses of the day. However, the Gospel accounts make distinctions between sickness and demon possession.
The Gospels picture Jesus in continual conflict with demons and evil spirits. They stood in opposition to his work bringing in the kingdom of God. What we witness is Jesus’ authority as God. These individual acts of deliverance are a sign of what will one day be true for the whole of creation. Jesus will rule over and cast out all that is evil. Spiritual and physical oppression will one day will be no more.
Jesus often commands people not to share his identity. This is normally because Jesus knows what will occur if his popularity grows too quickly: his principle mission will be compromised. In Luke 4, Jesus silences the demons for an additional reason. They rightly recognise him as the Holy One (verse 34), Son of God – the Messiah (verse 41). But Jesus doesn’t want evil forces to misrepresent him. He doesn’t want any association with them. Jesus will proclaim himself, in his own time.
The crowds had different ideas to Jesus when it came to
finding a solution to their problems. All of us are prone to look in the wrong places when we need help.
Jesus doesn’t promise that our lives will be free from monstrous things. But he does promise to help us as we face monsters within and without, and one day he will defeat them forever.
Spend some time asking God to help you to increasingly look to Him for hope for the future and in the present as you live life in a broken world.
‘Overcoming the Monster’ stories show us that we all fear certain things – and that we long for these threats to be overcome.
We live amongst students who also live in fear of how the ‘monsters’ in their lives could hurt them.
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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