Red Letter Conversations - Discussion 18

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The Secret Seeker

Jesus speaks to the issue of careful curiosity

Pray

Pray together for the group meeting, and any pressing needs within the group.

Review

Each week you’ll spend some time reviewing the previous week’s lesson. Did anything happen last week that brought the lesson to mind, and what did you learn from it?

Watch

Watch the following discussion-starter video. It’ll set the topic of discussion for the group.

John 3:1-10

  1. One person will first read the scripture selection in the King James Version.
  2. Next, another person will read the same passages in a modern language or amplified version for more clarity such as the New Living Translation (NLT), Message Bible (MSG), New English Translation (NET), Amplified Bible (AMP), etc. We recommend using the YouVersion Bible app.

Retell

  1. One person will begin retelling the scripture passage in their own words (a new person to start each week is great!) Then…
  2. As a group, work together to fill in gaps and build the story. This will help us internalize and own it. Be sure everyone participates.

Discuss

Together, share around the group how the topic and scripture setting applies to your life personally. Here are some thoughts to consider for discussion… don’t let the discussion stop here, though… what questions can you ask that will help uncover God’s message?

The Approach – Verses 1-2

  • What was Nicodemus’ title, and what did it mean?
  • What knowledge of the Scripture did he have?
  • In his position, what might his comfort level have been of his own salvation and acceptance by God?
  • What part of the day did Nicodemus come to Jesus?
    • List some of the possible reasons for coming at this time.
  • Did he approach Jesus boldly or timidly? What does this say about his character?
  • How was Nicodemus’ approach to Jesus different than other Pharisees of his day?
  • Did he have faith in Jesus at this point as the Messiah?
  • What was his reason for coming to Jesus?
  • What first attracted Nicodemus to Jesus?
  • What usually attracts people to Jesus in our day?
  • What title did he give to Jesus, and why?
  • When he said, “We know that you are…” who did he mean by “we”?
    • Why would he say “we know” instead of “I know”?
    • Would his statement about who Jesus was be shared among his peers?
  • How did Nicodemus know that Jesus had come from God?

The Redirect – Verse 3

  • What did Jesus say to Nicodemus in response to his approach?
  • What does “verily verily” mean, and why did Jesus include this?
  • Was Jesus answering the words of Nicodemus, or his thoughts?
  • What was Jesus’ purpose in redirecting the conversation to the Kingdom of God?
  • Did Nicodemus come desiring to know about the Kingdom of God?
  • Jesus said it was impossible to see the kingdom of God without what?

The Engagement – Verse 4

  • Why didn’t Jesus’ statement make sense to Nicodemus?
  • Was he interested in learning more about the Kingdom?
  • In what ways does Jesus redirect our conversations to lead us to truth?
  • As a Pharisee, how might it have felt to not have the answers now?
  • In what ways does recognizing our lack of knowledge help us in our relationship with God?
  • In asking Jesus for information, how was Nicodemus’ role as an authority changing?

The Plan – Verses 5-8

  • First Jesus said someone can’t “see” the kingdom of God without being born again. What does he say is impossible next?
  • Jesus further explained what “born again” meant. Why didn’t he give him the explanation first?
  • There are two baptisms that make up one biblical experience of being born again. Describe what they are, and what they mean.
  • According to Jesus’ statement, is it possible to enter heaven without being baptized and receiving His Spirit?
  • Why did Jesus make a distinction between being born of the flesh, and being born of the Spirit?
  • Jesus said, “you shouldn’t be surprized”, or “marvel not”. What are some other things Jesus says that surprise or challenge us?
  • What did Jesus mean when comparing the mystery of the blowing wind to the mystery of being born again?

The Revelation – Verses 9-10

  • What was Nicodemus’ response to Jesus explanation about his salvation?
  • Why was it difficult for him to understand Jesus’ spiritual explanation?
  • Explain the difficulty of the carnal mind to understand spiritual things.
  • Share an example of when you struggled to understand a spiritual concept. What helps to bring clarity for you?
  • In what ways do we “believe” in the supernatural, but struggle to accept or understand it?
  • Jesus called Nicodemus “Israel’s teacher”. What did this imply about his role among the people?
  • What challenges might intellectuals or deep thinkers have in accepting Jesus’ truths? Can you think of modern examples?
  • Was Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus profitable? What were the results?
  • How patient is Jesus with people who approach him with curiosity?
  • Did your experience of surrendering to Jesus require his patience? Explain.

Next Week…

Next week is your group’s celebration meeting, thanking God for another incredible semester. Feel free to study any scripture you’d like and share with your group.