Who Is Jesus: Week 2 Discussion Guide

Who is Jesus? Week Two:  Jesus is the Light of the World
Contributing Writers: Dan Hutti, Rebekah Backowski with Praxis questions from Kelley Webber

Opening prayer

Jesus, we long to know you!  We are grateful to be here in your presence to learn more about your love for us and your promises for our lives.  Thank you for blessing this group’s time together.  May you stir inside each of our hearts and minds as we share, learn, laugh, love, and pray.  In your holy precious name, Amen.

Ice breaker

Turn off all the lights in your meeting place.  Discuss darkness.  How do you feel when you are in the dark?  Are you afraid, anxious, or content?  In your mind, what kinds of behaviors and attitudes love the darkness?
Take turns turning on your phone flashlight (or lighting a candle if you’re feeling old-school)
What happened as each of our lights added a bit more brightness to the room? What does this simple exercise illustrate? How would you like to be the light in the darkness (i.e. in your workplace, within a group of people, in your family, your neighborhood, or a foreign country)?” Maybe these desires are a reality for you today or maybe they’re dreams…or even just hypothetical!

virtual/public space alternative: As a group set a timer for 60-90 seconds. During this time close your eyes or limit visual distraction; visualize the darkest part of the night. Think about what you see, hear, and feel. Now imagine the sun slowly rising into the sky. When the time is up answer: How would you like to be the light in the darkness (i.e. in your workplace, within a group of people, in your family, your neighborhood, or a foreign country)?” Maybe these desires are a reality for you today or maybe they’re dreams…or even just hypothetical!

Circle back

Last week we were encouraged to say a prayer each time we encountered food.  Discuss how this went for you.  Did you remember to do it?  How was it different when you were alone versus with others?  Within your prayers of thanksgiving before eating, which of Matt’s 3 sermon points resonated the most for you and/or in your daily life?
·      His sustenance (Jesus gives us what we need every day)
·      His help/guidance (Jesus fills us up permanently)
·      Our appreciation for something He has provided for us (Jesus wants us to have a better life now and eternally)
 John 8: 12-18 - Jesus continues to teach in the temple.
12 Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
13 Then the Pharisees said to him, “Because you are testifying about yourself, your testimony isn’t valid.”
14 Jesus replied, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, since I know where I came from and where I’m going. You don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. 15 You judge according to human standards, but I judge no one. 16 Even if I do judge, my judgment is truthful, because I’m not alone. My judgments come from me and from the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the witness of two people is true. 18 I am one witness concerning myself, and the Father who sent me is the other.”


Our sermon series is exploring who Jesus is, with this week’s scripture from John focusing on Him as the LIGHT.   There is hardly anything more fundamental than light (Genesis 1:1 “…let there be light!”). -Light is essential for life (plants, health, etc.)-Light illuminates-Light reveals

  1. Brainstorm the impact of light in your life from the most basic to the more complex ways

  1. What is your favorite life-giving characteristic of light? (favorite plant/flower, favorite thing to do in the sun, favorite season of light)

  1. What are sources of darkness in your life?

  1. Discuss some ‘darknesses’ of this world with your group. If you feel comfortable, share any that you have experienced personally. 

  1. What are sources of light in your life? 

  1. Share ways in which Jesus stepped into your darkness to help shed light on your shadows and ease your pain and/or fear.

  1. What is Jesus revealing to you lately?


Marshall Segal of DesiringGod.Org writes, “One reason the darkness around us is so terrifying is that we see so much of ourselves in it – our weaknesses, our fears, our brokenness, our sin.  For many of us, no darkness is more intimidating than our own.”  Discuss how your group thinks and/or feels about this quote.  
  1. What impact can honesty and vulnerability have on loving ourselves and each other in this sinful world?

  1. When we put our faith in Christ, God allows LIGHT to snuff out the darkness and flood into our hearts.  Did you know that darkness trembles at the sound of Jesus’ name?  Can you think of a troubling time when you declare Jesus’ name (maybe when feeling fear, shame, insecurity, or desperation for healing)?  Was it for you or on behalf of someone else? How did you feel after proclaiming this power and turning it over to Him?

Jesus calls US to be the light of the world.  What makes US shine?  Can those around you see your heart and/or your actions shining from His love?

This week, try to think of some little ways (or maybe one big way!) you can let your light shine to those around you. Ideas include smiling, being there for a friend, giving genuine compliments, being friendly/making better eye contact, using your passions to help/inspire others, giving to charity….or maybe just putting yourself out there!

Also, it’s not too late to check out the Gathering’s daily Lenten Devotional. It’s written by a handful of people in the congregation who are wrestling with the same things we are each day. To sign up, simply click on this link to sign up. The daily devotion will arrive in your email inbox each morning during Lent. Although Lent is often considered a time for individual reflection, preparation, and prayer, your CoreGroup is also a great place to share your thoughts on the devotion each day. Over the next six weeks, check in with each other about the ways God is working in your heart during this season.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, we thank you for this discussion, for this group, for our church, and for sending us Jesus, the light of the world.  We confess His calling for us to reflect His light in our daily lives. Help us to shine into the shadows and illuminate His hope.  Prepare our hearts to feel compassion and show love for others.  Prompt our hands and mouths to act in ways which reflect your Son’s most loving light.  It is in Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.

Praxis Questions - Week 2 John:  Jesus is the Light of the World

If we know one verse from John it is most likely John 3:16.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.”  Sometimes, however, we just stop there, and if we stop there we might be tempted to exclude a whole lot of people from God’s love.  The next verse, John 3:17 says, “God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

Jesus came to save not to judge.  What does that teach us about who God is?

In Karoline M. Lewis’ book, Belonging: 5 Keys to Unlock Your Potential as a Disciple, Lewis looks at the 4th chapter of John to teach us what it means to be a disciple.  The first of the five steps to unlocking discipleship is Discomfort. How does Jesus teach us this?  Right after chapter 3 when Jesus tells Nicodemus God loves the world, Jesus takes his disciples to see the whole of the world. “God truly does love the whole entire world, all of creation, and so in the very next chapter, Jesus takes his disciples through Samaria to show them what the world looks like and who the world is.” (Lewis, 23).  It is here in Samaria that Jesus meets the woman at the well.

“One of the themes of John is the recognition that Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, which gets played out in the metaphor of light and darkness.” (Lewis, 25) We learn in John 4:6 that “it was about noon” when Jesus meets the woman at the well.  (It is significant that Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. To go deeper here, look up “well stories” to see the significance of well betrothal scenes in the Hebrew scriptures.)  It is also significant that it was at noon, when the sun is at its highest.  

Why do you think it was important that Jesus meet the Samaritan woman in the bright light of day?  What might be revealed to the disciples about their own discomfort with “God loving the World” as they watch Jesus and the Samaritan woman?

When we talk about implicit bias, we’re talking about biases that are so hidden even we don’t know about them, but they come out into the light in destructive ways.  

Lewis asks us to reflect on the things that might be hidden and hard for us to admit even to ourselves.  “If you imagine that light reveals things, what are you afraid might be uncovered about you and your faith?  What are you afraid others will see?  What don’t you want Jesus to see?”  

Where is God calling you to step into the light and be a little  uncomfortable?

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