Entourage Discussion Guide - Week 3

CoreGroup Guide | Entourage - Week Three
Written by Dan Hutti and Parker Patton


This week’s discussion guide continues to focus on Jesus’ entourage. We first discussed the sisters, Mary and Martha, then Judas, and now Simon of Cyrene and Joseph of Arimathea. The biblical descriptions of these two people are limited, but we can still learn from them and their sacrifices for Jesus. Let’s get started. 

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, we are meeting today to discuss your word, the people around you, and their sacrifices for you. Please open our minds and our hearts so that we can learn from these two people and better serve you. Please be with us and guide our conversation with openness and respect for one another. It’s in your name we pray. Amen. 

Ice Breaker

One of the characters we will discuss this week actually has a role in the legend of the Holy Grail. According to the legend, Joseph of Arimathea was present at the last supper, and he obtained the cup that Jesus shared with his disciples—the Holy Grail. The legend tells us that Joseph brought the Holy Grail to England, where it eventually landed in the hands of King Arthur…
There is a famous quote in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana encounters a knight who has guarded the Holy Grail for hundreds of years. The Holy Grail sits among many other cups, and the knight tells Indiana that “he must choose, but choose wisely.” 
Are you familiar with this quote? What is one of your favorite movie quotes? Why do you like it?

The Head
Now, let’s dig into the biblical accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Simon of Cyrene. 
The Bible tells us little of Simon of Cyrene. The book of Mark tells us he was a father. He was from Cyrene, an ancient city located in modern day Libya, and it’s possible that he was traveling to Jerusalem for Passover. In the following passage, Jesus has just been handed over to be crucified. He is carrying his cross and beginning to struggle. Roman soldiers, who were escorting Jesus, found Simon and ordered him to help. Let’s take a look at the passage:
Simon from Cyrene—Matthew 27:32-34 CEB
32 As they were going out, they found Simon, a man from Cyrene. They forced him to carry his cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place, 34 they gave Jesus wine mixed with vinegar to drink. But after tasting it, he didn’t want to drink it.
This passage indicates that Simon helped Jesus carry the cross all the way to the place of his crucifixion. Simon was possibly even a witness to Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
  • How would you describe Simon’s sacrifice?
  • Imagine you are a traveler at the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. How would you feel about being unexpectedly forced to carry Jesus’ cross?
  • Why do you think none of the disciples offered to carry Jesus’ cross?
The next character we will focus on is Joseph of Arimathea. Like Simon, Joseph is not extensively described in the Bible itself. He appears in the same story and setting in each of the four gospels, but each version offers us clues about who he was. Let’s take a look at one of those depictions:
Joseph of Arimathea—Matthew 27:57-60 CEB
57 That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. 58 He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away.
In another version of this story, Joseph is described as being on a council, alluding to the Jewish council that ultimately condemned Jesus and sent him to Pilate. Joseph did not agree with the council’s decision to condemn Jesus, and it’s likely that Joseph hid his discipleship with Jesus—consequently he is sometimes called a “secret disciple.”
  • How would you describe Joseph’s sacrifice?
  • What risks did Joseph take by asking Pilate for the body of Jesus?
  • Verse 60 indicates that Jesus was laid in Joseph’s own tomb. What else do you notice about the preparations made for Jesus’ body? Why does this matter?
Now, let’s discuss both passages together. 
  • What types of sacrifices are Simon and Joseph offering?
  • How do their sacrifices compare to one another? How are they alike? How are they different?
  • Both men sacrifice something so that Jesus can make a sacrifice as well. How would you describe Jesus’ sacrifice?

The Heart

The sacrifices of Simon and Joseph may seem distant and irrelevant to us today. But through this discussion we may find ways to connect. 
  • In what ways do you see yourself in Simon and/or Joseph? 
  • How would you have reacted if you were in their situation? 
Both passages are connected to Jesus near the time of his death. For some of us, the death of Jesus is a big part of our relationship with Jesus. For others, Jesus at the peak of his life and ministry plays a more important part. 
  • What about you? What role does His death play in your relationship with Jesus?
Sacrifice is a key theme in these two passages, and it’s an important part of the Lenten season. 
  • What does sacrifice mean to you? Describe this concept in your own words.
  • Are you sacrificing anything for Lent this year? Please share with the group. 
  • Why are you sacrificing? For tradition? For the sake of your relationship with Jesus? For some other reason?

The Hands
This week, we talked about the sacrifices of Simon and Joseph for the sake of Jesus. Reflect on your own sacrifices. 
  • Consider the sacrifices of our two characters this week. What can you take away from their sacrifices and apply to your own life?
  • Challenge yourself this week to make a sacrifice in the context of your relationship with Jesus. 

Closing Prayer

God, thank you for this time together to discuss and learn from the sacrifices of others. You provided the ultimate sacrifice for us and we are so grateful for it. Please be with us this week as we seek to deepen our relationship with you and with others. It’s in your name we pray. Amen. 

CoreGroup Next Steps
Pack it and Tat it!
CoreGroups is one of the largest ministries at church. So many people participate but we’ve never really been in the same place at the same time. Let’s change that. I think we need to SEE the impact of hundreds of folks in CoreGroups. One CoreGroup One Day will take place Tuesday, April 16th at McCausland from 6 to 8 p.m. It’s a party, worship, fun, and a little bit of information sharing.  The entire week will be CoreGroup Spirit week and I can’t wait to roll out that for you. For now, share this event with your CoreGroup and encourage them to attend and participate in Spirit Week.  
 Register here.

If we pack McCausland with 500+ people I’m going to get my first tattoo, which I keep putting off, but really want to do. Let’s go! - Pastor Charity

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