Entourage Discussion Guide - Week 4

CoreGroup Guide | Entourage - Week Four

Written by Parker Patton and Dan Hutti

Welcome to week 4 of our Entourage series, where we take a deeper look at the people surrounding Jesus during the last weeks leading up to his crucifixion. This week, we are focusing on Peter and the unexpected ways God works in our lives.

Opening Prayer
Hey God, thank you for the opportunity to come together and focus on your presence in our lives today. As we discuss your friend Peter, stir our hearts and minds and keep us alert to whatever you may have for us, no matter how unexpected it may be. Bless this discussion and make your presence known to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Ice Breaker
This week we are talking about the unexpected. The old saying comes to mind: “Never judge a book by its cover.” What are some times when something like a book, movie, or TV show turned out to be much different than you originally expected?

The Head
Peter is probably one of the most well-known disciples. Originally called Simon, Jesus gave him the name Peter (which means “rock”) and told him that the early church would be built on him. Most famously, he was the disciple who walked on water with Jesus… until he got nervous and started to sink. He was also the one who denied knowing Jesus three times, and then told Jesus he loved him three times after the resurrection.

In Peter, we find an outspoken and oftentimes contradictory character, struggling to figure out exactly what Jesus was doing and why. This scene from Matthew reflects Peter’s confusion – he correctly identifies Jesus as the Messiah but then begins “scolding” Jesus a minute later, trying to tell him there’s no way he could ever be arrested and killed:

Matthew 16:13-16 (CEB)
13 Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

15 He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Let’s pause to reflect on the first part of this scene:

  • How would you describe Peter in these verses?
  • Why do you think Jesus first asked the disciples what other people were saying about his identity before he asked them what they thought?
  • How would you answer Jesus’ question? Who do people say that Jesus is today? And who do you say he is?

Continuing on with Matthew 16:21-23 (CEB)

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and legal experts, and that he had to be killed and raised on the third day. 22 Then Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him: “God forbid, Lord! This won’t happen to you.” 23 But he turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.”

  • How would you describe Peter in the second part of this scene?
  • What do you think Peter’s motivation was in scolding Jesus like this?
  • Why do you think Jesus’ reply to Peter was so stern?
  • Do you think it is possible for us to think God’s thoughts instead of human thoughts? How do we know the difference?

The Heart
In the gospels, it’s clear that Peter along with the other disciples were confused about Jesus’ mission. At that time, many believed the Messiah would be a mighty warrior of great renown, coming to earth to conquer unjust rulers and establish God’s law across the land. It doesn’t take long to realize that Jesus was definitely not what anyone had in mind as the Messiah. How does this scene with Peter challenge us to reflect on our own understanding of who Jesus is and what it means to trust in him?
  • As one of the most talked about figures in history, there are endless misconceptions of Jesus. How has your idea of who Jesus is changed and evolved over time? 
  • What are some misconceptions you previously had, or maybe heard from others, about Jesus?
  • Have you ever experienced God's presence in a way that surprised you or challenged your expectations? If so, how did you respond?
  • Describe a situation in your life when you had trouble trusting in God because things weren’t working out the way you might have expected or desired. If you feel comfortable sharing, how did you handle that situation, and what was the outcome?
  • How can we cultivate a mindset that is open to whatever God may want to do in our lives, regardless of what we expect?

The Hands
As humans with limited understanding, our prayers can sometimes focus more on the specifics than on the bigger picture. For example, we will pray “please let me get a job offer from that one awesome company” instead of “please guide me towards whatever path you would have me take in my career.” This week as you talk to God, think about the expectations you might have about the results of your prayers:

  • Try taking your prayers and reframing them. What would happen if God didn’t answer this prayer in the way you are hoping? What would happen if God didn’t answer this prayer at all?
  • Try to pray in a way that acknowledges the bigger picture and the mystery of God. Ask God to help you stay open-minded to the ways God wants to move in your life, even if they don’t line up with what you would prefer to happen.

Closing Prayer
Dear God, thank you again for this time together today. Help us to be open to whatever you are doing in our lives, even if it’s not what we might expect. We want to know you more, God – and at the same time, we want to be able to sit comfortably in your holy mystery without fear or anxiety for what the future might bring. Draw close to us during the last weeks of this Lenten season and show us what it looks like to trust and follow you with an open mind and a willing heart. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

From Pastor Charity

  • Groups are encouraged to attend Holy Week services together in lieu of CoreGroup. Go to gatheringnow.org/easter for the schedule. 

  • If you’re interested in learning more about Mary Magdalene - our final part in the Entourage Series - there is a paid course you might consider from the Center of Action and Contemplation. More information and registration can be found HERE. If you participate, please let me know. I’d love to know your thoughts!

  • One CoreGroup One Day with the theme of Made for More Belonging happens Tuesday April 16. All CoreGroup members, leaders, and coaches are encouraged to attend. Sign up HERE.

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