What is the meaning of the parable of the barren fig tree? Why is bearing fruit so important?
A repeated theme throughout the gospels is the Pharisees placing their rules about the Sabbath over helping people in need. Why was this such a difficult concept for them to grasp?
Do we prefer the narrow or wide door when it comes to faith? How does your life demonstrate your answer to this question?
In what ways can we choose the “lower places” in our daily interaction with others, similar to Jesus’ story of the wedding feast?
What criteria might someone use to assume they deserved a higher place at the table of God’s banquet? How do Jesus’ words refocus our priorities and what should these new priorities be when it comes to choosing our place?
In what ways have churches cheapened the cost of discipleship? Why do you think this is the case? How can we correct this thinking?
How important are lost things, especially in a disposable society like ours?
When you compare these three “lost things” stories, what stands out as unique or different in each one? How does these differences help you understand the point of this chapter better?
Which character do you most resonate with in the parable of the lost son and why?
Do you agree that you cannot serve two masters—God and money? How have you seen Jesus’ statement to be true in your life?
What things does the world exalt that can be considered an “abomination before God?” How can we be sure we are not holding these things valuable in our own lives and the life of the church?
What does the story about the rich man and Lazarus teach us about our love of money?
What strategies can you use to prevent leading others into sin?
Why is it so difficult for us to imagine forgiving someone more than once or twice, much less seven times or more? What ideas or values must be changed in order for us to be able to do this?
How can you be sure to express your thanksgiving for God’s healing today?