House Group Questions on John 18:1-27

De verloochening door Petrus

(As always, please just choose the questions which seem right for your group.)

We were reflecting in the sermon on Peter’s denial of Jesus, after he had been so vehement that he would never let Jesus down. Try to describe what was going on in his mind which led to this betrayal. Why do you think he did not realise what was happening after his first denial?  (See the final question – you may want to bring it in at this point – but don’t spend too long on it!)

Members of the group might wish to discuss times when they have ‘denied Jesus’ or denied their core convictions.  These may have been specific occasions, or periods of time in someone’s life when their words and lifestyle were a denial of their faith. What led to these denials? How did they leave you feeling?

‘It is always oneself that the coward abandons first. After this all other betrayals come easily.’ (Cormac McCarthy)  To what extent do you agree with this?

To turn the question on its head, has anyone in the group, at any point in their lives, pretended among certain people to have a faith when in reality they had none? Why might someone do this?

Why was Jesus able to stand firm in the face of interrogation, despite knowing what lay ahead? Do you think that he had resources which are not available to us as his followers?

Peter sliced off Machus’ ear (v 10)  (which Jesus subsequently healed as Luke’s gospel (22:51) tellls us.) Are there inappropriate ways of standing up for Jesus in our situation? Can we distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate ways of standing for Jesus?

Earlier, you discussed times of personal failure as a Christian and how they left you feeling. Now you may wish to share what happened. Did you experience a ‘coming back’ to God? If so, how did that come about?

What would you say to someone who said ‘I have let God down so badly, and I can’t forgive myself. Can I ever experience the kind of reconciliation with Jesus which Peter had?’

How can a church best support people whose attraction to other communities symbolised by the group round the ‘fire’ which Peter joined threaten their integrity?  Where today does Jesus kindle welcoming fires?

Duncan emphasised that Jesus looks not at our failures, but at our futures.  Describe the difference between someone who lives life as a Christian defining themselves as a failure, and someone who knows themselves to be forgiven and secure in Jesus, and faces new challenges positively?  How can we move from focus on our failure to focus on the future we were made for?

Jesus, Duncan said, had ‘confidence’ in his disciples. How will it change our lives if we truly believe that Jesus has confidence in us?

Why did Jesus tell Peter that he would deny him?  Didn’t the knowledge that Jesus predicted this make his failure inevitable? Or could Peter have proved Jesus wrong?

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