Life In Christ
The Point: Jesus’ identity is foundational to who I am.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to supplement Question #1.
Begin by sharing the following news story:
The comedian Don Rickles died on April 6 at the age of 90. He was often described as an insult comic. As a comedian, Rickles didn’t really tell jokes with punchlines; rather he ridiculed his audience, poking fun and insulting members of the audience, often calling them “hockey pucks.” Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show who often invited Rickles to appear on his show, called him “Mr. Warmth.” Rickles responded saying, “It’s sarcastic, but it’s true.”
Say: For the caustic comedian Don Rickles, “Mr. Warmth,” was a sarcastic label that stuck.
Then read Question #1 (What’s a word or phrase that often comes up when people describe you?)(PSG p. 94) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible
Use this optional activity at the end of the Luke 24:36-40 section after your discussion of Question 5, “What makes the resurrection so important for believers today?”
Social media has changed the way individuals meet one another. Prior to social media sites (such as Facebook), employers first learned of applicants through a phone call or resume; potential couples were introduced through friends; roommates met the day they moved into their dormitories. Today, more than half of the world’s population has an on-line, social media presence. Now, employers, potential dates, and classmates can know a great deal about someone long before they shake hands. As people have become more adept in utilizing social media for their own ends, the art of crafting a profile/personality online has become socially essential. One’s social media accounts, in many cases, have become the way to sell the world on the best identity you can possibly create, leading many to obsessively monitor their accounts for followers or spends hours creating flawless photos, bylines, and tweets. This pursuit of a perfect identity has left many utterly empty.
Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, reports that the pressure to maintain what’s best understood as the social media or “alternate” self (a digital extension of the real person) is crushing teenage girls.
“I spoke to girls who said, ‘social media is destroying our lives,’ ” Sales says. “ ‘But we can’t go off it, because then we’d have no life.’ There’s this whole perception that [teenage girls] love social media, but in many ways they hate it. But they don’t stop…”
The idea that countless people of every demographic are defining their identities on social media activity is disturbing. Ask learners to privately fill in the following two blanks and answer the following questions:
Ideas I Promote In My Social Media Identity:
Truths I Conceal In My Social Media Identity:
Do I place an unhealthy amount of weight on my social media identity/presence? How can my knowledge of and love for Christ transform my online identity?
Invite volunteers to share their responses to the last question. Emphasize that Jesus’ resurrection establishes His identity as our Savior. Because of this merciful act, our identity as Christ-followers is possible.
Emily Jennings (M.A., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) lives in the metro-Atlanta area and teaches the Bible at First Baptist Church Woodstock. She is married to Brian, has three wonderful sons and pretends to be a runner. Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @emilyejenn
- When you were a kid, what were you most excited to be when you grew up?
- If you were going to introduce somebody in a speech, what would you want to know about them?
- Who or what did you identify with when you were a teenager?
- If you were to create an entirely new identity for yourself, who would you be?
- What are the first things you mention about yourself when you meet new people?
- What is your favorite word that someone else has used to describe you?
- Why was Jesus’ question (“who do you say that I am?”) a challenge to His disciples?
- If someone were to ask you who Jesus is, what would you say to them?
- Why is Jesus’ true identity so important to us as believers?
- How would you have responded to Jesus’ question?
- Why do so many people speak admiringly of Jesus while still denying that He’s God?
- Why is it important to know that Peter didn’t come up with this information on his own?
- How can our behaviors present a skewed image of Jesus to the world?
- Why would the disciples be disappointed in Jesus’ true aims?
- When in your life have you found it easier to hope for practical changes rather than spiritual change?
- What evidence solidifies your testimony as a Christian?
- What are some ways we misunderstand Jesus today?
- When have you felt confused about what God wanted you to do?
- How does understanding Jesus’ death and resurrection fit into understanding His identity?
- What is a wish or desire you’ve had to say “no” to, in order to follow Christ?
- What does it mean to “take up your cross daily”?
- How is Jesus’ definition of happiness different from the world’s?
- What does it mean to deny ourselves? To take up Jesus’ cross?
- What would it look like – in words and actions – to be ashamed of Jesus?
- How can Luke 9:23 and John 10:10 both be true? How can we carry a cross and experience a full life?
- Why do we often believe that following Jesus will be easy?
- Can you think of a time when you felt like you had lost something valuable to you but it turned out to be a blessing?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Identity, Session 1