What kinds of suffering have you experienced (or have you been going through lately)?
How do you respond to suffering? What are the emotions and/or thoughts that go through you?
Which beliefs guide your actions as you navigate through suffering?
Summarize what’s happening in these nine verses: Who’s there? Where are they? What’s occurring?
Who are the authoritative figures depicted in this passage? (Hint: see verses 1 and 5).
What does Jesus mean when he says that Paul is persecuting Jesus? (See Acts 7:58; 8:1–3; Col 1:18)
If Jesus sees the church as his Body, what does it mean to him when we suffer? What does it say about him in relation to our suffering?
In the passage, which authority has ultimate power and rule? What does it mean that Jesus is addressed as “Lord”? And what does that say about us, the church?
Recall key points from Pastor Steve’s sermon: that (a) Jesus suffers with us and (b) Jesus reigns victorious, so (c) we can trust both his presence and purposes in the suffering he allows.
How does Jesus’ suffering with us and His present victory encourage you? And how does that shape the way you understand and interpret your suffering?
In which ways do you think Jesus is present in your life in the midst of suffering? Do you believe there’s a purpose to your suffering?
Was there a time when you didn’t trust Jesus and his purposes in suffering? What did that look and feel like, and how did you react to your challenges? What would your approach to suffering look like if you could trust Jesus?
If we draw our attention to Christians in the Middle East and China, we know persecution is an ongoing reality. Once converted, they face persecution from their family members and the government. What are steps we can take to intercede for our brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith?
Who can you encourage by reminding them of Jesus’ presence and purposes in their suffering?
Let’s give thanks and praise to Jesus, who suffered, suffers with us still, and reigns victorious.
Let’s pray for each other’s lives, that we would trust in his presence and purposes in the suffering he allows.