The Adult Sabbath School Class

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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

With Jesus in the family . . .

The family that prays together, stays together.

Sometimes.

But sometimes, following Jesus means leaving your family behind.

And that’s one of the dirty little secrets that your Sabbath School lesson doesn’t talk about this week – the fact that religion can bring families together, but it can also split them apart.

Back in Roman times, after all, one of charges laid against Christians was the way they subverted “traditional family values.” Christianity undermined the authority of parents, people said. Christianity weakened the ties of marriage, people said. Christianity encouraged children to revolt, women to think for themselves, and men to lose all sense of honor, dignity, and even patriotism.

In short, Jesus would never have been invited to speak on Focus on the Family – not back then.

And sometimes, maybe not even today.

Disagree? Then check out these texts – and see what your class makes of them.

Matthew 8:21-22
In asking leave to “bury his father,” this would-be disciple may have been saying that he would follow Jesus just as soon as his elderly father no longer needed care – something that could take years! What would be a similar statement today? What did Jesus mean when he said we should “let the dead bury the dead”? How do you balance the needs of aging parents with the demands of following God? How would you know if Jesus called you to do something similar today?

Matthew 10:34-39
What kind of conflict did Jesus promise? Why is that – and whose fault is it? How do verses 37-39 amplify and explain verses 34-36? Why is Jesus so harsh in these verses? Is he right – or does Jesus ask too much from us?

Matthew 12:46-50
Mark 3 brings out the fact that Jesus’ family was there to take him home because they thought he was crazy! What are some of the ways you’ve seen families “get in the way” of following Jesus? What does Jesus promise in these verses? What does this promise mean today? Have you seen examples of this promise in your own life?

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