Failure and a Necessary Grace

Failure is never fun. I remember as a kid when all my friends were jumping off the high dive at the community pool. It looked like so much fun, and I naturally assumed I would be able to do that with no trouble – however, upon arriving at the top of a ladder climb that felt like it took me through two atmospheric layers, I looked down at the postage stamp sized swimming pool below me…and I choked. I had to do the most shameful thing of all, I had to climb back down the ladder awash in contemptuous looks and laughter. Nobody wants to fail.

We will read, this Sunday, about Jesus’ disciples experience with failure as we continue our study in Luke. We’ll be reading ch 9:27-45.

While Jesus and three of his disciples were on the mountain reveling in the glory of God – the other nine were sweating bullets as they failed miserably to help a young man out who was oppressed by evil. As we think about it – human failure is a regular part of the biblical narrative. In fact, it’s part of what lends it a sense of authenticity – because if I were making up stories about God, I’d paint humans in the best light possible. The Bible, however, does not.

As you read about the experience in the valley, what do you think the 9 disciples were feeling? What are some ways in which you personally, or the church as a whole has failed to properly represent Christ’s power?

What did Jesus do about the situation? What might that tell us about how much our failure impacts God’s efficacy?

The section ends with Jesus again forecasting his capture (and implied death). What connection does the cross have with failure, and what might it remind us about what God can do with apparent failure?

I hope you can join us this Sunday as we explore this fascinating section!

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