Grace Community Church

Jesus’ Inclusion of the Excluded – Part 2

Given on July 3, 2022 by Brett Helvie
Scripture: Matthew 8:5-13

People who view themselves as “good” people often have a tendency to feel superior to those who are outside their group. Are there any people or groups of people that you tend to look down on spiritually? How do you think Jesus’ astounding praise of this pagan centurion would have sounded to the “good” Jews that were listening?
How has facing obstacles that you realize you cannot overcome or control impacted your relationship with Jesus? What do you think of C.S. Lewis aphorism, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
What do you think it was about this centurion’s faith that so amazed Jesus? How would you respond if someone asked you to describe the kind of faith that pleases Jesus? What elements are essential in authentic faith?
Jesus excludes those “sons of the kingdom” who believed their place with God was assured because of their ethnic heritage – assigning them to “outer darkness”! What are some things that people today count on to provide them acceptance with God? What does this story and the Gospel tell us about what gives us a place at the table in the kingdom of heaven?