Will the REAL JESUS Please Stand Up? By Kris Key
Group Facilitators Overview
This Bible study is formatted to encourage participants to focus on the scriptures and encourage them to deepen their relationship with the Lord. Group facilitators do no need to be experts in the scriptures to be effective leaders. But. They must have a willing heart and commit to preparing for the group times. Below are some suggestions that will help facilitate your group study:
1. Remember to prepare ahead of time. Look up all scripture references. You may want to write them out.
2. Begin and end your group gathering on time.
3. Your first meeting should be an introduction to the study and getting to know all group participants. You may want to ask for volunteers to read aloud the introduction to Part One a few paragraphs at a time. Watch the video as a group if possible.
4. Each lesson should begin and close with prayer.
5. Create an environment where all participants feel safe to be able to share.
6. Encourage honest and open discussion as you work through the scriptures.
7. A possible suggestion for those sensitive questions would be to break your group up in twos or threes so participants will feel freer to share their personal experiences.
8. Make sure everyone has all the study materials needed before your next group gathering.
Between 1956-1968, CBS broadcasted an American television panel show called To Tell the Truth. It was one of five game shows to air at least a new episode in at least six consecutive decades. One of those five shows is still being aired today. Can you guess it? Jeopardy!
So as you read this you may feel nostalgic or you may feel intrigued because you have never heard of this before!
To Tell the Truth caught my attention because of the last question that was always asked for each episode. That question was, “Will the real (person’s name) please stand up?” The show features a panel of four celebrities who object is the correct identification of the one contestant who has an unusual occupation or experience. The contestants are comprised of two imposters who pretend to be the central character, along with the real contestant. The game usually begins by the three contestants introducing themselves all saying the same name of the central character. The announcer will ask each one, “What is your name, please?”
The celebrity panelists then question the three contestants for a given time period. The imposters are allowed to lie but the central character is sworn to “tell the truth.” After the questioning, the panel attempts to identify which of the three contestants it the “REAL Person.” Once each member of the panel places their decision on who they believe is the central character or the real person, the announcer or host asks, “Will the real (person’s name) please stand up?” The real person, the central character, then stands!
There was always such anticipation of who the “real person” was! Who was telling the truth and who had been lying the whole time? The challenge also was whether you could discern the right person yourself as you watched and listened.
How many times in our faith journeys are we confronted with knowing who the “Real Jesus” is? How often do you hear from more than one voice, and are unsure of the Real “I am,” the Real Jesus? In the midst of life, when decisions are before us, struggles are overwhelming, and you are unsure what direction to take, it would be great to just say, “Will the REAL JESUS please stand up!”
We will be looking at four different scripture passages to help us discover who Jesus is, how can we know for sure, and who we can stand up to when faced with lies or persecution and speak the TRUTH.
Who do “you” say Jesus really is?
The rumors must be rampant as Jesus and His disciples are making their journey through the region performing many miracles. Who wouldn’t be talking about the dead and blind being healed? In Mark 8:22-26 Jesus restores the sight of a blind man, he opens his eyes and he could see clearly. In Mark 7:31-37 Jesus opens the ears of a deaf man and enables him to speak clearly. People are overwhelmed and amazed and are talking about it. Jesus even feeds the large crowd that has gathered, with only seven loaves of bread. The disciples have witnessed these wonders. They have been among the people and have listened to what people are saying about who Jesus is. Jesus wants to know what his disciples have been hearing, what people have been saying about him, as they travel on to the village of Caeserea Philippi. This is a very pagan area where many worship pagan gods. (If you have a Bible atlas, locate the area Jesus and His disciples have journeyed.)
Jesus is right there with His disciples and He asks them, “Who do people say I am?”
Read Mark 8:27-30 at home and aloud as a group.
Are the disciples listening and following Jesus or what others say about Him?
What does Jesus want His disciples to understand?
For digging deeper: Matthew 16: 13 – 20 and Luke 9: 18-27
Even though they are telling Him what people are saying – that He is a prophet, they don’t see Jesus as the true God, the Messiah. Their eyes are not open spiritually, their ears are not fully open – even though He has been with them.
When am I listening more to the voices around me that distract me rather than the voice of God in my midst?
When have I let the common, everyday viewpoint blind me spiritually from the wonder and majesty of God’s perspective?
Jesus asks His disciples and He asks you and me… “Who do you say I am?” The moment of Truth where we all must answer this question!
It is not enough to know what others think – we must answer the question for ourselves. Here we witness Peter answering the questions when the other disciples are silent. Peter in his boldness declares Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One.
“Christ from Greek and “Messiah” from Hebrew both mean “Anointed One.”
In Psalm 2:2 David talks about the King who God would provide to sit on the throne forever. So Peter is saying the promised King and Deliverer. But Peter and all the disciples and others had a different king in mind. The King they had in mind would take over the Roman empire and give them a new kind of freedom from the bondage they felt from the empire.
Read Isaiah 50: 4-9 aloud. In this passage, we are challenged to stand up when faced with lies or persecution and speak the TRUTH, for God will defend you.
What is the promise in these scriptures and do you live your life like you believe it?
How do others around you know who Jesus is through you?
Read 1 Corinthians 16:13. How does this encourage you to stand up for the Real Jesus?
Read Again Mark 8:30 In this passage there is a sharp warning from Jesus to the disciples not to tell anyone what they know.
Probably because the disciples still did not fully understand the true “King” and “Kingdom” that Jesus represented. Their ideas of a Deliverer were incomplete. Jesus still had much to teach them.
How will I obey and trust God for the bigger picture even when I don’t completely understand what He is doing in my life?
How will you respond to what the Lord has revealed to you in His Word?
What changes need to happen in your life to stand up for Jesus?
Journal your responses and date it to hold yourself accountable. Close your time in prayer. Ask the Lord to direct your steps and give you the courage and boldness you need.