Living as Suffering People

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In this week’s sermon, the Resident Alien series was continued by Corey Garris, who spoke about the topic of engaging suffering in a world that avoids it at all cost. Corey reminded us that Jesus is our greatest example of how to live well and honor God in all aspects of our lives, but especially in the case of suffering. Jesus was our model for how to engage suffering and to that model, Christians are called to follow. So how did Jesus suffer here on Earth? He served us, by carrying our sorrow and pain. He surrendered his life when he willingly gave up his spirit on the cross, and he submitted his life, knowing that it was what the Father had called him to do, and that ultimately the Father would take care of the Son. Corey finally reminded us that not only is Jesus our model but he is our savior. Jesus takes our sin and replaces it with his righteousness. He leads us through our suffering, never leaving us alone.

In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.


These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

•Have you ever been changed or inspired by the way someone you know endured through a season of suffering? What about it had an impact on you?

•Think of a time when you’ve endured through a season of suffering. Has God redeemed that season in a positive way? How has that season changed you? Have you been able to offer insight into other peoples suffering because of the suffering that you yourself have faced?


John 12: 23-36:

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Those who walk in the dark do not know where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

•V. 23 What was the time that Jesus was referring to?

•V. 24 What is Jesus trying to say with this metaphor? What do the wheat and the seeds represent?

•Jesus is our model for suffering. So, what does it look like practically for us to die the way Jesus did? Think back to Corey’s sermon. How was Jesus a model of suffering throughout his whole life (He served, He surrendered, He submitted)? How can we engage suffering in our lives? Can you think of some examples in your life when you have engaged suffering and really tried to honor God throughout the process? Share that with the group.

•V. 25 What will happen to those who love their lives and those who hate their lives in this world? What does Jesus mean when he says “hate your life in this world?” What is it like to live a life that is focused on the present? What is it like to live a life focused on things that are eternal? What is God promising here in this verse?

•V. 26 By serving Jesus, we must follow Him and when we follow Jesus, He will lead us into times of suffering. But from this verse, what does Jesus promise? Where will He be in our suffering? What will God do?

•Have you ever felt like you were honored by God? What an amazing feeling! Please share the circumstances of your experience.

•V. 27-28 What choices does Jesus say he has as he faces the cross? What is Jesus’ ultimate purpose? How does this effect how he endures through suffering? What is our ultimate purpose as Christians? How does knowing your purpose affect how you engage suffering? How do your seasons of suffering ultimately bring glory to God? How does our willingness to engage suffering and how we choose to engage it not only honor God but make a difference in the lives of those around us? Do you have any examples of others being affected in a positive way by the way you endured in troubling times?

•V. 32 What does Jesus say will happen when he is lifted up? How has knowing what Christ has done draw you closer to him?

•Such a critical peace of the Christian faith is remembering what Christ did for us. By remembering, we are drawn closer to Jesus in a very intimate way, in the way God intended. How are you and those in your group doing with this? Do you regularly reflect on the saving work of Christ and does it change you? Do you feel that you are increasingly being drawn closer to Him regardless of circumstances?

•V. 35-36 In Corey’s sermon, he emphasized that not only do we need Jesus as a model but we need him as a savior. How does that effect how you interpret these last two versus? What happens when we put our trust in the light? What happens when we don’t?


Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.

•As a group, take some time to meditate in silence about God and His provision in each of your lives.

1.What are the seeds that God wants to produce in you? Which parts of you need to die in order to “produce many seeds?” Please take time to share with one another and pray for each other.

2.Is anyone in your group going through a time of real suffering? Please pray for them and encourage them.

3.Versus’ 27 and 28 are extremely powerful versus in regards to how we should view our suffering. Take a moment to meditate with these versus and ask God to minister to you. Challenge your group to commit these versus to memory this week in order to bring them to mind whenever they fear suffering for Christ’s sake.