Introduction: We don’t normally think of Jesus as a “missionary,” but
He is the greatest missionary of all times. As we continue our series
of studies on great missionaries, let’s consider Jesus’ missionary
work with sinners and what we can learn from Him in our mission to
bring others into the Kingdom of God. Let’s dive into God’s word and
see what we can learn!

  1. The Word

    1. Read John 1:1&14. Who is this “Word?” (Jesus. We know that
      John is speaking about Jesus because he says that “the
      Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”)

      1. If Jesus is the Word, how can verse 1 say that He was
        “with God” and “was God?” Imagine saying that
        someone was “with Bill” and “was Bill.” Does this
        make any sense? (This is an early introduction to the
        concept of the Trinity – in which three are one. In
        that sense you can be “with” the “person” that you

      2. Why, of all things, would Jesus be called the “Word?”
        (Words communicate ideas. As the greatest missionary,
        Jesus came to communicate ideas to us about who He
        was and what He wanted from humans.)

    2. Read John 1:2. What point is John making about Jesus? How
      does this dispel the idea that Jesus is a created being
      like an angel? (When God existed, Jesus existed. God the
      Father could not have created Jesus the Son and still have
      this statement be true.)

    3. Read John 1:3. Who is the Creator of the world? (Jesus.)

      1. Is that important? If so, why? (It lends credibility
        to the gospel story. If Jesus created us, then it
        seems more logical that He would want to intervene
        into the affairs of humans to save us. If He created
        us, it seems more logical that He would love us

      2. Does the idea of Jesus as Creator give us another
        reason to call Him the “Word?” (Yes. Genesis 1 shows
        that God spoke the creation into existence. The
        “Word” captures that idea.)

    4. Read John 1:4. We have seen so far that Jesus constructed
      humans (and everything else), what is the relevance of
      telling us that “life” was in Jesus? (Jesus is not just an
      artist who can make things look pretty. Jesus is able to
      provide the spark that makes us alive!)

      1. Do you think that more is intended here than to say
        that Jesus provided the spark of life to humans at
        Creation? If so, what other meaning do you find?(The
        text says that Jesus’ life was “the light of men.”
        Read John 8:12. Light helps you see more clearly.
        Jesus gave humans a much better understanding of

      2. Read Hebrews 9:14. In what other way does Jesus give
        us life? (Jesus is not simply our Creator, but He is
        our “Re-Creator” by paying the penalty for our sins
        and giving us the opportunity to have eternal life.)

    5. Read John 1:5. What is the “darkness?” ( Ephesians 5:8
      suggests it means unsaved humanity.)

      1. What keeps “the darkness” from being dispelled by the
        light of Jesus?

      2. Would darkness have to “understand” light to be
        driven away?

      3. Read John 3:19-20. What does John suggest is the
        reason why light does not dispel darkness? (It does
        not want to be dispelled.)

        1. Surely some darkness wants to be dispelled. How
          did you and I come from darkness to light? (Some
          darkness is simply a matter of misunderstanding.
          If not, Jesus’ work would be in vain.)

        2. Consider a personal question: Is there some part
          of your life that you want to remain “dark?” If
          you have a part of your life that you do not
          want exposed, have you let Jesus fully into your

    6. Read John 1:10-11. Why has John spent so much time
      discussing light and darkness up to this point? (He wants
      to demonstrate that the refusal of God’s people to
      recognize or accept Jesus was a matter of willful

      1. What does this teach us about our missionary efforts?

    7. Read John 1:12-13. What is the result of the willful
      rejection of Jesus? (You lose out on becoming a child of
      God! You lose out on light and life.)

      1. How important a point is this to us in our missionary

  2. The Unpredictable Word?

    1. Read Luke 15:1-2. Why were the Pharisees unhappy about
      Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners?

      1. Who do you tend to eat with?

    2. Read Luke 15:3-6. What kind of attitude does this show
      that Jesus has towards sinners? (He pursues them. Think
      back to our lesson last week. Should our church services
      be geared towards the members or getting the “lost sheep”
      in the door?)

    3. Read Matthew 23:27-28. Why is Jesus running after the lost
      sheep and yelling at the lost Pharisees? One day Jesus
      likes sinners and another day He does not?

    4. Our series this quarter is about the great missionaries.
      The reason to study how Jesus was a missionary is to learn
      lessons about how we can be great missionaries. What
      lesson have we learned from Jesus about His missionary
      approach? When do we “romance” sinners by running after
      them and when do we speak harshly to sinners and call them

    5. Let’s read Luke 15:7. Was this lost lamb which Jesus
      romanced simply confused? (No. The lamb “repented.” The
      common goal is to have the sinner repent. Some sinners
      repent by being romanced, by being pursued. Other sinners
      repent by being yelled at.)

      1. How do you know which tactic to take with a specific
        sinner? (If you read the entire chapter of Matthew 23
        you will see that the sinners Jesus yelled at are all
        religious leaders who think they are righteous. If
        you think that you are righteous you are not going to
        repent unless you get “hit” with the truth. The
        person who realizes that he is unrighteous does not
        need to be beaten over the head with the truth.)

      2. Should sinners always be pursued, either for a
        romancing or a beating? (Read Revelation 2:20-21. If
        someone is creating trouble in the church sometimes
        you just need to ask them to leave. Being asked to
        leave may be the “beating” that causes the person to

    6. Did Jesus love the Pharisees? When He was verbally beating
      them, was He still showing love? (Read Romans 5:8. Jesus
      died for the sins of everyone. The late, and unlamented
      comedian George Carlin was an enemy of the gospel. He
      would make fun of Christians who warned unbelievers that
      their destiny was hell, but who would add, “Hey, God loves
      you!” Parents understand the concept of love and
      discipline. As victims of sin, we long for the day when
      sin and death are destroyed. Sometimes love has to be

    7. Friend, Jesus came to give us light. Will you share His
      light with those around you? Will you let the light into
      every part of your life?

  3. Next week: Jesus and His Disciples.