Jesus had and has a penchant for doing redemption. In fact, if you read the Old Testament and the gospels you’ll be blindsided by His infinitely unrelenting passion for redeeming things and people.
Think about it… He created planet earth then the fall happened and the earth tumbled into disarray. But Jesus is going to return and when He does He’ll redeem His creation. Eden will return.
Jesus created our human bodies and, although they will at some point and time decline and die, throughout most of a human’s existence we have periods when we fall sick and He redeems our bodies back to a state of non-illness. And ultimately, our bodies will be raised with Jesus and will forever be in a state of perfection… eternally redeemed bodies.
Most importantly, Jesus redeems sinners of which we all are.
Throughout His time on planet earth Jesus carried out acts of redemption that every small group leader should emulate. Three of those historic events and acts of redemption every small group leader should emulate are…
- Redeeming Hope – Many times a group member will have lost hope. A life situation has overcome them and what they need most, hope in the presence and power of God, has waned. This happened to a couple of sisters named Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus had died and had been in the tomb for four days. When Jesus arrives Martha approaches Him. Her words were mixed with despair and hope. She declares to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” (John 11:21 – 23)
There will be times when a small group member is so overcome with despair that all hope has vanished. Remind the group member that Jesus is present and that whenever and wherever He is present hope, is not only available it is a present reality. Redeem hope and you will teach your group members to live a life of hope as well as creating a faithful heart in each of them.
- Redeeming to Serve – Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18: 13 – 27). When this historic event is chronicled Luke describes the moment in this way, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61 – 62). Peter must’ve thought his journey with and for Jesus was over. That is, until He is in the presence of Christ after His resurrection and before Jesus ascends to heaven.
John 21:15 – 19 describes Peter’s moment of redemption with Jesus. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter tells Jesus that He does. Jesus redeems Peter to service by passionately expressing one of these phrases following each of Peter’s proclamations of his love for Christ, “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” or “Feed my sheep.” Jesus strategically redeemed Peter’s call to serve Him.
Sometimes a group member will declare that their sins are so dark or so ugly that they are not fit to serve Christ and His church. Remind them that they are not only worthy of serving Christ, they were called to serve Him and are worthy of serving Him.
- Redeeming Reputations – All of us are sinners. But some people’s sins become known to the world and in those times the sinner’s reputation is tainted and shame engulfs the wrongdoer’s heart. When this happens it’s essential that a group leader redeem the group member’s reputation. This is often done by making the revealed sinner and the group aware that all of us sin. This is precisely what Jesus did for a woman caught in sin.
The passage describing this moment in history is so powerful that I’d ask you to read it slowly and realize the power of our God who forgives, the God who redeems reputations.
2 At dawn He went to the temple complex again, and all the people were coming to Him. He sat down and began to teach them.3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. 7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
(John 8:2 – 11)
When a group member is saturated with sin, the Enemy will whisper in the fellow sinner’s ear that they are worthless, useless, and unworthy of respect and love. With this kind of condemnation the Liar of Liars is already overtaking the group members’ heart.
To add to Satan’s attack, you may have Pharisaical group members in your group that are more focused on judgment that redemption. Graciously and diplomatically reminding the entire group that we are all sinners and that we must lift up Christ’s unending grace and redemption for one another will win the day and is the right principal/truth to embrace because, “…no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,…“. (Romans 8:1)