Housegroup Materials: Week 3 (God’s Promises)

The Bible contains ‘his precious and very great promises’ (2 Peter 1:4) for us to ‘read, mark and inwardly digest’.



  • What’s the best promise a human has ever made to you, and what were your feelings as people made good (or didn’t) on that promise?
  • What questions did your housegroup have last week? What debates were on the forum (, which have raised new questions from last week (5 minutes).


Tom Wright introduces ‘God’s Promises’:


Week 3 transcript (thanks to Helen Demopoulos from A Rocha for the translation again)

In the small group, listen to the reading Matthew 11: 1-19 as it is read to you. If you are joining online, an audioversion can be found here.

Discuss together your responses to the following questions. (Approx 20-30mins, depending on the size of the group)

  • What did you like best about the passage and why?
  • What did you not like about the passage and why?
  • Which part of the passage is the most important for you and why?
  • Which part of the passage would you leave out today and why?


In the printed material, and available on line, you have access to a story and a reflection based on a response to today’s reading.

BB WK 3 Sanya Strachan by bigbible

Listen to the story and the reflection: The Stig is revealed

This was a big deal. Who was he? Was the Stig in fact a ‘he’?

The Stig was a racing driver on the hit BBC series Top Gear – a car magazine show. Each episode a celebrity would race around the track with their lap time being recorded and placed on a leader board. The aim was to beat The Stig, Top Gear’s mysterious masked driver, as well as beating other celebrities.

The Stig was super fast and would always beat the celebrity’s time. The Stig’s’ true identity was closely guarded secret, with all kinds of theories about who he (or she) might actually be, but this only lasted for a year. In January 2003 a Sunday newspaper claimed to reveal the true identity of ‘The Stig’ as to be one Perry Mc Carty. Others suspected of being The Stig included Damon Hill, Julian Bailey, Chris Goodwin and Russ Swift.

His real identity wasn’t finally confirmed until English stuntman and motor racing driver Ben Collins defeated a court injunction by the BBC in September 2010 against the publishing of his autobiography

The question on everyone lips was; was that what were you expecting?


Earlier you were asked; ‘what did you like best about this passage?’ I like the fact that Jesus tells the crowd, “you were waiting for a Messiah and he may not be what you were expecting, but this is me”

While the 12 apostles were carrying out their first mission, Jesus continued his ministry in Galilee. From his prison cell, John the Baptist hears about a man performing miracles so he sends a message to find out if the man named Jesus really is the Messiah. ‘Go tell John,’ replied Jesus ‘that the blind see and the deaf hear…” (verse 4).

John the Baptist belonged to the age of the old Covenant that was preparing the people for the Messiah to come. When the crowd is told the truth about John the Baptist being an Elijah figure and preparing the way for the Messiah (aka Jesus), Jesus speaks of the people’s reaction to the big reveal in verse 18, saying: ‘For John came neither eating nor drinking and they say, “He has a demon in him”. The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collector and sinners.”’

The NIV Bible Commentary talks about John the Baptist as being the friend of the bride and Jesus the bridegroom. Tom Wright explores this in his book:

“If John is Elijah, Jesus is the one whom Elijah was going to announce as imminent…which makes him at least Israel’s Messiah. Perhaps even the living embodiment of Israel’s returning, judging God.”

God in all his wisdom had specific roles for both John and Jesus, to be fulfilled at specific times in history. A time and place for everything. For Ben Collins the decision to reveal his alter ego as ‘the Stig’ in his autobiography was, for him and for many others, the right time and the right place.

What are you expecting of the Messiah?

Sanya Strachan is Administrator of the Discipleship and Ministries Cluster of the Methodist Church in Britain and is training to become a local preacher.


PUDDING (Pick one!)

Steamed Pudding:

  • The news is full of negative stories (see p48 of the book). What positive stories present ‘evidence’ of the fulfilment of God’s promises to us in the contemporary world?
  • Look at pp24-26 in Tom Wright’s book. What does a leader look like for you?
  • In business the idea of making a 1% change (individually/organisationally) is suggested, see for example: Look at p.49 in Tom Wright’s book. What Jesus did is compared to yeast. In what ways do we need to be ‘yeast’ to our culture?

Access and join in the debates online:

Chilled Pudding:

  • Look on p.44 in Tom Wright’s book. For Easter 1999, the Church of England advertised Easter, depicted Jesus as Che Guevara ( How would you represent Jesus pictorially (based upon your expectations of who he is/what he’s like)? Consider uploading your pictures to:
  • See p52 in Tom Wright’s book. Take up his suggestion to contemplate the fulfilment of God’s promises in creation as a source of worship and thanks, expressed in any way that feels appropriate.
  • Look at pp 56-59, and think about the way you would envision ‘purity’. Maybe use the words of to help.



  • Send a message of encouragement to a friend on Facebook.
  • Make a new promise to someone, and fulfil it.
  • A geocache is essentially an electronic treasure hunt (see more on ). Find a geocache. If it’s one you can leave something in, think what you might leave in there.
  • As Tom Wright suggests on p42, read Isaiah 42 (or even 40-55) to contextualise the reading from p.41

WEEK 3 (Word.doc) (12baskets have PDF version for download)

Go back to Week 2; Go Forward to Week 4

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