Risen – Why Do You Follow Him?
Main Point: There are many reasons why people choose to follow Jesus, but all of them begin with the fact that He is a Man of compassion.
The Movie Clip:
Risen follows the journey of Roman tribune Clavius (played by Joseph Fiennes) as he searches out what happened to Jesus of Nazareth following His brutal execution and burial. The Roman soldier – who witnessed Jesus dead on the cross – is tasked with investigating the mystery that has all of Jerusalem (and Rome) up in arms. Eventually, Clavius comes face to face with the risen Jesus…and he must decide if what he’s seeing is true.
Risen was released before Easter of 2016 and garnered fairly strong reviews. The film was rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intermittent scenes of graphic violence, namely the beating and crucifixion scenes. Otherwise, the film (and the clip this resource hinges on) is completely clean.
The movie uses characters, like Clavius, not expressly mentioned in the Bible’s writings, but stays completely true to the Bible’s message. The movie is a great tool for helping unbelievers process what they believe and why.
Introducing the Clip:
I want to show you a clip from the movie Risen which follows the spiritual journey of a Roman soldier named Clavius. The “tribune” oversaw the crucifixion of Jesus, but he’s now come face to face with Jesus alive again. As he investigates what happened that Easter morning, he’s found the disciples and interviewed them. As his faith grows little by little, he decided to tag along with the disciples to keep asking them questions about why they believe Jesus was the Messiah and if they truly thought He was actually alive. In this scene, Clavius asks Bartholomew the following question: Why do you follow Him? Take a look at how the question gets answered.
BEGIN CLIP AT 1 HOUR 24 MINUTES AND 50 SECONDS
(The clip is several moments long. The focus of the scene is that Clavius asks Bartholomew, “Why do you follow Him?” Before Bartholomew can answer, a leper appears in the background causing a ruckus. Jesus walks over to the man, offers him some food, and then heals him. Bartholomew, referencing the miracles, says, “That’s why.”)
END CLIP AT 1 HOUR 27 MINUTES AND 50 SECONDS
I’d say that was a pretty good answer to the question Clavius asked! Jesus healed a man with leprosy! Who wouldn’t want to follow a Messiah who could heal the sick like that? But don’t get caught up in the miracle that you miss out on the beauty of Jesus’ heart. Before He healed the leper, Jesus noticed His pain and loneliness. Before He healed the leper, Jesus walked over to Him and offered him food. Before He healed the leper, Jesus was willing to touch a man most considered untouchable. Jesus did all that because He is a Man of incredible compassion. Let’s take a look at how the Bible tells this story according to the Gospel of Mark.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, take a second to share your name and a miracle you’d like to witness Jesus perform.
- ASK A FEW: Is anyone familiar enough with what leprosy is to explain it to the rest of the group? (Leaders – Leprosy, now called Hanson’s Disease, was a debilitating and deadly disease that plagued the ancient world. People who contracted it were ostracized by the community because it was highly contagious. Limbs affected by the disease would be covered by puss and open wounds. The victim wouldn’t have any feeling in the affected areas. Eventually, the limb might even rot off. Leprosy was often fatal. So, in addition to being horribly sick, the leper would also be alienated away from his loved ones until he/she died. Pretty horrible existence.)
- ASK A FEW: What do you think it was like to be the leprous man?
- ASK A FEW: What was different about the way Jesus treated the man versus the way the towns people treated him?
- ASK A FEW: What are some of the reasons people might give for following Jesus?
- ASK A FEW: Switch it up. What are some reasons people might give for NOT following Jesus?
- ASK A FEW: When Clavius asked Bartholomew, “Why do you follow Him?” Bartholomew pointed to the miraculous healing of the leper as one of the reasons and simply said, “That’s why.” If you had witnessed that miracle, would that have been compelling enough reason for you to follow Jesus, too? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
- Mark 1:40-45 (NIV)
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
- ASK A FEW: Were there any differences between the movie’s version of this miracle and the Bible’s version of this miracle? (Leaders – Yeah, there were a couple. For starters, the movie puts this miracle AFTER Jesus’ resurrection and Mark puts it at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry long before He was ever crucified. Secondly, Jesus doesn’t offer the man any food when He heals him in the Bible’s version. Otherwise, the accounts seem pretty close to the same.)
- ASK A FEW: Before Jesus healed the man, Mark tells us that Jesus was filled with compassion. Why do you think Mark took the time to tell us that about Jesus?
- ASK A FEW: In what ways did Jesus reveal His compassion in this story?
- ASK A FEW: What does it say about Jesus that He was willing to touch a man that everyone else was afraid to touch?
- ASK A FEW: How did the man who’d been cured of leprosy feel about Jesus? How do you know?
- ASK A FEW: Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us – if not all of us – have never witnessed a miracle like this one. So, is there still enough reason to follow Jesus in spite of this fact? Why or why not?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are some of the ways you can look for the compassion of Jesus this week…even if you don’t witness a miracle?
During our time together, we watched a clip of Jesus healing a man with leprosy. Then we read the Bible’s account of the same event. What we saw in both was that Jesus had great power…and great compassion.
In fact, Jesus’ compassion was the beginning point of much of His work and ministry. For example, one time the Bible tells us that Jesus took compassion on a crowd because He considered them to be sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Just like the man with leprosy, Jesus healed others because of His compassion (Matthew 14:14). Jesus also miraculously fed large crowds of people because, out of His compassion, He knew they were very hungry (Matthew 15:32).
There were other examples, but the bottom line is simple: Jesus was a Man of life-changing compassion. When He looks at us, He knows we need Him. Ultimately, it was His compassion and love and kindness for us that sent Him to the cross. He knew we could never be forgiven, never see the Father, and never have peace apart from Him. So, He willingly – and compassionately – gave His life for ours.
My hope and prayer for you is that you’ll see Jesus as the Man of compassion that the Bible teaches that He is. Once you do, you’ll have your life changed forever. And I don’t just mean skin deep like the leper we studied. I mean all the way to the very core of your heart. You will be made new. You will have hope. You will have life.
All because Jesus was a Man of compassion.
I hope you’ll meet Jesus in the way that the leper did and you’ll be just as excited about Jesus as that man was. We’re going to pray in a moment, and if you’d like to talk more about Jesus’ compassion in your life, talk with me or one of our adult leaders. We want to show you just how compassionate and kind and good Jesus is.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.