If I Were In Charge of the World
In-Person or Virtual
Have each group member share what they would do if they were in charge of the world. What kinds of things would they change? What would they allow? Not allow? How would they rule? After everyone has shared, ask, "Do you wish you were in charge of the world, or are you glad you are not? Why or why not?"
Optional: Before group members share, read aloud the children's poem "If I Were in Charge of the World" by Judith Viorst. (You can find the poem with a simple web search.)
In-Person or Virtual
Each group member will need a piece of paper and a pen/pencil. Art supplies (such as crayons, markers, or colored pencils) are optional.
Commission each group member to design a t-shirt to represent Christians to the world. Imagine that all Christians would receive this shirt to wear so the world would know they were a Christian. What would your shirt look like? What symbols/pictures would be on it? What words/phrases? What would be on the front, the back, and the sleeves? What color(s) would it be? Give group members 5 minutes to sketch out their t-shirt design. Then take turns sharing your design and why you chose it to represent Christians.
1. Read John 18:33-35. Why doesn't Jesus come right out and say that He is a King in verse 34? See Matthew 16:15-17 for clues that might help you answer.
(Intent: It is by faith through revelation by the Holy Spirit that we believe Jesus for who and what he is. Jesus was probably ascertaining whether Pilate had a genuine interest in who He was. Note that Jesus often says to, "Tell no one" who He is or what he has done, Mt. 16:20 and elsewhere in the gospels. Pilate must also decide for himself. Further, Pilate probably thought of "king" in a political sense.)
2. A. What does Pilate's response in verse 35 show us about him? B. How do you deal with similar people who want to avoid Jesus?
(Intent: A. Pilate's authority had its basis in Rome; he looked upon this as a Jewish matter. If Jesus were the king of the Jews only, it was the Jews' problem. Pilate didn't want anything to do with the issue. He handed Jesus off to Herod, Lk. 23:7, who sent Him back to Pilate, then ultimately Pilate washed his hands of the problem—literally, Mt. 27:24. B. One thought is to pray for them and do your best to be salt and light as you have the opportunity.)
3. Jesus speaks of His kingdom in verses 36-37a. A. How is Christ's kingdom "not of this world"? B. How would you describe Christ's kingdom? C. Jesus states what His servants don't fight for. So what DO we fight for?
(Intent: A. It is not a geographical or political kingdom where people physically fight to force control. B. Rather, Christ's kingdom is a realm in which King Jesus exerts authority and control in our inner selves to change our external behavior. We experience this transforming power through the new birth—Jn. 3:3, 5–enabled by Christ's death on the cross. C. Refer to 1 Tim. 6: 11-14 and Eph. 6:12.)
4. Read John 18:37b-38. Jesus claims to not only be of the truth but to be Truth itself, John 14:6. How would you explain to someone that truth is absolute, not relative?
(Intent: One idea is to show that they really do believe some things are true in all cases. For example, do they agree that it's always wrong for a stranger to walk up to them and punch them in the nose? Wouldn't they be indignant if someone stole their car, even if the thief somehow felt justified in doing so? What about the laws of physics and mathematics; is 8+8=16 debatable?)
5. In your own words, share with the group who you say Jesus is. What proof could you present to someone that you actually believe what you say?
(Intent: This may help each person to examine the reality of their faith. Do your actions consistently match your words? Please remind everyone that we are all in process and that Christ does the perfecting as we obey Him.)
6. As subjects of an otherworldly kingdom, how should we represent Christ and our heavenly kingdom to a world that is blind to it?
(Intent: We are Christ's witnesses to the world around us, Mt. 28:18-20. We are to manifest the Lord's kingdom values of righteousness, truth, love, and care for others. As non-Christians witness these values, many will be led to Christ, who embodies them and motivates His people to carry them out. It is essential to recognize that we are ambassadors of another kingdom. How people view Christ is affected by the way we represent Him, positively or negatively.)
We live in an Information Age and are bombarded with countless personalities and voices every day. Jesus says that those who know the truth will listen/obey HIS voice. Pay attention to which voice(s) you tune into most this next week. Who got the most air time? What would it look like to increase Jesus? Share next week any adjustments you made.
Individually or as a group, ask the Lord to open your eyes to what Christ sees and wants for others. Pray also that He would make each of us a bold witness who represents Him accurately to the lost around us.