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Gary Lee Webber

Adversaries, Critics, and a Fortunate Convict

March 19, 2023

We’ve all had to deal with them: those people who enjoy being critical about everything and everyone. People who are never satisfied and are constantly adversarial. You probably already have someone in mind. And while I may not know who that person is, I’m confident I know who it’s not. YOU. Hardly anyone believes himself to be too critical or adversarial. Throughout His ministry, and especially on His journey to the cross, Jesus faced adversaries and critics. Join us for part 3 of The Joy Set Before Him as we explore how even God’s adversaries can benefit from what Jesus did on the cross.

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The ______________________ (Luke 22:63-23:2) 

The _____________ (Luke 23:3-17) 

The __________________________ (Luke 23:18-26) 


Even those who have been ______________________ and _____________ of God are __________________________ of His grace. 


__________ that you’ve been God’s ________________.  

Critically ______________ the claims of Christ and choose to ______________. 

____________ the ______________ of what He has done for you on the cross. 

Small Group Questions

Use this outline for personal reflection, as a couples or family devotion, or with a small group.


What do you think are the biggest fears among citizens of Jacksonville in the year 2023? How do you think these fears differ from those people might have had 100 years ago? 


Read Luke 12:4-12 

  • Who can kill the body, and who has the authority to cast a person into hell? In general terms, who do you think most Christians fear more today, the one who can kill the body or the one who can cast a person into hell? What makes you think so? 
  • What does it mean to acknowledge Jesus before men? What does it mean to deny Jesus before men? What are the consequences of each decision? 
  • What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? What is the consequence of doing so?

Read Luke 12:13-34

  • What is so ironic about the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21)? What is the difference between being a wise steward of wealth and the example in this parable? What do you think Jesus would say about our 401k and retirement accounts? 
  • According to Jesus, what lesson must we learn from the birds and flowers? Why is this lesson so difficult? What are your most significant financial fears? How might Jesus respond to your worries? 
  • What are some practical ways followers of Jesus can be more invested in the kingdom and less concerned with things of this world? 

Read Luke 12:35-48 

  • What does it mean to “stay dressed for action” and to “keep your lamps burning”? How do these verses relate to Jesus’ words in verses 4-5? 
  • Why do you think Peter asked Jesus if He intended this parable “for us or for all?” What was Jesus’ answer? Do you think Jesus’ parable is intended for His followers today or for all? 
  • In general, would you say believers today are more fearful of issues related to eternity or struggles related to day-to-day life?


How thoughtful are you about issues related to eternity? What issues are currently of greater concern to you? Based on Jesus’ words in Luke 12, what will you do to decrease your anxiety about temporal issues? What will you do to “stay dressed for action”?  Talk about it, invite accountability, and take time to pray together. 

Daily Readings

This week we continue reading through the Gospel of Matthew and other key Old Testament passages. Invite the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart and mind as we reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

  • Day 1: Matthew 19
  • Day 2: Matthew 20 
  • Day 3: Matthew 21:1-17 
  • Day 4: Psalm 118 
  • Day 5: Matthew 21:18-46 
  • Day 6: Matthew 22 
  • Day 7: Matthew 23:1-36  

Think Deeper

  1. Have you ever had an adversary? How did that person become your adversary? 
  2. What can be good about being critical? What’s the difference between constructive and destructive criticism? 
  3. What benefits have you received from the death of Jesus on the cross? 

Suggested Resources

The Day the Revolution Began by N.T Wright 

Jesus, the Final Days by N.T. Wright and Craig Evans 

Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado 

A Case for Easter by Lee Strobel  

Check out these and other suggested books at https://bit.ly/AspireSMB