What would it have looked like if Jesus had led bible studies? Would he have served refreshments? Would he have played ice-breaker, get-to-know-you games? Would he have used a DVD based, sermon based, or book based curriculum? Jesus could have just met once or twice a week with the disciples to talk about the Old Testament but the good news is: Jesus did not lead Bible studies.
Jesus did far more than just lead Bible studies. Jesus poured into his disciples by sharing life with them.
For instance, Jesus did not teach the disciples how to worship by inviting them to come to a 6 week study on the topic of prayer. Instead, he showed them how to pray. In Luke 11, the Lord’s Prayer was not initiated by Jesus asking what the disciples wanted to study next. The disciples were with Jesus; they witnessed him praying and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They were sharing life.
How would Jesus have shown the disciples how to be sacrificial servants outside of sharing life with them? He could have just reprimanded them for their “who’s the greatest” arguments or left it at “the first shall be last, and last first.” But there was absolutely no greater way to show them sacrificial servanthood than to kneel down before them wrapped in a towel and wash their dirty, smelly, road-weary feet. They were sharing life.
Jesus did not come to pass on an informational mission. Jesus came to share in and pass on the “sent life” in community with a few. Jesus would leave his mission for his disciples to carry on after he was gone. Mere information would not do. They had to share life.
So, who are you sharing life with? Who are you worshipping with? Who are you on mission with? Who are you sacrificially serving with? The shared life is such an integral part of who we are as a church. Without it, life transformation does not happen or is at least stunted. Without it, we are just having bible studies. And remember, Jesus did not lead bible studies. Jesus shared life.