Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Isaiah 53:5, 6, 9; Leviticus 16:16-19; Leviticus 11:44; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Corinthians 14:40; 2 Timothy 3:16
Nobody sees the big picture like NASA, and they do it by looking at the smallest bits of light. Looking out into the expanse of the universe, the Hubble space telescope detected a star turn into a black hole. Typically, when a massive star expends its fuel, its core collapses into a dense object and sends the rest of its gas outward in an event called a supernova. What’s left is usually neutron stars or black holes. According to a May 25 report, Hubble watched a supernova blink out, capturing the moment when a black hole took over. Analyzing two side-by-side images, NASA researchers see evidence of this rare event. A bright supernova dominates the night sky in the first image. When scientists compared that photo with another taken later in the same area, they noticed that the massive star in the first picture is gone, replaced by an inky black nothingness.
Supernova events are explosive and leave clouds of debris, called nebulae. This star, however, exploded and then had all its gas sucked right back into the black hole at the center. This happens when the core collapse of the star is especially massive, generating a gravitational pull that sucks in every speck of matter within its reach. Only a few of these so-called “massive fails” (yes, that’s what they call them) have been spotted, so astronomers are cautious about the results. This particular star, however, located in the galaxy NGC 6946, was initially so bright that we saw it from 22 million light years away. The fact that it faded in an instant suggests that a massive stellar-mass black hole was the driving culprit. This observation is an exciting find for scientists who regularly scan the universe, looking for minute details like this that help us understand the bigger picture. 
Peter covers the big picture of the theological universe in his letters to the Christian church. This week’s lesson reviews the various themes that Peter covered. By looking at the various smaller details and individual facets of Christian faith, we get a view of the bigger picture. The lesson begins by looking at Jesus—the big picture. Then it focuses on His suffering and the salvation we receive through Him. The study continues with how the plan of salvation changes our lives here and now.
The hope of the second coming gives us a future—a reason to live. True Christianity brings a sense of orderliness to the church and to society in general. We see the larger picture through a study of the smaller details found in Scripture. Peter wrote his theological treatise for practical purposes: he wanted to shed light into the darkness offered by false teachers. His big picture is composed of several smaller bits of light.
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