Small Group Studies

When Pigs Fly: Week 2

In this series, When Pigs Fly, we are looking at stories so incredible that only God could have written. These are stories that would seem impossible if not for God. One of these stories is about a wrestling match that turned out to be a divine encounter for a man named Jacob, who was finally taking steps away from deceiving and running from mistakes and turning to God and owning up to his actions instead.


What are the most amazing God stories you have heard? These are stories so incredible that the only explanation is that God was working.


Bible Study

1. Describe Jacob’s history of deception and running throughout his life.


2. Read Genesis 32:22-26. What evidence did Jacob have that this encounter was not ordinary?

Genesis 32:22-26

"During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.

24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob's hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!"

But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

3. Read Genesis 32:27-32. Explain the significance of Jacob’s name change to Israel, which means “God fights.”

Genesis 32:27-32

"Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won."

29 "Please tell me your name," Jacob said.

"Why do you want to know my name?" the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means "face of God"), for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared." 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. 32 (Even today the people of Israel don't eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob's hip.)"

4. What was Jacob’s lingering reminder of this divine encounter? Why was this reminder important? 


1. What are the negative consequences of running from and avoiding mistakes?

2. Do you find yourself fighting for yourself or letting God fight for you? Why?

3. What is one area of your life you have been trying to control? What is one way you can let go of control?


Jacob left this encounter with a limp. We all have limps that remind us to turn to God and let Him fight our battles. What is one limp in your life, and how have you seen God use it for good? Share this with your group. After everyone has shared, pray together, thanking Him that in our weaknesses, He is strong.


While our human nature tends to run and hide from God when we make mistakes or feel ashamed, we have a God who searches for us. There is no greater evidence of this truth than in the person of Jesus. He is evidence of the lengths God went to in order to rescue humanity. We have a God who fights for us and pursues us, even when we are trying to fix our situations on our own or run from our mistakes. Take a look at what Jesus said about how God goes to great lengths to pursue people.

The Good Shepherd's Pursuit:

In order to help listeners understand His love for people, He told a story of a shepherd. This was a story that Jesus’ audience could relate to because they would have seen shepherds caring for their sheep. The shepherd's care, protection, and pursuit of lost sheep was just a small picture of Jesus’ own care and pursuit of humanity. Take a look at what Jesus taught about His role as the ultimate shepherd.

1. Read Luke 15:3-7 and John 10:10-13.

Luke 15:3-7

" So Jesus told them this story: 4 "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!"

John 10:10-13

"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don't belong to him and he isn't their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he's working only for the money and doesn't really care about the sheep."

2. In what ways does a shepherd pursue and take care of his sheep?

3. How did Jesus model the ultimate example of a good shepherd?

The Father's Pursuit:

In order to explain how God pursues His people, He told a story about a father and how He pursued his two sons even when they had let him down. The father in this story represents God, who runs toward us even when we have messed up and broken His heart.

1. Read Luke 15:11-32.

 Luke 15:11-32 

"To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 "A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant."'

20 "So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

22 "But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began.

25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.'

28 "The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, 'All these years I've slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!'

31 "His father said to him, 'Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!'"

2. How did the father pursue both of the sons in this story?

3. What does this story teach about the state we must be in in order to be pursued by God?

4. How did God demonstrate this kind of love for us through Jesus?

Jesus' example of Zacchaeus:

Not only did Jesus tell stories about God’s pursuit of those who are lost or even running (or hiding) from Him, He proved it through His actions while He ministered on earth. Like God the Father, Jesus also pursued all kinds of people throughout His ministry, even those who were not pursuing Him. One example of His pursuit is Zacchaeus. Look at his story now.

1. Read Luke 19:1-10.

Luke 19:1-10

" Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today."

6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.

8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"

9 Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

2. Contrast Jesus' response to Zacchaeus versus the other people around him. 

3.Why did many people overlook Zacchaeus?

4. What was Jesus' purpose, according to this passage of Scripture? How did He prove His purpose through His interaction with Zacchaeus? 

After studying about God's pursuit of people, even when they may be running or hiding from Him, reflect.
  1. Is God's pursuit contingent on our actions? Why or why not?
  2. How did Jesus prove God the Father's love and pursuit for humanity?
  3. Who do you know who needs to hear the hope that Jesus offers?

After sharing who you know in your lives who needs the hope of Jesus, pray together. Pray for each person mentioned by name. Group members, make plans to reach out to the person you shared this week and share your faith. Share with them how much God loves them and is always searching and pursuing them.