Wednesday, April 8, 2020
 
Dear Faith Family,
 
This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. As you know, that is the day we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem just a few days before his death. This was such a significant moment in the life of Christ. After all the people had seen him do and heard him say, he entered Jerusalem on a colt. They recognized right away that he was fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:
 
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
   Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
   righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
 
Jesus was letting them know he was their king! However, he did not come as king the way they anticipated. In fact, he was a disappointing king to them. Rather than befriending the Jewish religious establishment, he alienated them. Rather than overthrowing the Roman government, he was executed by them. What king acts this way? What kind of kingdom could possibly form?
 
Jesus came as a different kind of king. He promised salvation instead of political power. He ruled by love instead of domination. He led through suffering instead of coercion. Even though by the end of the week it did not appear his kingdom would last while he hung on a cross, we know that His would be an everlasting rule. Why? He rose. He conquered the ultimate enemy—death. Jesus is The King of Kings!
 
This week our study from The Bible Project will focus on “The Gospel of the Kingdom”. Below you will find the link to a short video and options for discussion. If you are a part of a Sunday School Class or Life Group, consider finding a way to connect online all together or in smaller groups or pairs. If you are not in a class or group, call a friend and see if they would be interested in joining you in a discussion of these themes. We will continue to send them out each week for you. It’s a simple process: Schedule a time to talk. Watch the video. Review the questions. Discuss the theme. Pray together.

Here is this week's “The Gospel of the Kingdom” video.
Discussion Questions
 
Scripture Reading Option One: Luke 19:28-48
The people expected Jesus to bring peace and rule as king in a way that they could understand. Jesus grieved over this because he knew they would suffer, and because he longed for them to see him as the true King through the suffering. Like Jesus, it’s okay to grieve over shattered expectations and suffering.
  • Take a moment and express any grief you’re feeling over suffering or shattered expectations.
  • Jesus is the King, despite the way the world looks right now. What questions does that bring up for you? What truths can you rely on at this time?
 
Scripture Reading Option Two: Isaiah 52:7-53:12
This passage proclaims that God himself is coming to rescue his people—and this is good news—but it will happen in a surprising way: God’s appointed one, the Messiah, will enter into the suffering and death of our world. There’s a lot of suffering and pain going on in our world right now. God enters into our suffering. He experiences it personally and is present with us and all those who suffer.
  • Write down or speak out loud where you see suffering and pain in the world and your community right now.
  • Now pray or speak out loud these same instances again, taking in the truth that God is present in those situations and suffers with us.
 
Scripture Reading Option Three: John 12:12-33
For Jesus, his suffering was the way God’s power and love should be shown to the world. The cross shows us that God’s ultimate response to human death and suffering was love: to die alongside us and for us, and to overcome death with his resurrection life. This is Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom.
  • What kind of things is Jesus doing for others in this passage?
  • Jesus calls his followers to do what he does. In what ways specifically can you suffer alongside others, or serve and love others?

Let’s grow in wisdom together!
 
Doug Ashley
Pastor - Longview EPC