A third of the New Testament Gospels is dedicated to telling the story of Jesus’ last days on earth before the crucifixion. Two thirds of what they wrote told a story that unwrapped over 30 odd years. But when it came to the end, they pumped the brakes, and told the greatest story of redemption and sacrifice in dramatic fashion.
The last week of Jesus’ life is filled with intrigue, politics, and power plays. It’s filled with characters like Caiaphas, Judas, Herod, and Pilate, all fighting for power, wealth, and their own kingdoms. But in the midst of all the drama was an all-powerful God with a life-changing message: “There is no sin that you are not capable of commiting and there is no sin God isn’t capable of forgiving.”
1. Jesus was mocked as The King of the Jews; Pilate presented him to the crowd that way, they dressed him in a robe and a crown of thorns, and “King of the Jews” was even posted on the cross as the crime he was charged with. What did people in those times misunderstand about Jesus' kingdom? Do you think we still misunderstand it some ways today?
2. The week preceding the crucifixion Jesus was cast in many different lights: Riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed young donkey, cleaning out the temple, washing his disciples' feet, etc. Out of all the things Jesus did in that week what has the most meaning to you? Why?
3. How do most people think God feels towards them? Why do they think that?
4. The point of the cross was God’s love for us, regardless of who we are or what we have done. Throughout history people haven’t always used the cross and the story of Jesus to make that point. Has anyone ever used the story of Jesus to make a different point that contradicts or detracts from that message? How did that affect you or the people exposed to that idea?
5. Throughout this series we have looked at the different characters who played major roles in the Easter story. They were all faced with one major question, “What will you do with Jesus?” When did you first encounter that question and how did you initially respond to the story of Jesus?
6. Has the way you’ve responded to Jesus changed through the different seasons of your life? What caused your response to change? How do you respond today?
Spend some time this week inviting the people around you to Easter at The Creek. Then devote some time every day this week to pray those you invite, that they would encounter God, and that their stories would never be the same because of it.