Gospel writer John makes the case that Jesus is the true King of Israel, and he does it in a not-so-subtle way. Can you see it in his writing?
This coming Sunday will be the next lecture in our Year of the Bible lecture series, where we will tackle, “Why are there four Gospels?” We’ll talk about the culture, context, the influences and the purposes of the Gospel writers, and why some of their stories differ from each other.
Year of the Bible Lecture:
Why Are There Four Gospels?
Sunday, September 24 at 6PM
This week we began the Gospel of John together. How are you doing with your reading?
Let’s talk for just a minute about those Read Scripture videos that introduce each book of the Bible. How are those helping you?
I know some of you are joining in on this with us very late in the year. That’s okay. We committed as a church to spend this year going through the Bible together on four different levels, and it is changing us! The best way you can jump in and participate is by downloading the ReadScripture app to your mobile device, setting the “start date” to Jan 1, 2017, and start reading along with us. Included in the app, you will find all the reading, plus all the helpful videos. In fact, here is the intro to John all cued up for us.. Why don’t you watch it together as a group?
One of John’s main points in his Gospel is that Jesus is the true King of Israel. A King has absolute authority over his kingdom. He does what he wants, he gets what he wants. Everyone in the kingdom is subject to his total rule.
As Americans, it is difficult to grasp what this form of government must be like. Why is that?
In our society, how must it come across to explain that we are “subjects” to a “king?”
Read The Lord’s Prayer aloud together
Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV)
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We talked about this on Sunday… How Jesus’ prayer model for us orients our hearts toward the KINGSHIP of God in our lives. How is Jesus’ model different from our typical prayers?
What comes FIRST in this prayer? What comes last?
I would argue that far too often we pray for our will to be done, and we fail to recognize that the only thing God will do is HIS will. What do you think about that?
How does that work when we pray about illness, anger, money, etc?
As John is making his case, he includes this important part of the story:
The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.”
His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
Now, take a moment to visualize this very familiar picture. Think about royalty arriving into the city. How is this picture like that? How is it different?
Look at the following prophecy from the Old Testament to see the connection that John is making:
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.
I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem.
I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations.
His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon.
Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope!
I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.
So, what are the people of Israel seeing as Jesus enters Jerusalem using the same imagery from Zechariah?
What kind of expectations do you think this set up in them?
Why do you think it was just a week later that the people had lost so much faith and hope in him that they would turn their backs on him, shouting “crucify him,” and demanding the release of the criminal Barabbas, rather than this man they effectively proclaimed king just days earlier?
How easy is it for us to lose faith or hope in Him for the very same reasons?
Sure, we may not fully turn our backs and yell,”crucify him.” Or, do we?
How do I respond to Jesus entering the city of my life? How am I a “Praise the Lord/Hosanna,” and how am I a “crucify him?”
Take a few minutes together and pray for each other specifically on how we can each turn our “crucify him” into “Praise the Lord.”