This week we walk between the elation of Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry and the darkness of Good Friday. Then from that dark hopelessness to the joy of Easter morning’s miraculous resurrection. All in that, in the space of 1 week.
Spend a little bit of time talking about Palm Sunday and Easter. What is this week typically like for you? Is there any significant difference in your time with the Lord during the passion week compared to the rest of the year? If not, do you think there should there be?
In this message Pastor Jeremy looked at 3 different sections of scripture from the Gospel of Luke which lead into the passion week. The story of the rich ruler, the story of Zacchaeus, and the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Read Luke 18:18-30 together.
Profile this rich ruler. Together dig into what was going on here with him. Think the 5 w’s. Who, what, when, where, why? Who was he (according to the sermon), What was his true motivation? When in his life did this conversation take place? Where did he approach Jesus and what are the implications of that? Why was he interested in talking to Jesus? Why did he want eternal life? Why was he preserved in biblical memory like this? How would you identify this type of person in a church today? Or possibly a better question, how would you ever know if you are this type of person?
What did Jesus tell him, and what was his reaction?
What is your reaction to this encounter? Is Jesus being reasonable in his requirements for eternal life? Is Jesus actually demanding this level of commitment from people today? The answer is ‘yes’, but in what way?
Jesus demands us to be all in, in every way. Yet, this is seemingly impossible.
Look at the next passage together. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10
Let’s ask the same questions of him that we did of the rich ruler above. Think the 5 w’s. Who, what, when, where, why? Who was Zacchaeus (it’s ok to be honest here, there’s really no charitable way of characterizing him), What was his motivation? When in his life did this conversation with Jesus take place? Where did he approach Jesus and what were the implications of that for him? Why was he interested in talking to Jesus? In what ways did his encounter with Christ defy his expectations.
In terms of who he was before encountering Jesus, how would you identify this type of person in a church today? Still a better question, how would you ever know if you are this type of person? Maybe not in terms of money, but there are a lot of ways to use those around you.
Now we have here the stories of 2 very different men. Both were well established. One was ruler, one was wildly wealthy. One was deeply moral, the other was morally despicable. One walked away from true salvation to preserve himself, the other gave himself up and received salvation. In the upside down kingdom of heaven we’re left with this perpetual paradox.
In Matthew 20:16 Jesus says, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” And in Matthew 16:25 Jesus says, “For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.”
Time for the passage. Read Luke 19:28-40 together.
What are your impressions of this passage? Who are the players here? Ask some W questions of them. Think of the disciples, the crowds, the religious rulers, and finally of Jesus.
Pastor Jeremy, in reflecting on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, noted that our Lord was rejected because of the religious leaders attempt to cling to power. Power, and influence offered them by Rome as long as they kept the peace. How does Jesus statement in v40 push against this idea of maintaining a false peace?
Notice the theme established. At every encounter, Jesus is intentionally, actively, and sometimes forcefully (think the cleansing of the temple) pushing against people false and misplaced peace. For anyone who took the time to pay attention and take stock of their life, we see that they were challenged to give up comfort, control, and recognize that they never had these things in the first place. Jesus is not just our hope for the next life, but he is the hero of this life here and now.
Like we said above, Jesus demands that we're all in. But since that's impossible, Jesus did the impossible for us. He went all in when we couldn't and gave up his very life so we would be saved.
Rhonda summed this all up well when she posted, “The triumphal entry. The “experts” who “should have known” didn’t get it. The unlikely and unwanted were the ones who cried out....
“B L E S S E D is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”...
Nothing and no one that sees and understand can remain silent.“
This passion week, take stock. Who is the real hero of your story? Who is the hero of your family story, your career story, your neighbourhood story, your church story, your future? When you dream of great things yet to come, who is the hero of those dreams? Remember Matthew 16:25 when Jesus says, “For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.” He lost his life so yours could be saved…. But saved for something. This week, spend some time meditating on what the Bible says your life has been saved for. Spoiler alert: The answer involves you talking to non-Christians how he saved you! Like Rhonda wrote, once you see this, you can’t keep silent!
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