The Kingdom of God

This week’s video and Scripture readings focus on the Gospel of the Kingdom. Sunday, April 5, is Palm Sunday, when we commemorate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that kick-starts the series of events leading to his death and resurrection. The sham trial of Jesus and his unjust execution seemed like a tragedy to his friends and family. Yet for Jesus, his death was an expression of the love of God as he entered into our suffering so that he could overcome it. In the story of Jesus, we are invited to see that even the most unwelcome and tragic events cannot thwart God’s plan to restore our world. It seemed a particularly good study for the days of “safer-at-home.”

In this video, we traced the origins of the word “gospel” and how it ties the story of the Old Testament together with the story of Jesus and his announcement of God’s kingdom. Jesus brought God’s rule and reign to the world in a very upside-down way, which is the best news you could ask for.

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?

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.

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?

Brought to us through the good work of the The Bible Project.

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