10:15 I Facebook Live
Well friends, we’re all one week into the national emergency due to the COVID-19 virus. How y’all doing? I’m sure the answers are all over the board. And our answers say much about us — things like where we work, what personality type we have, where we gather our information. But most importantly, this is a great time to find out what we truly value. Testing has a way of making some things clear to us that we can’t see when life is easy, when nothing is asked of us. And what is testing but a time of being asked for things? Let’s dig in this week and see how Jesus handles this, and what it has to teach us, and let’s see why his answers let the crowds utterly amazed.
Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of March 4, 2018
DON’T ASK FOR WHOM THE ROOSTER CROWS... / John Ray
Key Text: John 18:12-27 (NET)
THE SET UP
None of us is that different from Peter. We are all “accused” of following Jesus in a variety of ways and situations. What’s our response?
1. Who was the high priest? Read Exodus 28 and Leviticus 21:10-14.
2. Read a little more about Jesus’ teaching openly in the temple.
John 2:14, John 5:14, John 7:14, John 8:1-11, Matthew 21:12-13,
Matthew 21: 14-16, Matthew 21:23-46
List one word summarizing each of these teaching experiences; for example: John 2:14 Restoring
Interested in what archaeologists think the setting of the high priest’s courtyard
might have looked like? See this article with models for more insight.
GRACE IN 3D
Faithfulness Squares As a warm-up activity in your group, give each person a copy of the attached page. Each of the squares lists something that has to do with faithfulness. People should visit among themselves, asking someone else to initial a square, if, for example, they can name a character in a movie who was faithful, even when others weren’t.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Take some time to consider the answers that are offered by Jesus and by Peter in this story. Dig beneath the obvious to consider what is motivating
their respective answers. Who is easier to identity with? Why? Since both Jesus and Peter are being questioned in this text, what does it teach us?
Peter is an enigma in the Bible, complex and full of contradiction. We have to be careful not to “pigeonhole” him based on a single story. Consider his
response here in light of others, like Matthew 16:13-20 and Acts 4:1-4. Does this help you identify more closely with him? How might you have replied if
you were in his position? If all of us will in someway be accused like Peter, what are we to learn from his response?
What is it that changes Peter’s denial later to a bold confession? What is it that changes ours? Something Peter witnessed, and that each of us must
experience as well, takes away the power of death over us. When we compare Peter’s response here with how he responds after
the resurrection, we find a key experience that likewise promises to change us.
Lent is a time purposely set apart to help us focus, seriously consider our lives and the effects of our choices, attitudes and actions. We can take the opportunity to submit our imaginations to Jesus’ story. Images, art, song, poetry, and literature are all able to enrich our spiritual growth in this season. If you haven’t already, check out the Biola Lent Project’s daily devotions.
• This week’s text is a tale of two interrogations. Read Meda Stamper’s commentary.
• What if I deny Jesus? Read this post by Paul Ellis.
• Listen to Michael Card’s song about Peter. Journal or consider how you relate to Peter’s opportunities and the grace given to him.
Why do we still deny and go back to things we shouldn’t? Read this article and spend some time considering what triggers your fright and flight
How can we grow in our faithfulness? In this blogpost, Nicky Gumbel challenges us to model God’s faithfulness.
For the next couple of weeks we look at Jesus’ interaction with Pilate in John 18:28-40. There’s so much for us to learn from this exchange.
Each day, read the scripture with emphasis on the bolded text. Spend some time
in prayer and reflection, journaling about the effect of this scripture in your life.
Monday: 25 Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” Peter
denied it: “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the orchard with him?” 27 Then Peter denied it again, and immediately the rooster crowed.
Tuesday: 25 Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” Peter denied it: “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the orchard with him?” 27 Then Peter denied it again, and immediately the rooster crowed.
Wednesday: 25 Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” Peter denied it: “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the orchard with him?” 27 Then Peter denied it again, and immediately the rooster crowed.
Thursday: 25 Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” Peter denied it: “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the orchard with him?” 27 Then Peter denied it again, and immediately the rooster crowed.
Friday: 25 Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” Peter denied it: “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the orchard with him?” 27 Then Peter denied it again, and immediately the rooster crowed.
To print the learning guide, download a PDF here.
Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of March 11, 2018
WHAT IS THE TRUTH? / John Ray
Key Text: John 18:28-40 (NET)
THE SET UP
Truth is found in the person of Jesus
The Jewish leaders did not go into Pilate’s residence, as the touch of a Gentile, or being present in a Gentile’s home, would make them ceremonially unclean, as if they had touched a dead body. Look up Numbers 9:6-13 for more about this.
What was the good, final effect about celebrating Passover together in this historical account?
Read 2 Chronicles 30:1-27.
Look up Revelation 3:20. What does it have to say about calling, listening, and celebrating a meal together?
Why did the Jewish leaders choose to stay outside Pilate’s praetorium? Read here and see a researcher’s rendering of what this elaborate residence of the governor might have looked like.
GRACE IN 3D
Have some fun listening and (mis)understanding what someone is truly saying by playing a little Hearing Things Game. You might already own the game, or be able to borrow it from a friend, or design your own similar-type activity for some group fun.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It’s pretty evident, as we look around and also examine our own lives, that as we get older, the less receptive to new ideas and information we become. In fact, it often takes a really traumatic situation for many of to change our minds about anything really important once we hit adulthood. So how do we continue to really learn, not just seek information to affirm what we already know? What does the process of continually learning look like? How do we begin to recognize what things are helpful to us and what things limit our ability to learn?
Bottom Line: To know the Truth we have to let go of other “truths”.
It’s not wrong to want to be certain about specific things and know that it is “settled”. To be constantly evaluating, questioning and testing can be exhausting. At the same time, failing to recognize our presuppositions and things “we take for granted” can stunt our ability to change. So what would it look like to think of knowing Truth as an ongoing process, something we need to grow and cultivate, instead of assuming Truth was something static that we collect and store up. What is your approach to the knowing what is true?
Bottom Line: Knowing Truth is a dynamic process, not a formulaic certainty.
One thing’s for certain, change can be scary. We all see in our own lives and the lives of others the tendency to keep doing harmful or unproductive things simply because they are comfortable. Have you ever encountered a situation where you were reluctant to admit something was true because if you did it would require change? Have you ever avoided challenging your beliefs because of what you were afraid might happen if it turned out you were wrong about something?
Bottom Line: Knowing the Truth means following the Truth and that will cost us.
Take some time this week to think about a time or situation when something you believed to be absolutely true, turned out to not really be true at all. What did that feel like?
When Jesus says, “Yes, I am,” it is not the safest thing for Him to say. In fact, it put Him at risk for being condemned for high treason.
The words for truth appear in Matthew once and in Mark and in Luke three times, yet appear in John twenty-five times! Will we choose truth?
Rev. Tom Truby writes, “The unveiling of truth is the meaning of apocalypse, not some God-driven cataclysmic destruction of the world.”
Author and teacher Suki Kim was shocked by the lack of access to truth and ease of lying she encountered as she had the rare opportunity to work with students in North Korea.
Technology has opened up a new frontier for deceit, and researchers are finding out some very interesting things about what makes us lie and be gullible to untruths. And apparently we like passing on lies more than we like sharing truth.
“And power may be something you must address with courage, which is the truth,” Elie Wiesel says in this interview regarding human rights and abuse of power.
GRACE IN THE MOMENT
In this week’s blog, Jane Ray writes in reflection on chapter six of Liturgy of the Ordinary: fighting with my husband-passing the peace and the everyday work of shalom.
Next week Andrew Brewer takes the point on leading us through the second half of Jesus interactions with Pilate in John 19:1-16
Part of vulnerability is recognizing if there are any lies that are embedded in your soul and mind that are not scriptural. Do you struggle with negative self-thinking? What about doubt? Were there voices speaking into your life during your developmental years who impacted the truth of who you are, and who Christ is? Make a T-chart in your journal, or just a two-column notepad, titling one truth, and one Truth. Spend some time in quiet reflecting and recording things in both columns. Pray about any changes that need to happen, and consider how you can immediately, or with progress, erase or cross a line through the truths that could be holding you back.
Find a PDF of this Learning Guide here.
To print the learning guide, click the PDF icon
Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of March 18th, 2018
WHO'S REALLY IN CHARGE HERE? / Andrew Brewer
Key Text: John 19:1-15 (NET)
Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of March 25th, 2018
FAMOUS LAST WORDS / Norma Farthing
Key Text: John 19: 16-37 (NET)
The power and kingship of Jesus is like nothing the world has ever seen. The manner of his condemnation and death reveals the magnitude in which King Jesus loves his people--all people.
Why a crucifixion? Read here for some thoughts by R.C. Sproul on the fulfillment of prophecy and the operations of the Romans and Jews living at the time of Jesus’ trial and sentence.
What does Psalm 22 have to say about fear, power, and the authority of Jesus? On a notepad, sketch a 3-column chart with Fear, Power, and Authority at the top of each column and record some notes as you read.
Who were the high priests, and why were they so threatened by Jesus?
Our text continues to unfold this week inside the mansion of Pilate. Click here to see a researcher’s rendering of what Pilate’s residence might have looked like.
Continuing on the following week into the scene of the crucifixion at Golgotha, click here, and here for discussion on the location where Jesus was crucified, and here for a map/visual aid.
Geologists think they have found specifics about the earthquake at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.
GRACE IN 3D
As a quick conversation starter, ask people in your group these fast-fire questions:
In one word, name something that causes you fear.
Over what one thing do you most enjoy having power?
In general, would you say you respect authority or rebel against it?
Spend some time reflecting on the last words of Jesus on the cross. Why might these be important, and what might they tell us about what Jesus thought was most important in the last moments before His death?
Read here for a deep dive into some of the political and religious posturing around the trial of Jesus in this week’s text, prompting the question “What do you believe about Jesus as the All-powerful King?”
With authority comes responsibility for decisions. Who held the power and the responsibility for the death of Jesus?
One of the concepts we are considering this week is fear informing what we worship. Joseph Bradshaw explores this idea in depth here.
“But if this is the story of a traditional messiah-king, it is the most stunning political failure in the history of the world. Something else must be going on.” Sherri Brown writes this commentary on our text for next week.
Read here for more information on the stations of the cross as we observe Holy Week.
“Like the Israelites at the bottom of Mount Sinai, I can become impatient and choose my own truth to follow,”
As we watch the narrative unfold again at the cross, consider these reflections on good movie-making. What parallels do you see between this author’s thoughts and the greatest story ever told?
Rembrandt imagined and painted himself at the scene of the crucifixion in The Raising of the Cross. In this commentary, the writer notes, “We too must go from the darkness of our current life to the light of the next, once we reach, dead or alive, union with the divine and find the Christ within ourselves. It can be a struggle to get there.” If you could, would you put yourself in the scene? How would you envision your representation?
Jesus’ response to the mocking and torture are counter-culture and revolutionary.
What are your reflections and prayers as you consider Jesus’ road to resurrection? Read this poem by Vinita Hampton Wright, Good Friday Reflection.
Oswald Chambers comments here on Jesus’ last words
LOOKING AHEAD - HOLY WEEK AT GRACE
Mark your calendar for Holy Week at Grace. Christ the King Anglican Church will have a Stations of the Cross self-guided reflection walk set up in the worship center on Good Friday afternoon, March 30.
The Evening of March 30th, we will have a Tenebrae service in the wooded area behind our building around the campfire. Bring your lawn chairs or a blanket for seating.
Easter Morning we will have a short sunrise service in the same wooded area, and then our celebratory all-family worship at 10:15 on April 1.
Remember the challenge to write a haiku? It’s three lines of text, with the first line containing 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the third 5 syllables. Construct a haiku prayer or reflection in your devotional time as you approach the cross and the empty tomb.
Example: Mocked in crown and robe
How do we become blinded?
Jesus, Lamb of God