It’s the holiest week of the year, a time to contemplate Jesus’ sufferings for us. We will finish Reeve’s message and walk those final hours with Him to the cross. Life is getting harder, persecution increasing, and we need to absolutely know how deep His love is for us so we do not faint.
Beginning April 16th, I’m beginning a series that I needed, and is ministering to me, and I so hope you’ll join us. This quote by J. I. Packer inspired me:
If you want to judge a person’s relationship, find out what it means to him that God is his father.
J. I. Packer
The series is called: “Abba, Father.”
Each week I’ll draw from a classic book about relating to God as our “Abba, Father.” If you want to do this in a small group, each week there will be a word document to download. Homework will be fairly light but aimed at penetrating our hearts. We’ll be standing on the shoulders of people like J. I. Packer, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Tim Keller, and others. Scriptures will be illuminated and our hearts filled with confidence that we are indeed, so loved, despite the evil in this world increasing, as He said it would.
Holy Week and Resurrection Week are perfect ways to lead into this, showing us the depth and power of God’s love. Oh Lord, help us walk with You this Holy Week, remembering what You did out of love for us.
God Hunt Sunday:
1. How have you experienced the love of God or the risenness of Christ this week?
Monday: Weep with Those Who Weep
Reeves began his sermon remembering having to preach right after learning his dad was dying and it was too far and too late to go to him. He said there are great truths from the gospel to give us hope, but there is a time to share them and a time simply to “be there.” Recently a dear friend is facing incredible suffering, but I blew it again. I so wanted to help her in her pain that I stuttered, pointed out a possible “silver lining,” and in so doing, poured vinegar on her wound.
2. Read page 6 of Reeve’s transcript (above) through “Do it gently.” What do you learn about ministering to believers who are suffering?
3. Meditate on Proverbs 25:20.
A. What comparison is made? Why?
B. All of us have had hard things said to us in times of suffering. Why is it important to look at the heart of the supposed comforter?
C. What has ministered to you most in times of suffering?
Tuesday: If God is Good, Why Do We Suffer?
4. Finish reading Reeves’ transcript.
A. What do you learn from his paragraph that begins: “But suffering is not where we should finish this morning.”
B. What does Satan whisper to us in our suffering according to Reeves?
C. Has this happened to you? How did you overcome the lie, if you did?
D. What stood out to you from Reeve’s closing and why?
Some call this spy Wednesday because there was a spy among the disciples.
5. Read John 18:1-6
A. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
B. Here again, as often in John, Jesus says “I AM” — do you remember the significance of this saying?
C. What happened when Jesus said “I AM HE?” Why, do you think?
6. So often in Christian movies, Judas is made sympathetic, but Scripture does not. What do you learn about this “spy” from the following?
A. John 17:12
B. John 12:4-6
C. Luke 22:1-6
D. Psalm 41:9
7. To overcome sin, instead of trying harder, preach the gospel to yourself. You are Jesus’s familiar friend. Why would you betray Him with sin? Have you spoken this to your soul and has it helped? If not, how might you prepare to do so when you are tempted today?
Maundy means “commandment’ referring to the “new commandment” Jesus gave at the Last Supper.
8. Read John 13:34. What is the new commandment?
9. Read 1 John 2:7-11
A. God has always told us to love one another, so what does John say in verse 7?
B. So why is it new according to verses 8-9?
C. Jesus gave this new commandment after washing the disciples’ feet. Point?
D. What startling comment does John make in 1 John 2:9-11?
10. This is such a tall command! How we fail to love our brother. How I fail! Take some time to confess your sins and ask God to change your heart here, either silently or write them for all to see.
Prepare your heart with this.
11. Jesus was on the cross from 9 to 3. During this time meditate on John 19. Share anything that becomes radioactive. Fast if you choose to do so and confess and turn from your sins.
12. Catholics celebrate this as the time Jesus descended into hell and preached. I do not believe this happened, though it is in some versions of the Apostle’s Creed. Or it may be what I believe to be a misinterpretation of 1 Peter 3:18-19. This is such a hard passage even Martin Luther said he didn’t know what it meant. I think it means that Christ preached through Noah but they didn’t listen and now their chances are over. Thoughts?
13. Read Matthew 27:62-67. Thoughts?
14. Why is it important that Christ truly died?
15. What is your take-a-way this Holy Week and why?