Two thousand years ago a young Jewish carpenter began to preach in Galilee. At the heart of his message was the call for a rebel world to return to its rightful ruler: “The right time has come” he said, and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15)
Most Jewish people were hoping for a political Messiah or maybe even a military leader who would usher in a time of revolt and victory over their oppressors, the Roman Empire. The Kingdom of God they were looking for was quite different from the Kingdom signs Jesus lived.
This week we are leaving the birth stories of Jesus to see who he is as a man and the Messiah. As you read chapter 23 in The Story spend some time reflecting on who Jesus is, letting the stories in this chapter guide you. What do you learn about Jesus as you
-Watch him being baptized
-Listen to John the Baptist talk about him
-See him calling followers
-Listen to his conversation with Nicodemus
-Hear the woman at the well talk with him
-See him heal the sick and cast out demons
-Consider how he dealt with the religious leaders of his day
-Questions for the Week
1. At the baptism of Jesus (The Story, pp. 322), what did the people see and hear and how did this clarify who Jesus was?
2. In what ways were the temptations of Jesus “real” temptations? Did Jesus have the freedom to truly accept or reject these temptations?
3. What types of persons in our contemporary world might represent the “Samaritan” in story of the woman at the well?
4. What are the implications for us of his association with her?
Prayer Time- As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get you started:
Pray that you will recognize the grace of God’s Kingdom in our midst and breaking into your life.
Thank God for sending Jesus to be our Messiah and the Savior of the world.
Personal Action—When Jesus called Levi (Matthew) to follow him, new relational bridges were built (The Story, p. 331). In this New Year, commit to building new relationships among your co-workers and/or making new friends.
Looking ahead- Take time before Sunday, January 17 to read more about the life of Jesus in chapter 24.