03.22.2020 | GOD, PART 2 | Wk 8: “A New Prophet”
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What is something you’ve wanted to change this year, but haven’t been able to yet?
Reflect on the situation in Jerusalem at Jesus’ arrival.
- Israel has suffered under Roman rule, oppression, & occupation for almost 100 years.
- There was increasing anticipation that the Messiah (a warrior king) would arrive to defeat the enemies of God like in the past (i.e., the Exodus, David, Judges, etc.)
- During Passover, all of Jerusalem would retell & re-enact the Exodus Story (God raising a deliverer to defeat Pharaoh & Egypt).
- The city would triple in population size that week.
- Recently, riots & revolts had sprung up during Passover – leading to violent Roman response.
Read Matthew 21:1-11. Everything about Jesus’ entrance reflects Messianic & kingly imagery.
What stands out to you about Jesus’ arrival? How do you think this would have impacted the city?
What are the people cheering for Jesus expecting as he arrives in this way? How does this conflict with what Jesus has said he came to do (go back to ch. 16 if you need a refresher)?
Why do you think Jesus enters in this way?
Next, read Matthew 21:12-17. After entering Jerusalem as a King, Jesus goes straight to the Temple & acts out as a prophet – shutting down the Temple & speaking out against the leaders of Israel.
Why do you think Jesus targets the Temple for his prophetic action? What message do you think this sent?
Why do you think Jesus shuts down the money changing tables? What does his line in verse 13 bring to mind?
Why does Jesus follow up this public action & rebuke with healing the blind & lame? (THINK: Jesus is placing himself in the role of Israel & its Temple in some way…)
Finally, read Matthew 21:18-22. The fig tree was a symbol of Israel & its leadership in Jewish thought. Jesus ends this section with a symbolic action – he goes to the fig tree to find fruit & instead finds no fruit.
How does this fit into the previous story & Jesus’ prophetic actions in the Temple?
Altogether – what do these stories teach us about what Jesus came to do?
Getting Out of the Hole
Take time this week to reflect on what it means that Jesus is a new Prophet calling Israel to follow a different path.
- Where, in this season, do you need to make a change?
- What might Jesus be calling you to do to change paths?
- Where have you grown complacent & what might help you jump back onto the path of growth?
Journal about your answers to these questions & pray for insights. Share your experience with the group next week!
Matthew Commentary by Stanley Hauerwas
Simply Jesus by NT Wright
Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright
Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament by Chris Wright
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, March 29: Join us for the next week of our series GOD PT 2, where we will be looking at how Jesus calls the people of God to produce New Kingdom Fruit in the world.
* Please see mye3.org for details.