We’re done with The Story till the first Sunday of September. Throughout the summer, I want to focus on the Old Testament imagery in the New Testament and help us see how Jesus embodies the narrative of Israel and help us better understand our calling as a church. We’re starting this Sunday with a communion service where we will look at how Jesus took the narrative of Israel, embodied in the practice of Passover, and reimagined it in a new narrative in his life, death, burial, and resurrection. We all come to the Table with a diversity of narratives. These narratives shape who we are. When we take up the bread and the wine in Communion together, we take up a common narrative as we move forward. Let’s look back together as we look forward to what Christ has called us to.
- How does this narrative shape Israel’s identity?
- Every generation of Jews retells this narrative in a way that it becomes their own. They say, “You brought us up out of Egypt,” as if they were there. How does retelling this narrative in that way shape their identity as a people? How does it shape their understanding of God?
- What is Israel’s position in the narrative? How should their position shape the way they treat oppressed people?
The Exiles are back in Jerusalem and the Temple has been rebuilt. Ezra and Nehemiah get the people together for spiritual renewal and have a 7-Day Toray Marathon. They celebrate the Feast of Booths (Festival of Tabernacles). In chapter 9, they confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors. These booths are what the farmers live in during the harvest and also the type of housing they had during the Exodus from Egypt.
- Why is it important that the people confess their sins while they retell their narrative with God?
- Why is it important that they share in the sins of their ancestors?
- Where is God in this narrative?
- What are things in your narrative that you leave out that would be good but hard to tell in your narrative?
- Take a moment to write your story, both good and bad. Consider sharing it with your family. Share where God has worked through these things.
Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples is within the context of the Passover. Consider the narrative of Israel that you’ve read the last two days while you read this passage.
- What does Jesus do with Israel’s narrative? How does this shape your view of the Lord’s Supper?
- What does this mean for the disciples moving forward? What does it mean for the disciples that Jesus eagerly desired to eat this Passover with them before he suffered.
- Take a moment to put yourself in each character’s place in the story. What does this reveal about yourself?
- How does your narrative connect with the Last Supper?
John structures his gospel account differently than the other gospel writers. He moves Jesus’ clearing of the Temple to the beginning of his gospel so that everything you read in Jesus’ story is see through that lens. The Jews were looking for the Messiah to restore the Temple. Pay attention to the dialogue in that story. At the end of it, John mentions that Jesus was there for Passover. John places the Passover in the minds of his readers so that the narrative of Israel is present in their minds while they read Jesus’ story.
John 2:13-23 and 13:1-38
- How does Jesus embodying of the Temple shape how you might read the Gospel of John?
- What does God’s presence in Jesus as the Temple change about how you might view the narrative of the Passover?
- In chapter 13, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet in the middle of the Passover meal. What does this action mean for how they are to view and act towards one another in taking The Lord’s Supper?
- It is easy to view yourself as above others, to not view them as fully human in how you treat them. Jesus’ actions here are an example of what the Lord’s Supper does for us as a community. Who do you struggle to see as someone worthy of serving? Allow this meal we take together to shape how you view and act towards those people.
Peter writes to Gentiles using Jewish language of being “diaspora” or “aliens.” He is connecting them to the narrative of Israel because we all take on this narrative together as God’s people. We’ve walked through the narrative of the Passover this week together. We’ve reflected on the original story, Nehemiah’s account of the people confessing their sins in connection with the larger narrative of Israel, and a few of the Gospel accounts of Jesus placing the Lord’s Supper in the middle of the Passover.
1 Peter 1:1-25
- The prophets (authors of the OT) searched intently for the glory that you have in Jesus Christ. The angels longed to see it! You’ve received the Holy Spirit within you, the glory of the Temple. You are the Body of Christ. Your narrative has blended with the narrative of Jesus Christ. How does this shape your approach to the Lord’s Supper?
- As you come around the Table, God calls you to “Be holy, because I am holy.” Your narrative has changed as it has encountered the narrative of Christ on the cross. What areas of your life need to be transformed more into the image of Christ?
- In verse 19, Peter points to the Passover, referencing Christ’s blood. When we take of the cup in the Lord’s Supper, we lay our narrative down to take up the narrative of Christ. What narratives do you live by that need to be placed on the alter?
- We’re called to live as aliens here. The Lord’s Supper is our reminder of where we have come from and where we are going. How does the Lord’s Supper shape your identity of citizenship?