During this past Lent I read through Jürgen Moltmann‘s classic work The Crucified God. I am just finishing it up, but it is both an intellectually challenging and deeply moving book. As I draw near to the end, there are some real jewels in his writing. In my mind, the entire book was worth reading simply to encounter this profound paragraph.
When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man’s godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religions, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.
Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1974), 276.
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “A King and His Kingdom,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series “The Kingdom Life.” The text for this week is from Luke 24:1-12.
- What is your favorite memory of Easter time?
- This weekend we celebrate Easter and begin a new series entitled “The Kingdom Life.” We focus on Luke 24:1-12 this week. Begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you as you study His word. Then read that passage out loud.
- What do you notice about the women from 24:1-9 and 22-23?
- What do the two figures, later called ‘angels’ (24:23), say to the women (24:5-7)?
- What sort of impact does it have on the women?
- When they return to the Eleven (apostles minus Judas) and the others gathered with them in Jerusalem, what is the disciples’ response to the message of the women (24:9-11)?
- Why do you think they responded in that way? How might you have responded if you were in their situation?
- Peter rushes to the tomb to see for himself (24:12). What about Peter’s experience with Jesus may have led him to do this?
- Which group of people do you relate to more in their response to the resurrection: the women, the disciples, or Peter? Why?
- What is one way that God is speaking to you personally about the resurrection of Jesus through this study? If you’re on your own, write it down and share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, discuss this together.
Daily Reading Plan
To encourage us together in our growth with God, we arranged a daily reading plan through this series. You can also join in with the daily devotional here. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.
Saturday, Apr 15 Luke 22:66-23:56
Sunday, Apr 16 Luke 24:1-12
Monday, Apr 17 Matthew 28:1-7
Tuesday, Apr 18 Mark 15:42-47
Wednesday, Apr 19 John 20:1-9
Thursday, Apr 20 Acts 2:22-36
Friday, Apr 21 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Saturday, Apr 22 Luke 24:13-35
This weekend at Eastbrook Church we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and began a new series, “The Kingdom Life,” which corresponds with our Lenten journey to the Cross. This first message in the series is entitled “A King and His Kingdom” and looks at Luke’s resurrection narrative from Luke 24:1-12.
You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Also, you are welcome to join in with the daily reading plan for this series.
Read More »
This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and also begin a new series at Eastbrook Church entitled “The Kingdom Life.” In this part of our journey we explore what is happening in the resurrection and what it means for our life. We ask questions like: what sort of King is this?; what sort of Kingdom did He bring?; where are we and what is happening in this Kingdom Life?
Join us for this eight-week series which continues our journey through the Gospel of Luke. You may also want to explore the previous parts of this journey:
I wrote three short poems as part of our Crossroads devotional for Lent at Eastbrook Church. I include them below. You can access the entire Crossroads devotional here.
“With loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.” (Luke 23:23-24)
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)
No law can withstand human demands.
No governor forestalls foregone conclusions.
We stand amidst the crowd, shouting
for the death of our God to satisfy
our thirst. With no words for the crowd
and no words for Pilate, Jesus submits
meekly to the grinding gears. No tears
now from the King who is not of this world.
No harsh rebuke of a holy and awesome God.
No one leaps to His aid. No angels descend
from the skies. No one stops what has now
been set into motion. The cold, cruel world
reaches out for destruction, but still,
even still, there is divine intention.
Hidden – within and without – from our eye,
God is working, transforming our reality.
* * *
Without fanfare, the King of Glory is pinned
with gory force upon the beams of wood.
The people watch with voiceless stares.
The sneering rulers speak their fears.
The soldiers mock with maiming force.
Overhead the notice speaks sharp
truth: this is the King of the Jews.
With no apparent human heroism,
His snapping skeleton – a bloody body –
hangs heavy as God’s heart becomes a wound
opened wide with welcome for all who wash
their weary selves within its messy flow.
Still now He hangs at God’s cross purposes
as holiness and grace collide with fire.
The vulture views the spectacle and waits,
as all earth’s air is drained out of God’s lungs.
* * *
In the clamoring cacophony
echoing around the execution,
unseen divine intimacy unveils
to human eyes and ears.
His heaving body, suffocating
with evil, wheezes out a prayer:
pleading, surrendering, commending.
The drama of humanity’s weakness
and God’s strength transfixed at
the crossroads, takes a hard
turn into unexpected avenues
as Messiah gasps, shudders and dies.
Darkness descends and everyone
gapes in stunned silence:
‘What have we done?
What has He done?’