PART 4 – WHEN THE SUN STOPPED SHINING (9/4/20)
If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)
This week, and next, we will be focussing our devotions around the Easter theme. We will focus on two chapters only - Luke 23 & 24.
Please read Luke 23:44-49.
Whilst Jesus was on the cross, darkness came over the land for three hours. This is a supernatural darkness. God is speaking through this sign. What does this darkness signify?
Principally this points to the central reason for the cross; Jesus was on the cross as our substitute. He was going to judgement in our place. Isaiah prophesied the substitutionary work of Jesus,
‘Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ (Isaiah 53:4-6)
This darkness was an outward manifestation of a spiritual truth. God often reinforces and teaches through physical and visual things. This darkness reminds us of the penultimate plague of utter darkness that led to Israel’s release from Egypt. This was followed by the final plague of the death of the firstborn (or the death of a lamb as a substitute). In this vision of the cross, we are seeing God’s judgment of darkness on Jesus and the death of God’s only Son in order to free us. The testimony of this darkness teaches and assures us of the completed work of Jesus on our behalf.
We are in dark circumstances at the moment. Different aspects of this lockdown period will affect each of us differently. When the sun stops shining, what can we do? Look to this moment, spend some time meditating on today’s verses from Luke 23:44-49. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to see that Jesus’ suffering in this utter darkness for us brings the light of God’s love for us into our lives.
Here's a song that speaks of God's faithfulness when it feels like the sun has stopped shining.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – JESUS GOES TO THE CROSS
What aspect of the Easter story do you find most powerful and why?
Introduction - please read in your group
This week, and next, we will be focussing our devotions around the Easter theme. This week we are thinking about the death of Jesus, principally, from Luke 23. All four of the gospels tell of this notice being placed on Jesus’ cross,
“There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.” (Luke 23:38)
Although the authorities were mocking Jesus with this sign, it is also a great truth - Jesus is the King of Kings. Jesus is the King by virtue of being God. His death was a great act of humility and service to this sinful world.
Please discuss/share together
i) Please read Luke 23:26, 9:23, 14:27 – What does it mean for us to carry the cross in our lives? Do you have any examples that you would like to share?
ii) Please read Luke 23:38 - Jesus is being presented through this account as a king (the word king or kingdom appears 6 times in this chapter). What might God's reasons be for highlighting Jesus' identity in this way to us? How does His Lordship affect your everyday life?
ii) Please read Luke 23:44-46 – What does this say about how the cross saves us?
If you can, please connect in groups of men or women. On Sunday we spoke about temptation from Matthew 6:13. Is there any temptation that you are dealing with that you'd like to share and pray about?
If it's not possible to get into gender groups, please go around your group, each one sharing what they would like prayer for at the moment. Pray for each person in turn.
Please pray for our nation, government and Boris Johnson, currently in hospital.
Pray for our Easter Sunday service.
Please share from this week’s Church News.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - SHARE THE INVITATION TO OUR EASTER SERVICE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!