Grow Deep: Unlikely Outcomes Edition, Week 1

Week 1: April 1-7

Unlikely Invitation

“… You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen;
He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
  - Mark 16:6

What were you expecting when you got up this morning? A shower? Getting dressed? A healthy breakfast? Inspired worship? An afternoon of activity? 

What were the women at the tomb expecting that first Easter morning? To anoint the body of Jesus? Guards? A huge stone?

What do you think Jesus was expecting after His resurrection? People who were amazed? Who refused to believe? Who were afraid?

Regardless of their reaction or belief, each person who encountered the risen Christ that first Easter encountered what they thought was unlikely! They saw Jesus! They saw Him as Himself, but in a glorified body. Jesus did not “change” into a god. He was God but was still fully human—fully able to comprehend what it means to be hungry, to have human emotions, and to maintain personal relationships.

His resurrection was the beginning of a clearer understanding of the “fullness of God” that Jesus proclaimed in all He said and did. By His death and resurrection, Jesus, the Great High Priest, opened the path to the Father in heaven through prayer and in His Word. And He invites each of us to share in His priestly ministry.

Accept His invitation. Come, expecting to see Jesus--the One who is superior to all others … the One who is fully God and fully man … yet, sinless … the One who is superior to the angels, offering salvation and hope beyond what the Law of Moses could provide … the One who became the “first fruits offering of the harvest” … the One whose blood was the only sacrifice superior to that of animals … and the one and only Sacrifice that completely covers all our sin. His death was the eternal sacrifice for sin; His resurrection is the proof that the sacrifice was acceptable to God. Death couldn’t hold Him, and it won’t hold us. Yes, we will all die, but like Jesus, we will live again!

As you read through the Scriptures for this week and reflect on the questions, come. Come with your own unlikely expectations … come and see the resurrected Jesus!

 

Sunday, April 1

Read: Mark 16:1-9

The three women who came early in the morning to the tomb heard a most startling message. They had no experiences in their lives that would help them get their heads around what the angel told them. Completely confused, they ran away from the scene in fear.

Reflect: What would you feel if you went to the gravesite of a loved one and found the grave open and empty? Would you be confused? Fearful? What would you do? Do you think the women eventually did what the angel had told them: tell Peter and the disciples? Why was it comforting for them to know that they would see Jesus in Galilee?

For the Family: What did the women discover when they went to the tomb? Who was the man dressed in the white robe? Why should the women have been happy about the news he shared? Why should we?

 

Monday, April 2 

Read: Hebrews 1

Jesus holds a unique position. He was not created (like the angels), but is the Creator of all things, over which the Father gives Him reign. As God’s “right hand man,” Jesus is given authority equal to God Himself. This is an inseparable relationship of Christ with the Father, clearly supporting the doctrine of the Trinity.

Reflect: Jesus did not lose His position when He was born as a human. He was always fully God, to be worshipped by angels. List the differences between angels and Jesus. What special position does Jesus hold in His relationship with God the Father? How does the resurrection of Jesus verify His position? 

For the Family: Look at verses 4-6 again. What do we learn about angels? About Jesus? How is Jesus superior to angels? How do the angels honor Jesus? How can we honor Him?

 

Tuesday, April 3

Read: Hebrews 2

How important is it for us that Jesus became flesh? It was God’s plan from the beginning. How else could God gain an intimate relationship with His creation and understand how we are tempted, how we hurt, and what we need? It is almost inconceivable that God would design this plan of salvation. But He did.

Reflect: Why do you think that Jesus understands how difficult your life can be? What does it mean to you to be in a relationship with Jesus that makes Him your brother? Why do you think God even cares for such insignificant creatures as we are? For what reason are we of any value to Him?

For the Family: What do verses 14-18 tell us about Jesus? Why is it important to know that Jesus became human? Thank God for coming to us as a human to save us from sin and the devil.

 

Wednesday, April 4

Read: Hebrews 3:1-6

When we think of all that Moses did, we might be astonished at his leadership. But he was nothing without God. God directed the events (built the house) in which Moses served. Jesus is an even greater servant and resident with us in God’s house, built not with human hands.

Reflect: A fabulous house might command our attention, but the builder gets the honor. What does it mean that we are God’s house? Who built it? Who owns it? Who lives in it?

For the Family: Have you ever tried to build a house with Legos or building blocks? Did you start with the roof or the foundation? In these verses it says that we are God’s house. Who or what is the foundation of our house? Why is that important?

 

Thursday, April 5

Read: Hebrews 3:7-19

We learn that the Holy Spirit was disturbed by the behavior of the Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. Instead of supporting one another, their behavior resulted in division among them. Since we all are one in Christ, we should not let a day go by without encouraging one another in our faith.

Reflect: What was the punishment for the Israelites’ rebellion? Why is it important that we give positive reinforcement to fellow believers? How can your heart “go astray”? What is the remedy for bringing you back into fellowship with other believers? 

For the Family: Think of a time when you “strayed” from your parents. How did they respond? What is it that causes our hearts to become hardened? Jesus tells us to encourage one another. Think of something you can do as a family to encourage someone.

 

Friday, April 6

Read: Hebrews 4:1-13

Sabbath means “stop day.” Do you remember when stores were closed on Sunday? It has been a long time since those days existed. For Jews, many Sabbath laws forced them to rest. God wants us to stop and experience His grace through rest. “Sabbath rest” is an unlikely invitation to see life from an eternal perspective.

Reflect: Think of a baby sleeping in a crib—not a care in the world. How does the resurrection of Jesus provide you with the same comfort? In your busy life, how are you stopping to experience the grace and rest of God? How does the “alive and active” Word of God bring you rest?

For the Family: In Genesis we learned that God rested on the seventh day after six days of creating the world and all that is in it. How does rest help you? Sometimes we think of sleep as the only way to rest. God says we can find rest in His Word? How is that possible?

 

Saturday, April 7

Read: Hebrews 4:14-5:10

In Genesis 14, Abraham acknowledges Melchizedek, the king of Jerusalem, as both king and high priest of the true God—both ruler and intermediary between God and man. Later, the priestly order came through Aaron, but he was not king. Since Jesus is both king and priest, He follows the order of Melchizedek. 

Reflect: Because of your relationship with Jesus, you have an unexpected invitation to meet God. Describe the connection that Jesus provides between you and God. Why is it important that Jesus can empathize with your weaknesses? As priest, how does Jesus treat your confession of sins? As king, how does Jesus rule in your life?

For the Family: Another name for Jesus is the Great High Priest. What does He do for us as our High Priest?