The Risen King: April 16

The Servant King
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life for a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
The Risen King
Mark 15:40-16:8 | April 16, 2017

Review: Last week, we looked at the trial and conviction of Jesus the Servant King, and we were invited to consider the ways in which we are moved by fear and jealousy and pride to seek the way of Barabbas instead of the way of Jesus. Share any reflections from this past week as we were encouraged to welcome, remember, and celebrate God’s perfect love.

Introduction: In our final text of this series, The Servant King, we finally come up against the reality of the Risen King. Throughout his ministry, as Jesus spoke about his suffering and death, he also proclaimed the resurrection. Yet, when the moment came, no one was ready for it. All of his followers believed that the crucifixion was the end of the story, and as we look at this text, we too are challenged to consider our response to the Risen King.

Like the women at the tomb almost two thousand years ago, we can easily hear the words of Jesus without understanding what he means. We can see the mighty acts of Jesus, yet flee in terror and amazement instead of bowing in humble service and adoration. We can affirm the objective truth of the resurrection without letting it take root in our hearts to transform us.

Yet there is also something beautiful and truthful about the reaction of the women at the tomb: Jesus is loose in our world, and in the words of C.S. Lewis, He is not a tame lion. There is no telling what He might do. As we move into Eastertide, the resurrected Jesus calls us out of our places of comfort and complacency; for when Jesus beckons us follow Him, He invites us on a grand adventure.

Pray: Almighty and most merciful God, prepare our hearts so that we might receive Your word to us. Break the hard and stony ground of our hearts and lead us into Your truth. Speak through Your Spirit and bring us face to face with the Risen King. In Your mercy do not leave us as we are, but transform us by Your grace so that we might truly worship You and make Your name known. In the name of Jesus, our resurrected and ascended Lord, we pray. Amen.

Read: Mark 15:40-16:8

Discussion:

1. After the crucifixion, everyone believed that Jesus was dead, his promises failed, his ministry finally proved false. What do you do when it seems like God has failed?
2. Why was it so hard for Jesus’ followers to believe he would rise again? What about Jesus’ teachings do you find hard to believe?
3. Take a moment to imagine that you are one of the women coming to the tomb on that third day after the crucifixion. What goes through your mind as you make your way? What do you feel as you see the empty tomb and hear the report that Jesus has risen?
4. Why do you think that the women fled the tomb in terror and amazement? What about this situation was so frightening to them? What do you think about their response? How might you have responded?
5. In what ways is the fact of the Risen King still terrifying and amazing?
6. The Angel tells the women that Jesus “has been raised; he is not here.” What does this simple verse tell us about our expectations of Jesus?
7. A pastor once said that we need the “objective reality of the resurrection to become a subjective reality in our lives.” What do you think this means? In what ways is the resurrection of Jesus becoming a truth that shapes your life? What gets in the way?

Application: The question that many of us can find ourselves asking after Easter is “what now?” Where do we go from here? Easter is not just a day when we put extra flowers in the sanctuary and listen as the timpani accents the roar of the organ. Easter is about the reality that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King and Lord over all Creation is alive, risen, loose in our world, and calling each and every one of us into service to His kingdom. Easter demands that we acknowledge Christ as Lord: His priorities are to become our priorities, His desires ours. This is not the end of the road but the start of an incredible journey that Jesus invites us to take with him. As we move into this season of Eastertide, consider the daily prayer, “Jesus, give me eyes to see where you are loose and active in my world, and give me courage to follow. Amen.”

Pray: Eternal Father, in love You sent Your Son to earth to die the death that we deserve, and in power You raised Him from the dead so that we might live. By Your grace, may the resurrection of Jesus Christ take root in our hearts. Do not leave us as we are. Teach us what it means to follow our Risen King into the world and to serve as Jesus served. Give us eyes to see Your coming Kingdom. And as You entered our world so long ago, we pray today, “even so Lord Jesus, quickly come.” Amen.

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