Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Messiah as Son of God

This week we talked about Jesus' identity as the Son of God: both fully human and fully divine.  We started out with a little game called "I am...".  Each person received three squares of paper where they wrote down three different thing about themselves that were fairly specific (i.e. NOT I am a girl, but maybe I am into dance).  Then I shuffled them all up and re-distributed three to each person.  Their job was to tape the three descriptions onto the backs of those they thought they belonged to...without talking!  After finishing each person checked their taped descriptions and left on those that were correct, and tried again with those that were incorrect, this time being able to talk to one another and ask questions.  We learned that in many ways, those descriptions that were taped on us that were not the ones we wrote still described us pretty well!  Since most of us there Sunday night knew each other fairly well, we were able to figure out which descriptions belonged to which person without much thinking.

Just like there are people we know well and people who know us well, there were people who lived and walked with Jesus who knew him well.  Just as we know and can describe our friends and family members, these friends of Jesus could do the same with him.  Some of those people were those who wrote the first four books of the New Testament, called the Gospels (or good news).  They wrote about Jesus' life as they saw it and from the stories others told them about Jesus.

This week we looked specifically at Mark's Gospel, because one of Mark's goals was to emphasize to his readers that Jesus was and is the Son of God!  We discovered that throughout Mark there are four key witnesses to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

The first one we see in passages like Mark 1:9-11 and 9:2-8 where God, God's self, serves as a witness to Jesus being God's Son.  The second we see in Mark 3:10-11 and 5:1-7 where demons and evil spirits serve as a witness, recognizing Jesus as God's Son even when others around Jesus did not!  The third comes from Jesus himself in Mark 14:32-36 and 55-64 where Jesus names himself as God's son.  And the fourth we see in Mark 15:37-39 where the Centurion or Roman Guard who was guarding Jesus' body on the cross gives witness to Jesus being the Son of God.

In some ways it seems like it would be easier for us to believe that Jesus was half human and half divine.  But we know that this is not the case.  Jesus was both 100% human and 100% God/Divine.  It doesn't seem to make sense, and it is a hard concept for us to grasp, but it is a true and holy mystery!  Without Jesus being fully human, he would not have truly suffered on the cross.  Without Jesus being fully divine, he would not be able to forgive and reconcile us from our sins.  Both are necessary and both are part of Jesus' nature as God's Son.  The youth will continue to ponder, pray and ask questions about Jesus as the Son of God throughout this week, and we will seek to wrestle with those questions when we gather again. Do you have any questions about Jesus as the Son of God?  Comment on this post with your thoughts and questions!

Here's a look at Sunday evening:

Don't forget THIS SUNDAY we will be helping collect donations at the end of both worship services for Souper Bowl of Caring.  And Sunday night we will not be having a regular FUSION Gathering meeting, but will be having a Super Bowl party at the Watson's Home!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Messiah as Servant

This week we talked about Jesus' identity as a servant.  To get us ready for reading Isaiah, we played a version of Rock, Paper, Scissors called Lawyer, Jury, Judge!  We read Isaiah 1:2-18 like it was a court case where the prosecutor is bringing charges against Israel accusing them of their sin.  Then the Judge gives some background for the case.  And the defense attorney tries to defend God's people.  We see in this passage that despite Israel's sins, God is gracious and is willing to forgive them.  This isn't always an easy task for us to do when others are mean or harmful to us.  But God encourages us to forgive others and ask for forgiveness.

Later in Isaiah, there are 4 passages often called the servant songs.  We took the time to travel in groups, reading these servant songs and reflecting on several questions about each passage.  Through each of the servant songs, we see a better understanding of the characteristics of Jesus, the messiah, as a servant.  Someone who is kind, patient, forgiving, and ultimately, willing to give his own life in order to set us free of our sins.  We thought about ways we can be like Jesus as a servant this week.  What's something you can do to be a servant to others this week?  Comment on this post with your responses.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Messiah as King

This Sunday we focused on our understanding of Jesus the Messiah as King!  We knew that the Israelites were waiting for a king...one that would make things right again among the nations.  So we spent time exploring this understanding of salvation through a king in Jesus.  We first took a look at two Psalms: Psalm 2 and Psalm 89:1-18.  We took time to look more closely at each of these by making notes and writing marks on them.  We circled key words, put question marks next to things we didn't understand, we highlighted phrases that stood out, we drew pictures of certain words or ideas, and we drew different emotion faces next to things that made us feel particular ways.  We really enjoyed this method of studying Scripture and plan to continue to use this method of reflecting on Scripture in our daily lives!  We talked about the similarities and differences between the two Psalms and what stood out to us about them.

Then we took a look at 2 Samuel 7:8-17.  In this passage, God is making a covenant with David through the prophet Nathan.  We see that God promises that an eternal king who God will call son will be born out of David's family.  The youth were excited to realize that God is talking about Jesus, and that Jesus is from the line of David!  How awesome that many many generations before Jesus was born, God is already promising to David that the true King that will reign for eternity and bring about true salvation will be one of his descendants!

What better way to end our evening than with a Royal Triathlon!  We participated in a three-part relay of royal games!  First, a king or queen must demonstrate perfect posture and balance, so we had to race balancing a book on our heads.  Second, a king or queen must dress in the finest clothing, so we had to put on jewels, a headpiece and a fine piece of linen and race up and back before the next person put on the attire.  Third, it is said that kings and queens eat from a silver spoon, so we each had to balance a cotton ball on a spoon held in our mouths and race up and back to see which team could collect the most cotton balls at the end of a time limit!  It was a lot of fun and quite amusing.

This Friday, January 20th, meet us at Sunchase for a FUSION Youth night at the movies!  Be there at 6:30pm for the 6:50pm showing of Joyful Noise (rated PG-13).  Bring extra money for popcorn and a drink if you want snacks.  See you at the movies!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pursue Series: The Messiah as High Priest

Welcome back after the holidays!  This Sunday we began a new series called Pursue: Knowing the Messiah.  Throughout this series we will be exploring the ways the Bible describes and helps us understand who Jesus is.  This Sunday we talked about Jesus as the High Priest.  We looked at Leviticus and saw that the priests helped people atone for their sins through animal sacrifices, and the high priest specifically represented all of Israel before God.  Then we see in Hebrews that Jesus is described as the ultimate high priest.  Through Jesus' sacrifice of himself (not other animals), we are cleansed of our sins and fully forgiven.  This is the ultimate sacrifice!

In creation, God made God's masterpieces, including humanity.  But through the original sin of Adam and Eve, we have become a sinful people.  Just as an art masterpiece can be marred by imperfections, we too are marred or imperfect because of sin.  But, through Jesus the messiah as the high priest, there is hope that we can be restored through Jesus' sacrifice of himself.  Even though we are sinful people, we must remember that we are still God's masterpieces through our restoration by Jesus' love and forgiveness.

Join us next Sunday as we explore Jesus the Messiah as King!