The Wild Ride of Hope & Despair
Week 2 Discussion Time
We hope the time of discussion today inspires your faith and fills you with hope. We will face ups and downs in life, but even in the dark times, God is at work.
Christmas is a great time for anticipation – is there anything you’re looking forward to this Christmas season that’s different from other Christmases?
For the people of Israel, there wasn’t much to look forward to when they were slaves in Egypt. It’s hard for us to imagine the life of a slave. Everything was pretty depressing. But all of that was about to change…
If you were able to do the December Family Devotional this week, you got to see Israel on a pretty wild ride of hope & despair. Looking back, we can see where it’s all going, but they didn’t know they would get their freedom until they were actually walking out of Egypt.
Using the log of highs & lows you created from the readings from Exodus this week, plot them out on a “hope graph” (hope on the high side & disappointment on the low side). How do you think each of the 10 plagues would have affected the people’s hope? Plot the “hope effect” of each of the first 9 plagues on your “hope graph” as well. (Do not take time to read them all, but the 10 plagues can be found in Exodus 7:14-12:42.)
For the final plague, God would strike dead every firstborn male in Egypt. As usual, the people of Israel would not be touched by this plague, but only if they followed God’s instructions. In order to protect the firstborn sons of Israel, a lamb for each family would have to be killed in his place. Read Exodus 12:1-14
If you had been through the previous 9 plagues, how do you think you might have responded to God’s instructions for the 10th plague?
Read Exodus 12:21-28 Despite having their hopes crushed repeatedly, Israel chooses to believe & obey God. How does their example inspire you where your hope is wearing thin?
The phrase “lasting ordinance” in v24 indicates that there was something deeply significant about this first Passover. It would begin a new holiday for the people of Israel. Every year, they would look back on this great deliverance and remember God’s power, His faithfulness and His provision for His people. Hundreds of years later, when Israel faced more discouraging times, they could always look back and remember God’s deep and abiding love for His people. Many of the Psalms reflect on this event to encourage God’s people in ages to come.
Remembering what God has done in the past is still important fuel for our faith. Hope for the future rests on a foundation of God’s faithfulness in the past.
What stories of God’s faithfulness do you like to look back to when you need encouragement and hope? (Could be personal stories or biblical ones)
Pray that God’s past faithfulness would continue to fuel our future hope.
Here are a few reasons why Christians believe Jesus is the Passover Lamb:
|Jesus the Messiah
|Raised in Bethlehem, just outside of Jerusalem.
|Born in Bethlehem and announced by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29).
|On the 10th of the month of Nisan, Passover lambs were brought into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives through the “Sheep Gate”.
|On the 10th of Nisan, Jesus walked down the Mount of Olives & entered Jerusalem through the “Sheep Gate”(Luke 19:28-38).
|Preparing for Passover, families would clean all the leaven (yeast) out of their homes (Exodus 12:15,19).
|Jesus cleansed the temple (His Father’s house) in preparation for the final Passover (Matt 21:12-13).
|Lambs were inspected for blemishes until the 14th day of Nisan (Exodus 12:3-6).
|Jesus was closely inspected by the High Priest and religious leaders. Pilate finds no fault in Him(John18:38).
|The lamb was bound to the altar at 9am (the 3rd hour).
|Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9am (Mk 15:25).
|The lamb was killed at 3pm
(the 9th hour).
|Jesus gives up His life at 3pm
|In the first Passover, the lamb’s blood saves the people from death (Exodus 12:13).
|In the last Passover, Jesus’ blood saves all who believe from eternal death (Matt 26:28).
Celebrating Communion together is a great way to build hope by looking back. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26)
Jesus is coming again!
My Next Step with God is to ...
- plan a time during the week to work through the "December Family Devotional"
- invite a single from Cornerstone to join my family to do the devotional with us.
- order a copy of "Jesus Storybook Bible" to complement the family devotional.