|The Story of Jesus|
The Story of Jesus
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:10-11
Getting Started—Stories, says Eugene Peterson, are verbal acts of hospitality. The Gospel writers open up a world for us to enter. It is the world of creation and redemption. The story of Jesus is the way in which God opens a place for us to know him and belong to him; to enter into relationship with our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
This reading plan is intended for us to enter the story of Jesus from his birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension and thereby experience what it means to enter his story and become as Paul says, “like him,” as we grow to know him in the pages of Scripture and the daily moments of our lives.
Getting Familiar—This reading guide is designed to take us through the story of Jesus over a fourteen week period, from Christmas to Easter. We often miss the significance of these two days when we are not saturated in the story that the Bible tells and invites us to live.
Each week we have selected between three and five chapters of Scripture to read, reflect upon and respond to. The passages selected are mostly from the Gospel of Matthew with additional readings from the Gospel of John. John fills in some of the narrative of Jesus’ final week and words to his followers prior to his death. We have also included Luke’s narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
As we approach the final weeks we have also included three chapters taken from the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament as it is often called. Each selected passage looks forward to the coming of Jesus and sheds light on the hopes and expectations that he fulfills.
Finally, we hope that the reading will be more than knowledge about Jesus, but actually shape our lives and relationships with God. Thus, we have included a few questions to accompany the readings in order provoke observation of the text, contemplation of our own lives before the text and ultimately responses of faithful obedience to Jesus, the Living Word.
Get Going—As you read each week, attempt to slow down and notice as much as you can. If you are familiar with the story, attempt to read as if for the first time, as if you were a detective, searching for clues to the identity of Jesus. We recommend you pair the readings with a personal journal in which you can write observations, prayers and discoveries about God, yourself and the Story of which you are welcomed to become a part. You may read the selections in one sitting or spread throughout the week, whichever suits your ability to engage and respond best to the story.
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
Week 1—January 1-7
Week 8—February 19-25
Going Deeper—Our goal is to read these texts relationally. The questions are designed to lead you to read, reflect, and respond rather than develop an extensive bible study for each text. With each reading we suggest you prayerfully process through the following questions:
What does this show us about Jesus?
Which part of the text do you sense relates to you most today?
Who will you share this insight with? What actions/attitudes will you commit yourself to before God?