The four Sundays of Advent begin the church’s annual liturgical calendar. It is a season of longing and hope. We look back and remember Israel’s hope that God would come to save his people. We look forward in our own hope that Jesus will come again. During these four Sundays we will look at how the four gospels begin their story of Jesus in very different ways, beginning this Sunday with Matthew. Can the way Matthew tells the story of Jesus help us make sense of our own story?
The Gospel of John is like a pool that is “shallow enough for a child to wade and deep enough for an elephant to swim.” As we enter into the Thanksgiving holiday, we are thankful to be swimming with elephants in the Gospel of John. In the past two years, we have explored chapters one to twelve of this Gospel. And, what we have seen is the unparalleled majesty of Jesus. Indeed, no one has ever said the things he said, and no one has ever done the things he’s done. And, through it all, we’ve discovered how thankful we are for who Jesus is and what he has done! “We give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1). Join us this Sunday as we review some of the highlights from the first twelve chapters of John, while combining the service with elements from our typical Thanksgiving service.
Two weeks ago, we saw Jesus enter Jerusalem, the text we associate with Palm Sunday. Jesus publicly claims kingship, but in an upside-down way. He rides on a donkey demonstrating his humility, gentleness, and desire for peace. That text ended with some Greeks saying they wanted to see Jesus, meaning they want to know what Jesus is all about. In response, Jesus gives his final public appeal for belief in him and his kingship, our text for this Sunday. This is love’s last appeal, summarized best in the phrase “a grain of wheat” (John 12:24). Join us this Sunday as we explore the final public appeal from Jesus in the book of John.