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Discussion Questions from the Easter Sermon

At Passover, Jesus gathered his followers and spelled out a new relational arrangement between God and humankind. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” But Jesus wasn’t celebratory. He seemed troubled. Initiating this new covenant with God would require sacrifice. What came next would confuse his followers and scatter them. 

  1. Read Mark 14:61–65. What implications did Jesus’ answer to the Sanhedrin’s question have for the old covenant? Why do you think they responded so violently to his words?

  2. Read John 19:10–12. What do these two verses reveal about the nature of power? Why does Jesus seem to have greater authority than Pilate even though he’s in a position of weakness?

  3. In John 18:31, Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” What are some ways Jesus’ kingdom operated differently than the empire Pilate served? In what ways does Jesus’ kingdom continue to defy the assumptions of our modern world?

  4. Throughout the story, we watch Jesus surrender: he didn’t fight in the garden, he was silent when the Pharisees questioned him, and he didn’t defend himself to Pilate. How hard is giving up control for you? What keeps you from trusting God and surrendering more to him?

  5. Jesus’ actions in his final days were unexpected and hard for his followers to understand. Have you ever expected God to do something but he didn’t? How did this affect your belief in him?

  6. During the message, Jon said, “When Jesus died, there were no Christians. There was no dream to keep alive. There was no movement to keep moving.” The crucifixion surprised even his closest followers. In what ways does Jesus continue to defy our expectations of him? Does that ever make it difficult for you to follow him?

After the crucifixion, even Jesus’ closest followers expected him to do what dead people usually do—stay dead. They had no idea the next few hours would change the course of history. For what the Pharisees and Pontius Pilate intended as an end was just the beginning of something new. 


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