Opinions concerning Jesus cover a large spectrum. Some believe he was a good moral teacher. Others believe he lived out principles that everyone should demonstrate. Some believe he began the most corrupt movement in history. Some believe he is a god or god-like. Some believe He is God. Some believe He is Saviour and Lord. How do we come to a better understanding of who Jesus is? One of the ways of having a better knowledge of Jesus is by reading the way He interacted with others when He was here. Those encounters reveal who He is.
Join us on a journey, as this fall we long to not only have a greater appreciation for who Jesus is through these various encounters, but also wrestle with what that means for each of us.
September 22nd - Encountering Religion: Jesus encountered a powerful religious leader named Nicodemus. Nicodemus would be one of the most religious men in Jesus’ day and yet Nicodemus knows he’s lacking something when it comes to his understanding of God. Maybe that has been your experience. For all your religious effort, you don’t seem connected to God. Jesus lovingly offers him a solution to his conundrum.
September 29th – Encountering Rejection: Jesus encounters a women who has been rejected by everyone. Both her choices and the oppression of others have led her to a place of isolation and loneliness. She’s most likely convinced that not only do people want to avoid her but God does as well. Then she encounters Jesus.
October 6th – Encountering Creation: We feel the pain of our planet in natural disasters, disease and death. Earthquakes, drought and hurricanes desolate communities and countries. Disease can devastate a family and town. Death overwhelms us all – the permanence of loss…the tragedy of someone taken too soon. When Jesus encounters nature, He demonstrates unimaginable power over a creation groaning for release from its pain. How does Jesus view a world gone wrong?
October 27th – Encountering Suffering: Suffering touches all of us. All of us experience pain in life. Sometimes our suffering is caused because of something someone has done to us, other times we are the cause of our own suffering and sometimes we suffer because of the circumstances (or systems) we find ourselves in. Jesus encounters a man born blind who is ostracized and impoverished and He extends a gift to ease the man’s suffering. What does Jesus say about suffering and those who experience its bondage?
November 3rd – Encountering the Social Construct: Jesus is an invited guest at the house of a prominent and wealthy leader in His day. While He’s looking around He realizes everyone is vying for positions of power and notices that the poor have been excluded from this party. Jesus way is radically different as He explains when he engages the social construct of His day. Greg Paul preaching – from Sanctuary Toronto.
November 10th – Encountering Death: A close friend of Jesus’ dies. Jesus is overcome with emotion as He arrives at the grave of His friend. Death affects us all. Although we can extend life by a few months or possibly years with healthy habits…cancer still robs children of breath and life, accidents still claim lives suddenly and prematurely and death is the enemy we can’t ultimately defeat. How does Jesus encounter death and what does this reveal about Him?
November 17th - Encountering Skeptics: People were unnerved by the claims Jesus made. Many saw him as a great miracle worker and teacher. They found him comforting and kind. But then He would make claims that only God could make and people found Him not only intolerable but unsafe. How did Jesus engage His skeptics as they hurled accusations at Him?
November 24th – Encountering the Cross: In Jesus’ final hours He was accused of rebellion and blasphemy and sentenced to death. Leader after leader passed the decision concerning whether He lived or died to someone else. No one wanted to be responsible for His execution. Why did Jesus die and how do we understand His encounter with the torturous execution of the cross?
December 1st – Encountering Resurrection: They watched Jesus die. No one expected him to rise to life again. They hid in rooms. They scattered. Yet Jesus showed up and His disciples encountered resurrection. Resurrection changed everything.