Watershed Formation Studies

Chapter 12 - Consummation

In this final chapter, we are introduced to the most misinterpreted book of the Bible, Revelation. It challenges its readers to consider the central question Jesus poses to them: “Where does your allegiance lie?” Is it to Rome and the cult of emperor, or to Christ? Rome is a powerful empire, but its glory has come through military and economic oppression. Kingdom people are asked to respond not with the violence of the empire, but with patient endurance and faithfulness. “God’s is the kind of power that will win the world, even though till the end it will look like we’re losing.”
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Chapter 11 - Church

In today’s visit with the new community of Jesus followers, the merchant has more questions. What exactly does it mean that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? How can he be dead and alive at the same time? Understanding how Jesus’ resurrection defeats death is a puzzle for the merchant, since everyone still dies. They go on to discuss how God’s presence, which always dwelt in the Temple, has now come to dwell in Jesus and his followers, the living church.
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Chapter 10 - Cross

In chapter 9, we found ourselves with a group gathered in a house church, 200 years from the events of the Old Testament. Now in chapter 10, we find ourselves asking why would these people even serve a Christ who died on a Roman cross, the worst kind of shame there was? They are risking it all for love. A love that is worth living, and maybe even dying for. They got their example from Jesus, who was not a king who came riding in as a conquerer on a war horse, but weeping on a donkey. His kingdom was not established by violent coercion, but through love. Jesus was a king who served people.
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Chapter 9 - Christ

In chapter 8, we had our last fireside with the people in Babylon. In chapter 9, after an interlude of about 200 years, Gladding brings us into the gathering of another community — a house church hosted by a woman who, as a young girl, had witnessed Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. She begins to tell the Story that formed her ecclesia (congregation) to her guest, a local merchant, as others listen and sometimes contribute. Strange new things are happening, difficult to understand — God now seems to be three instead of One, and He is faithful to the covenant, even in temptation, where Israel was not. Jesus embodied God’s love and fidelity.
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Chapter 8 - Conceit

In chapter 7, we heard of the era of the kings in Israel. In chapter 8, the old man’s story came to an end as he related the story of the kings of Israel and Judah, which ended in the current exile in Babylon. The people’s conceit had been their undoing. Throughout the evening’s story, the people wondered — would the Story of God end here in exile? They had acted against the Torah, living however they wanted and then dared to ask for God’s blessing. But even then God would not abandon them, inviting them always to return to covenant faithfulness.
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Chapter 7 - Crown

In chapter 6, we heard the story of the conquest of the land of Canaan and dealt with the difficult questions of God who seems to act like a tribal warlord. In chapter 7, the Israelites were still plagued by Canaanites who were left in the land, and many foreign gods were among them. They were a loose network of individual tribes, barely holding their own in the time of the judges. The people wanted a king like the nations around them had. The story became a cautionary tale, warning of the dangers of the affluence, oppression and state religion that marked Solomon’s reign.blogEntryTopper Read More...
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