828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday March 25, 2012 - Jeremiah 31:31-34; A New Covenant

March 25, 2012; 5th Sunday of Lent
Jeremiah 31:31-34
A New Covenant
Theme: This passage serves as a reinstitution of the Sinai Covenant by God. While the Israelites have been in exile due to their sin God has reinterpreted how the covenant will be observed and the requirements levied on the people to indicate their adherence to the covenant.

Background: Israel has been in exile in Babylon and Jerusalem was besieged by the Babylonian army. This passage appears to be in an independent section entitled the Book of Consolation, Jeremiah 30:1-31:40. Israel had been taken into exile due to their inability to maintain their portion of the covenant relationship – adherence to God’s law. Yet God wants to remind them that they are still God’s chosen people

Questions to Ponder

* Read Jeremiah 30:1-31:40 for context.

* Briefly relate the status of Israel: it’s political, religious, and social standing.

* What are the parts of a covenant, especially between two parties of such disparate position (God’s divinity and Israel’s sinfulness)? How might a covenant be broken, especially between God and Israel?

* In your understanding, was God’s covenant (or covenants) with Israel ever rescinded?

* How do you think God intended to assure the Israelites that a day would come when a new covenant would be made (cut) between the house of Judah and God? How believable would it have been to the people considering their exile and besiegement?

* Do you think God was relieving the Israelites of their need to maintain God’s law by creating the new covenant? Why or why not?

* Why do you think the Covenant might have needed to be updated?

* It can be argued there are 6 elements to the new covenant. What do you think those elements might be? Is there anything that is surprising about those elements?

* How might the new covenant be “unlike the covenant that I [God] made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…”?

* How might the covenant be known by “I [God - יהוה] will be their God and they shall be my people…”?

* What is surprising, if anything, about the phrase in verse 34 “…for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest…”?

* How has God forgiven the Israelite’s iniquity and forgotten their sins? Do you think that means that God really doesn’t remember Israel’s (and ours by extension) sins?

* If God has forgiven our iniquity, why do we still know our iniquity and the impact of our sinfulness in God’s world?

* How might the Israelites (and us) feel an assurance of God’s forgiveness, especially considering they were either exiled or besieged by an occupying force?

*What is the application of this passage in our life and ministry?

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