lENT 2021 bIBLE rEADING PLAN
March 15th: Heaven and Earth -- Jon Collins (bibleproject.com)
Most of us have trouble thinking about the concept of heaven the way the Bible actually describes it. We tend to imagine it as a beautiful place where we go after we die, but it’s so much more than that. Heaven and earth—God’s space and humans’ space—were originally united as one. When humanity chose to go their own way, those two spaces were driven apart.
But Jesus made a way for the two spaces to be one again. Right now we can experience the overlap between heaven and earth, but one day soon we will see the two spaces fully reunited again. As we wait, we are invited by Jesus to live out this prayer, “Father let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In today’s study, we’ll explore and practice the hope of this reality together.
Read and Discuss
Video Question 1: How did this video explanation expand your view of heaven?
Read Matthew 19:28-30
The new heavens and earth is not some strange world we can’t begin to understand. When Jesus talks about the new creation, he mentions things we are familiar with like family, homes, and places of work (fields). But things will also be different than the world we know now. The future earth will be so permeated with God’s own life and love that death will be no more and power structures will be turned upside-down. What happened to Jesus on Easter morning is what God has in store for the whole universe. Everything will be renewed.
Question 1: Consider one scenario in your life that is hurting and broken. What do you think that situation will look like when it is fully renewed?
Question 2: Jesus’ sacrifice created a clean space where heaven and earth continue to overlap. Consider again that scenario in your life that needs renewal. How can you imitate Jesus in that situation? What can you sacrifice that would allow others to see a little pocket of heaven on earth?
Question 3: Who usually gets to enjoy the first, best, and most powerful scenarios on earth? Who usually has to endure the last, worst, and most vulnerable situations on earth? Read Matthew 19:30 again. What will it be like when Jesus renews all things?
Read Romans 8:18-22
While we wait for the new creation, we have to deal with evil, death, and chaos. But when Paul reflects on the future hope of the world, he says the earth will be “liberated from its bondage to decay.” Paul says that creation is groaning like a woman in childbirth. The new creation is taking form, being knit together in our midst, even when we can’t see it. But we see hints of it. Every now and then we see movement on the surface, and one day soon it will be pushed forth into fullness of life.
Question 1: Consider the childbirth metaphor in verse 22. How is the world as we know it like a woman in labor? How is the new heavens and earth like a newborn?
Question 2: Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Take some time now to ask God to turn our hearts, homes, neighborhoods, and cities into pockets of heaven on earth.