Someone pray, asking God to help everyone understand the passage, apply it to our lives, and to love Jesus and love others. Read Acts 27:39-28:10 and discuss the following.
If Jesus writes you a check—if He makes you a promise—take it to the bank. It will clear because Jesus can and does keep His promises. If you belong to Him, He has the best of intentions for you and at the same time is sovereign over all. No one and nothing can stay His hand or thwart His plan.
2. How do we see this truth played out in Paul’s life here? See Acts 23:11 for a helpful reminder.
What has Jesus promised us as Christians? At least four things that we get hints of in this passage:
First, we will have tribulation (John 16:33). Sometimes things will go terribly bad.
Second, we will be blessed beyond measure (Mark 10:28-31). Sometime things will go wonderfully well, and more often than not, Jesus’ blessings are relational.
Third, we will have rejuvenating joy (John 16:22). Even when bad things happen we can be joyful because we know that God is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
Fourth and finally, we will reach a specific destination (Revelation 22:1-5). Paul was promised he would reach an earthly city but we are promised an eternal one. In Christ, our future destination is the new Jerusalem where we will receive access to the Tree of Life and live face to face with Jesus in eternal glory.
4. Which of these most stands out to you and why?
How can we having each sinned against God—defamed His name, living for our glory instead of His—ever receive these kind of earthly and eternal promises? How we can receive access to the Tree of Life and be healed?
George Herbert answered that for us in 1600’s as he wrote his poem The Sacrifice. He imagines Jesus hanging on the cross and saying, “O all ye who pass by, behold and see; Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree; The tree of life to all but me.”
We get these wonderful promises—we get that eternal city with the tree of life—because on the cross, Jesus received the Tree of Death and was destroyed—for us.
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