The Wonder of Easter
Lesson 1Proclaim Christs Death....................................................31 Corinthians 11:17-32
Lesson 2Remember the Resurrection ............................................81 Corinthians 15:1-19
Lesson 3Contemplate the Mystery ..............................................131 Corinthians 15:20-41
Lesson 4Rejoice in Hope ............................................................181 Corinthians 15:42-58
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Prepare Before the SessionRead the session for today in the Study Guide. Then read the options in this Teaching
Guide, placing checkmarks beside the activities you plan to include. After you have decidedwhich options to use, gather the appropriate materials.
WHATS IN YOUR TEACHING GUIDEThis Teaching Guide has three purposes: to give the teacher tools for focusing on the content of the session in the Study Guide. to give the teacher additional Bible background information. to give the teacher variety and choice in preparation.
The Teaching Guide includes two major components: Teacher Helps and Teacher Options.
Bible BackgroundThe Study Guide is your mainsource of Bible study material.This section helps you more fullyunderstand and interpret the Scripture text.
Teaching Outlineprovides you with an outlineof the main themes in theStudy Guide.
The next three sections provide a beginning, middle, and endfor the session, with focus paragraphs in between.
Focus Paragraphsare printed in italics at the top of the page because they
are the most important part of the Teaching Guide. Theseparagraphs will help you move your class from what the text
meant to what the text means.
You Can Choose!There is more material in each session than you can use, so choose the options from each sectionto tailor the session to the needs of your group.
Bible BackgroundOn the Night He WasBetrayed
Usually on Palm Sunday, wefocus on the Scripture passage
containing the triumphal procession intoJerusalem. But Thursday of this week, theday before Good Friday, is another highpoint in Holy Week. In some traditions, itis known as Maundy Thursday. The wordMaundy is derived from the wordmandate, coming from Jesus mandatethat disciples love each other as he hasloved them ( Jn 13:34-35).
Maundy Thursday is also the day wecelebrate Jesus last meal with his disci-ples, which he shared with them beforehis arrest and crucifixion. He washedtheir feet and shared with them the loafof bread and the cup of wine. This tradi-tion is the focus of todays session.
Contentious CommunionThe context of our Scripture passage isthe early church at Corinth. If there wasever a church that had divisions and diffi-culties, the Corinthian church was it.That conflict was evident even when theyshared the Lords Supper together.
Apparently, the people of theCorinthian church had turned their expe-rience of the Lords Supper into quite aparty. The observance of that suppercame in the context of another meal, onein which the rich had more than enough
food and drinkeven eating and drinkingin excesswhile the poor, probably slavesand servants, arrived and departedhungry. No one, it seemed, rememberedwhat sharing the Lords Supper was allabout.
So the Apostle Paul reminded them.The supper was not to be a party but amemorial of Christs death. Beforepartaking of this supper, worshipersneeded to take stock of their own lives.
Its not insignificant that in someChristian traditions, the Lords Supper isknown as Communion. Paul remindedthe Christians at Corinth that the supperwas a symbol of their communion withChrist and with each other.
A Mangled MemorialCertainly the Lords Supper is a memorialof Jesus death. But when we say it is onlya memorial, we diminish its significance.According to Paul, when Christiansremembered Jesus death, they alsoremembered his life of sacrificial giving,which culminated in his ultimate sacrificewhen he gave his life on the cross. Thatsacrificial giving was the direct oppositeof what the Corinthian Christians weredoing. In their way of celebrating theLords Supper, the insiders were starklyseparated from those considered theoutsiders. Instead of giving sacrificially inorder to include those who had the least,the rich simply celebrated excessivelywhile the poor were left out.
1Lesson Teaching Guide
PROCLAIMCHRISTS DEATH1 Corinthians 11:17-32
Paul admonished the CorinthianChristians that if they were hungry,they should eat before they left homeso that their focus could be on thememorial of Jesus death when theycame together. The memory of Jesussacrifice should encourage their sacrificialgiving in response.
When Paul reminds his readers thatthe bread is the body of Christ, he doesntadd the familiar phrase broken for you.Jesus body was broken for others, butapparently Paul did not want to focus onbrokenness. Perhaps the church atCorinth was already broken enough. Paulwanted the observance of the LordsSupper and the memory of Jesus sacrificeto bring the church together, not break it apart.
When they remembered Jesus sacrificial life and his ultimate sacrifice ofdeath, the Corinthian Christians were torespond with love for Christ and for eachother rather than with divisiveness. Theywere to be drawn together in nothing lessthan Holy Communion. They were to bethe body of Christ, united under his sacri-fice to serve each other.
Remembering or Dismembering?With his sharing of the Last Supper, Jesus wanted his disciplesboth then andnowto remember his death, his ultimatesacrifice even for his enemies. He alsowanted them to remember every otherpart of his sacrificial life and to look forward to his resurrection and his coming again.
Joseph Jeter recalls a preacher statingthat the opposite of remembering was notforgetting, but dismembering (147).When we accept the Lords Supper assustenance and commit our lives to thekind of service that demands such suste-nance, we remember Jesus Christ. As thechurch, we re-member the body ofChrist. We put the body of Christtogetherwe assemble itin and for ourworld today. We can take this analogyfurther. Jesus asked to be remembered atthe Last Supper and as he committed
himself unto death on behalf ofhumankind. He asked to be rememberedas he faced a mockery of a trial, the painof scourge, denial, betrayal, and the crueldeath of the cross. He asks us to be thebody of Christ preparing to die for Godsworld. To remember his life in any otherwaywithout this commitment on behalfof othersis superficial.
Paul admonished the CorinthianChristians to take stock of their lives and ask forgiveness for their sin beforeobserving the Lords Supper, and weshould do the same. In many Christiantraditions, there is a time set aside forcorporate confession of sin and recogni-tion of Christs forgiveness of sin evenwhile we were yet sinners. If we take suchconfession seriously and do not treat it as only a recital of words, it can be significant.
Introduction: The shared meal is a powerfulsocial experience and symbolizes much ofwhat it means to belong to a particularfellowship.
I. The shared meal is one of the earliestrecords of Christian community.
A. We claim the Lords Supper as ahistorical celebration of what oncehappened.
B. We claim the Lords Supper as anongoing celebration of what remainstrue.
II. Paul levels specific criticism at theCorinthians because they have under-mined the symbolism of the shared meal.
A. Divisiveness is intolerable. B. Respect and equality are necessary.
Conclusion: We are called to live up to thesymbolism rooted in Christian communityand claimed by Christ in the Lords Supper.
4 Lesson 1
Feeling HungryDiscuss times when people may decide totake a break from regular church attendance. Perhaps when they went tocollege or first moved to a new city, it washarder than usual to get up on Sundaymornings and stay in the routine ofregular worship. Read the following story:
He took a break from church incollege, but he distinctly remembersthe Sunday he made his way to one ofthe back pews of a local church andnoted with joy that Communion wasto be served. He also remembersfeeling hungrynot physically, youunderstandnot anticipating lunchafter worship, but knowing he neededthe sustenance he would receive aspart of this service of worship.
Questions When have you felt a deep hunger for
God? How was that hunger satisfied? How can we do a better job of consis-
tently anticipating Communion? What is the responsibility of our
worship planners to help us anticipateCommunion?
Memories of Table FellowshipDiscuss good memories of table fellow-ship class members may haveThanksgiving dinner with all the trim-mings, the family picnic at the beach, thedinner at the fancy restaurant to celebratea new job, etc.
Hopefully, the bread and cup of theLords Supper also carry certain memoriesand remind us of our connection to aneven larger family. We should celebratethe memories of the Lords Supper witheven greater joy.
Question When thinking about the Lords
Supper, what theological memoriescome to mind (examples: Jesus eatingwith his disciples, the crucifixion, etc.)?
What particular Lords Supper celebra-tions stand out in your memory? Why?
Important meals have a way of working their way into our memories. It is notso much the food, however, but the occasion and the people with whom weshare it that makes the experience memorable. Jesus certainly understood this
phenomenon; the Bible describes him performing many acts of ministry at dinner tables.
A Way to Begin
Teaching Guide 5
Other Christians prefer to take stock of their lives silently before partaking of theLords S