Explore one of the core themes of the biblical story and see how Jesus provides the way back from exile and to our true home in God’s Kingdom.

Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion:

  1. Compare the first exile in Genesis 3:9-24 with the next in Genesis 4:6-16, when Cain was exiled east toward Babylon. Take note of repeated ideas and words. Why do you think the land suffered in each situation? Why were the humans driven from their homeland?
  2. Babylon is the place where people chase power to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4). But Abram is invited to leave Babylon when God tells him to move to a land he would show him. Read Genesis 12:1-3. What does God promise to do for and through Abram?
  3. Centuries later, Abraham’s family became the people of Israel. They entered the homeland God promised, but they failed to trust God and were exiled. But even in their exile, God made a way for them to return home (see Deuteronomy 30:1-6). What does this say about God’s character and the nature of his promises?
  4. Jesus is the way back home for all humanity. Jesus invites us back into God’s presence and the Eden ideal. Read John 14:1-6 and 14:16-23. Based on this passage, how does Jesus make a way for us to be at home in God while we live on Earth? How does Jesus make a way for God to be at home within us?
  5. Take time to discuss other themes, questions, or key takeaways from what you learned together.

A watershed moment for the Israelites.

The exile left God’s people without a home or a temple and wondering if their God had abandoned his promises to them. The exile fulfilled centuries of prophetic warnings, as hundreds of years of tradition, culture, and history was destroyed in just one year.

The book of Lamentations provides a raw and honest reflection of what it felt like to live through the tragedy of exile and the destruction of Jerusalem.

After spending decades in a foreign land under foreign rule, the Israelites were allowed to return home under Persian rule. But despite their return, the people's hearts were just as hard. Will they ever be able to be faithful to the covenant?

Is there hope on the other side of exile?

The Hebrew Bible ends with God’s people struggling to remember their identity in God’s covenant family. They can’t seem to stay faithful to God despite experiencing the tragedy of exile. But Jesus saw himself as continuing the story of the Hebrew Bible and doing what the Israelites could not.

He is the temple that cannot be destroyed. He is God’s presence among his people once again. He invites all people into God’s covenant family no matter where they are.

When we understand the significance of the exile and how this important historical event would have influenced Jesus and his teaching, we can see clearly how Jesus came to heal and restore a broken, suffering people.

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