SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS - MaranathaMaranatha is an Aramaic word that means “the Lord is coming” or “come, O Lord.” The early church faced much persecution, and life for a Christian under Roman rule was not easy. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ—and in all good conscience they could not call Caesar “Lord,” so the Romans looked upon them as traitors, persecuted them, and put them to death.
Living under those adverse conditions, the believers’ morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. “Maranatha!” became the common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting shalom (“peace”). The followers of Jesus knew there would be no peace because Jesus had told them so (Matt 10:34; Luke 12:51). But they also knew the Lord would be returning to set up His kingdom, and from that truth they drew great comfort. They were constantly reminding and being reminded that the Lord is coming (Luke 21:28; Rev 22:12). Jesus taught several parables on this same theme of watching and waiting and being prepared for His return (Matt 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-40).
Today, believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ live our lives in the light of the knowledge that He can come at any time. We are to be ready when the call comes. Every day we should expect Him to come, and every day we should long for Him to come. Maranatha reminds us to keep our eyes on the eternal things of the Spirit. To dwell on material things is to be in constant mental turmoil. Looking down, we see the earth; looking around, we see earthly things. But looking up, we see the hope of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. To those who are discouraged today, Maranatha! To those who are worried today, Maranatha! To those who are filled with anxiety over the problems they are facing, Maranatha! Our Lord is coming!
Bio of the class: The Maranatha Sunday School class has a very unique dynamic where you feel welcomed, supported and embraced by others who enjoy serving the Lord and edifying (lifting up and encouraging) each other in the Lord. We have wonderful diversity and come from all different walks of life, often sharing how the Lord is working in and through our life experiences. We have learned that nobody has it all figured out!! But, we can certainly learn and lot from those who have "been there, done that" and really catch a glimpse of God's goodness, protection, correction, etc. from those who share in class. Maranatha also takes advantage of serving others by preparing and serving the meal on rotation for the GPCC Celebrate Recovery Ministry. Maranatha has recently completed studies on the 7 radical "I Am" statements Jesus made and an in-depth study on "Friendship". Currently, Maranatha is working through a study entitled "Unstoppable" as it pertains to trials, death, God's Word and the church. The forum for the class is a mixture of lecture to review the material and facilitated discussion with the aid of handouts. We also have additional events outside of the class time for fellowship to strengthen existing and build new relationships. We are excited as we see the Lord answering prayers and drawing us to a closer walk with Him. We look forward to His return, Maranatha!