JESUS THE LORD OF THE CROSS
JESUS THE LORD OF THE CROSS
We finally arrive at the pinnacle of our story. Everything since the beginning of time has been leading up to this great and terrible act, performed to save us, because God loves us.
Jesus has been intimating and revelaing for quite some time that he would die soon, and die horribly on a tree. His disciples refused to believe Him. This week we read and discuss Jesus death on the cross, which has become the symbol for Christians worldwide.
Aside from a cross, is there any other symbol you've associated yourself with, or wear often that reveals a part of your identity? What is it?
Let's read the passage from Luke 23:26-56:
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Before we talk about Duane's thoughts on the passage, what did you think? Were there any ideas that stood out, were confusing, were challenging?
Duane had 2 points he wanted to expound on in this passage:
The Word of the Cross
The People of the Cross
THE WORD OF THE CROSS
Duane based his first point on the passage from 1 Corinthians 1:18 which states that the "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."The cross is a loaded word and a lot is contained in it.
In this passage we have Jesus who is called by 4 names.
Jesus (God saves)
Chosen Son of God (only, unique)
Which name do you think most of San Diego thinks of when they hear about Jesus?
Which name/meaning do you most often associate with Jesus?
Jesus speaks and acts while on the cross to give addition and clear meaning to the cross.
The word of the cross is:
Forgiveness - "forgive them for they know not what they do"
Solidarity - silently suffers as some of us have suffered and is abused on the cross
Redemption - Promising the criminal he will be with him in paradise
Access - The curtain is torn and we can go to God whenever we want
Completion - Dies on the cross so there is nothing else you have to do
Which of these words seems most impossible when applied to you?
What other words or actions tied to the cross have struck you from the passage?
THE PEOPLE OF THE CROSS
Duane then wanted to touch on the reactions of the different character near the cross.
He pointed out 8 different reactions:
Simon of Cyrene - literally picked up and carried Jesus' cross
Why are we called to "pick up a cross and follow Jesus?" Is that also a literal command?
The Women - Completely devoted, never leaving Him, giving money and time to Him even after he had died.
Put yourselves in their shoes, why didn't the women leave? What were they hoping for?
Crowd - Angry, and ashamed, but unrepentant
Why do you think the crowd was ashamed? (beating their fists against their chests)
Soldiers - Put their faith in Caesar and government
Centurion - pays attention, recognizes Jesus as the son of God and changes
The Centurion notices that Jesus was greater than Caesar. What do you think caused him to notice and change?
Is there something in your life that God is working on changing your mind about?
Criminal 1 - turns to God only in crisis
Criminal 2 - recognizes his true and greater need
How would you explain the difference between the two criminals?
Joseph of Arimithea - Courage, Honoring Jesus with his grave for burial.
Acting in the face of the people who had just killed Jesus, Joseph boldy and very publicly still supports Jesus even after death.
What opportunities do you have to be bold for Jesus this week?
Thanking God for the cross, and the great power that it has on our lives.