From Creation to the Cross: Day 6 (Scripture Reading – Luke 23, John 18-19)

Someone summed it up well when they said, “The whole stream and drift of the Old Testament moves straight to the cross of Christ.”

When we come to the New Testament, here we see what Christianity is all about, the manger, the cross and the empty tomb. The four Gospel writers devote nearly one quarter of their accounts of the cross and the closing scenes in the life of Christ. The book of Acts is filled with the basics of New Testament doctrine of the cross. The epistles advance that doctrine as they reveal how the whole message of Christian truth rises out of heart of the cross. Even the Revelation is filled with visions of the crucified Lamb. The cross is inescapable!

One writer said, “God has stitched His Word together with a scarlet seam,” From the birth of Christ forward the shadow of the cross was upon His life. The compelling force in His life was to do the will of His Father, even to death on the cross. The events that took place on “Good Friday” were the plan of the Father …” the Son of Man came … to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus, on the cross took the hand of sinful humanity and placed it in the loving hand of God the Father. Jesus reconciled us to God; he broke down the barrier. He restored the broken fellowship caused by sin. Jesus died to bring God and man together.” Jesus, God’s Son, experienced the tortures of death so that we might have abundant life.

Thought for today:

May we never forget it. May we never grow tired of being reminded of Jesus’ suffering and death. May we never grow weary of praising and thanking God for giving his Son to suffer and die. As the old hymn goes: “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe; sin had left its crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.”

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your Son Jesus and his obedience. Thank you that because of him, I can have eternal life. Thank you for your grace and the forgiveness of my sins. Help me to be obedient to you and your ways. Amen.

From Creation to the Cross: Day 4 (Scripture Reading – Isaiah 52:13-53:12, 1st Peter 1:18-20)

Isaiah 53 serves as the hinge in the book of Isaiah and is the most quoted section of scripture in the New Testament. Genesis 52:13 through 53:12 contains some of the most comprehensive prophecies concerning the Messiah. The most encouraging verses in our passage for today are: Isaiah 53:4-5 which says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

The question is asked, why was He pierced? – For our transgressions! Why was He crushed? – For our iniquities! We realize that the only way we can have peace with God is for someone to pay the sin debt we owed. Someone had to be punished for our sin against God and all His goodness. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him. “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities” – this is the very heart of the Gospel.

Jesus went to the cross for us. His sufferings on the cross were for our transgression and iniquities. We have peace with God, because Jesus took the punishment for us.

Thought for today:

Do I take the sacrifice of Jesus seriously enough? Do I take God’s mercy and grace for granted? What am I willing to change about my life to become a more serious follower of Jesus?

Prayer: Our God thank you for the good news. Thank you for forgiving us our sins. Please give us the will and the ability to spread this, the good news, to our family, our friends, our neighbors, and our fellow workers.

From Creation to the Cross: Day 1 (Scripture reading: Genesis 6:5-8, Romans 5:5-19)

If we want to be able to understand “Passion Week” we must turn our attention first to the book of Genesis. The first eleven chapters of this book tell us that God created everything. He crowned His creation by creating mankind. Then we see man, in relationship to his Creator, has fallen from a place of dignity, humility and dependence to a state of corruption. It is then God began the process of redemption and the Old Testament reveals His redemptive acts.

Genesis 3:15 is the first indication God had a plan for man’s fallen condition: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

As we consider God’s perfect plan of redemption, let us be reminded that He has a plan for our life as well. In Jeremiah 29:11 it states, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Even though today you may feel separated from God – either by illness, discouragement, grief or rejection; I trust you will remember His plans for you started a long time ago and they involved hope and a future!

Thought for today:
Jesus not only reverses the story of Adam, but he reverses our story as well. He has a plan to transform your life. Trust Him to reverse and change your life today.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this great promise! Remind us today that the plans you have for your children are always good. God reverse our story. Thank you for sending your Son to give us a hope and an eternal future. Thank you for listening when we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Passion Week: A study aid

A major part of each Gospel focuses on this one week of the earthly life of Jesus, known as The Passion Week. The reason the Gospel writers give such detail accounts of this week is because it tells the story of the Gospel: the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus.

The writers of the four Gospels allow us to transcend time and walk with Christ to the cross.

EVENTS PRIOR TO THE PASSION WEEK

What Happened Friday: Jesus leaves Jericho after healing blind Bartimaeus and visiting in the home of Zacchaeus. (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43; 19:1-28). He arrived in Bethany just two miles from Jerusalem. It was six days before the Passover (John 12:1). Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor…Then Mary took a pint of an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet. (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-10).

What Happened Saturday: The Jewish Sabbath. Travel was limited on the Sabbath, so probably Jesus stayed at the home of His friend Lazarus.

The Passover: Jews came from all over the world to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. The purpose of the Passover was to remember Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Scholars say that the city during this time had grown to more than a million people. The city is just boiling with excitement, nervousness – there is a lot going on politically and a lot going on in the religious life of the people; tension is building.

EVENTS OF THE PASSION WEEK

What Happened Sunday: The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19).

  • The prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9).
  • The shouts of Hosanna (Psalm 118:25-26).

What Happened Monday: The Cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21:10-17; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48).

  • Jesus curses the fig tree (Hosea 9:10).
  • Jesus cleanses the temple to fulfill the Messianic expectation; to condemn anything that hindered people in their search for God and to denounce empty ritualism of the temple service. (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13).

What Happened Tuesday: Provocative Teachings (Matthew 21:23-24:51; Mark 11:27- 13:37; Luke 21:1-36). Here we see the Master Teacher.

  • His authority is questioned (Matthew 22:23-27; Mark 27-33; Luke 20:1-8).
  • Jesus gives His view on taxes to Rome (Matthew 22:15-21; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26).
  • The significance of the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38).
  • The greatest commandment (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34).
  • Jesus confronts the religious leaders in parables.
  • The parable of Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32).
  • The parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24).
  • The parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents and the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:1-46; Luke 19:12-27).
  • The parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18).
  • His judgments against Israel’s leaders (Matthew 23:1-36; Mark 12:38-39; Luke 20:45-46).
  • Jesus mentions the widow for her giving (Mark 12:41-44).
  • Jesus weeps over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-38).
  • The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36).

What Happened Wednesday: Jesus’ day of rest.

  • Jesus probably remained in Bethany.
  • Judas meets with the chief priest and plots his betrayal of Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

What Happened Thursday: Passover and the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; John 13:1-30).

  • The disciples debate about who is the greatest.
  • There is a traitor among them.
  • Jesus predicts Peter’s denial.
  • Peter denied Jesus.
  • Jesus gives a lesson on servanthood  (John 13:1-13).
  • Jesus teaching on the Holy Spirit (John 14, 15, 16).
  • Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46).
  • Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities.
  • Questioned by Caiaphas the high priest.
  • Early in the morning Jesus is taken before Pilate.

What Happened Friday: “Good Friday” The Trial and Crucifixion (Matthew 27:1-66; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 22:66-23:56; John 18:28-19:37).

  • Christ before Pilate.
  • What is truth?
  • Christ declared free from guilt.
  • Christ sent to Herod.
  • Jesus remained silent.
  • Christ before Pilate the second time.
  • Pilate warned by his wife.
  • Barabbas is released.
  • Pilate washes his hands.
  • Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified.
  • Jesus is beaten and prepared for His crucifixion.

Calvary – Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull) located ¼ mile outside Jerusalem. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross.

Christ’s Crucifixion  – 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

The seven final words of Christ from the cross:

  • Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
  • Today you will be with me in paradise.
  • Mother, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
  • My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
  • I thirst.
  • It is finished!
  • Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Supernatural phenomena accompanying Jesus’ death: Darkness, earthquake, rending of the temple veil.

Centurion “Truly this was the Son of God!” “Certainly this man was innocent”. (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47-49).

Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the body of Jesus for burial. (Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51).

What Happened Saturday: The body of Jesus in the tomb. Pilate dispatches a guard and tells the Jews to seal the tomb as best as they know how. (Matthew 27:65).

What Happened Sunday: Resurrection Day (Matthew 28:1-13; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-49; John 20:1-31).