The words and actions of Jesus were counter-cultural. What He said and did the week before His death is the foundation for freedom available to us unlike any other. That freedom came with a price.
Come with us to experience the final days of Christ as He endured betrayal, denial, arrest, and crucifixion. And then celebrate with us His resurrection, His victory over death, and the freedom He gave us!
The cross can trigger emotions and responses, but it can also be a symbol of mystery and curiosity. As we enter the final week before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, it is important for us to pause on questions regarding the cross and to reflect on the scandalous suffering of Christ. In today’s message, let’s set our target towards a profound appreciation for the cross and what it declares about who God is.
This week in CF Online, Diane Rutledge continues our Easter series by looking at The Crucifixion. Whether you find yourself with a group, a friend, a family member, or are by yourself, take some time to read the following passages. Then, put yourself in the shoes of one or more of the characters, and answer the questions below.
Week 4 - The Crucifixion
Luke 23:26-49 (NIV)
As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’
Then“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”
For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
What questions/thoughts/emotions are stirred up as you read through those passages?
"In our broken nature humanity craves a warrior king. Someone who wields their power for the honor and glory of a select few but Jesus came to show us the true image of God. A God that does not lead with oppressive power but leads with sacrificial love. I think one of the most beautiful things about God is that he is not afraid or ashamed of appearing weak… " Diane Rutledge
Why is it so difficult to show weakness? What examples from Jesus's words and actions illustrate this? What is the cause and effect of oppressive power vs sacrificial love?
Reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus. How has Jesus' sacrifice on the cross transformed you?
In what current situation do you need reassurance that Jesus is with you?
This week, take time with Jesus in His procession TO and ON the cross. Choose, read, and reflect through one or all of the following accounts:
Matthew 21 – 28
Mark 11 – 16
Luke 19 – 24
John 12 - 20