Our Hearts’ Response to the Cross || Jessica Bolyard

Over the past month, we’ve been on quite a journey through Scripture: seeking Christ in the Old Testament, discovering the significance of the events around His death and resurrection, and understanding what those things mean as a continuous story. It’s been a historical and intellectual journey so far, and it is always good to travel through God’s Word that way. However, knowing what the Bible says and letting it change us are two very different things.

With that in mind, we’re finishing our journey today and arriving at our final destination of this study: how should our hearts respond to the cross of Christ and the empty tomb? How should it all affect us today?

To begin this final leg of the journey, let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of the cross. Until we understand why it had to happen, we’ll never understand why it matters to us.

Read Isaiah 53:6. These are the words of the prophet Isaiah, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, but who is “He” that carried the blame for what we did wrong?

What is it that we did wrong? (Using a concordance to discover more about the words “astray” and “iniquity” may give you an even deeper understanding!)

I always think it’s interesting that we are referred to as sheep throughout Scripture. Given what you know about sheep, what is this saying about us? (I realize not everyone has a lot of experience with sheep, but that’s okay. You don’t have to go really deep with this one.)

Read 1 Timothy 2:5-6a. Why do we need a mediator – someone to stand between God and mankind?

If Christ became a “ransom” for us, what does that imply about our situation without Him?

How does this idea – that without Christ, you are a prisoner (or even a hostage!) – make you feel?

Read Romans 7:14 – 8:1. Paul sounds a lot like my internal voice here, so this passage resonates in a particularly powerful way for me. Is there a verse or phrase in this passage that hits you harder than the others? Why is that?

Paul gives us two descriptions of our condition apart from Christ. What are they? What changes that for us?

Use a concordance to find other possible interpretations of the word “condemnation,” as found in verse 8:1.

Those are God’s words about why the cross was necessary, but it is entirely possible to know the facts without allowing them to sink in and change us. It has been said that the longest distance on earth is that between the head and the heart.

Because the cross of Christ was God’s method of accomplishing His ultimate goal of winning back our hearts, this is a critical turning point in our study. In order to go any further, we have to stop and make a decision: will we accept the cross and all that it means? Will we let ourselves become humble before God, admitting our great need for Him? Will we accept the gift of gracious forgiveness He offers us? Will we believe the truth of who He says we were without Jesus, who Jesus is, and what the cross was meant to accomplish? Take a moment to pray and submit your heart again to God. Ask Him to prepare you for what He wants to do in you today.

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We still have a lot to cover, so this might be a good time for a break. Go get a fresh cup of coffee and maybe move those clothes over to the dryer before they get gross again. Stretch your legs and come back ready!

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Only once we have made that decision can the cross’s impact move from head knowledge to heart response. Now we can begin to discover what our response ought to be to God’s free gift of salvation.

To begin, read Ephesians 4:22. Paul is writing to relatively new Christians in the city of Ephesus. They have heard about the cross and what it means, so what three things does Paul insist they must do?

I think those three things pretty well sum up how we ought to respond to the cross: put off our old selves, be made new in the attitude of our minds, and put on new versions of ourselves. Let’s look a little more closely at what that might look like in practice.

 

Put off our old selves:

Read Ephesians 2:8 and fill in the blank: _____________ saved me.

You may have heard it said that grace is receiving what we do not deserve. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people had no choice but to rely on their own efforts to find God’s favor. They had rules to follow and laws to obey; in essence, everything was up to them…but in reading their story, we see that on their own it couldn’t be done.

With grace, though, and the free gift of forgiveness God offered them, they no longer had to rely on themselves. They had only to trust God and His Word, placing their lives in His capable hands. It simply wasn’t up to them any longer.

Using your imagination and putting yourself in their shoes (sandals?), what emotion do you think the people felt on hearing this news?

Our culture places such a strong emphasis on achievement and accomplishment, so pride can make it hard for us to accept something we haven’t worked for. To the early church, this was no less true…but the thing they were accustomed to working for was a right relationship with God. Suddenly, this was no longer a requirement for them….and it isn’t for us. Our old way of doing things – working for God’s approval – is irrelevant. We can put off that entire way of life.

Is there something you feel constant pressure to do or to be?

How would you feel if someone told you that was no longer a requirement? Would you find it easy to shift your thinking and behavior?

The good news is you are free from those requirements! The only ones that matter are those placed on you by God, as we’ll discover next.

 

Be made new in the attitudes of our minds:

Read Ephesians 4:17-19. According to Paul, something specific separates those who don’t follow Christ from God. What is it?

There is a clear sequence of events listed in these verses: ________________________leads to ________________________, which leads to ________________________ and  ________________________.

Clearly, those things do not please God, so something has to be done. Fortunately, Paul was never one to mince words or beat around the bush, so we are told exactly what that something is. In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth (what is now 1 Corinthians), he confronted the people about their sins and many of the things he had heard they were doing wrong. He wasted no time in telling them where they were going astray from the message of the cross. Then in his second letter (what we know as 2 Corinthians), Paul explains his motives behind his straightforward approach.

Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-11. Why did Paul initially feel regret over his letter, and what changed his mind?

Because Paul had been so direct with them, what emotion did he assume they felt?

When you have been confronted with your sin – either by another person or by the Holy Spirit – how did you feel? How did you feel toward the person who confronted you?

Fill in the blanks: ________________________sorrow leads to ________________________, but ________________________sorrow leads to ________________________.

Because of their sorrow they felt as a result of Paul’s letter, what did they do?

The Greek word Paul uses – which we translate as “sorrow” – is lýpē, or “grief, emotional pain, or distress.” When the people of the early church were corrected, their response was grief. Sorrow. Deep, emotional pain. They literally suffered.

Think back over your life and recall a time when you suffered as a result of a choice you had made. Facing the difficult consequences of your choice, did you make any promises to yourself? Did you possibly resolve to do anything?

Using a concordance, find out what “repentance” actually means.

Why is Paul glad that his letter made the Corinthians sorrowful?

Sometimes other people can see things in us that we cannot see – or refuse to see – in ourselves. It can be hard to receive their correction, but with humility (from both parties!) those conversations can ultimately lead to the change of mind and heart that God desires.

So that we don’t forget who is behind all of this, read Romans 2:4. Though a person may have been the one to deliver the message to us, who and what are actually leading us to this changing of our minds?

 

Put on new versions of ourselves:

If we turn our backs on one thing, as repentance requires us to do with our sin, we must naturally be turning our faces toward something else.

Read Acts 3:19. If we turn from our sins, who or what will naturally be in front of us?

Only once we have trusted ourselves to God’s plan for our lives and repented of our sinfulness can we face God in righteousness and pursue Him. We cannot choose both God and our old lives. They cannot coexist.

New believers often cling to 2 Corinthians 5 – especially verse 17 -because of its good news for those who have turned to God in Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

Sometimes we need to do more than simply read a verse for it to sink into our hearts. Write 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Some translations say that “old things have passed away.” In our culture, what does it mean for something to “pass away”?

Read Galatians 2:20. Remembering what we have learned about the reason for Christ’s death, what does it mean that we, too, have been crucified?

Turning back to 2 Corinthians 5, how is it possible that we have died and yet are alive?

If you became a follower of Jesus later in life, think back on your life before Christ. What aspects of that life have died? What has replaced those things in your new life?

If you have been a follower of Jesus for as long as you can remember, I’m envious! You’ve probably avoided a lot of heartache because of your life in Him. However, you can probably think of a few situations in which you were tempted to go another way besides that of Jesus. Had Christ not brought you into a new life, what might have happened? How might your life be different today?

Now that we understand the internal changes that must happen – and will naturally happen when we surrender wholeheartedly – we can better grasp what Marissa taught us about the Great Commission. This gracious, love-driven change we have experienced in ourselves ought to compel us in our mission to introduce others to our Jesus.

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Friend, you are a new person. You are not who you used to be, and you do not have to live like you used to live. Your thoughts, your behaviors, your dreams, your relationships….it can all change in the light of Christ.

To summarize our new purpose in life, read 1 Peter 2:9-12. If the job set before you sounds intimidating, take heart. You aren’t expected to do it alone, and we’ll look more deeply at that in our next study.

Thanks for sticking with me through today’s extremely long lesson, and thanks for taking the journey to and beyond the cross with us. It’s been a pleasure.

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Our Response to the Cross || Marissa Dodgen

Last week, Keisha took us through the first “response to the cross/resurrection” post by diving a bit deeper into how the disciples, Jesus’ people, responded to the cross. Today, I am going to walk with you through just one small iota of what our response should be.

Take a minute first & reread the resurrection account in Matthew 28:1-10.

When did the women go back to the tomb according to verse 1?

The NASB says “as it began to dawn”. Put that in your own words: when did they go to the tomb?

Again, in your own words, what does it mean to do something first thing in the morning?

Basically, they went as soon as it was light enough to go. Without thought or hesitation to what else the day would hold, they gathered their materials, put on their sandals & headed to Jesus before anything else. Their absolute, first priority was to prepare Him for burial. Nothing else was going to get in the way of that…it was the first thing.

Word for word, what did the angel say to the women in 5-6?

Go back to verse 6. The angel tells the women Jesus is not there. What words immediately follow that?

“Come and see.” The greek of come is deute– meaning “to go” or “come follow”. The greek of see is eido- meaning to know, be aware, have knowledge. The angel was saying “come follow & know He has risen”. It wasn’t enough to have this crazy angelic sighting. They needed to see the empty tomb & the left-behind head covering with their own eyes. They saw it.

Quick recap:

Lets put this all together: the women went to the temple ___________  ____________. The angel told them ____________ & ___________.

Now, verse 7: what words were used that give the women specific action (so the verbs for all you grammar fans) on what to do next?

What about in Mark 16:7?

And what did they do in Luke 24:9?

In John 20:17, what does Jesus say to Mary?

They are given an action – something to do – in each of these verses. What is it?

These women come upon the single, greatest thing ever to happen in history. First thing in the morning, they go to Jesus. They are told to come & see [what the Lord has done] & then they are instructed to go & tell the world that Jesus has risen. They didn’t sit idle or wonder, “What do we do next?” or “Should we really go & tell everyone?” or our favorite excuse, “What if they think we are crazy?” They didn’t do that. They went & told.

One of my favorite sections of scripture in the bible brings Matthew to a close. Read Matthew 28:18-20 & write it down here…

 

 

 

This section of scripture is referred to as the Great Commission, also referred to as our “marching orders.” The women go to Jesus’ in the tomb first thing in the morning, before anything else. They are instructed to “come & see” that Jesus has risen. Then they are given their marching orders to go & tell the disciples what has happened.

So thousands of years later, what does this mean for us? What is our response to the cross? Easter is over. We went to church. We shared some cards. Heck, one of our friends even came with us. Isn’t that enough? [Insert silent, blinking stare…]

When life continues to happen as it always does, we are first to go to our Savior – just like the women who went first thing in the morning. It should be our first priority. Before we go to our spouse or best friend or parents. Before we ever take to social media for advice, we go to our Jesus. We are to come & hear, come & see, what He has for us. Then we are to go & tell the world who He is & what His commands for us are.

None of us are exempt from this. No one of us has been set aside or excluded from the Great Commission. As it says in verse 19, “Go & make disciples.” The Mary’s were told to go & tell the world (well, technically they were told to tell the disciples, but they eventually went & told the world) what He has done & that He has risen…that there is hope in Jesus. And just because Easter is over doesn’t mean the message is. He is risen just as much today as He was that day. After all, you are reading this today, aren’t you? If they hadn’t taken the message to heart, none of us would be.

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The initial response to the Resurrection || Keisha Hill

Looking around today it’s easy to assume that people responded quickly to the idea that Jesus was crucified, buried, and then resurrected on the third day, all for the sake of redeeming humanity. After all, there are Jesus followers all over the world! There’s no way this could still be the case a few thousand years later if no one believed in the beginning.

That’s all true, but maybe not quite as instantaneous as it feels.

Take a few minutes and read John 20 – 21:14.

Who was the first to arrive at the tomb? What did she do when she saw the stone was rolled away?

Who came next? (Sidenote – verse 4 always makes me wonder how competitive the disciples were. Surely twelve men who were together constantly for a few years made a contest out of everything. I love that John makes sure all of posterity knows who won that footrace!)

Verses 8-10 are intriguing. Simon Peter and John (who refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”) go into the empty tomb. They see the grave clothes just as they were left and believed, but yet they didn’t understand. After they’ve seen this incredible sight, what do they do? (hint – verse 10)

Let’s take a moment a play a little game.
Answer these questions…
What is your favorite movie?
Favorite song?
Favorite bird?
Favorite animal?
What about your favorite outfit?
What is the situation you’re most afraid of?
Scariest memory?
What animal are you afraid of most? What’s second?

If I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the fact that the fears flew off our tongues faster than the favorites. It’s like the fears occupy a space in our brains that is easier to access than the things we enjoy. Fear does some incredible things in people doesn’t it? I woke up this morning in full-on terror from a nightmare about one of my biggest fears. It’s still nagging me more than 5 hours later, even though I know it’s not happening.

It was true for the disciples too. Take a look at John 20:19. It was still Resurrection Day! That morning John and Simon Peter had stood in the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene has seen Jesus face to face and told the disciples about it. But after all that, where did they end up? Why?

It’s important to note that the disciples had legitimate reason to be afraid.  Rome had zero tolerance for anything that even hinted at insubordination.  Those who disturbed the pax romana – the peace of Rome – were not only killed, but brutally and publicly executed as an example to everyone around them.  The meaning was clear: don’t do what this person did…or you’ll get what they got.  The Jewish religious leaders had already turned Jesus over to be crucified.  There was little reason to believe his followers wouldn’t be next.

In the book A Short Life of Christ, Everett Harrison writes,

“However important the empty tomb may be as evidence for the resurrection, the fact remains that it was not convincing to the original followers of Jesus. Clearly they were not expecting the Master to rise from the dead.”

It took Jesus stepping into the middle of their fear for the empty tomb to make sense!

Read 20:19-20 again. Can you imagine the relief they felt in that moment? Look up the word for “glad” or “overjoyed” in your concordance. (Hint: it’s Strong’s number 5463.)

I’ll be honest, I was excited to do this little word study. I was ready to be introduced to a sense of joy and relief that was found in few other places. Were you as surprised by the results as I was?

This word is very simple. It means to rejoice and be glad. Most surprising to me is that it’s used as a greeting throughout the New Testament. The disciples didn’t experience an overwhelming awe and reverence – they greeted their old friend and were so happy to see Him! And Jesus leaves them with incredible words: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20: 22) With direction like that it certainly seems like Jesus had plans for them.

There is so much information in these few chapters you may want to spend more time really pondering them. But before we wrap up today, I want you to realize how many times Jesus comes to them.

In John 20:24-29 we see that Jesus appears again to the disciples, and this time Thomas was there too. Eight days later. How long those eight days must have seemed! And when Jesus comes to them, what were they still doing, more than a week after they saw Him the first time?

Yep. Still locked in a room.

Skip down to chapter 21. Finally! The disciples got a bit of fresh air but they still weren’t changing the world. What were they doing instead?

You read it right. After all they had seen and heard, the disciples went back to fishing. The very thing Jesus had invited them to leave behind. Take a peek at Matthew 4:19. What did Jesus say to the very first disciples, Simon Peter and Andrew?

I know we’re not to a full application of all this yet, but I just can’t help but find comfort in the fact that Jesus kept showing up! He didn’t berate them for deserting Him in his last moments. He didn’t shame them for their fear. He didn’t scold them for not rushing out to tell the world about how He literally defeated death in order to save humanity.

He showed up.
He met them exactly where they were.
He was helpful. (21:6)
He served them. (21:9-14)
He was tender in His dealings with Simon Peter. (21:15-18)
He extended the invitation again: “Follow me.” (21:19)
The character of God and His Son Jesus never change. We can trust that the gentle guidance that was given to the disciples will be extended to us. Is there anything more comforting than that?

Even when we fail. Even when we’re afraid. Even when we have no idea what to do next.

He’s going to show up. And we still have an opportunity to follow Him.

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The Resurrection || Marissa Dodgen

Before we jump in, I am sorry our schedule is a bit off this week (we normally post on Monday & Wednesday), but my son slipped & fell yesterday & I thought he broke his foot. Thankfully he did not and it just seems to be a bruised bone. But the incident made work impossible yesterday. So we had to adjust our schedule this week because I couldn’t get done what I needed to get done yesterday. So….let’s get this started.

If you made it to church, or spent much time on social media over the weekend, you probably heard or saw “He is risen” or “Sunday has come” or some version of those. I am willing to bet that you know Jesus rose from the tomb were He was placed after being crucified. But do we really get it? Like really understand?

Read Matthew 27:50-28:6, Mark 15:37-16:6, Luke 23:46-24:8, & John 19:31-20:17 (I know it seems like a lot of reading, but it’s important to see such a fundamental story from all angles. So take your time & read all the way through.)

Let’s do a quick overview of a few of the events we ended with last week:

Jesus gives up His spirit/dies in what verses of the Gospels?

What happens in Matthew 27:54 & Mark 27:51?

**I wish we had enough time today to really search through this, because it is so incredibly important to understand these two verses & their historical significance, but I can’t do it justice today within the parameters of this study. So for now, just know that the curtain refers to the curtain in the temple that was built in the Old Testament. The temple was where people would come & offer blood sacrifices (usually a lamb) to God as payment for their sins. Once a year, the high priest, would go behind the curtain into the presence of God & offer the blood of those lambs as payment for the sins of everyone. The curtain was what separated God from the people. The tearing of the curtain at the very moment of Christ’s death, signifies that we no longer need someone to approach God for us. Jesus came to earth & according to John 14:6, no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. When Jesus breathed His last breath, fulfilling the prophecy that He would die for us, that curtain was ripped in half from the very top to the bottom. The top to the bottom as proof it was God & not man because that curtain was about 60 ft tall & 48 inches thick & that wasn’t something man was not capable of doing at that exact moment. But it was final. We no longer would we need a special or “holy” person or priest to go to God for us. No longer would we need to sacrifice blood as forgiveness for our sins & shortcomings, because Jesus did it once & that was it.

So moving on, what does the centurion say in Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39, & Luke 23:47?

Did you notice how the crowds reacted in Luke?

Why would they mourn when hours before they were all for his death?

Who were the women outside of his tomb? (Make sure to note what verse your answer comes from.)

This is a good opportunity to use a commentary or concordance to look deeper into what seems to be an account discrepancy on who the women were. Noticing & searching out these kinds of things/differences/ponderings you have along the way will give major strength to your ability to study the Bible & know what to pull out to look at deeper.

Read Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56: What are the major events in these verses?

Why did Pilate place a guard outside of the tomb?

What does the angel say to the women when they go back to prepare Jesus’ body? (Note the verse & the exact words from each of the 3 books.)

Whew…that is it! The point is made: HE HAS RISEN! No matter what life brings us, just remember that He has risen. He conquered death & the grave & those words shape what we know. If we know nothing else, we must know & remember this: He has risen.

For deeper study:

Use John to fill in a few holes from the other 3 gospel accounts. Maybe even drawing up a series of events or a “timeline” would be helpful – but don’t get wrapped up in the time portion of it.

 

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The Crucifixion || Marissa Dodgen

In some form or another, we all probably hear the crucifixion story at this time every year. Usually it is the week before Easter Sunday or maybe it is during a Good Friday service. Many may only hear it on Easter Sunday. And while we hear about it, we don’t ever really study it & make it a point to grasp the brutality of the events of that weekend or the sacrifice & self-control of God Almighty & our beautiful Lord Jesus. So today, before we walk into church this weekend, lets take a little while & focus on just what Jesus did for us on that day on Calvary.

Before we start, please take a minute to pray that God will open your heart, mind, & eyes to gain better understanding of what Jesus went through for us.

Read Matthew 27:24-50.

(Before we dig into the study: if you don’t have study resources you already use in addition to your bible- check out our Resources page here)

What does it mean to flog/scourge (vs 26) [use a concordance or Bible dictionary]? See if you can find the difference between flog & scourge.

Read Deuteronomy 25:1-3. From these verses, how many lashes/stripes/whips can we guess Jesus may have received?

Here is something to keep in mind: the scriptures do not say how many times Christ was whipped. We can only make an educated guess based on the history of the laws from Deuteronomy. It is important to remember to actually read what the scriptures say & look for what is & isn’t included without basing our beliefs of events on heresy.

Verses 28 & 29 say that the soldiers put a scarlet [or purple depending on your translation] robe & a crown of thorns on Him & gave Him a reed in His right hand. What is the significance of these items? Think it through – what did each represent when it came to royalty? What were these soldiers doing in reality? Mark 15:16-20 will shed a more light on these details also.

Going back to Matthew 27, let’s take just a minute to look into the brutality of what these soldiers are doing:

vs 28 – What did they do?

Do you think this was done respectfully & gently?

What had just happened to Jesus previously? (vs 26)

In these days, the whip historically used was called a Cat of Nine Tails. It was a whip that had 9 tails (or whips) rather than the one we typically think of when we picture Indiana Jones or cowboys. The tails were designed to make contact & wrap around the torso. Each of these 9 tails were embedded with pieces of bone, metal, or jars and would penetrate, grab onto, & rip off the skin of the receiver in just enough time to receive another lashing. And as we learned in Deuteronomy, this can be done up to 40 times. So it is safe to say there probably wasn’t much skin left to protect the underlying flesh & bone of the body of Christ.

What happens when skin is ripped off the body?

Have you ever put a bandage on an open wound? What happens?

We don’t know how long Jesus stood there in the inner courts being mocked, but it is possible the body had started the natural clotting process & the blood on his torso had started to dry…to the robe. What happened in verse 31?

That’s right, they ripped off the robe taking more flesh with it.

But this wasn’t it. Do you remember what was placed on his head?

And what does verse 30 tell us these soldiers did with the reed they placed in his hand?

So what was happening to those thorns on his head?

We haven’t even begun the walk to Calvary & look at what our Savior endured already. Remember: He endured all this for us, to save our souls from the pits of hell…and He isn’t even done yet.

Verse 32 enters us into the walk to the actual crucifixion. Turn to John 19:17. What information are we given in John that we don’t get in Matthew 27:32?

Now before we go thinking the Bible is contradicting itself, Roman history tells us that those crucified only carried the cross beam (where the hands/arms were attached, which is estimated to be about 100 pounds) across the top of their shoulders, & that they didn’t drag the cross in its entirety like we often see. This may be where Simon of Cyene entered the picture. When Jesus could no longer physically bear the weight of His cross, someone came beside Him & did it instead. (Hmmmm, does that parallel sound familiar…?)

Now, there is a lot of medical research done on the actual process of the nailing. What we typically see is that the nails were driven through what we call His palms, but it was most likely driven through a hole in the middle of the wrist (which is still considered part of the hand). If you were to look at an x-ray of a hand (go ahead Google it) you will see that the fingers are actually attached at the wrist, meaning the weight of the body would simply have just ripped the flesh of the hands & the crucified would not have stayed on the cross. There is similar research done on the nailing of the feet. Some say the feet were stacked, some say they were side by side, some say during historical crucifixion, the feet were actually on either side of the cross & the nail went through the heel. But whatever it was, we can be sure of one thing: it hurt. It probably would have been enough for most of us to just have had a heart attack right then & there. But our Savior endured it…for us.

Let’s pick up on verse 33 & 34, then read Mark 15:23. What was gall? (Use a bible dictionary) What was the gall mixed with?

Take a look at these verses: Psalm 69:21, Deuteronomy 29:18, & again Mark 15:23.

The greek defines gall as bitter, but the Hebrew refers to it as poison or a poisonous plant. (Greek & Hebrew are were your concordance comes in handy.) But why would Jesus refuse it? Wouldn’t poison just make it go quicker? Let’s keep looking….

Read Proverbs 31:6, 7. Go back to Mark 15:23. What was the gall mixed with again?

Look up myrrh in a concordance or Mark 15:23 in a commentary & see if you can find why He might have refused it.

Strong’s Concordance tells us myrrh was considered a narcotic. Some sources tell us it had opiate properties & was given to those suffering, specifically in a crucifixion, to lessen the pain. But Jesus was to suffer the full weight of the cross…the full weight of our sins.

Go back to the Garden of Gethsemane for just a minute in Matthew 26:39. What does Jesus ask of God?

Did God take if from him?

So why not take something to lessen the pain of his horrible suffering?

 

Alright…..take a break. Stretch your back, refill your coffee… we are about halfway through! (This is important stuff – and well worth our time!)

 

We will revisit the garments of Jesus next week, so for now read Matthew 27: 40-44 again. What is happening?

When it comes to the Bible, our opinion is not what matters, but our opinion can sometimes shed light on the human condition that we actually understand. So in your opinion, why did Jesus not come down from the cross when others were challenging Him to prove who he was?

What does Matthew 5:39-41 tell us about being challenged or mistreated?

Would Jesus have been “turning” the proverbial cheek if He had taken himself off that cross to prove a point?

Think about what the eternal ramifications would have been had He given in to the taunting. Would He have been better than any of us if He had given in?

One more time, go back to Matthew 26:39. Did God take the cup from Him?

So can we assume He was to suffer on the cross, fully & completely?

Now, lets go back to the cross. Looking at verse 45, use your resources to figure out when those times were estimated to be.

And in Mark 15:25, when does it say the process began?

About what time would that be?

So we are 6 hours into the horrendous, brutal torture. Very quickly, let’s take a look at some of the physical ramifications of hanging on a cross.

The weight of the body was on the shoulders, thus putting added pressure on the lungs. (Keep in mind the heart is probably beating fast trying to endure the torture, making the lungs work even harder.) Still being alive on the cross, the crucified individual would be desperate to relieve the suffocating pressure on their lungs & would instinctively push through their legs to give their lungs some relief from the pressure & thus more air. (Also remember what is going through their feet.) When they could take the searing pain no more, they would crumble back to bent knees & the force of the weight of their bodies would come crashing down on their shoulders, hands, & feet. Ouch! For over 3 hours, over and over, this is what Christ endured….for us.

Now let’s wrap this up! Looking at verse 46, what did Jesus say?

Why do you suppose Jesus cried out?

If we use our concordance & follow the trail of the Greek words, we can figure out a deeper meaning of forsaken. The word of forsaken is egkataleiph (eng-kat-al-i-po) [it’s ok…stay with me!]. That Greek word means “to leave behind in some time/place.” We will get a little further into this in a few weeks, but for now, knowing what the Greek word means, how do you think Jesus may have been feeling?

Read verse 50. It is over. Jesus “yielded up His spirit.” Read Mark 15:37 for more context. Also read John 19:30, which is the verse we are most familiar with.

Whew….that was a lot, huh?! Give yourself a big hug & pat on the back for making it through these last few studies. But now, hopefully…. prayerfully, you have a better understanding of the agony of the cross. Our prayer is that with all you have learned so far through this series, you can walk into Easter this weekend with a deeper understanding of not just what Christ physically endured, but how long people of the Bible had been waiting for this & how each & every prophecy about his life & his death is fulfilled by these events.

Monday, we will take a deeper look at the resurrection, but for now let’s just sit in the weight of what He did for us & how specifically God had worked all things out for good.

For a deeper study:

Matthew 27:24-50

Mark 15:1-39

Luke 23:11-46

John 19:1-37

crucifixion pdf

          

 

 

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