Journey to the Cross
I. Notice the ROLE Jesus PLAYS here. (22:47-23:49)
A. As one CLEAR on His IDENTITY. (22:48, 69-70; 23:3,46)
B. CARING for the needs of OTHERS. (22:51, 23:28-34,43)
C. As LEADER, not as a VICTIM. (22:48, 51-53, 67-70; 23:3, 28-34,43,46)
Today we are looking a little past the typical Palm Sunday passages to the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. It’s a story that we often speed through because we have heard it so many times. But today let’s slow down and look in depth at what is going on in these stories that take up the last hours of Jesus life before the crucifixion.
1. Kid’s Question: Why do you think Jesus had to die on a cross?
2. What stands out to you about the way Jesus acted during this section of text? Why?
II. A DIFFERENT kind of LEADERSHIP. (22:24-27)
A. The EMBRACE of SACRIFICE. (22:42)
B. An INDIFFERENCE toward SELF-JUSTIFICATION. (22:64-65; 23:1-3)
C. The TRUST in God for VINDICATION. (23:46)
Jesus leads the process, He is not a victim. And the leadership He demonstrates is so different than what the culture around us values in a leader. For many it seems that Jesus passively surrenders to the forces determined to see Him die. The reality is that He is founded on a deeper truth than most can grasp.
3. Have you had a “Gethsemane moment” in your own life? What was that like?
4. Jesus spoke the truth about Himself, but didn’t seem to need to self-justify to everyone. What’s it like for you when people falsely accuse you? How do you respond?
III. The last ditch ATTEMPT of DEATH. (23:44-49)
A. SURRENDERING HIMSELF to the hands of God. (23:46)
B. The TRUTH always BUBBLES to the top. (23:47)
Even in the death of Jesus, as Satan releases his last blow, Jesus allows the power of life to win out. The epitome of Roman strength and leadership – the centurion – realizes the truth of Jesus as he watches him die. The truth will always come into view if we trust the ways of God.
5. Read 23:32-49. What stands out to you most from this passage? Why might that be?
6. Jeff says that “the truth always bubbles to the top”. Do you agree with that? What about when it seems like it doesn’t?
IV. TAKING up our own CROSS to follow. (Lk. 9:23)
A. We do not LIVE from a place of FEAR. (Is. 41:10; Rev. 12:11)
B. Outward CIRCUMSTANCES do not define REALITY. (2 Cor. 4:18)
C. RESTING in our IDENTITY in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:4-8)
How does the way Jesus approached His own suffering help us to approach ours? There are several lessons that we see in His actions. Ultimately He was living from a different place than those around Him. His feet were firmly planted in a solid identity that was not swayed by what the world perceived about Him. He trusted that more was happening than meets the eye.
7. How can you tell if you are living from a place of fear? What can you do to better position yourself in a place of trust?
8. What does it mean that your identity is in Christ? How might that truth impact your life this week? Think of specific situations.