Many have heard about the last events of Jesus’ life on earth—sometimes called the Passion of the Christ. He was falsely accused, tried, and condemned. Then He suffered as a common criminal, hung from a cross until dead, and three days later rose from the dead. But few people understand the meaning of these events. In this chapter, you will explore Jesus’ life, His death, and His resurrection—and what it all means.
The Life Of Jesus Christ About 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born in the obscure town of Bethlehem. While Jesus was an infant, Joseph and Mary took Him into Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod the Great. Then, while He was still a young child, they moved to a small town called Nazareth in the region of Galilee, in the land now called Israel. 1. When the angel announced His birth, what purpose did he give for Jesus coming into the world? (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31-33) He came to save His people from their sins. He will be called the Son of God. The Lord will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will have no end. 2. At the age of thirty, after working with His father Joseph as a carpenter, Jesus began His public ministry. What are some activities of Jesus’ public ministry? (Matthew 4:23) Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 3. Jesus did not fulfill His ministry alone. According to Mark 3:14, what was His purpose in selecting twelve men to live and minister with Him? What criteria do you think Jesus may have used for selecting these twelve? So that they would be with Him and so that they could be sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. How different each one was. They were chosen by Him. 4. Read Luke 22:25-27. How did Jesus expect His disciples to live? To live according to the example He established. His examples were in direct opposition to the world’s patterns. He said one who is the greatest must become like the youngest, the leader must become the servant. So His way is the way of humbly serving others. What would it look like for you to live the same way today? Serving one another in love looks the same today as it did then. 5. Just before Jesus was crucified, He reframed His relationship with the disciples. He called them friends (see John 15:15). As you reflect on Jesus’ life, is He someone you would have gravitated to as a friend? Do you wish to be His friend today? Explain. Yes. He is utterly different but yet He is love. He wants to be friend and He is my friend and the lover of my soul. This study merely touches on some of the recorded events of Jesus’ life. At the end of the Gospel of John we read, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Some of the more familiar events of Jesus’ life are presented in the illustration a few pages below.
The Death Of Jesus Christ 6. Both the Old Testament prophecies and Jesus Himself predicted His death (see Luke 18:31-33). Read Matthew 27:34-44. Briefly describe His death, including what was happening around Jesus then and how you think He suffered. He was given wine mixed with gall to drink. He was crucified on a cross. They divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. They kept watch over Him, waiting for Him to die. Above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Two robbers were also crucified with him. People passing by hurled abuse at Him, and wagged their heads and told Him to come down from the cross if He was really the Son of God. The chief priests, scribes, and elders mocked Him and said that if He would come down from the cross they would believe Him. The robbers also hurled insults at Him. Crucifixion is an incomprehensible way to suffer and die.
An Overview Of The Life Of Christ 7. According to John 10:17-18, did Jesus go to the cross voluntarily? Explain your answer. Yes. Jesus said He has the authority to lay down His life and He has the authority to take it up again. 8. Read 1 Peter 3:18 and John 3:18-19. Why do you think Jesus had to come and die? Jesus had to die for sins once for all, the just had to die for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. He also came for judgment of the world and all people. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe in Him has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. As a bee loses its stinger when it stings, so death lost its sting when it stung Jesus. —Dennis Stokes 9. Read 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. What happened to the power of death because of Jesus? Death has been defeated! Death has no sting! The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10. Does the death of Jesus seem necessary and/or fair to you? How does your answer affect the way you approach your relationship with God? It really wasn’t a matter of fairness. The death of Jesus was and is the only death that made us in right standing with God. His death was necessary because God the Father said His death would pay the price required for us to be reconciled and restored in relationship with God. It affects the entire way. Thankfulness. Obedience. Worship. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST 11. After Jesus died and was buried, what was done to secure His tomb? (Matthew 27:62-66) A stone was placed in front of the grave, a seal was placed on the stone, and guards were stationed at the stone. 12. Read Matthew 28:1-7. What was discovered at the tomb on the first day of the week? What did the angel say about Jesus? A severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. The angel told the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that he has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold I have told you.” 13. What were the soldiers bribed to say? (Matthew 28:11-15) That the disciples had come during the night and stole away His body while the guards were asleep. As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the events of the first Easter Day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling…. I accept [the Gospel evidence for the resurrection] unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts they were able to substantiate. —Edward Clarke, quoted in Basic Christianity 14. After His resurrection, Christ appeared to His disciples. a. What was their first impression? (Luke 24:36-37) They were startled and frightened and thought they were seeing a spirit. b. What things did He do to show them He had a body? (Luke 24:39-43) He told them to look at His hands and feet, to touch Him and see that it is Him. He showed them His hands and feet. He ate a piece of broiled fish in front of them. 15. Throughout the centuries, many people have tried to deny and disprove the resurrection of Jesus, while Christians believe that it is at the very center of their faith. a. Read 1 Corinthians 15:14-19. If Christ was not raised from the dead, then what? What are some implications? If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain, our faith is in vain, we are false witnesses of God, then even Christ has not been raised, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins and they have not been paid for, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and if we have hoped in Christ in this life only we are of all men most to be pitied. b. Now read 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. If Christ was truly raised from the dead, then what? What are some implications? He has been raised from the dead. He is the first fruits of those who are asleep. All in Christ will be made alive. He will hand over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. God shattered the inexorable law of sin and retribution by invading earth, absorbing the worst we had to offer, crucifixion, and then fashioning from the cruel deed the remedy for the human condition. Calvary broke up the logjam between justice and forgiveness. By accepting into his innocent self all the severe demands of justice, Jesus broke forever the chain of ungrace. —Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace? 16. Hebrews 12:1-3. What do you think motivated Jesus to endure the agony of betrayal and shame and death? What does this mean to you? … who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and afterward sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 17. What does it mean to you to know that Jesus was raised from death and is alive today? Everything throughout all eternity! It means He is God and that He has made the way for us to be in right relationship with our Creator. The judgment for my sins was paid for by Jesus once for all and I am now in right standing with God because of Him and Him alone. It also means that I will be raised form the dead and will live with Him in heaven for all eternity. 18. What is the essence of the gospel message and the hope it gives you? (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)
Points To Remember • Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, raised in Galilee, and became a carpenter. He spent three years ministering to thousands and proving that He was the Christ. • Then He was condemned to die on a cross to bear the penalty for our sin. • After three days, Jesus rose bodily from the dead. His resurrection is a historical reality.
Going Deeper The Bible describes Jesus’ resurrection as a historical fact that happened in real time. From these passages, notice who saw Jesus after God raised Him from death. Witness to the Resurrected Jesus Reference Place Witnesses Who Saw Jesus After His Death John 21:14-17 Tomb Mary of Magdala Matthew 28:8-9 Leaving tomb Women Luke 24:36-43 Jerusalem Eleven disciples John 20:24-31 A house Thomas Matthew 28:16-17 Galilee (mountain) Eleven disciples Luke 24:13-35 Road to Emmaus Cleopas and friend John 21:13-35 Sea of Tiberias Disciples 1 Corinthians 15:5 (around Jerusalem?) Peter 1 Corinthians 15:6 (around Jerusalem?) 500 brethren 1 Corinthians 15:7 (around Jerusalem?) James 1 Corinthians 15:8 On the road to Damascus Saul (renamed Paul)
How does this help deepen your confidence in a living Jesus?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.