The cross is central to the Christian faith. Not because of the physical pain Jesus endured (which was considerable), but because of what Jesus achieved. During these few agonising hours hidden by midday darkness, Jesus took the sin of the world, dealing with the consequences of our broken relationship with God and people, achieving the greatest victory over sin and death and hell.
Read Luke 23:3-49
The religious leaders take Jesus to be a ‘sinner’ but Pilate thinks he is innocent. Barrabus is a ‘sinner’, but the innocent Jesus dies in his place. One thief mocks Jesus, the other thinks Jesus is King. As Jesus is crucified, there are strong, differing views of who he is.
- Why do you think Jesus was crucified?
- Is Jesus now facing death and defeat? What evidence is there that Jesus saw his death as necessary as the door to victory not defeat?
- Why does Luke tell us that the curtain in the temple was torn in two?
- How do the two criminals respond to Jesus? Why do you think they respond to Jesus in such different ways?
- What kind of place do you think Jesus had in mind when he spoke of ‘Paradise’?
- Jesus dies alongside two criminals but promises a place in Paradise to only one. Why did he do this?
- Is death really the end? Do you think there is life after death?
- How might Jesus’ death on the cross make a difference in your life?