There are many prophecies in the holy scriptures about the coming of Jesus Christ written over 1,000 years before He was born. God used prophecy and rituals to show the significance of what Jesus would one day accomplish. An example of one such ritual is the annual celebration called Passover. Its purpose is to commemorate a time when the spirit of death “passed over,” or passed by, homes with doorposts covered in the blood of a slain lamb. A spotless lamb, without blemish, was killed as a substitute so death would pass by those inside the house. Jesus was crucified at the time when the Jewish people were still sacrificing lambs in their homes for Passover. This is why Jesus is called "the Passover Lamb" and “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
The wages of sin is death and there can be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. Jesus took our rightful punishment by allowing Himself to be crucified to death on a cross. He did so willingly. This was the only way to cancel the curse that sin brought upon humanity. Jesus lived a perfect life and in every way pleased God, the Father. There was no sin in Him. Christ was the only one qualified to be the sinless and spotless sacrifice necessary to pay the price for sin once and for all. Jesus died so we can live.Matthew 27:15-54
(NLT) Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.” 20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!” 22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” 24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” 25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” 26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. 27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. 32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. 35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” 41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43 He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. 45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
- Teaching Point 1 Questions…
- Who did the crowd insist be released instead of Jesus? (vs. 21)
- What did Governor Pilate do before finally turning Jesus over to be crucified? (vs. 24)
- What happened in the Temple at the moment Jesus died? (vs. 51)
After having His heart pierced with a spear to confirm His death, Jesus' body was buried. This is an important part of the Gospel. Jesus foretold He would be crucified and entombed, but that He would not remain dead for long. Several Bible prophecies state that Jesus' body would not rot in the grave. In fact, long before His crucifixion, Jesus said He would resurrect from the dead within three days. This caused the religious authorities a lot of concern. Even though they didn’t believe Jesus would actually rise from the dead, they said “what if his disciples steal his body and tell everyone he raised from the dead?” So they made a plan to prevent this from happening.Matthew 27:57-66
(NLT) 57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. 62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” 65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
- Teaching Point 2 Questions…
- Since Jesus didn’t need a permanent grave, he only borrowed one. What was the name of the man who loaned Jesus a tomb? (vs. 57)
- What was placed in front of the tomb of Jesus to secure it shut? (vs. 60)
- How did the Roman soldiers make sure no one could fake Jesus’ resurrection? (vs. 66)
The resurrection of Jesus may be the most significant part of the entire Gospel message. The resurrection proves that Jesus is God, and not just a good man. There have been many wise religious leaders in history which have done many good things, but Jesus is the only one who rose from the dead and continues to live forever. Only God could do what Jesus did. Jesus promised, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.” Jesus conquered sin, death, hell, and the grave through the cross and the resurrection.
Luke 24:1-10, 36-47
(NLT) But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” 8 Then they remembered that he had said this. 9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened… 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! 38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched. 44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
- Teaching Point 3 Questions…
- What did Jesus foretell would happen to Him? (vs. 7)
- What did Jesus say when he suddenly appeared to His followers? (vs. 36)
- Who can receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers? (vs. 47)
God took humanity upon Himself so He could carry the penalty of all sin, past, present, and future, on His own physical body. As the only untarnished and blameless substitute, He was able to carry our sins because He lived a perfect life.
When Jesus died, the full payment for sin was made. God’s fierce wrath was fully satisfied by the death of the Son of God. Jesus took our judgement upon Himself and all of our sin was nailed to the cross with Him. When Jesus rose from the dead in glorified form, He left sin and death defeated in the grave.
God raised Him from the dead to show He was indeed righteous in all His deeds and to show His authority over death and of hell. He rules over the heavens, and He now rules over death.
Everyone who believes the message of His death, His burial and His resurrection is given the gift of eternal life. They, being dead and cut off from the life of God, are suddenly made alive through their faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work.Application Questions
- What are some things we can learn about God from this study?
- What are some things we can learn about people from this study?
- Is there anything in this study that Jesus wants us to obey?
- What will I do now that I know this?