The Death of Jesus

Text: Luke 23:44-47

The previous lesson discussed the life of Jesus – He perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will, even in His death. In this lesson, we will examine the death of Jesus and what we should learn from it.

God’s Plan

  • Part of His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23) – “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, KJV)
  • Subject of prophecy (Matthew 26:54) – examples (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22:16-18; Isaiah 53:5)
  • Not an unexpected development – this is important in light of the theory of premillennialism (the idea that Jesus will return, set up His kingdom on earth, and reign for a thousand years; necessary because He failed to do so the first time He came because the people rejected Him)
  • Jesus did not fail – if His mission was to establish an earthly kingdom, He would have (John 6:15; Matthew 26:53); we are not waiting for a future kingdom (Colossians 1:13); the kingdom is the church (Matthew 16:18-19)

Jesus’ Willing Sacrifice

  • Jesus described Himself as the “good shepherd” (John 10:11-15) – contrast with the “hired hand“; He was concerned for the sheep, not just Himself (cf. Philippians 2:5-8); He willingly laid down His life (John 10:17-18)
  • Remember, Jesus’ death was part of God’s predetermined plan (Acts 2:23) – He knew the reason why He came to earth; He even foretold what would happen (Matthew 16:21; John 12:32-33)
  • He did not desire to escape the cross, otherwise He would have escaped it (Matthew 26:53) – He willingly laid down His life for us (John 10:17-18)

Made Forgiveness Possible

  • Forgiveness is possible through the blood of Christ (Matthew 26:27-28; Ephesians 1:7) – Old Testament sacrifices tied forgiveness to the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11); those sacrifices could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4), but foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice; His death is part of the foundation of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3)
  • His sacrifice makes forgiveness possible for us IF we will meet the conditions of pardon – salvation is not unconditional (Hebrews 5:9; Mark 16:16); Jesus did not die only for the “elect” (John 3:16; Titus 2:11); salvation is open to all who will conform to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4, 17-18)
  • Question about the nature of His sacrifice – atonement vs. substitution (died in our place/stead)
  • What is meant by the substitutionary (vicarious) death of Christ? – Jesus suffered the punishment that was due us, making us free; however, Jesus did not suffer the punishment that is due us (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14); if He was our substitute and received the punishment for our sins, we cannot be lost (unconditional election and irresistible grace of Calvinism’s “TULIP” doctrine)
  • What is meant by the atoning sacrifice of Christ? – His sacrifice delayed God’s wrath, giving us time to repent and be forgiven (cf. Numbers 16:45-48); God’s wrath still exists (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Romans 2:4-6); we can avoid it if we meet His conditions

The Resurrection

  • Jesus did not just die on the cross – He was raised from the dead (Luke 24:1-6)
  • First to be raised to never die again (Colossians 1:18; Romans 6:9)
  • He defeated Satan and his power over death (Hebrews 2:14-15)
  • The resurrection is a historical fact, not a myth – eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:4-8); apostles went from a state of fear to being willing to die for their testimony (John 20:19; Acts 5:28-29, 40-42)
  • We have hope through the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Peter 1:3) – we are reconciled through His death and saved by His life (Romans 5:10)

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