Week 6: Good news - the Cross

posted 28 Mar 2012, 17:57 by Peter Booth
We looked at 5 passages in the Bible to see the story of the cross:
  1. Good News for the world: Luke 2:1-20. 2000 years ago, in a small town, in the Roman Empire - there is great news, a saviour is born. God cares about us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to save us.
  2. Good News for sinners: Mark 2:13-17. Jesus has just healed a paralysed person, but before he healed him he forgave his sins. Then Jesus goes and has a meal with people who are considered to be sinners, including some tax collectors (at that time tax collectors were often unfair in their dealings). The religious leaders don't think it is right for Jesus to eat with these "dodgy" people. But Jesus is quite clear; he says that it is the sick who need a doctor - he has come to to help the sinners, not those who think they have got everything right. The good news is that if we realise we are sinners and need help, then Jesus came to help us.
  3. Good News about evil: Mark 9:21-29. Jesus comes into a crowd who are arguing because the disciples were unable to remove an evil spirit from a young boy. Jesus commands the evil spirit to leave, and it does. The good news is that Jesus has authority over evil, and we see elsewhere in Mark's gospel that Jesus has authority to heal from illness as well. In the story Jesus says something important; he says "everything is possible for him who believes". To experience the authority of Jesus in our lives we must believe.
  4. Good News about life: John 10:1-21. Jesus tells a story about a shepherd and his sheep to a crowd of people who have mixed views about who Jesus is. In the story Jesus explains that a shepherd cares for his sheep (unlike someone who is hired), and the sheep recognise the voice of their shepherd. In his story Jesus goes a step further and says the shepherd is willing to lay down his life (to die) for the sheep. Jesus is the good shepherd and he will lay down his life for his sheep (his sheep are those who recognise his voice, or in other words those (people) who listen to him).
  5. Why did Jesus die? Luke 23:13-56. This passage tells the story of Jesus' death. Jesus was sentenced to death unfairly; even the rulers said he was innocent but they gave into the the demands of people in order to stay popular. He was then crucified with criminals, and yet he asks for forgiveness for the executioners. The rulers, soldiers and other criminals mock him saying "If you are the king of the Jews then save yourself". As Jesus is dying on the cross darkness comes over the land and the curtain of the temple is torn in two (this is symbolic as the curtain separating God from the people is now torn - there is a way through to God directly). And after his death a Roman centurion praises God and the people go away distressed. Something more was happening - Jesus was there to save the world.
The Good News is that Jesus did lay down his life so that through him those who realise they need help, who believe in him and who listen to his voice, may be saved into eternal life and have a relationship with God.

by Andy Gray
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