Part 4: The End…Or is it?
- What do you fear the most?
- If you knew that you had six months left to live, would you change anything about your plans and your daily routine?
A look at the Bible
Today we arrive at the part of the story which Luke gives most attention to. A biographer usually spends most of their time describing the subject’s life. Luke and the other Gospel writers focus mainly on Jesus’ death. That in itself tells us something. So there is quite a bit of reading to do.
Read Luke 22:14-23
Before he died, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. The Passover is a Jewish festival celebrating the time when God rescued their nation from slavery in Egypt. God had sent a series of plagues and judgements against the Egyptians culminating in their first born sons dying. The Israelites were told to eat a simple mean including a lamb. The blood from the lamb was to be painted on their door posts. When God’s angel saw the blood, he “passed over” the Israelite households and the first born son was saved.
- How does Jesus say that the bread eaten at the meal is symbolic of himself?
- In what way does the cup of wine represent Jesus?
Notice that Jesus says that his body is “given for you.” The Greek word here literally means “on behalf of you.” The idea is that just as the lamb died in place of the first born Israelite son, so, Jesus died “on behalf of” you and me. He died in our place.
Shortly after the meal, whilst Jesus and his disciples were praying, he was arrested by the Jewish leaders who had spent the past few years opposing him and trying to catch him out. Their jealousy had reached epic proportions and the only way they could think of to deal with Jesus was to have him killed. They handed him over to the Roman governor Pilate, who although he could find nothing that Jesus was guilty of, agreed to have him executed by crucifixion.
Read Luke 23:26-55
- How do you think Jesus’s followers felt that day as they watched their hero, leader and teacher arrested, falsely accused and executed?
Now Read Luke 24:1-6
Jesus’ enemies thought that they had won. They thought that they had silenced Jesus. Jesus’ friends were sad, ashamed and afraid. They had let their Lord down by deserting him. They had lost the one that they had put their hope in. Perhaps his enemies would come looking for him next.
But death did not have the last word. God raised Jesus from the dead. The unexpected had happened.
We need to say something very important here because quite often people try to explain away the Resurrection. They say things like “His disciples made up stories about his resurrection to comfort one another in their grief” or “He wasn’t really dead, just badly injured. He came round in the tomb and escaped.”
Both of these explanations are simply not credible.
- People who lived at that time knew full well that you didn’t come back from the dead. Some people thought that the spirit might have an after-life and others thought that God might raise all the dead together at the end of history but not until then. The common view was that once your body was buried in a tomb, it stayed there. The resurrection wasn’t a myth that the disciples could be expected to come up with. It was a surprising event that challenged and changed their whole way of thinking about life and death.
- It is simply improbable that Jesus could have survived a vicious beating by expert torturers, crucifixion designed to cause asphyxiation and a spear wound in his side. More than that, for this half dead, wounded man to escape the tomb and convince his followers that he was the Lord of Life who had defeated death would itself be some kind of miracle.
Jesus had risen from the dead. This was God’s verdict on his death. We need a saviour. Someone who will take the penalty of death that our sin deserves (Romans 6:24) and give us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life (Ephesians 2:8). Jesus did this. He took our place on the Cross. The resurrection tells us that his sacrifice was acceptable to God, that sin had been dealt with and death defeated
To Think About
- Where would you say you are in terms of believing what the Bible teaches about Jesus?
- What do you think are the next steps for you?
- I would like to join a group where I can learn more about the Bible and Jesus
- I would like to check out some of the historical evidence for Jesus’ life death and resurrection further –can you point me towards some helpful reading material?
- There are further questions I have that I would like to discuss with someone.
- I am ready to put my trust in Jesus as my saviour. I would like to pray with someone
If you would like to follow up on any of the above options please get in touch via our contact page
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