PURCHASE OF HOPE:
Have you ever wondered whether God really loves you? He answers in the cross! As you look at poverty and injustice in the world and consider the ravages of natural disasters, have you questioned whether God is good? Look at the cross! Have you ever asked what you must do to earn God’s favor? Look at the cross!
How do we know that the cross is the answer to these deep questions? Because of the resurrection! The cross and the resurrection prove God’s love, His goodness and justice, His power and His sovereignty!
Because of the cross and the resurrection, we know God’s Word is true. We know that there is life after death where Jesus reigns and all wrongs are righted. We know that salvation – though offered as a free gift to all who trust in Jesus – was costly indeed, with the price having been paid in full on the cross and with nothing needing to be added.
DAY ONE: Jesus and Rulers are judged. (Luke 22:66-23:25)1
A. The Religious Trials (Luke 22:54, 66-71)
- There were three Jewish trials (John 18:12-24), all illegal according to Jewish law.
- What question did the religious leaders want Jesus to answer? (Luke 22:67)
- Why do you think He did not give a direct answer?
- What did His indirect answer confirm about His identity? (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)
B. The Political Trials (Luke 23:1-25)
- The Jews could not carry out a death sentence, so they had to find a reason to convince the Romans to do so. What three charges did they present to Pilate? (Luke 23:2) Were they true? (Luke 20:25)
- There were three Gentile trials also: first before Pilate (vv. 1-7), second before Herod (vv. 8-12), and third again before Pilate (vv. 13-25).
- In the first trial, which charge did Pilate focus on? (v. 3) What was Jesus answer? (Also see John 18:33-38) What was Pilate’s verdict?
- What was Herod’s attitude toward Jesus? What was Jesus’ response to Herod? (v. 9) Why do you think Jesus responded this way? What warning does this imply?
- Pilate made some political mistakes earlier in his career, and feared loss of his position. Perhaps this is why rather than ruling justly, he sought to protect himself through unjust compromise. What warning could we take from Pilate’s example? Will you pray for courage to choose righteousness and justice in the face of potential personal harm?
- Looking through this passage, find how many times Jesus was declared innocent.
- In spite of His innocence, in what ways was He treated wrongly in this passage?
- What can we learn from this when we are treated unjustly? (I Peter 2:12, 20-23)
DAY TWO: Jesus suffers redemptively. (Luke 23:26-43)2
A. Response of Simon
- After being cruelly scourged, it is no surprise that Jesus needed help carrying His cross. I don’t know how Simon felt when he was forced to help. How might you have felt?
- It appears that ultimately this led to saving faith for Simon and his family. (Mark 15:21; Romans 16:13)
B. Response of women
- Jesus was a friend of women. He did much to elevate their status and give them dignity through His teaching and His model. Do you think their tears were from human emotion, from faith, or both?
- Jesus’ words are difficult to understand, perhaps meaning that if Rome would crucify Jesus, the innocent one, in this time of relative peace (green tree), what suffering would be inflicted on Israel (who was not innocent – dry tree) in the years to come.
C. Response of Jesus
- His response: forgiveness of His enemies! Wow! Remember, too, that you and I were once His enemies. (Romans 5:8-11; I John 4:10)
- Since we have been forgiven much, it is not unreasonable that this is the type of forgiveness we are to emulate. (Ephesians 4:32; I John 3:16)
D. Response of the people and rulers
- What was their response to Jesus in verse 35? Could He have saved Himself? What would the consequences have been?
- How does this mocking fulfill prophecy? (Psalm 22:8, 17)
E. Response of soldiers
- Initially it seems this was just another “job” for the soldiers. They indifferently helped themselves to Jesus’ clothing as prophesied in Psalm 22:18. Then they joined in the mocking.
F. Response of criminals
- It is interesting that Jesus was crucified between two criminals, giving them equal access to Him. At first, both criminals also mocked Jesus, but at some point one recognized the uniqueness of Jesus. Describe their two responses which are typical of all people.
- What was Jesus’ response to the repentant, believing criminal?
- How does this prove that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, not deserved and not of works? (Was this man able to be baptized, or to right wrongs he had done, or to do good deeds to help pay for his salvation? Is there any place for pride or must one become humble before God?)
DAY THREE: Jesus pays total price for sin. (Luke 23:44-56)3
A. Jesus pays the spiritual price.
- Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death…” Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us…” Death might be understood as “separation,” with spiritual death being separation from God.
- Compare verses 44-45 with Mark 15:33-34. How does this prove that Jesus experienced spiritual death on the cross before He died physically?
- Read John 19:30. The word Jesus used was a business term which meant that a debt was paid in full. How does this prove that there is nothing we need to add to gain salvation?
- Comparing verse 46 with Matthew 27:50-51 gives further proof as it demonstrates that Jesus’ sacrifice gave us direct access to God through faith in Him. (Also Hebrews 10:19-22)
B. Jesus pays the physical price.
- Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. There are those who make irrational claims that Jesus merely swooned. What evidence do you see for Jesus’ physical death in John 19:31-37?
- Luke 23:46 shows Jesus voluntarily giving His life for us. He didn’t die as a martyr. His life wasn’t taken from Him. Jesus’ words in verse 46 quoted Psalm 31:5, and show the confidence Jesus had in His Father as He died. We who are trusting in Jesus can have that same confidence.
- Why did Jesus willingly die for you and me? (John 3:16; Matthew 26:42) Yes, Jesus loves me, but even more than that He loved and obeyed the Father. Is that true for you and me?
C. Jesus is buried.
- Do you sometimes wonder if you can trust God to take care of you or someone you love if you are entirely out of control? Look at the way God took care of Jesus.
- Read verses 47-56. Notice that all of Jesus’ enemies left and only His beloved followers now touched His body.
- At this point, Joseph of Arimathea changed from being a “closet Christian” to a public one. How loving God was to provide a clean, unused tomb for Jesus’ body through Joseph. God also fulfilled prophecy as He cared for His one and only begotten Son (Isaiah 53:9).
- Take a few minutes and thoughtfully and thankfully read Isaiah 53. Compare this prophecy written 700 years earlier with what you know of Jesus’ life and death. Verses 11-12 summarize “the rest of the story.”
DAY FOUR: Jesus is vindicated in resurrection. (Luke 24:1-35)4
A. The empty tomb (Luke 24:1-12)
- If the story ended here, we would be left without assurance that God had accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment in full; that peace with God had been purchased for us. We wouldn’t know that Christ had authority over life and death for us; that the same power which raised Christ was available to empower us for Christ-like living. We wouldn’t have assurance that one day our bodies would also be raised and His promises of His coming kingdom would become reality.
- To whom was the good news of the resurrection first given? What does this suggest to you?
- Who were the first people to not believe in the resurrection? (v.11)
- What word is repeated in verses 6 and 8? What does this suggest regarding the study of God’s Word as the most important basis for faith?
- The empty tomb is one of the most powerful evidences for the resurrection. Why is that?
B. The Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-35)
- Why do you think these two men were kept from recognizing Jesus? (v. 16)
- What did they “hope” but not really believe? (v. 21) What evidence had they rejected? (vv. 22-24)
- What even more important thing did Jesus criticize these men for in verse 25? Could He criticize us for the same thing?
- How might understanding and believing Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, such as Isaiah 52:13-53:12, have made a difference to them? (vv. 25-27)
- What do you think caused them to finally recognize Jesus? (vv. 30-32)
- What was their immediate response to this revelation? (vv. 33-35) Is that our response when we receive revelation from Him?
DAY FIVE: Jesus reveals message of hope. (Luke 24:36-53)
A. Jesus appears to His disciples.
- What was the disciples’ first reaction to Jesus’ appearance in verse 37, and how does this lend greater credibility to their later witness?
- Name as many evidences for the physical resurrection of Jesus as you can find in this passage. Which is most helpful to you?
- From I Corinthians 15:3-8, what additional evidences do you see? Why are these such convincing proofs?
- Jesus spent time teaching and explaining from the Old Testament Scriptures who He was and why He came. Wouldn’t you love to have been there? How does this give you confidence that what we read in the New Testament is an accurate interpretation? (Also see John 14:25-26.) We will see Luke reference some of these Old Testament scriptures in his book of Acts.
- Why was it so important for the disciples to understand these things? (vv. 48-49)
- Review Luke’s theme verse, 19:10. Jesus fulfilled His mission, but there are many who still need to hear that good news. Could the disciples witness effectively on their own with their new-found understanding? (vv. 48-49) What did they need?
- How does this apply to you and me?
B. Jesus ascends to His Father.
- In Acts 1:1-11, Luke supplements his brief account of Luke 24:48-53.
- Review Luke 9:28-31 for the prophecy of this event.
- What was Jesus doing as He ascended?
- What is He doing now? (Hebrews 7:25)
- Read Hebrews 1. How was this fulfilled in verse 51?
- In what way was this “ending” also a “beginning”?
- What response did the disciples have in which you and I may share?
- How would you summarize the message of hope Luke has told? Who was Jesus? Why did He come? How did He seek and save while on earth? How does He do so today? What are the evidences which prove the truth of this message? Write a one-page summary of the message of hope, including answers to these questions and how a person can accept the message of hope for themselves today.
- This is not the end of the story! It continued in the first century as the disciples, empowered by the promised Holy Spirit, spread the message of hope to their world. It continues today.
- Would you join me in studying the adventure of the spread of the message hope as recorded by Luke in the book of Acts?
1. This passage is covered in more depth in the archived Matthew study, Lesson #18, day 5, https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week216.htm and Lesson #19, days 1-2, https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week217.htm
2. This passage is covered in more depth in the archived Matthew study, Lesson #19, days 3-4. https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week217.htm
3. This passage is covered in more depth in the archived Matthew study, Lesson #19, day 5. https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week217.htm
4. This passage is covered in more depth in the archived Matthew study, Lesson #20. https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week218.htm
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