So this week is “Holy Week”…last Sunday was Palm Sunday, this Friday is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter. Last night at youth group we talked about- “Why is Good Friday good?”
I think we covered the obvious one: Jesus died for our sins. What I’m wondering is how do we explain the seriousness of the cross to desensitized, post-Passion of the Christ, Halo blood-thirsty youth? The cross is such a violent method of torture to explain. The crucifixion of Jesus is in the four Gospels in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19. This week I want to challenge you to think about what the cross and resurrection mean to you. To me the cross and resurrection symbolize hope; hope for eternal life, hope to see people’s lives changed, and hope to become more like Christ in his love for people and perseverance in suffering for the gospel. Here are some passages to read and think through.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
– Acts 2:22-24
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
–2 Corinthians 5:21
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:6-8
Lastly, here is a quote from John Stott that really impacted me today.
We have to learn to climb the hill called Calvary, and from that vantage-ground survey all life’s tragedies. The cross does not solve the problem of suffering, but it supplies the essential perspective from which to look at it … . Sometimes we picture [God] lounging, perhaps dozing, in some celestial deck-chair, while the hungry millions starve to death … . It is this terrible caricature of God which the cross smashes to smithereens.