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The basic fact around which God's entire plan of salvation turns is that Jesus died on the cross in order to save us from our sins. Without the perfect sacrifice for our sins which Jesus offered on the cross, nothing else could help us and we would be lost with no hope of salvation. The Hebrew writer said, "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery" (Hb. 2:14,15).
The word "atonement" describes what Jesus accomplished by His death for us. Since death was the penalty for sin (Gen. 2:16,17; Rom. 6:23), our sins could not be forgiven without the taking of life. When Jesus died for us, He took our punishment so that we could be free of the sentence of death. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5).
A favorite Bible text for many people is Jn. 3:16,17. This is the beautiful passage where Jesus spoke of the love which moved God to give His only begotten Son for the sins of the world: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" For Christ, the glory was on the other side of the suffering. If we were to be saved, the cross had to be endured. "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hb. 2:9).
It does us good to "survey" the cross of Christ, as the words of the old hymn suggested: "When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride . . . Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all" (Isaac Watts). Let's think about the cross this week.
Monday: John 3:13-21
Key Idea: Because He loved us, God gave His Son to die on the cross for us.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.16, why did God give His Son? Is there anything He could have done to show greater love? According to v.17, does God want anyone to be lost? What did Jesus say in Jn. 15:13?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:21.
Tuesday: Matthew 27:32-50
Key Idea: Jesus' death on the cross was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Questions for Family Growth: Did God know that His Son was going to be killed by His enemies? What are some things that were foreshadowed in Psa. 22:14-18 about the death of Christ? What did Jesus say in Lk. 24:44-46?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:22.
Wednesday: Mark 15:21-39
Key Idea: Jesus' death on the cross was by His own choice.
Questions for Family Growth: Did Jesus try to resist when the soldiers put Him on the cross? Why not? Do you think it was an easy thing for Jesus to decide to die for our sins? What important point is made in Hb. 5:7-10?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:23.
Thursday: Luke 23:32-49
Key Idea: Jesus' death on the cross opened the way to heaven for us.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.45, what happened to the veil of the temple when Jesus died on the cross? What two rooms in the temple did the veil separate? What does Hb. 6:19,20 say about this?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:24.
Friday: John 19:17-30
Key Idea: Jesus' death on the cross was the reason He came to earth.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.30, what did Jesus say just before He died? What had Jesus said to His Heavenly Father when He prayed in Jn. 17:4? What did Jesus come to earth to do, according to Mt. 20:28?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:25.