Sabbath School Lesson for September 17-23, 2022
Overview for Lesson 13
We must understand what Christ went through by coming to this earth to die for us. His crucible life on earth is more appreciated when we reflect on…
- His early years of physical and social hardship as a baby and child (Sunday)
- His adult life of ministry, including rejection by those He came to save (Monday)
- His mental and spiritual struggle to submit to the Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane (Tuesday)
- the immense anguish of being separated from God as He was dying on the cross (Wednesday)
- the reward of eternal life He won for us all (Thursday)
All along, as we’ve studied what it takes to survive a crucible, we’ve seen Christ as a source of strength, with His example of perfect humility, patience, and submission. We need all the positive energy and hope we can muster by focusing on the Lord’s supreme love for our planet.
By examining the events of His life on earth and the extreme crucible that belonged only to Him, we are fortified in our struggle to recover what was lost through sin and degradation. We are uplifted by knowing that His purity and love are strong enough to see us through our toughest moments.
Memory Text: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’ ” Matthew 27:46 NKJV
Christian Standard Bible: “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? ‘ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ “
Sunday: The Early Years
The place of Jesus’ birth indicated that He was to live a life of poverty. Circumstances forced Him to be born in a stable with animals, not in a glorious palace, or even in a modest home with average comforts to make His life more bearable.
The fact that Jesus’ earthly parents were poor was confirmed in their choice of offerings at their first temple visit with the Babe–that of two turtledoves or pigeons (Luke 2:22-24). They could not afford the customary offering of a lamb. He then lived the life of a refugee in Egypt for a few years following His birth. His hometown of Nazareth did not have a good reputation either though, verifying that His social environment was not good. He obviously did not have the best choice of friends, growing up (John 1:46).
And yet, Jesus’ poverty-stricken, unstable, unwholesome surroundings only fortified and shaped His adult life in positive ways. His crucible started out hot, and only got hotter as He reached manhood.
- Why was a stable the chosen place for Christ to be born?
- What does the Bible tell us about His childhood?
- How would living in Nazareth have shaped the life of a child?
- How is it possible for anyone to benefit from such a disadvantaged upbringing?
Monday: Despised and Rejected of Men
All of us have probably felt rejection at some point in our lives–making us feel alone and defeated. But it seems that Jesus faced a constant rejection during much of His lifetime, and for nothing He did to deserve such hateful treatment. See Isaiah 53:3.
Certainly, crowds of people followed Him and many accepted His teachings, but there were also those who were there only for the food and healing, and were all too ready to stone Him if their immediate needs were not met. He was misunderstood and slandered (Matthew 12:22-24), chased out of towns (Luke 4:21-30), and almost stoned (John 8:58, 59). This unusual hatred and rejection came from those Jesus was still determined to save.
His love and innocence only seemed to anger Satan more and cause more venomous attacks against the sinless Son of God. If even Someone as perfect as our Lord could face rejection and ill treatment, we should not expect any less suffering in life than was His. To be faithful in spite of difficult crucibles is possible, with the Father’s help.
- How did Jesus feel about the rejection He received?
- How should we respond to rejection and why?
Tuesday: Jesus in Gethsemane
As Jesus’ last day on earth approached, He was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for all those who had derided Him during His lifetime. He had felt their abuse firsthand, and now He would feel their guilt as He took it upon Himself to suffer the sinners’ fate.
His tormented soul caused Him to bow to the ground and beg God to allow the cup of indignation to pass from Him. He felt unsure that He could endure what lay ahead for Him at the hand of such cruel oppressors. He who had interceded for others now desired an intercessor for Himself.
No human, before or since, has been called to suffer anything like the crucible that would soon take the life of our Savior. He willingly died for every sinner on earth–anyone who would accept His gracious sacrificial death as their own price for sin.
Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:33-36, Luke 22:41-44
- What do you find from these accounts that point to a prayer like no other? How was this prayer different for Him?
- Why was the prayer that night crucial for Him to be able to survive His death on the cross?
Wednesday: The Crucified God
Death by crucifixion, considered the harshest punishment in the Roman Empire, was known for the physical pain and agony it caused. It far surpassed anything even the vilest criminal would deserve. But, here was Jesus, the most innocent human being ever known, suffering such a cruel fate.
Jesus was more than an innocent man though; He was the Son of God. This holy connection was confirmed by many unusual manifestations that accompanied His death. There was a thick darkness spread over the land from 6-9 pm, the temple veil was torn from top to bottom (impossible from a human standpoint), and an earthquake caused many of the dead to rise from their graves and go out to preach in the city.
The punishment Jesus endured on the cross that lonely day was a most horrific crucible. Others have experienced similar physical torment, but not the mental and emotional anguish of feeling totally separated from God. Thankfully, followers of God will never have to feel the kind of excruciating death Jesus felt at Calvary. As our Substitute, He did it for us.
Matthew 24:45, 46, 51, 52
- Was Jesus actually forsaken by God as He was dying on the cross? If not, how do we know?
[“In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden. He makes darkness His pavilion, and conceals His glory from human eyes. God and His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with His Son. Yet His presence was not revealed. Had His glory flashed forth from the cloud, every human beholder would have been destroyed. And in that dreadful hour Christ was not to be comforted with the Father’s presence. He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 753, 754.]
Thursday: The Suffering God
God suffered immensely on this planet. We should expect no less. We all suffer to some degree during our lifetimes, but there are two thoughts that might sustain us during our crucibles:
- Our loving Savior suffered more than any of us. We experience trials from time to time for individual sins, but He willingly took upon Himself all our sins. Isaiah 53:6 says “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”.
- We have a future home with God as our reward for suffering. Eternal life is ours when we endure to the end. 1 John 2:25 calls this life of eternity a promise. What a comforting thought, as we suffer pain in this world for a short time. Our future happiness is guaranteed.
Yes, our disappointments and loss are but a moment, a quick flash of time, compared to the eternal reward that awaits us. Jesus, thankfully, was given this revelation. Isaiah 53:11 says He will see “the labor of his soul, and be satisfied.”
Acts 15:22, Philippians 1:29, and 2 Timothy 3:12
- Why is it expected that we all will suffer here on earth?
John 10:28, Romans 6:23, Titus 1:2, and 1 John 2:25
- What makes the promise of eternal life so appealing?
Friday: Final Thoughts
One can honestly say that no other deity the world has known can match the depth of love and sacrifice of the Christian God. We can look to Him for guidance, because He has experienced firsthand the best and worst life has to offer.
The story of Jesus has proven to be enough to fortify us during our harshest trials. We have only to choose His love, grace, and example for true happiness to be ours for an eternity.
The extreme heat of any crucible can be withstood when we consider the life of the Son of Man, our Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ..
Next Week: Rebellion in a Perfect Universe
New Quarter: On Death, Dying, and the Future Hope
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