Sabbath School Lesson for October 29-November 4, 2022
Overview of Lesson 6
From start to finish, we study the most consequential death and resurrection of all–that of Christ, the Lamb of God. We see from Scripture…
- that the plan of salvation originated before the foundation of our world–Revelation 13:8 (Sunday)
- that the disciples misunderstood when Jesus predicted His death and resurrection–Luke 9:44, 45 (Monday)
- what it meant when Jesus said, “It is finished.”–John 17:4 (Tuesday)
- that His resurrection secured our own–John 3:16 (Wednesday)
- that His sacrifice is still misunderstood by many in the world–1 Corinthians 1:18 (Thursday)
Christ became the center focus of all preaching by God’s faithful followers in the New Testament. The apostle Paul claimed that the story of His sacrificial death was his main message (1 Corinthians 2:2). All hope of a future resurrection for ourselves rests with the One who paid the price for our sin and who came back from the grave three days later, securing our future victory over death.
Memory Text: ” ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’ “ John 3:14,15 NKJV
We find in Numbers 21 the story of how God saved His people from poisonous snakebites by having them look at a bronze serpent on a pole (Numbers 21:9). This represented the trust they were to have in their Messiah, who would someday come and die for their sins, healing us from the poison of sin.
Following these verses in John 3 is said to be the most well known verse in the entire Bible: John 3:16. This verse tells us the reason for His sacrificial death and resurrection. It was so we wouldn’t have to perish in the second death, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). His love enables us to to live forever.
Sunday: “From the Foundation of the World”
Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament were bloody, not something easy to watch or carry out. This rite was meant to be a symbol of Christ’s death as our Substitute, which guaranteed the gift of eternal life for believers.
Eternal life was planned for God’s creatures way before our planet’s creation. God knew how to take care of sin should it arise and infect the universe. Several verses support this foreknowledge and planning: Revelation 13:8, Acts 2:23, and 1 Peter 1:19, 20.
Titus 1:2 says the promise of eternal life was established “before time began”. It was first revealed to Adam and Eve shortly after they sinned (Genesis 3:15, 21). The animal skins He provided as a substitute for the fig leaves they used to clothe themselves would have been the perfect teaching tool, so the first human pair could better understand the cost of their sin and the meaning of His Sacrifice.
Revelation 13:8, Acts 2:23, and 1 Peter 1:19, 20
- Why was it important that a plan be established even before sin became a problem? What does this tell us about God?
Monday: A Preface to the Cross
One author, Ellen White, tells us in Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 382, that Jesus’ “whole life was a preface to the cross.” In other words, everything He did on earth was leading up to His death at Calvary. This event would be the tipping point of our salvation from sin, not just for our world, but the whole universe.
Still, even Christ’s closest disciples misunderstood His mission. When Jesus made remarks about His impending death, they were baffled and could not absorb the information correctly, because of their preconceived ideas about what would take place.
The prevailing false theology was that the Messiah would become Israel’s king, restoring their prior glory among the nations. Hadn’t He just ridden into Jerusalem on a colt, the custom for a royal personage. They looked forward to being freed from the iron grip of the Roman government. That narrow view of salvation left them unprepared for the horrific scenes about to take place in Jerusalem.
Matthew 16:21-23, 17:22, 23, Mark 9:30-32, and Luke 9:44, 45
- Why do you think Jesus was trying to prepare them, and why did they not understand His predictions?
- How might we misunderstand events as we get nearer to Christ’s Second Coming?
- What cautions can we take to prevent the same kind of misunderstanding?
Tuesday: ” ‘It Is Finished!’ “
What did Jesus mean by His last dying words, “It is finished”? We know that Satan had a part in all the events that led up to His cruel crucifixion at Calvary. Indeed, Christ had been battling His enemy throughout His stay on earth.
We can’t help but believe “It is finished” meant more than Jesus’ life was over. It included the victory He had secured for all the universe. The battle was over, was finished, even though the war wages on.
The steadfast love of God to save us, even those who mocked Him, made possible the greatest victory of all. The resurrection that followed was the culmination and celebration of a life well-lived, and a death to be remembered and honored by the entire universe.
John 19:30 17:4, and 4:34
- What did Jesus mean by His last words on the cross, “It is finished”?
Wednesday: He Died for Us
John the Baptist recognized the role Jesus would have in our salvation. When Jesus came to him for baptism, John proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Jesus later explained to Nicodemus the part the Messiah would have in giving us a new birth, which includes eternal life (John 3:14-18). He was not sent to condemn the world, as many religious leaders seemed eager to do. But, out of love, He would die and thus give everlasting life to all who believe in Him.
The writer of Hebrews saw that the blood of animals, the bulls and goats offered to God, were incapable of taking away their sins. They only provided conditional forgiveness that was based on the Messiah’s future sacrificial death (Hebrews 10:4). Only the blood of Christ can save us from our sins (Hebrews 9:14). His sacrificial death only needed to be offered once to be effective for all in the universe who choose to accept it (Hebrews 10:10).
The death of Jesus included fervent prayer and emotional cries on the part of our Savior (Hebrews 5:7). His gift of eternal life came at a very high price. Therefore, His resurrection deserves our devout study and appreciation.
- How would these assurances have helped Nicodemus understand the new birth experience?
Hebrews 10:4, 10 and 9:12
- Why is Jesus’ sacrificial death so important for our salvation?
Thursday: The Meaning of the Cross
It’s difficult for all of us to absorb the reason Jesus had to die so cruelly on the cross. See 1 Corinthians 1:18-24.
- To those who are religious, the cross can seem foolish, almost like a fairy tale. We want a sign to verify this story in the Bible.
- To those who are worldly, the knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice indicates weakness. They want to see more power in a deity than One who would allow Himself to be killed by His own created beings.
It should be noted that Christ did not just die the natural death we all experience at the end of our life on earth. He suffered “the second death” of all sinners who aren’t worthy candidates of heaven and eternal life.
The death of Jesus on the cruel cross must be remembered for these reasons:
- It reveals God’s justice (Romans 3:21-26).
- It reveals God’s love (Romans 5:8).
- It gives us power over sin (Romans 6:22).
- It gives us hope that we will have eternal life (1 John 5:11, 12).
- It prevents a future rebellion in the universe (Revelation 22:3).
Friday: Final Thoughts
Philip, a deacon and evangelist, came upon an Ethiopian eunuch as he was traveling away from Jerusalem one day. The eunuch was studying Isaiah 53, giving Philip the perfect topic to discuss. This chapter is thought to be the best passage in the Bible that explains the meaning of Christ’s sacrificial death. See Acts 8:26-39.
Isaiah 53 deserves our attention this week as well. This emotionally descriptive song covers the Messiah’s rejection, the atonement He made for us, and His humble submission while these things took place. All the suffering He endured, however, led to His final exaltation and glory, also found at the end of this power-packed chapter.
The paradox of how His death and degradation could result in eternal life and glory finally began to make sense to the eunuch. But it will be the subject we continue to explore all our lives, both on earth and in heaven with the angels (1 Peter 1:12).
Ellen White expressed it beautifully in The Desire of Ages, p. 651: “The cross of Christ will be the science and song of the redeemed through all eternity…That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe.”
Next Week: Christ’s Victory Over Death
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