12/22 The REAL Christmas Tree… was cut down

christmas tree on a van

Texts: Lk. 23:26-49

In a Nutshell: Luke, writing to the Gentile worldview exclusively provides three of Jesus’ seven sayings on the cross.  Those three sayings along with Luke’s unique record of gentile witnesses “ties a bow” on the best gift ever given – the Savior offers forgiveness to even gentile Roman soldiers overseeing the execution of Jesus and the criminals .  Christmas is not so much about the pleasurable gifts we pass to each one, but rather THE GIFT given through the cross. The cost of “the gift?”… Jesus’ very life.

Ice Breaker:  If you were challenged to narrow down to the most significant Christmas gift you have ever received, what would it be and what made it so important?  How about the most significant Christmas gift you have given?

CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT:

  1. What sayings of Jesus on the cross were exclusive to only Luke’s record?  Lk. 23:34,  43, 46
  2. What were the other four sayings not recorded by Luke? Jn. 19:26,27; Mt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34; Jn. 19:28, 30
  3. Who are the unique witnesses described with greater detail by Luke?  Lk. 23:27-32, 36, 39-43, 47
  4. Who were the “Daughters of Jerusalem”  in the Song of Solomon? SS 5:16  How might they be similar to those women mourning for Jesus? Lk. 23:27-32 ; Lam. 2:13
  5. What is Jesus saying to the weeping women?  Lk. 23:27-31

REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE: 

  1. How is it possible for Jesus to say those crucifying him didn’t know what they were doing?
  2. Have you been called upon by God to forgive some individual(s) that were directly attacking/hurting you, maybe even out of ignorance?
  3. What would we be missing if the discussion between the two thieves had not been included?
  4. What would it mean to a skeptic reader familiar with the mindset of a Roman Centurion to see one “praising God” after overseeing Jesus’ execution?
  5. What sin(s) have you committed for which you struggle believing Jesus can forgive you? How do they compare to the soldiers crucifying Jesus or the repentant criminal?

CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:

  1. Does “church” tend to make you feel beat up because of you have sinned or challenged to want to repent?
  2. Does your relationship with others at church  inspire you to want to forgive others or to point out their sins?

ONLINE RESOURCES:

NEXT WEEK:

Title:  “SURPRISE… The Empty Box is the BEST Gift” ”

Text:  Lk 23:50- 24:12

Questions:  As you read the story of the burial and resurrection name the  individuals mentioned and the different types of emotions they likely experienced.

Parents with your Children:  After  you do the above exercise of reading the text and listing the name s and emotions  use your imagination to write a journal entry as if you were one of those individuals trying to deal with those emotions.

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