Bible Answers 4 Today's Youth
Challenge Booklet #4
OF THE CROSS
THE Blood OF THE CROSS
Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying,
Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house,
And they said unto him,
Where wilt thou that we prepare?
And he said unto them,
Behold, when ye are entered into the city,
there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water;
follow him into the house where he entereth in.
The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber,
where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished:
there make ready.
And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.*
Jesus and His twelve disciples had gathered to eat the Passover meal together.
The meal consisted of lamb cooked in bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (bread made
without yeast). Little did His disciples know that this time together would be their last.
While they ate this "Last Supper", the disciples were unaware of the significance of the
meal they were eating and how it related to the events of the next few hours. They didn't
realize that Jesus Christ, the host of their supper, was the One whom the supper pictured!!
The Passover lamb was a symbol of Christ, the Lamb of God!!!
If you would like to see how
the Passover lamb pictured Christ,
turn the page.
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The Passover, a Jewish feast celebrated in the month Nisan (March-April), was
The Passover Lamb
instituted by God to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian rule.
The Jews had been Egyptian slaves for 430 years when God, through Moses, told
Pharaoh, "LET THEM GO!!". When Pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues upon
Egypt. It wasn't until the 10th plague that Pharaoh loosened his stubborn grip
upon the Jews. This final plague, the Death Angel, resulted in the death of all the
first born Egyptian children. God had given the Jews instructions about this plague
to save their children. These instructions involved a lamb...
- EACH HOUSEHOLD WAS TO OBTAIN A LAMB TO SACRIFICE.
"...take to them every man a lamb...
a lamb for a house." Exodus 12:3
- THE LAMB WAS TO BE WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL DEFECTS.
"Your lamb shall be without blemish..." Exodus 12:5
- AFTER KILLING THE LAMB, EACH FAMILY WAS TO SPLATTER
THEIR DOOR FRAME WITH ITS BLOOD.
"And they shall take of the BLOOD, and STRIKE IT on the two
sides posts and on the upper door post..." Exodus 12:7
God told Moses to tell the Israelite people that if they followed His instructions,
their households would be safe from the Death Angel:
"And the blood shall be to you for a token
upon the houses where ye are:
and when I see the BLOOD, I will PASS OVER you,
and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you..." Exodus 12:13
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THE LAMB OF GOD
Behold THE LAMB of God,
which taketh away the sin of
John the Baptist spoke these words about Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ was God's Lamb, sent to be the sacrifice for the world!
What does the BIBLE say about THE LAMB?
- THE LAMB WAS SACRIFICED FOR US (THE HUMAN RACE).
"...even Christ OUR PASSOVER
is sacrificed for US." I Corinthians 5:7
- THE LAMB WAS WITHOUT ANY DEFECTS (SIN).
"...as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." I Peter 1:19
- AT DEATH, THE LAMB'S BLOOD WAS SHED FOR US.
"...the BLOOD of Jesus Christ his son
cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7
Jesus Christ, THE LAMB, came...
to shed His blood on the cross to save us from our sins!!
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17
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AFTER the Passover meal, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before going out
into the night. Jewish history tells us it would have been the 118th Psalm.
! BIBLE fact:
If you divided the number of verses in the BIBLE in half, you would find
that the middle verse of the BIBLE is found in Psalm 118 (verse #8).
The middle two words of this verse are "THE LORD".
The Lord is literally at THE CENTER OF THE BIBLE!
The first stop on the road to Calvary was the Garden of Gethsemane. It was
here that Christ was betrayed by one of His own disciples. It was here that He
prayed to the Father concerning the cross, where He knew that the sins of the world
would be poured onto Him. That is why He prayed:
"...Father, if thou be willing, REMOVE THIS CUP FROM ME:
nevertheless not MY will, but THINE, be done.
...in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were
GREAT DROPS OF BLOOD..." Luke 22:42-44
This is known as "HEMATIDROSIS". This strange effect
sometimes happens when emotional pressures are so great that tiny
blood vessels burst in the sweat glands and mix the blood with the
sweat...causing great weakness. Gerald H. Bradley, M.D.
"...when he rose up from prayer...Judas, one of the twelve, went before
them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto
him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" Luke 22:45-48
This simple customary greeting started a chain reaction that changed the course
of human history. This "kiss of death" was the beginning of the end for Jesus Christ
-- He had less than 24 hours to live. Let's look into these last hours and examine:
FThe Trial of Jesus Christ
FThe Torture of Jesus Christ
FThe Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
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The trial was a mockery of the Jewish religious and judicial system. The only
objective was to pronounce guilt upon an innocent man. The bottom line was that
the religious leaders wanted Jesus dead! He had exposed their hypocrisy too often.
Their only problem was...
JESUS HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG!
Since they couldn't convict Him legally, they had no other choice but to do it
illegally, breaking as many of their own laws as necessary.
Violations of Jewish Law at the Trial of Jesus Christ
They arrested Him AT NIGHT. They examined Him PRIVATELY and IN SECRET. A RETIRED official, Annas, interrogated Him -- having NO authority to do so. The Judicial council (The Sanhedrin) convened AT NIGHT. He was never allowed a PROPER DEFENSE. No FORMAL ACCUSATION was made. The witnesses did not have testimonies that collaborated.
After everything was done...
The religious crowd VIOLATED 18 of their own Judicial laws
in order to have Jesus condemned to death!
Jewish law should have thrown this case out of court. Yet, with all these laws
being broken to convict Jesus, the Sanhedrin still could not pin a conviction on Him.
Finally, Caiaphas, the leader of the Sanhedrin, stood and in a rage asked Jesus:
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"...art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed? And JESUS SAID, I AM...
then the high priest rent [tore] his clothes, and saith,
what need we any further witnesses?
Ye have heard the blasphemy...what think ye?
And they all condemned him to be guilty of DEATH." Mark 14:61- 64
They had Him! By His own mouth, Jesus Christ claimed to be the Messiah! To the
religious leaders this was blasphemy against God, and blasphemy was punishable by
death! But the Sanhedrin had one more major obstacle to hurdle...
The Jews were under Roman control, so they had no authority to execute anyone!
They had to get permission to kill Jesus!!
ENTER -- PONTIUS PILATE
The Jews brought Jesus Christ before Pilate, who was the Roman
governor of Judea (AD 26 - 36). Pilate judged Christ's case from the
Praetorium (Herod's Palace) at approximately 6 AM. Pilate had no reason
or motive to have Jesus executed, so naturally he was willing to let Jesus go.
But since the Jews were screaming for blood, what could he do?
ENTER -- HEROD ANTIPAS
Not wanting to be the cause of a religious riot, Pilate sent Jesus over to
Herod, the "puppet king" of Galilee. Herod was in Jerusalem for the
Passover feast. Herod found the idea of Jesus claiming to be a king quite
amusing, so he dressed Him in a king's robe and mocked Him. After the
laughter died down, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate.
Pilate made one final attempt at setting Jesus, an innocent man, free. Being the
Passover, the custom was to release a prisoner of the Jews' choice. Pilate would
therefore offer a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, a well known murderer.
The Jews now had a choice, the Messiah or a murderer. Through eyes blinded by
hate, they looked at Jesus and shouted "Crucify him!! Crucify him!!" As for the
convicted felon Barabbas -- they chose to set him free!!
After the Jews had made their choice, Pilate swiftly put their decision in motion.
He handed Jesus over to his bloodthirsty soldiers to prepare for crucifixion. With
great satisfaction, and while the crowd watched, the soldiers began the torture!
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THE TORTURE "...and when he had SCOURGED Jesus,
he delivered him to be crucified." Matthew 27:26
HISTORY tells us that scourging was a method of violently
beating a prisoner to weaken him almost to death or to coerce
a confession out of him. The victim was stripped of his clothes
and tied to an upright post, facing it. He was then beaten with
full force on the back, buttocks, and legs. The instrument used
for the beating was called a flarum or flagellum. It was a small
whip of several leather thongs to which small metal balls and
pieces of broken glass or bones were tied. The metal balls and
sharp pieces would tear into the skin leaving ribbons of
bleeding flesh. Jewish law limited the number of lashes to 40,
but it isn't certain whether the Romans obeyed this limit.
Jesus Christ suffered through the scourging only to be subjected to more torture
and humiliation. The soldiers mocked Him by making fun of His claim to be King:
They threw a robe over His bloodied body...
As if it were a royal garment.
They forced a crown of thorns into His scalp...
As if it were a king's crown.
They put a stick in His hand...
As if it were a royal scepter.
Then they bowed before Him in mockery.
Adding "insult to injury", the soldiers began to spit on Him, and took the stick
out of His hand and beat Him with it. Through all of this abuse, the Jewish leaders
stood by and applauded, even adding their own verbal abuse and threats. The blood
was starting to flow, and they -- as vicious, wild animals -- were ready for the kill!!
"And they took Jesus and led him away.
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of
the skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they
crucified him..." John 19:16-18
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on the crossbar. Tapered iron spikes (about 5 to 7 inches long) were driven into
HISTORY tells us crucifixion was designed to produce
a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. During
this time in history, the Romans normally executed by
beheading. They reserved crucifixion for only the worst
criminals, with the vilest one placed in the middle. It was
customary for the condemned to carry the crossbar from
the scourging post to the site of crucifixion. The victim
would be offered a painkiller called gall. He was then
thrown to the ground on his back with arms outstretched
and through his wrists, which was considered part of the hand (nails through the
"hand" as we call it would not support the weight of the body). The nails through
his wrists pierced the median nerve, causing wave after
wave of intense pain to shoot up his arms. The soldiers
then hoisted the crossbar onto the vertical center pole and
nailed the person's feet to the front of it in a position so
that his knees were bent. As he hung, his lungs were hyper-
expanded and he could not exhale. Each time the criminal
wanted to properly exhale, he would have to push up with
his nailed feet to take the pressure off his rib cage. With
the effort required for each exhaled breath, the person
soon retained much carbon dioxide. To hasten the death of
their victims, the Roman soldiers would break the legs, not
allowing them to push off with their nailed feet.
Suffocation soon followed.
As Jesus hung on the cross, there were many around Him. Some were sitting
(Matthew 22:36), some were standing (Matthew 27:47), and some were simply
passing by (Matthew 27:39). Two thieves hung on crosses to His left and right.
It was approximately 9AM, on the day of the Passover, which was one of the
busiest days of the year. Yet for all the people who were present, Jesus was still very
much alone. The crowds had rejected Him -- even His disciples forsook Him and fled.
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For the next 3 hours, Jesus hung on the cross in pain and misery, with
multitudes of people gawking at Him. As He struggled for each breath, those beneath
Him and around Him mocked Him. Then suddenly at high noon:
"And it was about the sixth hour [12 noon],
and THERE WAS A DARKNESS OVER ALL THE EARTH
until the ninth hour [3 PM]." Luke 23:44
Pitch black darkness!! For 3 hours, the entire world was
enveloped in the darkness of midnight! God had drawn the
curtains over Calvary. Whatever it was that God was about to
do, He obviously did not want the world to see it. If eyes
could have penetrated the darkness, perhaps in horror they
would have seen the hand of God bringing forth a cup and
pouring the sins of the world upon the Saviour!! If they had
seen through the darkness, would they have realized that it
was THEIR SINS that He was dying for? Would they have
finally realized JESUS WAS DYING IN THEIR PLACE?
"But He was WOUNDED for OUR TRANSGRESSIONS,
he was BRUISED for OUR INIQUITIES [sins]..." Isaiah 53:5
"...Christ DIED for OUR SINS..." I Corinthians 15:3 "Who his own self bare OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BODY
on the tree [cross]..." I Peter 2:24
Three hours later when the darkness finally lifted, Christ was still on the cross,
but something was missing. Sin had broken the relationship between the Father and
the Son. Jesus was no longer aware of the presence of the Father, so He cried:
"...MY GOD, MY GOD,
Why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46
Jesus had become sin and His own Father could no longer even look at Him. Jesus
had been forsaken by everyone, and now His own Father had to turn His back on
Him. Jesus hung between heaven and earth bearing the sins of the world. He was
now the object of God's justice, judgment and hatred of sin!!
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Moments later, after all the pain and suffering, Jesus finally said:
"...IT IS FINISHED:
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:30
JESUS WAS DEAD! No longer did His body experience pain. The Creator had
been slain by the creation. The One who loved everyone had been put to death by
those who only loved themselves. The howling mob had silenced the voice on Him
who spoke the words of eternal life! MAN HAD EXECUTED GOD IN THE FLESH!!
As the body of Christ hung lifeless on the cross, a Roman soldier shoved a spear
up under the rib cage, piercing the heart. At this, a mixture of blood and water
flowed out, indicating that Jesus was indeed dead. After a short time, two of Christ's
disciples took the body down and prepared it for burial in a nearby tomb.
At last the religious leaders were rid of their nuisance! However, there was one
thing Jesus had said that made its way into their tightly closed nervous minds --
Jesus had promised His resurrection in three days. So they approached Pilate
requesting him to seal the tomb and have guards placed
around it. The last thing any of them wanted was Jesus'
disciples artificially fulfilling their Master's promise by
stealing His body (Matthew 27:63-66). After three days and
no resurrection, the Pharisees figured that everyone would
soon forget about Jesus...
HOWEVER, GOD HAD PLANS OF HIS OWN!
Three days and three nights after Christ's death, several disciples visited His
tomb and discovered it opened, with no guards around!! Two angels were standing
by it and said to them . . .
"...Why seek ye the living among the dead?
HE IS NOT HERE, BUT IS RISEN..." Luke 24:5,6
Jesus Christ had resurrected from the grave!!!
He was alive!!!
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Could it be true? Was it possible that what He said would happen...did? Could
someone really come back from the dead? How about all the other stuff He talked
about -- Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Sin -- was that all true too?
People are still asking these questions, over 2,000 years later!
They ask, "How do we know that this really happened? Is there proof?"
(1) The Tomb was discovered empty, with no signs of a body having decayed there.
(Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:3; John 20:1-10).
If Jesus Christ wasn't alive, who took the body?
- The disciples would not have taken the body. They had fled upon Jesus' arrest and would
not have wanted to deal with Roman guards (those guys were tough!).
- The Jews and their religious leaders would not have taken the body. They wanted to keep
it buried in the first place! Besides, if they had His body, they would have used it to
discredit the disciple's claims of an actual resurrection.
- The Roman guards surely would not have taken it. If they had, it would have meant their
death for failing in their duties.
(2) The cowardly disciples were changed into confident proclaimers of the Gospel.
Before the crucifixion, Christ's disciples fled.
After the resurrection, they were willing to die for their faith (Acts 4:13- 20).
Peter, who had previously denied the Lord, said:
"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof WE ARE WITNESSES." Acts 2:32
(3) After His resurrection He was seen by many in BODILY FORM.
"To whom also HE SHEWED HIMSELF ALIVE
after His passion by many infallible proofs, BEING SEEN OF THEM FORTY DAYS,
and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts 1:3
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CAN THE TOMB OF CHRIST BE
For many years Christians have visited the
Holy Land to tour sites mentioned in the BIBLE.
Perhaps none is more sacred than the empty
tomb of Jesus Christ located outside the city
walls of Old Jerusalem. The site was excavated
many years ago near Calvary (Mark 15:21-41).
The tomb is a room 14 feet wide, 10 feet deep
and 7 feet high. It fits the BIBLE description in
every detail. There is also much evidence that
first century Christians worshiped there. In other
vaults adjoining the tomb of Christ were found
tombstones inscribed "Buried near the Lord."
But the greatest fact about the tomb of Christ is
the absence of any marks of mortal corruption.
No body ever decomposed within because
CHRIST ROSE AGAIN!
WHY WAS CALVARY
CALLED "THE PLACE OF
Jesus Christ was crucified on a hill
located north of Old Jerusalem, just outside
of the city wall. It overlooked a well
traveled road. The Romans often held their
public executions in places like this for
everyone to see.
There are 2 possibilities as to why this
place was called Golgotha (Place of the
Skull). The name may have simply
originated from the fact that it was a place
of public execution. Or, it may have
received its infamous name from its
appearance. The hill, from the side, has the
appearance of a human skull.
WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF JESUS?
There has been a debate for years over who was "technically" responsible. Was it the Roman
soldiers, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Barabbas, the High Priest, or the angry mob who screamed "Crucify
him"? Actually, none of these were ultimately responsible. Jesus Christ ALLOWED Himself to be
crucified. Man could not have slain the Creator unless the Creator had a purpose to die -- which He
did! The BIBLE says that it was JESUS who said:
"...I lay down my life, that I may take it again...I lay it down of MYSELF.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." John 10:17,18
Even in His final words on the cross, Jesus said:
"Father, into thy hands I COMMEND MY SPIRIT" Luke 23:46 4 - 12
The Trail of Blood
A GRAPHIC VIEW OF JESUS CHRIST'S JOURNEY TO CALVARY
(1)Christ eats Passover dinner (The Last Supper) with His disciples
(2)Goes to Gethsemane to pray, where He is betrayed and arrested
(3)Taken to the house of the High Priest, Caiaphas, for religious inquisition
(4)Jewish leaders take Christ before Pontius Pilate at Herod's Palace
(5)Pilate sends Christ to Herod Antipas
(6)Herod Antipas sends Christ back to Pilate, who sentences Him to Crucifixion
(7)Christ is crucified outside of Jerusalem
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Jesus Christ had finished His Father's business (Lesson 3).
He had paid the world's sin debt in full. Like a person buying someone else a
gift certificate, Jesus had bought everyone (including you and me) the gift of
eternal life. Now, all we have to do is accept that wonderful free gift!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." John 3:16
- The International Bible Encyclopedia by James Orr, ed.
- Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts
- The Day God Died by Lehman Strauss
- The Dark Side of Calvary by Al Lacy
- Halleys Bible Handbook by Henry M. Halley
- The Doctrine of Christ by Robert Sargent
- The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop
- The Gift by J.T. Chick
- The Pulpit Commentary by H.M. Spence
- Holy Bible King James Version
«««««««««« A Sneak Preview ««««««««««« REMEMBER THE 2 MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS IN LIFE?
1. Why are we here?
2. What happens when this life is over?
Let's face it -- one of these days this life will be over. Even though we don't think about it much, we
have to realize that every day we live, we are one day closer to the end of our life.
Wouldn't you like to know what is going to happen then?
Our next (and last) Challenge booklet will explore the "other side" -- life after death. The BIBLE
teaches that Jesus Christ died to give us eternal life. His death made it possible for us to have our sins
forgiven and have Heaven as our future destination. The BIBLE answers questions like:
Can I know for sure that I am going to Heaven when I die?
Will I go to Heaven by being religious and being a good person?
Is there really a place called Hell?
Do I really need to have my sins forgiven?
Be prepared to look at your life and future in Challenge Booklet #5 -- "Eternal Life...Do You Have It?"
DON'T MISS IT! TAKE THE CHALLENGE! [4 - 14]
Move to Lesson #4's worksheet
Go to Lesson #5