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18. Crucifixion (1:25)

Matthew 27:32-54 Isaiah 53:12 prophesied that Christ would be numbered with transgressors. Christ was indeed executed as a criminal between criminals. How would you feel if you were lined up with a gang of criminals and led handcuffed to exe- cution knowing you were innocent? How would you describe the humiliation that Jesus must have felt being publically exposed and brutalized with close friends and even his mother looking on? How did he understand his own death?

In a real crucifixion the victim hangs from tortured wrists and feet. His breathing is cut off so that he must constantly strain upward to gasp for breath. He will almost pass out, unable to draw air; then the breathing reflex will force the body to arch upward and grab a sip of oxygen. This torment can last for days until weak- ness and dehydration kills the wretched victim.

No one can decide for himself when to die on a cross. Our inbuilt reflexes are too strong. By the time a cruci- fied victim becomes too weak to catch breath any longer, one cannot shout “It is finished.” Jesus, however, did so. Does this help explain why the centurion at the cross said, “Surely this was the Son of God”? (Matthew 27:54).

19. Tomb (2:14)

Matthew 28:1-4 The Pharisees were fully aware of Jesus’ prediction that he would rise in three days (Matthew 27:62-66). Pharisees supposedly believed in resurrection (Acts 23:6-8). Do you think they really believed in their hearts? If so, why did they asked Pilate for a guard? What does the presence of a guard at the tomb prove? After Jesus rose from the dead, the Pharisees heard the story of the earthquake and angels from the guards (Matthew 28:11-15). Why did they still refuse to believe in Christ?

20. Thomas (1:20)

John 20:24-31 Thomas was one of Christ’s disciples. He had heard Christ’s prophecies. He had seen Christ’s power. Yet he did- n’t believe the resurrection reports until Christ stood before him in person. Jews were trained from childhood not to use God’s name as an exclamation. To do so was to violate the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Yet when confronted by Christ, Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” What kind of language is that to use to another human? What does that tell us about Christ?

Jesus rebuked Thomas. “You have believed because you saw. Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.” Have you believed? Does the story compel your belief?

21. Prophecy, Commission and Ascension (2:00)

Matthew 28:16-20 The disciples wondered why Jesus had to die. He explained that everything written by Moses and the prophets had to be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). What did the prophets say about Christ? Name some prophecies already literally fulfilled. [Town of birth (Micah 5:2); time of birth (Daniel 9); type of death (Psalm 22); place of ministry (Isaiah 9:1), etc.]

Jesus commissioned his disciples to be his witnesses. He promised them that he would be with them to the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20). How does he bring his presence to people today? Have you experienced the Lord with you?

Angels spoke to the disciples when Jesus was taken up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). They said he would return in the way he had gone up. What does Jesus do now while in heaven? [Romans 8:34]

From your experience of this film how would you sum up the life of Jesus? Was he truly a “revolutionary”? If so, what kind of revolution did he launch? Does it have any meaning for our lives and world today? Near the end of the film the words of John 20:31 are cited which tell us that the story was told so that you may believe something about Jesus.

What is that and what does it mean? Further explanation is given at the ending from the words found in Romans 10:9 where Paul tells us that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

What does this mean?


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