NextLevel Online: The Way of the Cross

Session 1: Father, Forgive Them: From Ignorance to Empathy

What does it mean to grow in Christ? How to live in the way of Christ? What exactly Jesus is saving us from? How does Jesus free us from this ignorance?


Classroom Instructions

Materials: Lesson Outline
  • What does it mean to grow in Christ?

    • Maybe the reason we feel stuck — we think “salvation” was the one-time moment that happened at baptism (when we said “Yes” to Christ).
    • The New Testament realizes that the “moment of salvation” is not the end, but the beginning — salvation is an on-going life that we live with Christ.
    • We need continual redemption — freed from the desires of flesh and sinful habits that we continue in after we became Christians.
    • As the cross saved us — paid the penalty of sin, made us new, reconciled us to God — it also motivates us to continue to live in the way of Christ.
  • The words of Jesus from the cross — help us see 2 things:

    • What exactly Jesus is saving us from — see salvation as an on-going process in our lives (providing continual freedom from our old lives —and our sinful habits)
    • Where Jesus is leading us as people of the cross — recreating as new people, living as new creation (2 Cor 5:17), willing to sacrifice for the sake of others (how Jesus is the ultimate example for selfless love)
  • First word: “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing”

    • Jesus is freeing us from our ignorance.
    • How does Jesus free us from this ignorance? The cross reveals to us that the “them.” in “Father, forgive them” is not just the Roman soldiers or the Jewish leaders or the disciples who ran away, but us — you and me?
    • That honesty should lead to a level of empathy for others — this isn’t just the truth about us, it’s the truth about the world.
    • And this empathy allows us to forgive as freely as we have been forgiven (Eph 4:32)
  • Let me give you a simple exercise that will help you to start thinking this way:

    • At the end of your day, right before you go to bed, think back over your day.
    • Remind yourself of God’s incredible grace that surrounds you — but be honest about what you’ve done, what you’ve thought, what you’ve said.
    • Confess those sins before God, and ask Him to reveal to you the people you should forgive or ask forgiveness from (and then follow up on that later).
  • This statement from Jesus reminds us that discipleship takes place in a messy world.

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.