NextLevel Online: The Way of the Cross

Session 2: Today You Will be With Me: From Failure to Hope

To be on the cross is to be a failure. It was to be shamed. The cross enables us to be honest with ourselves - here we can be honest about our failures. But Jesus is setting us free from the shame of our failures. We have been reconciled to God through Him.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • We shouldn’t want to be taking this journey — talking about being disciples in the way of the Cross through the 7 words of Jesus from the cross.

    • I don’t think we really fully appreciate what crucifixion meant in the time of Jesus.
    • It’s obviously a means of execution — but it’s more than that.
    • Generally, the Romans saved crucifixion for those they wanted to make an example of — specifically in a political way. It was generally reserved for those who were rebelling against Rome or inciting others to rebel.
    • So for these failed rebels, the Romans would execute them in a public way — outside the city along a major road, with a sign over the criminal’s head stating what they did.
    • It was basically Rome’s way of saying “Don’t mess with us. This is what happens to those who mess with us.”
  • So to be on the cross is to be a failure. It was to be shamed.

  • The cross enables us to be honest with ourselves — here we can be honest about our failures.

    • Somehow, someway, that failed rebel saw victory when others only saw defeat. Saw a coronation to a Kingdom when others only saw shame.
    • He understood (how? No idea) — the hopeful aspect of the Kingdom — that what God is doing in the world requires trust, it requires the kind of hope that sees beyond present suffering.
  • And to this failed rebel, Jesus says the 2nd word from the cross: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

    • This word teaches us that Jesus is setting us free from the shame of our failures
    • In Romans 5:6-11 Paul reminds us who we used to be — here are the words he uses for us: “powerless,” “ungodly,” “sinner,” and “enemy.”
    • But it’s failures like us that God is restoring and reconciling to Himself
  • And to that one failed rebel, that hope came “Today!”

    • The difference between a wish and a hope is how it affects you right now in the present.
    • We have been reconciled to God.
  • We cannot bring about paradise by ourselves, despite how well things might be going at the moment.

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.