august 27-september 2
The broad details of the end of Jesus’ life are known by most people. He is betrayed by Judas, arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to death, crucified, resurrected on the third day, then ascended -- or bodily returned -- into heaven. These events are recorded at the end of each of the four Gospel accounts, providing the climactic moment in all of scripture. The entirety of the Bible is about God redeeming humanity from their sin, and this is the moment it happens.
At the cross, we see the mingling of God’s just wrath toward sin and His infinite love for humanity. They meet perfectly in the willing sacrifice of the Son of God on behalf of all of humanity. Though Jesus had committed no sin of His own, He bore the sin of all humanity, lovingly absorbing sin’s just punishment. Jesus’ substitutionary death provides atonement for the sin of humanity. Atonement means to reconcile two previously separated parties. By faith in Jesus’ atoning work, it is possible for God and humanity to be brought back into relationship with one another.
If you’ve been reading throughout the Old Testament, you may recognize that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provide the ultimate fulfillment to many of the Old Testament’s shadows. In fact, all that the Old Testament anticipates finds its fulfillment in the person of Jesus. He is the final sacrifice for sin; no more bulls, sheep, or doves are needed. He is our High Priest; by faith in Him, our sin is washed away and we are able to enter into the presence of God. He is the ultimate Judge, saving us fully and finally from the affliction and oppression of our sin. He is our perfect and eternal King, sitting on the throne in heaven at the right hand of God, forever leading us into the eternal presence of God.
NEW TESTAMENT VISUALIZED
This chart represents an approximate timeline of Jesus' final day.
Worship, Thanksgiving & Joy
Why did the children of Israel doubt? Why did the disciples doubt after the resurrection? Why do we doubt when we have seen God act on our behalf? What was promised after the fall in Genesis 3:15 occurs when Jesus’ heel is bruised on the cross and Satan’s head is crushed. In the early days following Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples struggled to make sense of it all. They struggled to believe in the logic-defying resurrection. Then one day, Jesus Himself stood among them proclaiming peace. Scripture says that He opened their minds so they could understand. The result was greater praise. The family ingredient of Worship, Thanksgiving, & Joy comes as our minds are opened to understand more and more about Jesus and His works in our behalf. Let’s pray that our eyes and hearts would be opened!
- When the disciples first saw Jesus, what did they think He was? Was He real? What are some things He said and did to reassure them?
- Describe what the phrase, “He opened their minds” means.
- Jesus had died on the cross and risen to new life. What was to be the job of the disciples?
- What was the last thing Jesus did before He ascended to heaven? What does it mean “to bless”?
- Jesus told the disciples before He died on the cross that He would send them another Helper who would reveal truth to them after He was gone. Who was that? Read John 14:25-26. Is the Holy Spirit available to help us?
Activity 1: Jesus and His Friends
Serve marshmallows and Teddy Grahams. Read the story of Jesus’ final moments with His disciples on earth and His ascension. Have your child act it out using Teddy Grahams as people and marshmallows as clouds.
- Was Jesus real when He came back to earth?
- How did the disciples know Jesus was real?
- What did Jesus do when He was on earth?
- Where did He go when He went into the clouds?
- Who is with Him in heaven?
Source: Watermark Community Church
Activity 2: Ascending into Heaven Craft
Supplies: paper cups, cotton balls, string, picture of Jesus.
Color your cup blue and glue cotton balls on outside. Poke a hole in bottom of cup. Thread yarn through hole from inside of cup to outside and knot it against the outside top of cup. Tape other end of yarn dangling from inside of cup to picture of Jesus. Act out Jesus talking to His disciples and ‘lifting’ Jesus up into the clouds.
Source: Heather Haupt
Small Group Discussion
- What commands are there to obey? What example is there to follow?
- Atonement is the final and complete substitutionary sacrifice through Jesus’ death that brings us back into right relationship with God. Atonement is aimed not only at saving us from sin, but for giving us life with God. In what ways does this doctrine encourage us to see Christ saving us for life with God and with others? Does this affect your relationship with others or impact how you see them?