Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

 

(Date: 8 April 2012)   “Seven Words to live on”   Isaiah 53; Hebrews 10; John 18:33-19:end

 

  1. 1.    Jesus knew exactly what He was getting into. He knew the prophesies of Isaiah (and all the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures) and knew what would face Him on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, when He would lie in death, trusting in His Father to raise Him. But that was the key: He trusted the Father to raise Him. He trusted that Easter would follow Good Friday and resurrection would follow death. What were the kinds of things Jesus was expecting? What might have surprised Him from the events of Good Friday?

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Leader’s Guide:

Have the group look at the Isaiah passage and “imagine” what people understood that to mean before the crucifixion. Then read the Hebrews passage and connect the dots between Isaiah and Hebrews. How would the early Christians, informed by Jesus’ death and resurrection, and His 40 days of teaching after the resurrection, read the Old Testament in the future (even before the New testament was written)? How does that help us when facing obstacles, suffering and death in our lives?

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  1. 2.    Every Good Friday we think on some of or all of Jesus’ seven last words from the cross. They are found spread out through the four gospels. Jesus was strategic in what He said. He didn’t waste any energy on the cross: crucified people did not have much strength left over for idle talk. They were very concentrated on their great pain and struggle to even breathe. But Jesus said seven things that point us to reason for great hope. Read each word and write down something God might want you to hear in this word regarding your own life.

 

First Word: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Second Word: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Third Word: “Woman, behold your son!” “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26-27)

Fourth Word: “I thirst!” (John 19:28)

Fifth Word: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)                                

Sixth Word: “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

Seventh Word: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”  (Luke 23:46)

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Leader’s Guide:

 

Have the group members share how they see each word reflecting John’s statement: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (Jn 3:16,17).

 

Now have them read it again with this personalised form of the verses: For God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son, that believing in Him I should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to me to condemn me, but that I through Him might be saved. Does this version “feel” different? Why or why not?

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  1. 3.    A lot of people feel like the object of the Canadian rock group Trooper’s old song “Three dressed up as a nine”. It speaks of people who appear to be something at a distance but when you get up close you see they aren’t really anything worth your attention at all.

You looked a whole lot better to me
From twenty feet away
You’re just a 3 dressed up as a 9
You’re only, wastin’ my time
A 3 dressed up as a 9, hey yeah …

            Because of Jesus death and resurrection for the whole world and for me and you, we may feel like phonies or worthless but the absolute truth (recorded in the Bible and invested in totally by Jesus Christ) is that each of us is seen by God as a “ten”- unique and irreplaceable. How can you counter the false feelings by the Easter truth you know about yourself, when you hear the accusations in yourself or in the world, that you are not worth much?

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The first Good Friday Collect in the Book of Common Prayer reminds us that God sees us as family and family stick up for one another, even when we are being attacked by our own thoughts of worthlessness:

 

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen. (BCP p. 174)

 

Happy Easter! Happy new life, God’s beloved Ten!

 

 

 

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