Jesus’ ministry stretched over three years. He began with a clear and simple message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He preached, he taught, and he healed all manner of diseases and afflictions. His popularity grew and with it, opposition from the religious authorities. Jesus’ ministry was, from his conception and birth, a journey toward the cross. For the next six weeks we will explore The Way of the Cross and discover its power in our lives to defeat sin and change our lives.
February 26 – Jesus and Satan The Way of the Cross began in the Garden of Eden when an angel, created to be good, filled with pride and hungry for power, whispered in the ear of humanity, “Did God really say…?” And it was literally all downhill from there. In our lesson today Jesus steps onto the stage and Satan again tries to twist God’s Word and deceive Jesus. At each turn Jesus’ replies, “It is written…” and announces the end of Satan’s reign of terror in this world. At the cross Jesus will finish the battle and set us free from the power of sin and temptation. Through the cross we receive the ability to discern Satan’s lies in our lives and the strength to silence him when we are tempted.
March 5 – Jesus and the Religious Man Professional church workers are a unique breed. They have had the opportunity to study God’s word, what it teaches, how it has worked itself out in history, and how it applies to everyday life. Then they are employed full-time in trying to bring that learning into the lives of others for their nurture and growth in their relationship with God. But sometimes their learning can get in the way of a relationship with the Word made flesh, namely Jesus. Jesus confronts just such a religious scholar and pleads with all of us: unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
March 12 – Jesus and the Outcast The Way of the Cross led Jesus through hostile territory. Samaritans were outcasts in first century Israel because of their history and rebellion centuries earlier. Coming to the well at noon the Samaritan woman marked herself as doubly outcast for reasons that became clear as Jesus engaged her in conversation. The message has a double edge: no one is beyond Jesus’ reach and followers of Jesus ought to be especially open to those in our community who are considered outcasts.
March 19 – Jesus and the Broken Blindness comes in many forms. In our reading today a man born blind receives his sight and he is able to see Jesus as the Messiah. The religious leaders who can see Jesus, his works and miracles, are blind to his saving identity. Blindness, both physical and spiritual, is evidence of the brokenness of the world we live in. The Way of the Cross is the only path to seeing ourselves and our Savior. We join the broken man in our story: I was blind, now I see.
March 26 – Jesus and the Dead Man As Jesus draws near the time of his own death on the cross he points us beyond the pain and sorrow of death to the power of the resurrection. Jesus restores life where death reigns and opens the way to eternal life that begins right here and right now. The Way of the Cross is the destruction of death and its power over us now and forever.