At The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Pastor Mark Driscoll recently taught a Bible study series to the core launch team entitled “1 John: The Father Heart of God.” Recorded in black and white as the church plant was in its infancy, this intimate 13-week Bible study is now available for free. Along with the teaching […]
Jesus is arrested and dragged through false trials, during which he’s blindfolded, beaten, and blasphemed. He’s asked a series of questions, all of which boil down to one issue: is he the only God? Knowing that he will be crucified, Jesus declares himself to be the only God in three ways: he says he is the Christ, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Some of you have been told Jesus never said he was God. He did. That’s why he was put to death.
Jesus’ first priority after he physically rose from death was to teach people the Scriptures that are all about him. Just like the men walking to Emmaus whom Jesus joined, we are all spiritually blind until God opens our eyes; the teaching of the Word of God opens blind eyes. We see six ways in which all of the Old Testament is connected to Jesus: events, titles, prophecies, Christophanies, types, and like service. The book that God wrote is all about Jesus.
We examine a sobering text of Scripture and lessons from the life of Judas. Judas was no victim. Judas’ desire was to betray Jesus, and Satan came and empowered that desire. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Judas did what he did; it leaves the question hanging in the air, “Could I do the same?” Each of us must humbly, soberly pray for God’s grace to not be a Judas.
The resurrected Jesus teaches and commissions his disciples before he returns to heaven. Because Jesus is alive, because the Bible is true, and because we believe the gospel—the good news that Jesus died for sin and rose for salvation, and that no one comes to the Father but by him—we should witness (preaching repentance and forgiveness to everyone by the power of the Holy Spirit) and worship. Luke’s great biography of Jesus’ life closes with Jesus’ people worshiping him—literally kissing his nail-scarred feet.
Pastor Mark preaches at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, the site that could be where Jesus was buried, temporarily. No one knows exactly where Jesus was buried—because he’s not there. Nobody is in Jesus’ tomb. He is alive, and this fact is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity does not exist. If Jesus is dead, we are dead; if Jesus is alive, we are alive (1 Cor. 15:17).
Jesus knows who will fail him, and when, where, and how. He knows that all of us will fail him, even the best among us—including Peter, who wrote books of the Bible and was the senior leader of Jesus’ disciples. After Peter fails Jesus, he weeps bitterly and repents quickly, as should we. The good news is Jesus fails no one; he is faithful. He restores his friendship with Peter and then encourages him to tell his story in order to strengthen others.
On his way to the cross, the Scriptures give Jesus confidence, courage, and clarity. When life gets hard, go to the book that God wrote. God wants us to receive and consider the whole book (or tota sola Scriptura), and wants us to connect all of Scripture to Jesus. Jesus himself does this when he recalls Isaiah 52–53—written 700 years before his birth—and shows how it promised his coming, his death on the cross, and his resurrection to make enemies friends.
The Gospel of Luke culminates in the most important death of the most important person in the history of the world. Nothing is as important as one thing: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Jesus was brutally murdered by us, but it was also for us. He died to forgive, love, serve, seek, save, and adopt us. On the cross he became our substitute, our sin was imputed to him, and he became cursed, which was more difficult to bear than even his physical suffering. Like those who were present on that day, you can respond in passive unbelief, active unbelief, or belief. Trust in Jesus.
Jesus requires us to wear bifocals when he speaks of events that were both near to his day and far off in the very distant future. He prophesies that the temple will be destroyed, false teachers will arise and lead people astray, and that sin and persecution will continue. What do we do with this as believers? What if it gets worse? Jesus tells us: Make the most of every opportunity. When times get hard, ask, “Where is the opportunity?” The worst tragedies make the best opportunities. At the cross, the worst tragedy in the history of the world became the best opportunity for the hope of the world.
Jesus knows the future (foreknowledge), tells the future (prophecy), and orchestrates history to guarantee the future (sovereignty). He tells us there are three epochs in human history: 1) Judaism; 2) the times of the Gentiles; and 3) his return. Jesus promised the temple would be destroyed, it happened. Jesus promised people from all nations would be saved, it’s happening. Jesus promised he would return, it will happen.
Jesus is in absolute agony, sweating blood, as he prays honestly with the Father. What is the cup he is so grieved about? It is the cup of the wrath of God. Every sin is like a drop into a cup. We pour the sin in. God, at the end of this life, pours out commensurate wrath. Yet Jesus submits his will to the Father’s; he exchanges places with us on the cross and drinks every single drop of the wrath of God. The cross is where the love of God is most clearly seen: wrath was poured out on Jesus, and love was poured out for us.