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Form 2 CRE Notes On Jesus' Passion, Death And Resurrection

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TOPIC 6: JESUS' PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION
THE LAST SUPPER (LK. 22: 1-30)
The chief priest and the leaders of the law were trying to find a way of putting Jesus to death secretly because they feared the people.
Luke records that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot who was one of his disciples. He went and conferred with the chief priests and officers and how he might betray Jesus to death.
Preparation for the Last Supper
The last supper coincided with the celebration of the feast of the unleavened bread (Passover).
To prepare for the last supper Jesus sent two his disciples to make the necessary arrangements (Peter and John).
He told them that they would go into the city, where they would meet a man carrying a jar of water. The man would show them a large upper room where they could make the preparations. They went and found as he had told them.
When the time came for Jesus and his disciples to eat the Passover meal, they went into the upper room.
Jesus took the seat at the table. He took a cup of wine, gave thanks, and passed it round to the disciples for them to drink saying, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves, for I tell you from now on I shall not drink of the Fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God comes.”
Again he took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave to them to eat saying, “This is my body which is given to you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper, he took the cup again saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
This implied that the disciples were to continue celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
During the Last Supper, Jesus foretold of his betrayal. He talked of the man who would betray him as the one with him at the table.
And the disciples began to quest ion whop among them would be the one. A dispute also arose among the disciples who were greatest. He told them that whoever wanted to be the greatest had to be ready to be the youngest and must be ready to serve others.
In this he taught the importance of humility.
He also promised his disciples a place in the kingdom of God for they stood by him at times of trials.
After foretelling his coming death he also talked about the fact that Peter was going to deny him. However he prayed for peter’s faith not to fail.
However Peter said that he was ready to go with him even to prison or die with him.
He told the disciples that they would meet hostility but they had to be prepared.
The significance of the Lord’s Supper to Christians today
The Lord’s Supper is referred to as the Holy Communion, the holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, the holy mass, the holy sacrament.
- The Lord’s Supper unites the followers of Jesus in expectations of his second coming.
- Lords supper is related to the new covenant fulfilled through the blood of Jesus Christ which saves human kind
- The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ which saves human kind. Jesus is the last sacrificial lump.
- The bread symbolizes the body of Christ; Jesus is the spiritual bread of life.
- Through the celebration of the Lords supper, Christians also anticipate the second coming of Christ.
- It also shows the importance of sharing. i.e through sharing of the wine and the bread.
- During the celebration the Christians have their faith strengthened.
- The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a constant reminder of Jesus Christ presence among his followers.
- It is an occasion for thanks giving for the good things God has done to us.
- It is also a symbol of the heavenly feast which christains will enjoy in the Kingdom of God.
- It is a way through which Christians receive assurance of the forgiveness of sins.

THE PRAYER AT MOUNT OLIVES (LK 22:35 -46)
After celebrating the last supper, Jesus then left the house and went into the mount olives with the disciples following him. He asked his disciples to pray so that they would not be led into temptations. Then moving from them, he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
“Father, if though art wiling remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine be done” (Lk: 22:42).The “cup” referred to his suffering and deaths.
And when he arose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. Jesus again asked them to pray.
THE BETRAYAL AND ARREST OF JESUS (LK: 22:47-53)
As Jesus was still speaking to his disciples, telling them to get up and pray, Judas Iscariot appeared in the garden accompanied by a large crowd. He came near Jesus and kissed him. This was a way of identifying Jesus to the crowd.
The disciples tried to fight back to defend their master. One of them (Peter) even struck the slave of the high priest and cut his right ear. Jesus however stopped them. He even healed the ear to the enemy that had been slashed. This was an indication that Jesus was peaceful messiah.
The reasons why Judas betrayed Jesus are not clearly brought out but we can deduce that:
- He did not understand the spiritual nature of Jesus, Messiah ship
- He thought Jesus had come as apolitical messiah and therefore felt disappointed.
- Since he was promised payment of 30 pieces of silver by the high priest he was motivated by the love for money.
- Judas could also have been an informer of the Jewish religious authorities.
- He lacked the moral; courage to stand before Jesus in times of tribulation.
- He had weak faith.
- It was God’s will for the fulfillment of the scriptures.
- He was tempted by Satan.
THE DENIAL OF JESUS BY PETER (LK 22:54-65)
They seized Jesus and led him to the chief priest house for preliminary examination. As the Sanhedrin was the governing council of the Jewish nation. The Sanhedrin was authorized to try religious offenders and those who went against the national laws.
It is not brought out clearly what happened to the disciples but in the Gospel of mark it is said the disciples forsook him and fled. (Mark 14:59)
THE DENIAL OF JESUS BY PETER
When Jesus was taken to the chief priest’s house, Peter followed him at a distance .Peter then joined a group of people who were warming themselves at the courtyard. A maid and two other people identified Peter as one of Jesus’ disciples. But Peter denied all the accusations. Earlier on Jesus had predicted that peter would deny him three times. Peter reacted this way probably due to;
- It had been predicted by Jesus that he would deny him.
- Human weakness. He lacked the moral courage to stand by Jesus during his suffering.
- He was afraid that the people could arrest him.
- Peter was impulsive i.e. he acted on the spur of moment
- He lacked faith which was needed at this time.
Jesus turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered what Jesus had predicted .And he went out and wept bitterly. This was a sign of repentance.
Lessons that Christians can learn from Peter’s denial of Jesus
-Christians should be prepared to face tribulations for the sake of Christ.
- Christians should stand firm in times of temptations.
- Christians should be remorseful and ready to repent.
- Christians should depend on God’s guidance to make the right decision.
- Jesus is always ready to forgive those who repent and accept them back.
THE TRIAL OF JESUS (LK: 22:66-23:1-25)
When the day came, Jesus was brought before the council (Sanhedrin).It was composed of Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees.
The council asked Jesus if he was the Messiah. But Jesus did not answer them directly. His told them that even if he answered their question they could not believe. He told them, “From now on the son of man shall be seated the right hand of the power of God” (Lk. 22:69)
This was interpreted by the interrogators as admitting to be the son of God.
According to the Jews this was considered as blasphemy and was punishable by death.
Since the Sanhedrin did not have the legal powers to carry out death sentence. They took Jesus to Pilate, who was the Roman governor.
Before Pilate they began to accuse him of political crimes.
He was accused of:
i) Claiming to the Christ the king
ii) Inciting the people to revolt against the Roman authority.
iii) Telling people not to pay taxes to Caesar.
Pilate asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews. And he answered, “You have said so.” Pilate found no guilt in Jesus. When Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee, he handed him over to Herod who was the ruler of Galilee.
When Herod saw Jesus he was very glad, because he had heard about Jesus and was hoping to see some signs done by him (Jesus).
Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus did not answer. He therefore found no grounds to accuse Jesus. He therefore sent him back to Pilate.
Pilate called the chief priests and other Jewish leaders and told them that he did not Jesus guilty of any crime.
His wife had also cautioned him about Jesus’ innocence.
However, the chief priests and other Jewish leaders insisted that he was guilty and had t o be killed.
Pilate gave in to their intimidation and ordered the death of Jesus by crucifixion. He released Barabbas and delivered Jesus to them.
Why Pilate agreed to have Jesus crucified
- He was afraid of the Jewish revolt as it was his duty to maintain peace.
- Jesus having been accused of treason he did not want to be seen as being disloyal to the Roman emperor.
- He washed his hands. This meant that he was absolving himself from guilt of having crucified Jesus.
- He also wanted to please the people.
THE CRUCIFIXION (LK. 22:26-56) >
The soldiers led Jesus a way to a place called Golgotha (the skull of Mt. Calvary).
Before the crucifixion, Jesus was scourged and mocked by the Roman soldiers.
Then he carried the cross beam to the place of execution.
A man called Simon of Cyrene was forced to help Jesus carry the cross beam. Cyrene is a town in modern day Libya in North Africa.
A large crowd of people followed him including women who were weeping and wailing for him.
Jesus told them not to worry about him but themselves and their children about the impending punishment.
Two other men, both of them criminals were also crucified with him. The two thieves represent the way the cross of Christ is received by different people.
On the cross, Jesus prayed f or the forgiveness of those who persecuted him.
The soldiers cast lots to divide his clothes.
The Jewish leaders mocked him saying, “He saved others, let him save himself.”
The soldiers also mocked him and offered him cheap wine.
Above him were these writings: ‘This is the king of Jews.’
One of the criminals crucified with him also mocked him saying, ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” But the other who is commonly referred to as the repentant thief rebuked the other. The repentant thief admitted that the two of them had been punished justly and acknowledged Jesus’ innocence.
He also pleaded with Jesus to remember him. Jesus told him, “Tonight you shall be with me in Paradise.”
What lesson can Christians lean from the testimony of the repentance thief?
- Christians should be able to acknowledge their sins and ask for forgiveness.
- However wicked one might be there is still room for repentance.
- Those who repent will receive eternal life.
- It l is never too late to repent. A Christian can repent even at the last minute.
- Those who do not acknowledge their sins will receive punishment.
- God doesn’t disappoint hose who repent sincerely.
- Christians should rebuke those who refuse to repent as the repentant thief rebuked his colleague.
THE DEATH OF JESUS (LK. 23:44-56)
The death of Jesus was preceded by extra ordinary happening.
At around twelve O’clock the sun stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country. The darkness symbolized that evil was at its climax. After darkness it symbolized the defeat of Satan.
The curtain hanging in the temple was torn into two. In the temple there was a curtain separating the holy of holies from the rest of the temple. It was believed that God dwelt in the Holy of holies and only the priests were allowed to enter there only once a year.
The tearing of the curtain symbolized the end of Judaism and the beginning of Christianity.
It also rendered the Old Testament meaning of the temple useless.
People could now access God with no curtain separating him from his people. What was now needed to reach God was not the high priests but Jesus Christ.
That salvation was now not only for the Jews but to all mankind.
Just before Jesus died, he cried in a loud voice, “Father in to thy hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk 23:46).
The prayer that Jesus uttered as he died was from Psalms 31:15.
And with those words he died.
This showed that Jesus surrendered himself totally to the will of God.
THE BURIAL OF JESUS (Lk. 23:50-56)
After the death of Jesus, a member of the Jewish council (Sanhedrin), Joseph of the Arimathea requested Pilate to bury the body of Jesus.
He was a good and honorable man.
He took the body and wrapped it in a linen sheet and placed it in a fresh tomb.
He had agreed with the decision of other members of the council to have Jesus killed.
By giving Jesus a very honorable burial, He confirmed that Jesus was truly the son of God and king of the Jews.
This fulfills what had been prophesized in Isaiah 15:90
There were women who followed Joseph and saw where he had laid the body of Jesus. They went to prepare spices and perfumes which they hoped to use to treat the body of Jesus after the Sabbath.
It was on Friday and the Sabbath was nearing. A body was not allowed to remain on the gallows all night for it could defile the land. And therefore, burial had to be done before sunset.
On the Sabbath day they rested as required by the law.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS (Lk 24: 1-53)
On the third day (Sun day) very early in the morning, the women who had prepared the spices went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb.
They went to check but the tomb was empty.
Then two men with brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side.
The men who might have been angels told them not to seek the living among the dead.
They told the women that he had risen.
Luke records that the women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary t he mother of James.
However John gives a slight difference in the narration of the episode.
John’s account was that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone. On finding the stone rolled away she ran and called Simon Peter to be a witness to this.
Luke says that the women returned from the tomb, they told the eleven and other disciples of Jesus what they had witnessed.
Luke does not bring out clearly what had happened to Judas but in the Gospel of Matthew we get the information that Judas hanged himself after realizing that he had betrayed an innocent man (Mat. 27:3-8)
THE DISCIPLES ON THE WAY TO EMMAUS (LK. 23:13-32)
After Jesus had appeared to the holy women and the eleven disciples, the same day he appeared to the disciples of Jesus (Cleopas and another disciple).
They were on their way to a village named Emmaus. Emmaus was about eleven kilometers or seven miles from Jerusalem.
The disciples were talking about what had happened in Jerusalem. They were talking about Jesus’ suffering.
Like other Jews, the two disciples had not understood clearly the concept of suffering Messiah.
As they were talking, Jesus joined them but they did not recognize him.
Jesus asked them what they were talking about. The disciples were frightened and they thought t hey had seen a ghost.
One of them who was called Cleopas asked him if he was the only visitor in Jerusalem who did not know things that had happened.
They told him about what had happened to Jesus of Nazareth.
They recognized Jesus as a prophet and one who was considered by God and all the people as powerful.
That the chief priests and the rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death.
According to them Jesus was the one who was going to set Israel free.
Then Jesus referred to them foolish.
He asked them why they doubted what had happened.
He even told them to examine and touch his hands and feet which had the marks of the nail.
And that he was the fulfillment of what had been prophesized in the Old Testament Prophets.
He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
They invited Jesus to dine with them. While at the table, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and handed it to them.
Then their eyes opened and they recognized him.
Then he vanished out of their sight.
After this they went to Jerusalem to testify about their encounter with the risen Christ.
And they went into the city and found the eleven disciples and those who were with them.
They were also told that Jesus had appeared to Simon.
Jesus appears to the disciples (Lk. 24: 36-50)
As they were still talking Jesus himself stood among them, the disciples were threatened and thought they had seen a ghost. Jesus assured them that he was a ghost.
He showed them his hands.
He explained to disciples that a ghost has no flesh and bones.
They gave him fish and he took it and ate before them.
Jesus explained to them that all that had been written about him in the laws of Moses and the prophets had to be fulfilled.
That he had to suffer for the forgiveness of sins.
He then commissioned them tom preach the repentance and forgiveness of sin to all nations beginning in Jerusalem.
He promised them the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ascension of Jesus (Lk. 24:50-530)
He then led them to Bethany and lifting his hands he blessed them and was carried up into heaven.
IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST TO CHRISTIANS TODAY
- The resurrection of Jesus was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies.
- It is a proof that Jesus was sent by God to redeem mankind.
- Resurrection of Jesus laid a firm foundation for the Christian’s faiths. In his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor. 15:1) Paul stressed that if there was no resurrection, then Christ’s dying would be in vain.
- Through Jesus’ death and resurrection Christians are reconciled to God. It brings a new relationship
- Through Jesus’ death the disciples received the promise Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit continues to guide and strengthen the church today.
- Resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of a new life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
- It gives Christians hope that they too shall rise if they die in the faith.
- It led to the spread of the church. The early followers were inspired and were ready to die for the gospel.
- It gives Christians hope f or eternal life.
- It also points to the fact that nothing is impossible with the power of God.
What role did women play in the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
- The women accompanied Jesus from Galilee.
- The mourned and lamented for him on the way to Calvary. Jesus told them not t o weep for him, ‘but weep for yourselves and your children.”
- The women witnessed the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross.
- They took note of the tomb in which Jesus was laid and the position of the body during the burial.
- On Sunday morning the women went to the tomb and took spices which they had prepared.
- They were the first to be told of the resurrection of Jesus. Two men in dazzling clothes told them the Christ had risen.
- The women returned from the tomb (Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James among other women) and announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ the eleven apostles.
N/B The eleven did not believe the story of the women until they confirmed it themselves.
Why was it difficult for the apostles to believe that Jesus Christ had resurrected?
- The disciples had witnessed his death and burial.
- The report about the resurrection was brought by women who were despised.
- The disciples had a different interpretation of the Messiah. They expected a glorious political Messiah and not the one who was to die.
- They lacked the required faith.
- They were ignorant of the divine nature of Jesus.
- Others also did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.
- The tomb where Jesus was buried was heavily guarded. And according to them the guards could not have allowed Jesus to escape.
- There was conflicting information about the resurrection. The three gospels give difference in accounts of the risen Christ.
How Jesus did prepared his disciples about his coming death?
- Three times, he told them openly that he was going to die.
- During the transfiguration, the three disciples, Peter, John and James, witnessed the discussion between Moses and Elijah about his coming suffering.
- He promised the disciples that he would rise again-death was not the final destination.
- He taught his disciples to be ready to suffer for the kingdom of God
- He taught his disciples about the nature of the kingdom of God that he was going to prepare.
- During the last supper, he shared a meal with his disciples where he reminded them of his coming suffering and death.
- During the meal Jesus took a cup and gave the disciples to share. The cup symbolized the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to redeem sinful humankind.
- The Last Meal symbolized the Messianic banquet in heaven.
- The meal brought the disciples together symbolizing unity.
- He foretold his betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter who were his disciples.
- He promised his disciples the Holy Spirit that would strengthen and guide them in their mission.
- He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane together with his disciples.
- When his disciples fell asleep, he told them to rise and pray so that they may not fall into temptation.
- He submitted himself to the will of God. “Nevertheless let not my will be done, but thine be done.”
- He stopped his disciples when they wanted to fight those came to arrest him.
- He did not show any fear of dying. He let himself to be arrested. He told them, “Have you come out against a robber, with swords and clubs?”

 

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