Buildup to Easter, The Week of Sunday, April 7: The Crucifixion
We’re entering the final two weeks (three Sundays) of The Sunday School Zone Buildup to Easter. The week of Sunday, April 7 we’ll examine the crucifixion of Jesus. We’ve seen in the story of Adam and Eve’s sin as well as Cain’s murder of Abel that sin is serious, growing, and inside us. Death, in its many forms, is the consequence of sin. If I jump out of an airplane with no parachute at a thousand feet, I may enjoy the trip down for a short while, but death will be the inevitable result. In the same way, the human race has rejected the safety of God’s lordship and rule (His Kingdom) and “jumped” into what it perceives as freedom. But death is inevitable.
Jesus Bore the Consequence of Our Sin on the Cross
Evil and death entered the world by way of Adam and Eve’s self-centered choice. Death is always the consequence of our self-indulgent choices, not just for us, but for others around us as well. But just as their self-indulgent choice resulted in death for many, so the self-sacrificial act of Jesus on the cross has resulted in life for many. By giving His life on the cross, Jesus carried the consequence of sin that we each deserve. It’s as though we jumped out of an airplane in an effort to be free. Jesus gives us His own parachute so we can live, but then falls to His death as a result. The self-denying act of Jesus overcame the self-indulgent act of Adam and Eve. Self-indulgence resulted in death, while self-denial resulted in life.
Jesus Defeated Satan on the Cross
Further, Jesus defeated Satan on the cross as well. It was on the cross that Satan brought his worst against Jesus and Jesus prevailed. It was here that Jesus, the “Seed” of Genesis 3:15, struck “the head” of the serpent while the serpent struck “the heel” of Jesus. Satan exercised extreme hate at the cross while Jesus exercised extreme love. In the Kingdom of God, sacrificial love releases the power of God to destroy evil and conquer death. This is what happened at the cross. Just as self-indulgence results in death, so sacrificial love results in life and the defeat of all forces opposed to God’s reign.
The Fall Was Reversed on the Cross
It was on the cross that the impact and consequences of sin from Genesis 3 were reversed. And while the results of this victory will take time to be fully realized, it was, nonetheless, the decisive turning point at which everything changed at a fundamental level. When God placed Adam and Eve in charge of creation, it was just the beginning. It would take time for His reign through them to expand to encompass all of creation. But an outpost of God’s Kingdom had been truly established. The process had begun. And so it is with the REestablishment of His Kingdom through the self-sacrifice of Jesus and the self-sacrificing reign of His people (His church).
Each of us as Christians and His church as a whole function as outposts of His Kingdom because of the powerful victory Jesus won at the cross. The world experienced a fundamental change when Jesus died and we are now representatives of that change. The cross, in all its horror, is the vehicle by which Jesus accomplished the defeat of sin, evil, and death.
Jesus, we often fail to grasp much of what happened on the cross. Help us to understand it as best we can, and then seek to live as representatives of Your great Kingdom in the way we love people every single day. Remind us that sacrificial love is the way we honor Jesus, live like Jesus, and overcome like Jesus. – Amen
For Your Kids
You can find a number of free, printable activities related to the crucifixion on the site. Encouraging kids to study this story during the Easter season can help them begin to understand the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection. Other activities and resources related to Easter can also be found on the site.