Welcome to the third week of our series Road to the Cross. This series focuses on the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross and takes us to Easter. Road to the Cross is a series to help us get acquainted or reacquainted with Jesus so our affection for Jesus grows. Today’s conversation will revolve around guest speaker John Dickson’s three-part “safety check” to help us connect Jesus’ humanity with his deity as we understand he is our Christ and Savior.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share Part of Your Story
What is something about spring that you get excited about for the season to change?
What is something coming up on your calendar for which you would like prayer or direction from the Lord?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read Luke 23:32-46. What are some of the big ideas and main characters?
What is one thing from this passage you learned this weekend that you didn’t know or now understand differently?
Safety Check #1: Understanding Jesus’ Greatness
“Christ” (the Greek word for “Messiah”) is not Jesus’ last name but an important title showing that he is anointed by God to speak and act for the almighty. How did the criminal on the cross acknowledge this title?
In Matthew 16:13-17, Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is and then directs the question to them for their response. Peter answers that Jesus is “the Christ, the son of the living God.” Discuss what you think that name meant to the disciples.
The question Jesus asked the disciples is the most significant question in life. What we believe about Jesus can and should determine how we live. What are some of the ways people answer that question today?
If we recognize Jesus’s true authority as more than a guru or teacher, how should it affect our behavior in our day to day life? Where do you struggle with this? Where do you feel like you are making progress?
Safety Check #2: Accepting Our Own Unworthiness
Instead of making excuses for his crimes, the criminal next to Jesus recognized his failures, especially in light of who Jesus was. Do you think our culture is quick to recognize our own failures and admit our faults? Why or why not?
Like Senior Pastor Jeff Manion talked about in the previous sermon, we often disappoint ourselves by not living up to our own standards—let alone God’s. What are some times when you clearly see your own unworthiness? How do you respond to these feelings?
It is easy to get in a rut of ignoring our poor choices, sweeping them under the rug and choosing to continue in unwise behavior. What are some habits or practices that can help you see your obvious need for a savior? How do they help you move into healthier behavior?
Safety Check #3: Asking For Forgiveness
The process of forgiveness laid out in this passage indicates very basic steps. We need to recognize our failings, realize it is out of our hands to earn and then ask for the forgiveness through Jesus’ death. Have you had an experience like this? Share it with the group. If not, what questions do you have? Could your group walk you through this next step in your faith journey?
The criminal’s conversation with Jesus is a simple two-sentence story of salvation. There is a great deal of value in being ready and able to share our faith in a succinct way. How can you tell your salvation story this concisely?
Today’s conversation presents a three-part “safety check” of how we view the gospel: understanding Jesus’ greatness, accepting our own unworthiness and asking for forgiveness. Which of these three safety checks is the most difficult for you? What is one practical action this week that will help grow your heart and faith in this way?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Who is someone this week that you can share your salvation story with? Pray for direction and make a plan to intentionally and boldly speak out in a way that is also true to who you are and how you communicate.
Download a printable PDF here.