- Step 1
- Step 2
- Step 3
- Step 4
- Step 5
GETTING STARTEDLoading the player...
We all believe in justice don’t we? The problem is when it comes to sin; we’re all guilty! Wouldn’t it be terrible if God was not a God of justice?
Justice always demands a punishment.
- It's awful
- It's awaiting
- It's avoidable
What if God was not a just God? Describe what it would be like to be ruled by a corrupt God or by a God who didn’t care about justice.
There are many examples of human rulers who have been corrupted by power or just didn’t care about doing what was right. People who live under this kind of rule live in fear and live without hope. It would be a terrifying thought to live under the rule of a God like that.
What good reasons are there for taking what Jesus said about heaven and hell seriously?
When you study the words of Jesus you’ll see that they were powerful, honest and loving. When Jesus spoke about future events in his life, they were always proved to be true.
How close to God’s perfect line are you?
When asked this question we tend to compare ourselves with other people rather than with God’s standard. You can probably think of people further away than you are and other people who are closer than you are. The problem is, however good or bad you are, you are still the wrong side of the line. No-one is perfect, all have sinned.
BACK ON TRACKLoading the player...
Jesus proved on more than one occasion that what he said about the future could be trusted as true. One such event was his own death, he said that he would be treated badly and then killed.
History shows us that his words turned out to be true.
- Setup by religious leaders
- Accused by false witnesses
- Beaten by Roman soldiers
- Nailed to a cross
The religious leaders hated some of the things Jesus said and did, so they plotted to kill him. They put him on trial, faked the evidence, brought in false witnesses and handed him over to the Romans to be executed on a cross.
Luke Chapter 23 verse 38-43
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Why didn’t Jesus save himself? (v39)
Jesus' death was a sacrifice; he died so that others could be saved. If he’d saved himself then no-one else could have been saved.
What does the other criminal admit to be true in verse 41?
He admits that he is personally guilty, that he is the wrong side of the line. He knows that he has sinned and deserves God’s punishment.
What did he see in Jesus that led him to make his request in verse 42?
Jesus didn’t look powerful at this point in the story but the criminal saw that Jesus was innocent and had the power to forgive him his sin and secure him a place in the life to come.
Did either of the two criminals deserve a place with Jesus in paradise (heaven)?
No, they were both as guilty as each other. They were both the wrong side of the line.
Do you think that you deserve a place in paradise?
Nobody deserves a place in paradise; we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.
What surprised you most about this story?
The story shows that paradise (heaven) is not a reward, it’s a gift, made possible by Jesus. The one thing that made a difference in this story was faith. One criminal believed (had faith) that Jesus could save him, so he asked him to.
How can we be sure that God is serious about sin and serious about saving us?
Jesus’ death on the cross proves that God is serious about both. God didn’t let us off with our sin; Jesus was punished for it. Jesus didn’t save himself; he died to make it possible for us to be saved.
ARE WE THERE YET?Loading the player...
If hell proves that God cares enough about our sin to punish it, then the cross proves that God cares enough about us to make it possible for us to be saved. This has to be good news for those on the wrong side of the line!
Jesus took the punishment for sin so that we don't have to.