Biblical References: Luke 22-24
For those who are long-time Christians, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death can almost become old news. We become calloused to the horror of the cross and the glory of the resurrection. There is value, however, in looking at the story again and again.
1. What might we learn from comparing the events which took place in the Garden of Eden with what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane? What are the similarities? What are the differences? How are these two garden stories connected?
2. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Does this request from Jesus leave you with any questions? What does it suggest about Jesus’ relationship with the Father?
3. How was it that Jesus ended up selecting Judas as a disciple? All through his ministry, Judas seemed able to do what the other disciples did, healing the sick and casting out demons. What is the lesson you take from his betrayal of the one who called him and equipped him for ministry?
4. Who in the passion narrative do you most identify with? Why?
A. Peter, who loves Jesus yet sleeps in the garden and then denies that he knows him?
B. Judas, who has seen Jesus at work, but disagrees with some of the fiscal and political strategies that he sees Jesus employing?
C. Pilate, who finds no fault in Jesus, but who didn’t want to jeopardize his position of influence and who wanted to keep the peace?
5. During his trial, Jesus is both quiet, and, some would argue, almost combative at times. For example, he responds to his questioner by saying, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of mighty God” [Luke 22:67-69]. What should we learn from Jesus demeanor at his trial?
6. As Luke records the death and resurrection of Jesus, he highlights the role of some surprising people. The disciples sleep in the garden, while one of their own betrays his master with a kiss. At the same time, a thief calls to Jesus for salvation. A Roman centurion declares Jesus to be a righteous man. Joseph, a member of the very body that condemned Jesus, provides a place of burial. Finally, women care for his body and are the first to witness to his resurrection. What lessons might we learn about people and about God from these surprises?
7. Why is the message of the resurrection of Jesus first entrusted to women?
8. What is your favorite part of the resurrection story?
9. If someone wants proof that Jesus was raised from the dead, what would we say to them? Why do you believe Jesus is alive? What difference does this belief make?