WEEK 6: Jesus Welcomes All Who Repent and Believe
READ: Luke 23:33–38
What happened to Jesus as He hung on the cross? Jesus suffered. His body was cut, beaten, and bruised. Jesus, the King of creation, was hung between two criminals. Just as Satan did in the wilderness, the people tempted Jesus to prove He was the Son of God. Jesus had the power to come down from the cross. He did not have to die. He had no sins of His own. He deserved no punishment. But He took the wrath of God in our place. The people were right about one thing: Jesus could not save Himself—not if He wanted to save others.
TALK ABOUT IT
- In what ways did Jesus suffer on the cross?
- How was Jesus tempted to come down from the cross?
- If Jesus had the power to come down, why did He stay on the cross?
READ: Luke 23:39–43
What did Jesus tell one of the men on the cross? Jesus told one of the criminals he would be with Jesus in heaven that day. This man was repentant. That means he knew he deserved punishment. He also knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to die. This man never had a chance to live another day and do anything good with his life. Yet Jesus said the man would live with Him forever. Jesus does not wait for us to be good enough for heaven. No matter what you have done, Jesus welcomes all who repent and believe.
TALK ABOUT IT
- What difference is there between the two men on crosses next to Jesus?
- How do we know one man was repentant?
- What is the promise for all who repent and believe in Jesus?
READ: Luke 23:44–49
What happened to the temple curtain as Jesus hung on the cross? This curtain was so tall that no one could reach the top. And it was thicker than a man’s hand. The curtain that kept people from the Most Holy Place was torn in two. At the very moment Jesus died, God tore the curtain from top to bottom. Through Jesus’ death God opened the way of salvation for all people who come to Him. Now God’s children can come to Him always—no matter how they feel. Jesus has paid for our sin so God’s children will be with Him forever.
TALK ABOUT IT
- What did God show us when He tore the temple curtain at the very moment Jesus died?
- What did Jesus’ death do for all people who repent and believe?
- Would you like to be God’s child? Will you repent and believe Jesus paid for your sin?
PRAY: Father God, thank you for opening the way for us to be your children. And Jesus, thank you for your great sacrifice so I might live with you forever. I have not thought much about my sin. Please help me want to repent and believe all you have said and done for me.
WHO IS GOD? GOD IS LOVE
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always loved one another. Since before the creation of the world, God is love (John 17: 24; 1 John 4:7–10). God showed His beautiful love to the world by sending His Son to rescue dying people (Luke 10:30–35). We cannot rescue ourselves (Eph. 2:1). What does God save His children from? He saves His children from the penalty of sin—death and hell (Rom. 1:18; 6:23). He saves His children from sin’s terrible power to control our thoughts, words and actions (Rom. 8:7–8). How does God save His children? God paid the highest price for our sin, the life of His Son Jesus (John 15:13). Even when we did not love Him, Jesus gave His life to make us God’s children forever (Rom. 5:6–8). God loves loving us (Zeph. 3:17; Luke 15:10; Jude 24)! When we receive Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit puts His love into us. Our greatest joy becomes loving Him—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and sharing His love with our neighbors (Col. 3:12–14).
ACTIVITY: Draw what it means for love to grow in our hearts like fruit grows on a vine or tree.
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”