TiO 45 – Alpha – Why Did Jesus Die?

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The Main Idea

Why did Jesus die? The question seems easy enough but the answer is far from straight-forward as it has many nuanced answers. In this message Todd used 4 examples of mechanical parts from a car and explained some of the reasons that Jesus died.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: So you sew? By hand or by machine? From scratch or repair only?

Q2: Have you been confident in your ability to fix something which turned out to be beyond your skill level once you took it apart? Tell that story.

Q3: Would you consider yourself mechanically inclined?

Dig a Little Deeper

We have all heard the words “Jesus died for us”. But what does that really mean? We have heard about the cross and that Jesus was killed on the cross and rose again. But what actually happened on the cross? Why was it necessary? And what did it accomplish? These are not simple questions with simple answers because there is no one answer that is complete.

This week Todd tackled some of the reasons that Jesus died. Each reason was connected to the function of a mechanical device in a car:

  • The cross is a shock absorber

Shock absorber: a mechanical or hydraulic device designed to absorb and damp shock impulses. It does this by converting the kinetic energy [energy of motion] of the shock into another form of energy (typically heat) which is then dissipated.

Read Galatians 3:10-14

Q1: In verse 13, Paul says that Jesus became a curse for us. In what way did Jesus absorb the shock meant for us?

Todd also spoke of the holiness of God and the fire that is his nature, eg., Psalm 96.

Q2: How does the death of Jesus protect us from the natural result of standing too close to the holiness of God?

  • The cross is a bevel gear

Bevel Gear: a cone-shaped gear which transmits power between 2 intersecting axels [rotating shafts which meet at 90 degrees]

  • The cross is a drive shaft

Drive shaft: a mechanical component for transmitting torque [force applied by rotation, like when you take the lid off of a jar] and rotation, usually used to connect other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly because of distance or the need to allow for relative movement [motion that is not in a straight line] between them.

Both the bevel gear and the drive shaft take one kind of energy and turn it into another while preserving as much of the work the energy is doing as possible. The combination of a bevel gear and a drive shaft take the rotation of a car engine and turn it into the rotation of the car’s wheels.

God has power, but it must be transferred to us in order for us to be effective in the world.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. 

Q3: In verses 26-31, how does Paul describe followers of Jesus?

Q4: Despite our personal flaws, what enables us to do great things for God?

  • The cross is a fuel cell

Fuel Cell: a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction

Read Ephesians 5:1-2

Q5: What is the fuel that powers the cross?

Q6: In light of that fuel, what are followers of Jesus commanded to do?

Next Steps

Todd concluded his message by focussing us on the tremendous work that was done on the cross: that Jesus died and with his death came change for us and for the world. Our response is not to simply acknowledge that the cross and why Jesus died but instead to live as changed people as a result of the cross.

We do not often tell our following-Jesus stories in church. Sometimes it is because we think our story is not dramatic enough or does not contain the “moment” that you can identify when you gave your life and will to Jesus. Sometimes it is because we do not have a following-Jesus story. But for those who call themselves followers of Jesus there is a story. For some it is a story of growing up in a family who followed Jesus and you cannot point to a moment where you began, but you know that you and Jesus are walking the same road now. For others there is a dramatic story which begins in the words of a famous song, “I once was lost but now I’m found.”

As you close your time together. Pause to tell each other your following-Jesus stories. For those who are not sure whether they are followers of Jesus, this may be the time to take the first steps in a journey with Jesus, if they are ready.

Pray that God would help us all to journey well with Jesus.

The Scriptures

In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.

Galatians 3:10-14, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Ephesians 5:1-2

Galatians 3:10-14 (NRSV)

            For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NRSV)

            For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NRSV)

            Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Video Resources

Here is a link to the Alpha video from last week. It is about 30 minutes long and well worth watching as you prepare to study this Talk it Over together.

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