Small Group Studies

Stages of the Cross: Week 1 Study


Every day, we make intentional decisions. We decide to eat healthy so that we feel better. We leave our homes early for work so that we can arrive on time. We watch football or the latest television show so that we have something to talk about with our friends. We are entering a sermon series where we are talking about Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross to pay the price for our sins. In our study today, we are going to reflect on the fact that Jesus' death was intentional. It was not an accident. He came to earth knowing His mission: to die on the cross for our sins so that we could have eternal life if we place our faith in Him.


Who is the most intentional person you know? Why?


1. We know that Jesus' death was intentional, but what would the difference be if His death had been an accident?


2. Read John 10:14-18. What does Jesus' willingness to die and the predictions about His death and resurrection teach us about the intentionality behind the death of Jesus?

John 10:14-18

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

3. What is the significance of the sky growing dark as midnight at 12 noon on the day Jesus died (Luke 23:44)?

Luke 23:44

By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.


4. Based on what you learned in the Sermon Recap #2 about the temple curtain, what is the significance of the tearing of the temple curtain in Luke 23:45? What is the importance of that moment to you, specifically?

Luke 23:45

The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle.

5. Read Romans 3:21-26. In your own words, define atonement.

Romans 3:21-26

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

6. How did Jesus' death atone, or pay the price, for our sins?

7. What is one thing that you can do this week to reach out to a person in your life who is far from Christ?


With this sermon series, Stages of the Cross, we are offering an interactive experience at all of our campuses where you will walk through all of the stages of the cross that Jesus faced as He died on the cross in our place. You will not want to miss this experience. Make plans this week to go to your campus as a group for this experience so that you can reflect together on the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all who believe in Him through His death, burial, and resurrection.


Wallpaper available for download in the Sagebrush App.

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.