We Preach Christ Crucified
A six-session Bible Study
Outline and questions by Carol Geisler
Lesson 3: “It is finished”
“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” John 19:30
Heavenly Father, out of love for the world you created, you sent your Son to be its savior. As we study your holy Word, guide us by your Spirit to greater gratitude and praise for your Son’s redeeming death and triumphant resurrection. Help us also to be bold and confident witnesses to your love, so that others will come to know and worship Jesus as Lord. Hear our prayer in his name. Amen.
Summary of Lesson 1: The Penalty and the Promise
In Eden, the tempting serpent led Eve and Adam to eat the fruit of the tree forbidden to them. Their disobedience brought the sentence of death on them and on all their descendants. We, as the descendants of that first family, earn this wage ourselves through our own sinful thoughts and acts. Yet in love and mercy, God sent his Son, the woman’s offspring, into his ruined creation. Jesus took the penalty of death onto himself, suffering death in our place. In exchange, he has given us the promise of forgiveness and life.
Summary of Lesson 2: Crucify Him! Foretold and Fulfilled
Jesus said to those who rejected him as their Messiah: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). The Savior fulfilled all that the Old Testament Scriptures had said of him. The Lamb of God “was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21).
Lesson 3 Introduction:
Some Christian authors want to make the Gospel more “acceptable.” These writers suggest that people today cannot accept the idea of a blood sacrifice, the idea that one man should die to atone for sin. Yet today we are well aware of the meaning of sacrifice. We honor – and rightly so – members of the armed forces, first responders or even strangers who give their lives to save others. The apostle Paul writes: “Perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).
Note: Lesson 3 is divided into 3 parts: Lifeblood, It is finished and Crucified with Christ. Since each of these parts is rather lengthy and detailed, we will only consider the first at this time.
Read Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:10-14
Genesis 9:4 – But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Leviticus 17:10–14 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Therefore, I have said to the people of Israel, “No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore, I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.
Why did God forbid his people to eat the blood of an animal? “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” But see also Genesis 9:5-6. “For your lifeblood I will require a reckoning.” Blood was seen as the seat and soul of life. Also, God’s people were not to emulate pagan practices.
For what sacred purpose was the lifeblood to be used? Offering sacrifice, to make atonement.
Read Hebrews 9:16-22
For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
According to these verses, why was the blood of sacrifices sprinkled on the people and the tent and vessels of worship? So that the will (as in a last will and testament) takes effect. It is “inaugurated” (dedicated).
What cannot happen apart from the shedding of blood? “The forgiveness of sins” v. 22
Read Exodus 12:1-13
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,  “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.  And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,  and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.  “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.  And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.  In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
What detailed instructions are given concerning the lamb for Passover? Lots of them! See the text.
How was the lamb to be cooked and eaten? Roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.
How would the lamb’s blood keep the Israelites safe? God promised: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you”
Read Exodus 12:19-20 and 34
 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.  You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders.
What instructions are given concerning leaven? For 7 days it was not to be found in the house, nor was anything leavened to be eaten.
What further explanation for this is given in Deuteronomy 16:3?
 You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. (ESV)
Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
In these verses, what does the leaven represent? “The leaven of malice and evil.” Jesus removed all traces of leaven (sin) through his Passover. Christians should therefore not continue in their sinful ways. We should be what we are (“unleavened”). Note also the use of leaven by Jesus in Matthew 16:6 where he said to his disciples, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” We are to embrace pure teaching as well.
Read Matthew 26:26-29
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
The Israelites were forbidden to drink the lifeblood of a sacrifice. What does our Lord now invite and command us to do? “Take and eat/drink, this is my blood of the covenant.”
How might the disciples have received Jesus’ words? Shock? Confusion? Revulsion? Or maybe they were used to Jesus doing new things by then! In whichever way they may have received them then, they later embraced and cherished his words – as do we.
Read Hebrews 10:1-14
 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?  But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.  For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),  then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (ESV)
What is meant by the statement that “the law has but a shadow of the good things to come?”
It is a foreshadowing. In 8:5 the writer parallels the word with “copy.” The Law is good, but not as good as it gets. It is not the true form of the realities to come.
How has the sacrifice of Christ done what the Old Testament sacrifices could never do? “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” V.10: “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
The writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 40:6-8. What does the Messiah say in this psalm concerning the purpose of his coming? He says to God: “a body you have prepared for me” (referring to the incarnation) and “I have come to do your will.” Note, Hebrews uses the LXX translation of the Psalm, which switches from ear to body (“Ear” representing the whole body?). In his commentary, Kleinig notes how Hebrews uses the language of this Psalm in many places. It was the song of the king, offered in worship.