We Preach Christ Crucified
A six-session Bible Study by Carol Geisler
Lesson 6: “The Living One” (continued)
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:17-18
Heavenly Father, out of love for the world you created, you sent your Son to take onto himself the penalty that we deserve for our sins. Through faith in our crucified and risen Lord, we will live forever in your presence. Help us by the power of your Spirit to proclaim the good news of Christ crucified to the world. Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Recalling Lesson 1: The Penalty and the Promise
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.
Recalling Lesson 2: Crucify Him! Foretold and Fulfilled
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” (1 Peter 1:20-21).
Recalling Lesson 3: It is Finished!
Those things commanded by God in the Law were a shadow of the things to come. Jesus finished our salvation by the shedding of his blood on the cross. Those who have received this salvation have been “crucified with him.”
Recalling Lesson 4: The Word of the Cross
God chose what is weak and foolish in the world’s eyes to bring about our salvation – a baby in a manger who grew up to become a helpless victim on a cross and rose from death as our victorious Lord.
Recalling Lesson 5: Father, Glorify Your Son
Any attempt to put ourselves right with God, without the cross of Christ, can be referred to as a “theology of glory.” The Bible teaches a theology of the cross – the saving truth that God is hidden and revealed in the suffering and weakness of the cross.
Recalling Lesson 6a: He Lives
The OT prophesied Christ’s resurrection, and the NT lists multiple people who saw him alive.
INTRODUCTION TO LESSON 6
When Jesus rose from the dead, he still bore the marks of the nails and the wound from the spear in his side. He appeared to his disciples and “showed them his hands and his side” (John 20:20). He told Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side” (John 20:27). The scars mark him as the crucified and living Lord, who said, “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18).
Read John 11:21-26
 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (ESV)
What was Martha’s mild rebuke for the Lord? “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
What was her hope for her brother? “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
What is Jesus’ promise to her? “Your brother will rise again.”
What does Martha confess about Jesus? “I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
How was Jesus’ promise to Martha fulfilled immediately in the life of Lazarus? He was brought back to life.
How will his promise be fulfilled in our lives? Though we die, yet shall we live.
Read John 14:18-20
 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (ESV)
When and why might the disciples feel like “orphans”? Jesus, who was like a spiritual parent to them, would soon leave them.
Jesus was well known in Israel, even among those who did not believe in him. What would be different after his resurrection? The world would see him no more.
What is his promise to those who believe in him? They would see him, they would live, and he would be in them.
Read Romans 6:5-14
 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (ESV)
How has the death and resurrection of Christ changed our lives, both now and for eternity? Our old self was crucified, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. We will now live, with Christ.
What does it mean to you to be “dead to sin and alive to God”? Knowing that sin has been overcome in my life, so that I no longer suffer its eternal consequences but am alive – in God’s care – as God has promised.
How can you at home, at work and at church present “your members to God as instruments of righteousness”? Use my time, talents, efforts, energy in working toward God’s goals.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-24 and 51-58
 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. (ESV)
 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)
What would the results have been, had Christ not been raised from the dead? Our faith would have been in vain, and we would still be in our sins.
What would it mean to have hope in Christ “in this life only”? We would think Christ has only come to make our life on earth better.
What does Paul mean by calling Jesus the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”? The one who first takes the path we will also take.
What will happen to our physical bodies on the last day? We will be changed. We will put on immortality.
What are we to be doing as we wait for that great day? “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Read Revelation 1:12-20
 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,  and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.  Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.  As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (ESV)
How is this description of Jesus different from the ways in which we usually portray the Savior? (For example – Jesus as the Good Shepherd or in pictures of his crucifixion) He is usually portrayed as a human – and one that is normally kind and gentle.
Would you like to have such an image of the Savior hanging in your home? Why or Why not? Maybe?! Probably not this one.
How does the apostle John react when he sees the Lord? Fell at his feet as though dead.
What assurance does Jesus give to John? Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I have the keys of Death and Hades.
What assurance do Jesus’ words give to you? I don’t need to fear, for Jesus has overcome death for me.
“We preach Christ crucified.” Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world and on the third day raised to life. Through faith in his name we have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. That is the Gospel message we proclaim, until that day when we join the saints and angels in endless praise to our crucified and risen Lord: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
“Christ the Lord is ris’n today!”
Saints on earth and angels say;
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply.
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ hath burst the gates of hell.
Death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened paradise.