Bible Texts: Isaiah 53; Matt. 26-28; Mark 15-16; Luke 23-24; John 18-21
Memory Verse: Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption though His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Hello boys and girls! This is lesson 4 in our “God’s Greatest Shows on Earth” series. Today’s “Show” is, I think, THE GREATEST SHOW God has ever shown us here on Earth! Today’s show is called “God Shows Us His Salvation!”

Do you remember in our second lesson about Noah and the Ark, what was the great promise that God showed us? That’s right! That Jesus was the Door, or The Way, to God the Father and to Eternity in Heaven. The word “salvation” means to be saved or rescued from something. Noah and his family were rescued by God from the flood by going in through the one door of the Ark. But, they were also rescued from something else. They were rescued, or saved, from their sins by believing in God’s Promise; the Promise that He would send a “Door,” or Way for them to enter to have their sins forgiven. Jesus! Today’s “Greatest Show On Earth” is when God Shows Us His Salvation!”

Jesus had been preaching and teaching and healing people for 3 years now. Many people loved and followed Jesus. But there were many others who didn’t like the message that Jesus was teaching. The message that God loved them and wanted them to believe in, and follow His Son. You see, that was really the big problem. These people didn’t really like that Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God, and that his sinless life PROVED that He was God’s Son! This made them hate Jesus! They hated Him so much, that they even wanted to kill him. This was no surprise to God. God knows what is in the hearts and thoughts of people. God knows that some people love His Son, and other people don’t. He knows what is in your hearts and thoughts too, boys and girls. Whether you love His Son or whether you don’t. The final part of Jesus’s ministry on Earth was about to begin. The part where God shows us His plan of salvation; the part where God shows us His Love for us through His Son, Jesus.

Jesus was arrested and taken to a series of trials. He was falsely accused, slapped and hit and spit upon, and then taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, for a final trial. Even though Pilate believed Jesus was innocent, he ordered Jesus whipped. This scourging, as it was called, was probably with a whip that had 9 leather strips and sharp pieces of glass and metal at the ends of each strip. It was called a cat-o-nine-tails, and it would tear through the skin and muscle and reach to the bones of the one being whipped. Thirty-nine times, Jesus was whipped. Weak and bloodied from this beating, Jesus was then sent to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Before they crucified him, they mocked him and made fun of him. They made a crown of sharp thorns and put it on his head. They put a purple robe, a sign of royalty, on His bloodied and wounded body, and said mockingly “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck him with their hands, and hit him on the head with a stick, making the thorns go deeper and deeper into his flesh. Then, they paraded Jesus out in front of all the crowd of people, and Pilate said, “Behold the man!” But the people had no sympathy for the beaten Jesus. Instead, they all cried out “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

So, they led Jesus away to be crucified. They ripped off the purple robe, which by now had probably dried to some of Jesus’s wounds, causing them to be painfully re-opened and making the blood run down again. They forced Jesus to carry his own heavy cross up to a place called Golgotha, meaning the place of the skull. When Jesus didn’t have the strength to carry it anymore, they made a man named Simon carry it. When they reached the top of Golgotha, also known as Calvary, they laid down the cross, placed Jesus on top of the heavy beams, and nailed his feet and hands to the rough wood. Blood gushed out of the wounds in Jesus’s hands and feet. Then they raised the cross up and dropped it in it’s stand.

Jesus could feel the searing pain with every breath that He took, as the weight of his body hung on the huge piercing nails. For 6 long hours, Jesus hung on that cross, shedding His blood. Though the pain in his body was nearly unbearable, there was another pain that was even worse for the Son of God, and also for God the Father. It was the pain of all of our sins, placed upon Jesus while He was dying on that cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says that “God has made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that even though Jesus had never sinned, He took the punishment for all of our sins in His own body on that cross, so that we might be made right with God.

One of the 7 things that Jesus cried out on the cross was to God the Father. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” You see, God can’t look on sin, and Jesus had all of our sins on Him on the cross. So, God the Father had to turn away from His own Son! It was probably the worst part of the whole crucifixion for Jesus! The worst part of all the pain that Jesus had to go through! But, He did it because of His great love for you and I. And God the Father allowed His Son, even willed, or wanted, His Son to go to the cross and suffer and die like that for our sins, because of His Great Love for you and I. It was the only way! The only way to save us, or rescue us from our sins!

It was God’s salvation plan.

Isaiah 53:5-6 says “But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have Peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the guilt and sins of us all.”

Jesus died a very painful death on that cross. A death He didn’t deserve. He shed His blood so we could be forgiven for our sins. He was taken down from the cross and was buried in a borrowed tomb, a tomb that belonged to a man named Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus’s followers. These were very sad days for those who loved Jesus. I am sure Jesus’s mother Mary’s heart was broken with sadness. They all probably felt like their world had come to an end!

On the first day of the week, Sunday, some of the women who loved and followed Jesus went sadly to the tomb to put some spices on Jesus’s dead body. Instead, they found an empty tomb, and the stone rolled away! An angel told them “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as He said would happen” Go, tell his disciples that He has been raised from the dead, and you will all see Him soon!”

Jesus did appear to his disciples and followers, and they were all overjoyed! They understood now. This was God’s beautiful plan of salvation! For them, and for you and me! It was what God promised Adam and Eve after they had sinned in the Garden of Eden. It was what God had promised Noah when he was building the ark. It was what Jesus had preached and taught the people about for all the years of his ministry on Earth, and why He had come to Earth in the first place!

Boys and girls, just because the ark was there, did the people who could see it get saved from the flood? No, they had to go through the door and onto the ark. Well, just because Jesus did the work, and made a way of salvation, is everybody saved from their sins? No! You have to go through the “Door” of salvation, Jesus.

How do you do that? By being sorry for your sins and by believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and He was raised up from the dead 3 days later. And, by asking Jesus to forgive and take your sins away, and to come into your heart and life, and save you. That is the One Way, the Only Way, God’s Way of Salvation!

Do you want to accept it today?