Unit: Extreme Savior
Bible Text: Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19
Memory Verse: Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved!”

Hi boys and girls, and welcome!

Let’s go back and review the Extreme things we’ve learned so far about Jesus. (see if children can tell what the story was for each “Extreme”.) First, we learned about Jesus’s Extreme Power. (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace) Next was Jesus’s Extreme Healing (The raising of Jairus’s daughter and the woman who was made well) Third was Jesus’s Extreme Love (Jesus blesses the children.) Very good! Jesus really is an Extreme Savior, isn’t He?!

Today’s story is about Jesus’s Extreme Saving! That really is a perfect Extreme for our Extreme Savior! The Bible says “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13) This means Jesus wants to save anyone who asks Him to, but He won’t force His way into our lives. He won’t come in unless we ask Him to.

Boys and girls, why do we need Jesus to save us? What do we need to be saved from?

Yes, That’s right, our sins. But what are sins? Yes! Anytime we disobey God by doing something wrong, that is called sin. If we have sinned, we can’t go to Heaven, and the Bible says everyone has sinned. (Romans 3:23; 6:23) So, that’s why we need someone to save us from our sins… to take them away. That is exactly what Jesus came to do! We can only be forgiven for our sins by trusting in Jesus as our Savior from sin. Today’s story will show us that.

Jesus had been going around preaching and teaching, healing and doing miracles, for about three years now. Many people believed in Him. They knew that He was the sinless Son of God. But, there were many others who did not believe. They hated Jesus and were looking for a way to put Him to death.

Sadly, many of these who wanted Jesus dead were the Pharisees and religious rulers of Israel. They were the ones who should have known that Jesus was God, but their “religion” was only on the outside for people to see, not on the inside. Their hearts had never been changed. They did not really love God, or they would have recognized and accepted His Son, Jesus.

Jesus knew that these religious leaders wanted to put Him to death, but do you know what else Jesus knew? He knew that was exactly what He had come to Earth for! Jesus knew that even though He was innocent – – He had NEVER sinned, He had to die and shed His blood to take the punishment for all our sins. Mine, yours, those religious leaders, and everyone else who ever lived! It was the only way.

So, when the soldiers came and arrested Jesus, He didn’t fight. When He was taken to trial and falsely accused, He didn’t argue. And when Jesus was whipped and beaten and mocked and spat upon, and a crown of thorns was thrust upon His head, He didn’t try to get away. Even when they made Him carry His cross to the hill called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, and they made Him lie down on that cross, and they drove the nails painfully through His hands and feet, and they raised the cross up in its place, He didn’t regret His decision to save us.

Jesus is the EXTREME SAVIOR.

Two thieves were crucified next to Jesus, one on His right side, and one on His left. These were wicked, evil men, who had done many sinful things. They were being punished for their crimes. Jesus was being punished for ours.

People were gathered all around where the three men were being crucified. Some were followers of Jesus and were very sad over seeing Him on the cross.

But most of the people had come to make fun of Jesus. They shouted insults at Him. The religious rulers also shouted insults. Even the two thieves shouted insults and mocked Jesus.

One of the thieves must have also been watching how Jesus reacted to all of this. Jesus didn’t talk back hatefully to the people, even though they were acting hateful to Him. Maybe this thief had heard of Jesus before. Maybe he had heard what a good man Jesus was. Or about the miracles He had performed. The thief must have heard Jesus when He spoke from the cross, “Father, please forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing!” Something told this thief deep inside his heart, that this man next to him was for real. He was the Sinless Son of God.

The other thief was still filled with anger and hate, and he said to Jesus “So, you are the Messiah, are you? If you are the Christ, save yourself, and us!”

But the first thief now realized the truth. He rebuked the hateful thief and said, “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong!”

Then he spoke directly to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!”

Jesus, the Extreme Savior, answered him and said, “I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise!”

By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Jesus shouted “It is finished!” and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” and Jesus died.

Shortly after, the Roman soldiers came and broke the legs of the two thieves to make them die quicker. They did this because it was almost Passover, a Jewish religious holiday, and the religious leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging on the crosses for the special celebration. They saw that Jesus was, miraculously, already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. The bodies of the three men were taken down from the crosses and were buried immediately, as was their custom.

Three days later, on Sunday morning, only two of those bodies were still in the graves. Jesus’s grave was empty!

What a joyful day, for Jesus was no longer dead! He had risen! Jesus, the Extreme Savior, had the power over sin, and death and satan! By this we can know and be certain that He has the power to Extremely save us from our sins, if we ask Him to, just like the one thief on the cross did.

One thief asked Jesus to save him. The other did not. One thief is now in Heaven. The other is not.

We are like those thieves, for we are all sinners, deserving the punishment for our sins. But God has made a way for us to be forgiven through Jesus, who already took our punishment when He died on the cross.
Now, which thief will you be like… the one who asked Jesus to save him, or the one who didn’t?