Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr MASIMBA Mavaza
Christ in the Crucible
Memory Text: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ” (Matthew 27:46, NKJV). 27:46
Whenever we look at the issue of suffering, the question comes: How did sin and suffering first arise? Through divine revela-tion we have good answers: they arose because free beings abused the freedom God had given them. This leads to another question: Did God know beforehand that these beings would fall? Yes, but obviously He thought it was, as C. S. Lewis wrote, “worth the risk Worth the risk? For whom? For us, while God sits in heaven on His throne? Not exactly. The freedom of all His intelligent creatures was so sacred that, rather than deny us freedom, God chose to bear in Himself the brunt of the suffering caused by our abuse of that freedom. And we see this suffering in the life and death of Jesus, who, through suffering in our flesh, has created bonds between heaven and earth that will last throughout eternity.
SABBATH: From His head, hands, & feet was a fountain of blood that flowed through Jesus’ veins, at the cross. When we survey the agony of Christ, we can’t stop thinking; how did sin & suffering first arise? The Bible tells us that the abuse of free will led to sin. Did God know that there’ll be a fall? Yes, but He loves us so much that He chose not to make us robots but to bear the grief of sin through Christ.
SUNDAY: The Bible was silent on the early life of Christ. What we know is that “He grew in wisdom & stature” & lived in poverty. He was the Son of God & any place would have received Him but He chose to dwell among the poor (John 1:46). He wants the poor to know that He know their trials (Luke 2:7, 22-24, Lev. 12:6-8, Matt. 2:1-18). Daily, He was grieved by sin but He did not sin. To Him, sin was a torture.
MONDAY: Is not this the son of Mary; the carpenter’s son? Men quizzed as Jesus tried to help by teachings & miracles. His own did not receive Him. He was rejected & despised by men, just like a defiant son gets angry at a parent who’ll do anything for him. Christ gave His all to save us (Matt. 12:22-24; Luke 4:21-30; John 8:58, 59). He was hurt by the results of their rebuff (Matt. 23:37, 3 SM, p. 129).
TUESDAY: The final hours of Jesus before His atoning death climaxed His sufferings on earth. His task on earth was planned & at 33 years, it was about to be fulfilled. His agony in Gethsemane was so great that He could not bear His disciples to witness it. He was being separated from His Father (Matt. 26:39, Mark 14:33-36, Luke 22:41-44). But He did not use His divine power to escape (Zech. 13:7, DA, p. 686).
WEDNESDAY: Curse was anyone hung on a tree in Jesus’ time. The harshest injury the Romans could inflict on anyone was death by crucifixion. That was how the Son of God died! He was beaten, spat at, & hammered. This was a harsh treatment even for the worst of criminals. Yet, Christ was innocent. God’s wrath against our sin was poured on Christ (Matt. 27:45, 51, 52, Mark 15:38). He suffered!
THURSDAY: As the world treated Christ, so will it treat us. As long as we’re here, we’ll suffer. The Bible does not promise an absence of pain but the presence of God’s love amid pain. Christ suffered more than any of us could suffer. He suffered for us all (Acts 14:22, Phil. 1:29, 2 Tim. 3:12, Isa. 53:4, 11, 2 Cor. 5:21). Thanks to Him, our pain shall turn into joy (John 10:28, Rom. 6:23, Titus 1:2, 1 John 2:25).
FRIDAY: As Christ cling to the cold ground in Gethsemane & drops of blood came from His pores, He felt pity for man. He saw the power of sin & the helplessness of man. He was willing to save man at any cost to Himself. From His pale lips came the bitter cry; “if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” He lefts the courts of heaven, with its joys to a fallen world to die for man.
—Ellen G. White, “Gethsemane,” pp. 685–697, and “Calvary,” pp. 741–757, in The Desire of Ages & also pp. 690, 693.
DA- The Desire of Ages
C. S. Lewis- A renowned author who wrote that it was “worth the risk” that God was willing to give man “free will” although He knew beforehand that they’d be a fall (Sabbath afternoon lesson).
Sinless human beings- Adam & Eve before the fall & Jesus Christ.
Sin as constant torture to Christ- Because Jesus was holy, he was grieved by human sin even as a child. If sin is not a torture to you now, could it be a result of what you read, watch, or even do? Think about it.
SUNDAY- The Early Days
MONDAY- Despised and Rejected of Men
TUESDAY- Jesus in Gethsemane
WEDNESDAY- The Crucified God
THURSDAY- The Suffering God
📌 How does it help us in our own sufferings, this knowledge that God Himself, in the person of Christ, suffered more than any of us ever could? What should the sufferings of Christ in our behalf mean to us? What comfort can we draw from this amazing truth? As you think about your answer, keep in mind the following statement from Ellen White: “All the suffering which is the result of sin was poured into the bosom of the sinless Son of God.”—Selected Messages, book 3, p. 129.
📌 As a class, go over the sufferings of Christ examined in this week’s lesson. What were the crucibles that Christ faced? In what ways are they like our own, and in what ways are they different? What can we learn from how He handled these challenges that can help us amid our own crucibles?
📌 What are some of your favorite Bible promises, promises that you can cling to amid sorrow and pain? Write them out, claim them for yourself, and share them in class.
📌 Write out a summary paragraph, highlighting whatever main points you got from this quarter’s lessons. What questions were resolved for you? What issues still remain unanswered? How can we help each other work through those things that still greatly perplex and trouble us?