At West Allis First United Methodist Church, we had our first group session, studying Adam Hamilton’s short 2011 book, Final Word From the Cross. We discussed the First Chapter, Father Forgive Them, Wednesday night. (We also had a wonderful lunch of soups–thanks Sue and Lou–and did some group walking before the class.)
The Final Words are:
Father Forgive Them
Behold Your Son…Behold Your Mother
My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise
It Is Finished
Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit
Each chapter begins with the biblical account followed by a first-person story as might have been told from the viewpoint of one of the characters at the cross. Then the chapter explores the meaning of Jesus’ dying words for our lives today. Following the last statement, a postscript recounts the words Jesus spoke following his resurrection, including what truly were the final words Jesus spoke while walking this earth.
As we studied this chapter, we looked at important history from Exodus and Leviticus too.
We discussed these questions:
- Why do you think the authorities chose the season of Passover to crucify Jesus? Look at Leviticus 16 and explore the meaning of the word scapegoat.
- What are some reasons why Jesus’ statements from the cross are especially significant?
- Whom did Jesus pray for when he said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”?
- Who was there and watched as Jesus was crucified and prayed these words?
We had some wonderful discussion about hymns during the class and as we finished Wednesday night.
I like the Johnny Cash version of Were You There, from his 1969 television program, and so I linked it above in the drawing of the cross and in this paragraph.
I do recommend the Hamilton book–especially as a follow-up to his earlier book, 24 Hours tht Changed the World.
- Sermon Response: The Last Supper by Chris Granberg (cumcconnect.org)
- Jesus and Goats? (coffeeringstheology.wordpress.com)