SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Sunday July 7, 1996

The Cross
(John 3:14-16)

The cross was central to Jesus' message to Nicodemus. Those who accept Christ's sacrifice for sin have the gift of eternal life, (Compare John 3:16 with verse 36; 5:24.)

Why does acceptance of Christ's sacrifice result in the immediate gift of eternal life? Isa. 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24.

Jesus suffered the ultimate penalty for all human sin. There is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mal. 2: 1 0; Eph. 4:5, 6), including the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On the cross, infinite God the Son was separated from infinite God the Father and infinite God the Holy Spirit. The Deity was divided because of human sin. This is why Jesus cried out in intense agony of spirit: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me'?" (Matt. 27:46, RSV; The Desire of Ages, p. 75 3).

The infinite suffering of the Deity on Calvary was sufficient to atone for all human sin. We have freedom from guilt and the gift of eternal life when we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

In the following passages, notice how the cross was central to the teachings of the apostles:

Human philosophies are built on human reasoning, which, however logical, fails to answer the deepest human needs. By contrast, the (gospel speaks directly to the human dilemma and provides the ultimate answer. On the cross, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). Paul was constrained (2 Cor. 5:14), inspired, and motivated by the fact that Christ died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor. 5:15, RSV).

Is the story of the cross only a historic event for you, or does it have immediate relevance to your daily life?