3 Reasons to Love BSF’s Revelation Study

3 Reasons to Love BSF’s Revelation Study

3 Reasons to Love BSF’s Revelation Study

Discover hope today and assurance for eternity

Bennett Rolan

BSF Communications Manager

My husband’s career as a football coach has taken us across the country and back. Whether we moved to the desert of southern Utah, or to the bluegrass of Kentucky, I have loved leading Bible study groups wherever God has planted me. I have often repeated this prayer from BSF founder Audrey Wetherell Johnson:

“I love your Word above all things. I would love to spend my life teaching others to find what I have found.”

But when it comes to leading a group through a book like Revelation, I can feel completely ill-equipped. In trying to uncover the mysteries of Revelation, I have explored commentaries, multiple curriculums, and spent time listening to podcasts and sermon series.

In all my searching, I continue to return to my Revelation lessons and notes from BSF’s 2016 study.  I could easily share 15 reasons why I have faithfully packed my well-worn Revelation study book through six cross-country moves. But today, I’ll give you three.

1. You won’t get lost in charts and timelines.

Though many of us may be tempted to use Revelation as a tool to predict the future, Scripture is clear that the timing of Christ’s return is a mystery.

Jesus told us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:36-37, 42).

In BSF’s Revelation: The Hope, the lesson questions and notes approach God’s Word with humility, not assuming a complete understanding of mysterious passages.

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In BSF’s Revelation: The Hope, the lesson questions and notes approach God’s Word with humility...

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One BSF staff member wrote, “We boldly assert what is unmistakable and graciously discuss what is not as clear. Christians should interpret the Bible according to the literal sense of the author’s intended meaning. We must acknowledge that John may have symbolically described visions too glorious for common language. He also may have offered more exact descriptions to avoid mistaken impressions.”

Through this approach, lesson questions, notes, weekly discussion groups, and lectures serve as a guide through complicated passages.

2. You will find space for honest discussion and differing opinions. 

During the 2016 Revelation study, I remember sitting in my discussion group thinking, ‘How is this ever going to work?!” Our group seemed completely divided between two very different viewpoints on a single Revelation passage. In that moment, I was fully expecting the conversation to escalate into an argument. What I witnessed instead was a kind and supportive discussion around a topic that our group found fascinating.

How is this possible? Because BSF approaches Revelation with the viewpoint that “all Scripture is equally true, but not equally clear.” With that humility, BSF carefully presents several prominent perspectives regarding end times theology.

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What I witnessed instead was a kind and supportive discussion around a topic that our group found fascinating.

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Discussion groups become a place to learn and grow together, instead of a battleground of opposing viewpoints.  

There is no expectation of coming to your group with the “right answers,” just a willing heart to seek God through His Word. By approaching every lesson like an adventure, we find new opportunities to learn from one another each week.

3. You will leave each week loving and longing for Jesus.  

At the core of BSF’s Revelation study is a singular focus:Jesus. Since this book was primarily written to comfort and encourage suffering believers, each week’s study is packed with reminders of the joy we find in Christ.

Key themes you’ll discover are: 

  • God is in control—He wins! 
  • God rights all wrongs and repairs all brokenness. He sets everything straight.
  • Revelation is far more about Jesus’s glory than about future events, symbols, or timelines.

Through Revelation’s 22 chapters (404 verses) you’ll find a single unifying concept—hope.

If you struggle to find meaning in this broken world, then Revelation: The Hope is for you. If your friends or family members wonder how God could possibly be at work today, then Revelation: The Hope is for them.

If I learned one thing from BSF’s Revelation study, it was how to place my hope in the One who promised, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20a).

Together, as a BSF community, we will learn to pray: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20b). 

About the Author

Bennett Rolan joined the BSF staff in 2017 after working for several publications, Christian ministries, and non-profits. She loves to combine her passion for God’s Word with her journalism and history background to share God’s Work through BSF. As the wife of a busy college football coach and a mom to four young children, Bennett finds BSF studies keep her relationship with the Lord grounded and focused. She loves to learn from fellow believers as God faithfully grows her each day.

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More to Know About Revelation: The Hope

Did you know that each BSF theme design is carefully crafted to elevate the Scripture we study? This is what you can expect to see during Revelation: The Hope:

The colors: The bright colors in the palette represent our hope in Christ bursting forth to overcome the darkness.  

The shapes: You’ll notice that the colorful shapes on our book cover arc to resemble a cross, reminding us that God is in control and Jesus is victorious.

The gradient: Throughout the Revelation study, you’ll notice that decorative shapes move in and out of focus with a gradient effect. The blurred edges that move into crisp lines represent the idea that even though we don’t see clearly today, our future hope is clearly defined in Christ. 

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What My Kids Learned From BSF’s Revelation Study

What My Kids Learned From BSF’s Revelation Study

What My Kids Learned From BSF’s Revelation Study

Why this Family Recommends Revelation: The Hope for All Ages

Sherry Thomas

Guest Contributor

During a routine trip to the pediatrician, my six-year-old was working on her BSF lesson.  

Walking in, the doctor asked, “What are you working on?”  

“My Bible study,” answered my daughter while putting away her BSF lesson.  

“Oh! And what are you studying?” she inquired. 

“Revelation!”  

The pediatrician turned to me in surprise, exclaiming, “Revelation?!? What six-year-old studies Revelation?” 

Maybe you’re wondering the same thing. How can children study the book of Revelation? I’d love to tell you three reasons why my husband and I chose to allow our children—who were one, four, six, and ten at the time—to study this often-avoided book through BSF.

1. “These words are trustworthy and true”

(Revelation 22:6)

BSF Kids and Students have always prioritized this biblical truth: God is the hero of every story. While the book of Revelation may seem full of confusing imagery and difficult events, the conclusion is always the same: Jesus can and will make everything right.  As my preschoolers went through the BSF Kids study, I appreciated that they always walked away with the truth that Jesus conquers all.

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BSF Kids and Students have always prioritized this biblical truth: God is the hero of every story.

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When a passage from Revelation was too mature or unclear for little hearts, BSF chose a parallel passage to teach the same truths, but at an age-appropriate level.  

In BSF Students, my older children read the same Scripture that the adults read, but their lesson questions focused on what is clearly understood as opposed to grappling with what God has purposely kept a mystery. There were times our older children came to us asking questions about things they read, and we saw these as opportunities to explain what we knew, as well as admit to what we still couldn’t comprehend. We didn’t view this as something to fear or explain away, but as a chance to model our trust in the Lord’s sovereignty and character.  

2. “Blessed is the one who reads 

(Revelation 1:3, 22:7)

John begins and ends the book of Revelation with a promise of blessings. He states that the one who hears, the one who reads aloud, and the one who takes to heart what is written in this book will be blessed. John also opens the book with a unique assurance that what he has written is from Jesus, given by God, to be shown to Jesus’s servants.  

I don’t have to wonder what my child will get out of studying Revelation because John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has assured me that we will get God’s blessings. I will not withhold from my children the good that God intends from the reading and studying of this book. He had Revelation written with them in mind. 

3. “Only he is worthy

(Revelation 4:11)

A good friend once taught some of our children to ride a bike. She held the back of the bike and the handlebar while running alongside, repeatedly reminding them that they needed to look up to stay balanced. “If you look down, you’ll get wobbly,” she warned. Even after she let go, she kept reminding them to look up; when they got nervous and looked down, they would start to fall. While the metaphor isn’t perfect, it’s the same for us. To live an abundant life on earth, our children need to be trained to look up at Jesus.

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To live an abundant life on earth, our children need to be trained to look up at Jesus.

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The world wants us to look in, look down, and look around for fulfillment, but the book of Revelation demonstrates that creation is most satisfied in the presence of our Savior. Revelation teaches us that to live life abundantly here on earth, we need to keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus. He is coming soon to condemn sin and bring His children home to spend eternity with Him.  

Scripture says that every knee will bow in heaven and on earth one day, but what a blessing to choose to bend our hearts and knees to Him now. He deserves to be glorified now as much as He will deserve all glory when sin has been removed. I want my children to know what reverence looks like, and Revelation gives us a beautiful glimpse.  

Lord willing, our family of seven (we had one more child in 2017) will study the book of Revelation again in September. As a mom who prays for her children to place their hope in Christ alone, I can’t think of a timelier study than Revelation: The Hope. 

About the Author

Sherry Thomas learned about Jesus Christ as a child, but as an adult she grasped the concept of a growing relationship with Him through Bible study and prayer. She joined Bible Study Fellowship more than 10 years ago, after the Lord called her out of her corporate job to become a stay-at-home mom. Sherry is happily married to her husband Jacob, who is an International Controller for Bible Study Fellowship. Today, she is a homeschooling mom with five children and an Assistant Children’s Supervisor in her BSF class, and actively serves in her church.

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How to Seek Jesus While We Wait on Him

How to Seek Jesus While We Wait on Him

How to Seek Jesus While We Wait on Him

Living for Jesus in Everyday Life

Hollie Roberts

BSF Executive Director

Have you ever struggled through a season of waiting—feeling stuck between God’s work in the past and His promise for the future?

Two years ago, I faced a particularly difficult situation I couldn’t solve on my own. At the time, I was stunned. I wondered, “How could this be?” I prayed, and I waited. Today, I am still praying and still waiting. While my circumstances haven’t changed, God has done a mighty work in me through this season.

Because God works while His people wait.

As Christians, we wait for God to answer our prayers and meet our daily needs. We wait for Him to give us direction. We wait on Him to change the hearts of those we love. At times, the entire Christian life can feel like one big season of waiting—and that’s because it is. 

The tension of “not yet,” “hold on,” and “there’s more to come” stretches far beyond our daily circumstances because we are living in the gap. We are placed between God’s work in the past and His promise for the future.

John’s Gospel reminds us to seek the truth, keeping our eyes fixed on the finished work of redemption through the cross. Revelation encourages us to wait in hope, focusing on the certain day when Jesus will return and make all broken things new.

So how do we remain steadfast while we wait? 

Seek the Truth

Through John’s Gospel we get a clear view of who Jesus is. We see both His compassion and care as well as His power and glory. We reflect on His words and marvel at His miracles. We realize that Jesus was more than merely a teacher or a prophet.

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When we seek the truth in God’s Word, we discover more than facts about Jesus; we discover Jesus Himself.

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John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus alone has the power to fortify our faith and steady us while living in the gap.

He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

When life’s storms threaten to distract us from the truth of who God is, a deep knowledge of what God has revealed in His Word anchors our faith and identity in Christ. When we seek the truth in God’s Word, we discover more than facts about Jesus; we discover Jesus Himself.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6). 

I am convinced that one of the greatest dangers for our culture today is settling for the shallow end of Scripture. We begin to view personal Bible study as optional, when in fact, it is essential. While we live in the gap, waiting on God, we must remain anchored in Christ—and our surest way to remain in Him is to remain in His Word.

Wait in Hope

When we seek the truth found in Christ alone, we discover a hope greater than we could ever imagine. In this year’s BSF study, Revelation: The Hope, we will read about an eternity so wonderful that the trials of this life pale in comparison.

Revelation 5:9b-10 tells us, “…because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Imagine that beautiful reality. A kingdom of priests from every tribe and language and people and nation united by the blood of Jesus. Today, we weep and mourn. In eternity, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4a).

We endure today because our hope rests in a certain tomorrow.

When we truly believe there is something worth waiting for and Someone who can deliver all that He promised, we find the strength to persevere.

In Christ, our hope is secure because the price of eternity has already been paid. Victory is sure for those who place their faith and hope in Jesus.  

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true'” (Revelation 21:5).

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In this year’s BSF study, Revelation: The Hope, we will read about an eternity so wonderful that the trials of this life pale in comparison.

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In John’s Gospel, we see God’s glory revealed in Jesus, the humble servant. In Revelation, we see God’s glory complete in Jesus, the conquering king.

As we seek the truth and wait in hope, we see glimpses of His glory as He continues to work in and through His people today.  

When we feel stuck between God’s work in the past and His promise for the future, we remember that God always works while His people wait. When God answers, “not yet,” He strengthens our faith and increases our reliance on Him. While we wait, He calls us to action—to make Jesus known and share the hope wherever He has placed us.  

God is our stability in the fiercest storms and trials. Jesus Himself is our truth and hope as we long to experience the full measure of His glory as revealed in Revelation.  

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23). 

About the Author

Hollie Roberts stepped into the Executive Director role in September 2021 after serving as BSF’s Chief Field Development Officer. Hollie and her husband, Kevin, have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.

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Don’t Wait Until Next Easter

Don’t Wait Until Next Easter

Don’t Wait Until Next Easter

Living for Jesus in Everyday Life

Paul David Tripp

Guest Contributor

I live in downtown Philadelphia, and when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, the celebration was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Tens of thousands of people spilled into the streets late at night to celebrate the victory. Total strangers became best friends for hours as the city rejoiced in unison. 

A few days later, I walked down the very same street. It was different, shockingly different. I felt let down; to be honest, the drastic change was depressing for me. I wanted to see crowds hugging and high-fiving and dancing. I wanted to hear people singing and shouting and crying with joy. But the street was empty and littered with trash. 

Sadly, I think the same can be said of the Church after Easter. We celebrate on Sunday with vigor, but a few days later, we fall back into the same mundane pattern of everyday life. We often live as if Easter hasn’t happened. 

Why We Celebrate Easter Sunday

I love Sundays, but I love Easter Sunday even more. In one culminating and specific moment in history, Jesus Christ summarizes and finalizes the salvation narrative. There are six things in particular that I love about the empty tomb. 

1. The empty tomb reveals that God is faithful. 

Centuries earlier, after Adam and Eve rebelled, God promised that He would crush wrong once and for all (Genesis 3:15). He vowed to send His Son to defeat sin and death by His crucifixion and resurrection. For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from His promise. He didn’t grow weary, nor would He be distracted. He made a promise, and He controlled the events of history so that at just the right moment, Jesus Christ would come and fulfill what had been promised. 

2. The empty tomb reveals that God is powerful. 

Think of the authority you would have to have to control all the situations, locations, and relationships in order to guarantee that Jesus would come at the precise moment and do what He was appointed to do. Also, could there be a more pointed demonstration of power than to have power over death (1 Corinthians 15:55)?

By God’s awesome power, Jesus took off His grave clothes and walked out of that tomb. Those guys in power-lifting competitions may be able to pull a fire truck with their teeth, but they’ll all die, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

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For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from His promise.

 3. The empty tomb reveals that God is loving. 

Why would God go to such an extent to help us? Why would He care to notice us, let alone rescue us? Why would He ever sacrifice His own Son? Because not only is God loving, but He Himself is the definition of love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8).

You and I need to recognize that His love was not motivated by what He saw in us, but by what is inside of Him. Even when we’re unloving and rebellious, full of ourselves and wanting our own way, God is still loving. He delights in transforming us by His grace and rescuing us by His love.

4. The empty tomb guarantees eternity. 

No matter how mundane, routine, and slowly progressing your story seems to be, it’s marching towards a glorious conclusion. There will be a moment when God will raise you out of this broken world into a paradise where sin and suffering will be no more (1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 21:4). 

5. The empty tomb guarantees security. 

No matter how unpredictable and out-of-control your life feels, Jesus is reigning, and He will continue to reign until the final enemy is under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). That doesn’t mean you won’t experience pain and hurt in this world, but it does mean there’s nothing that Jesus does not know about, cannot intervene in, or alter altogether. 

6. The empty tomb guarantees delivery. 

No matter how hopeless and weak you think you are, you’ve been provided with all the grace you need to make it to the end. Future grace always carries with it the promise of present grace. God will provide everything you need until you see Him face-to-face (2 Peter 1:3). 

And that’s why I love Easter Sunday so much!

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No matter how unpredictable and out-of-control your life feels, Jesus is reigning, and He will continue to reign until the final enemy is under His feet.

How to Live After Easter Sunday

As much as I’m captivated and riveted by these truths of the empty tomb, I need to be honest with you: it’s a struggle for me to remember them once the celebration of Easter has died down. 

So, to conclude, I want to turn your attention to the end of 1 Corinthians 15. This chapter is arguably the New Testament’s longest and most detailed treatise on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in the final verse, the Apostle Paul gives us marching orders for how to live after Easter Sunday. 

He writes, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV) 

1. The empty tomb gives us unusual stability. 

Paul uses the words steadfast and immovable. Is your life a picture of that kind of stability? Is your everyday life anchored in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His victory on Easter, or are you blown around by the winds of difficult circumstances, relationships, and realities of life in a fallen world? 

2. The empty tomb motivates us into lifelong activism. 

Because of the resurrection, we should give ourselves “fully to the work of the Lord.” To abound means to be enthusiastic and hopeful, motivated and courageous. If you actually believe that Christ rose from death and that He reigns in power, you ought to believe that the sexually addicted can be delivered; that rebellious children can become submissive; that broken marriages can be healed; that fearful people can know courage; and that the depressed can rise to live with joy again. Enough of survival—we believe in victory and transformation. 

3. The empty tomb grounds us in realistic hope. 

If the empty tomb guarantees eternity, then we believe that our lifelong activism “is not in vain.” We live and minister in a fallen world—and that can be very discouraging—but in the darkest of nights, when progress seems invisible, we can have hope. 

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His love was not motivated by what He saw in us, but by what is inside of Him.

Celebrate Easter Every Day

I know I’m not alone in my struggles to remember Easter. But don’t be discouraged—the very fact that we’re struggling with these heart issues means that grace is present in our lives! In our weakness and confusion, we can admit our need for help and God will meet us in our broken honesty. 

As a follower of Christ, the resurrected Lord dwells within you today by His Spirit. You’re a new person, not only in righteous standing before God, but in ability and desire. Jesus walked out of that empty tomb so you can walk in hope and freedom. 

Don’t wait until next Easter to celebrate that! 

About the Author

Dr. Paul David Tripp (M.Div, Westminster Theological Seminary), a longtime fan of BSF, is a pastor, speaker, and award-winning author known for the bestselling everyday devotional New Morning Mercies. He and his wife, Luella, recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. They live in Philadelphia and have four adult children and six grandchildren.

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The Final Words of Jesus

The Final Words of Jesus

The Final Words of Jesus

Mark Vroegop

Guest Contributor

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” 

These are the final words spoken by Jesus on the cross. 

The heartbreak of false accusations, betrayal, abandonment, and the crowds cheering for crucifixion have reached their cruel conclusion. The agony of abusive mocking, the crown of thorns, flesh-ripping flogging, hands and feet nailed, the struggle for every breath, and hanging naked have reached their intended outcome. 

Death is seconds away. 

There’s nothing peaceful or serene about this moment.

Luke is the only writer to record these words. Matthew and Mark simply say that Jesus “cried out again in a loud voice” and “breathed his last” (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37). These are the final words of the suffering Savior reaching the finish line of His calling. 

Only a few more breaths.

Here is the perfect Son of God experiencing the outrageous effects of a sin-cursed world. Here is the obedient Savior embracing the horror of death to provide atonement. Here is the Lamb of God hanging between heaven and earth to take away the sin of the world.

His last breath. 

Slumped silence. 

Chin to chest. 

It’s over. 

Jesus died. 

His mission on earth—completed.

His statement—“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”—like others on the cross is from the Psalms. His life and mind are so saturated with the Scriptures that verses erupt in this painful moment. Once again, He quotes a psalm of lament—Psalm 31. But He doesn’t quote a verse about hidden nets, worthless idols, the hand of the enemy, grief, or affliction. 

Instead, He quotes a verse about trust. “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is not only the destination of a lament; it’s the destination of His ministry, His life, and His death. 

Jesus suffers while trusting.

He dies while trusting.   

In a Jewish home, Psalm 31 was often used in evening prayer as the final song before lying down to sleep. It was offered in hope that God would care for His people through the darkness of the night. It was sung in faith, believing that God’s goodness is “abundant” and “stored up for those who fear” the Lord (verse 19). Psalm 31 anticipates the steadfast love of the Lord being shown to us when we are “in a city under siege” (verse 21). It confidently proclaims that God hears our pleas for mercy even when we feel “cut off from [His] sight” (verse 22). 

So these are not only the final words spoken by Jesus. They are also the last example of His life lived in loving trust with the Father. 

His final words are not usual words. Throughout His ministry, Jesus often talked about His deep love for and connection to the Father: 

  • “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42) 
  • “I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15) 
  • “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) 

Final words are important. They represent our last will and testament. Last words are chosen carefully. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” is no different.

His words capture the irreducible minimum of the gospel message: trust.

Here is Jesus, our suffering Savior, completing His calling on earth by dying and trusting. Here is Jesus, our ultimate example, using His final breaths to live in obedient faith. Here is the Son of God staring death in the face and boldly declaring—even shouting—that He is still trusting. 

We know that the crucifixion isn’t the end of the story. But what we witness here is incredibly important.

Jesus suffered and died. But that’s not all. 

He died as He lived: trusting. 

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

He died so that those who trust in Him might live. 

About the Author

Mark Vroegop is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis and the author of three books, including Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament. He’s married to Sarah, and they have three married sons and a daughter. 

This article was adapted from a post originally published on markvroegop.com. 

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3 Lessons from a Brutal Cross

3 Lessons from a Brutal Cross

3 Lessons from a Brutal Cross

Mark Vroegop

Guest Contributor

The cross.  

It’s a symbol revered all over the world. We put crosses inside church sanctuaries and on our worship facilities. Some churches are built in the shape of a cross.  

We put crosses at graveyards. You’ve probably seen them on the side of the road marking the places of deadly accidents. 

We also celebrate the cross. We sing about it—“I will cling to the old rugged cross.” We make jewelry in the shape of the cross or use it for a tattoo. 

Truths in the Cross

However, the cross is more than a symbol.  

The cross is the meeting place of God’s justice and mercy. It’s the location of divine wrath and forgiveness. It marks the death of the eternal Son of God. It’s the darkest moment that leads to the brightest hope.  

The crucifixion of Jesus is the turning point of God’s redemptive plan. The cross opens the door for forgiveness. It provides atonement for sin. It ends the separation of God and mankind. The cross is a brutal, nasty instrument by which God demonstrates His love for us. 

Accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion are dark. Death by crucifixion was brutal. After the person’s hands were fastened to the cross beam by nails or ropes, he was hoisted on a vertical beam. His feet were nailed to a small platform. With a badly beaten body and outstretched arms, every breath was difficult and brought searing pain on the hands and the feet.

Death by crucifixion could last for days. 

Above the head of Jesus was a sign that read “King of the Jews.” It appeared that He was cursed by God, stripped of everything, and defeated. 

The cross was awful, and the biblical accounts are designed to help us to see the tragedy of this moment—to feel it deeply.

Three Lessons

The gospel writers also want us to understand the connection between what happened on Good Friday and the plan of God. 

They want us to see the suffering, the pain, and the death of Jesus. But they also want us to know that this is all part of God’s plan—a plan for people to believe. 

With that in mind, what should we learn when considering the cross?  

1. Sin is horrible

As we look at the tortured experience of Jesus and the cruelty of crucifixion, we’re reminded that this sacrifice was only necessary because of the collective rebellion of humanity.  

The cross reminds us about the brokenness of our world. 

Every conflict, every fractured relationship, every scam, every sinful word, every sickness, every virus, and every death point to our need for help—more so than we even realize. 

2. Jesus loves us

John’s gospel states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  

The cross is not merely a symbol of brutal execution; it is the emblem of God’s love for us. The death of the Son didn’t happen by accident. It was God’s plan to rescue us. 

He died because He loves us. 

3. God is in control

Nothing about the cross is by accident.  

At the time, the crucifixion of Jesus looked like a disaster—a complete failure. But underneath the crucifixion is a divine plan. God worked His gracious strategy to open the floodgates for redemption. 

The cross is a symbol of God’s ability to take something awful and make it amazing. A cruel tool of execution became the key to everlasting life. 

This is God’s plan for redemption.  

As dark and bleak and disastrous as this moment looked, God was fulfilling His gracious plan. 

If you need hope today amid dark days, look again to the cross. If you wonder where to look for encouragement and hope, come to Golgotha. 

Because it is there, near the cruel cross, that we see the mercy of God. It is there, at the horrific cross, that we find hope. 

 

About the Author

Mark Vroegop is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis and the author of three books, including Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament. He’s married to Sarah, and they have three married sons and a daughter. 

This article was adapted from a post originally published on markvroegop.com. 

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