And we’ll have some special music. We’re going to honor our folks that are serving in the military in a unique way.
The mayor is going to come and bring greetings and I think it’s going to be a special time, but typically this would be the Sunday that a preacher would preach a message on Palm Sunday, but I’m going to preach about the cross.
Today and the crucifixion. Matthew Chapter 27, verse 32.
Matthew 27 verse 32.
And as they were going out, they met a man from Psyren named Simon.
And they forced him to carry the cross.
Thus it came to a place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.
And there they offered Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But after tasting and he refused to drink it.
And when they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots and sitting down. They kept watch over him there and above his head. They placed this written charge against him. This is Jesus King of the Jews.
Now, two of the robbers, two robbers rather were crucified with him, one on his right, one on his left, and those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, you, who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, come down from the cross. If you are the son of God.
In the same way, the chief priest and the teachers of the law and the elders mocked.
He saved others, they said, but he can’t save himself. He’s the King of Israel. Let him come down now from the cross and will believe in him.
He trusts in God. Let God rescue him. Now if he wants him for he said, I am the son of God. In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
And from the 6th hour until the 9th hour darkness came over all the land.
And and about the 9th hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice. You know why? You know why lava sabacc ***** Which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
When some of those standing by heard this, they said he’s calling Elijah immediately. One of them ran and got a sponge.
He filled it with wine vinegar and he put it on a stick and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.
When Jesus said, cried out again in a loud voice.
Yes, he gave up his spirit.
The loud voice said he cried out. There’s four different accounts.
Of this event and many of the events in the life and Ministry of Jesus in the four Gospels in another gospel account, the loud voice he cried out, it is finished. And then it says he gave up his spirit and breathed his last.
They thought that he was calling for Elijah. He was crying out, it is finished. He cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
How much time?
They said to him many things from Psalm 22, which is a Psalm about the Messiah who was coming the religious leaders to the end of Jesus life were tormenting him with verses from the Bible saying in essence.
You can’t be who you say you are because of what’s happening to you right now.
Because if you were really the Messiah, he wouldn’t be dying a criminal death. John says in his gospel that only when Jesus knew that all of the scriptures had been fulfilled, then and only then did he say I thirst and they offered him the wine to drink. And then he cried out and breathed his last, why crucifixion?
And why a cross of all things?
It took me a while to figure out how controversial even the image of the cross is. If you don’t think it’s controversial, try to put it up in a public school.
You will not that they will be on you like white on rice the minute you begin to try and have a symbol of that.
I told you before, General Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War, forbade his chaplains. The Christian chaplains, in particular the Jewish chaplains, to a lesser degree, because the Torah wasn’t an immediate symbol.
But the cross was that his chaplins during the Gulf War were not to wear the cross on their uniform.
The Jewish chaplains in the military wear tablets to remind us of the law.
But no one was allowed to wear those symbols because it was such an abhorrence to the Arab peoples that we were working with in Kuwait and and others in the area. The Saudis in particular couldn’t wear this symbol because it is so abhorrent, so repugnant.
I remember one time takes a lot to get me really upset. I mean, I’m a pretty phlegmatic person, but I remember hearing a remark that the singer Madonna made at one time.
I think I told you about this. She was being interviewed one time in an interview or said to her, well, Madonna, you know your your albums are all about.
Free sex and free love and and you don’t seem to have any big deep spiritual commitment to anything. How come you wear a crucifix around your neck?
Apparently, in the interviews she looked at the reporter and said I think it’s sexy. There’s a naked man on it.
Why such scandal?
About the cross.
Or the crucifix?
Or any reminder that Jesus had to be crucified and first Corinthians chapter one, would you turn there?
Paul made it intentionally central to everything that he ever said.
I want to tell you that I probably would have wanted to hear Paul talk about geography or history or science because Paul was a brilliant man. By all accounts, he had the equivalent of two or three pH D’s in his day.
He spoke 3 or 4 languages fluently. He was no dummy.
He was in line for a leadership role with the Jewish people as a Pharisee among Pharisees by his own account, he was the one that studied under Gamaliel.
He knew Hebrew law in history and scripture. He studied for 13 years under a rabbi named Gamaliel in Jerusalem. So Paul, when he becomes a believer and he’s going to preach the gospel now.
His temptation would have been to use his great learning. In fact, one trial of many trials. Paul had one trial, the governor said to Paul, I believe your great learning has driven you mad. They recognized that Paul.
As a scholar, they.
Recognized that he knew more than most listened to what he said in Corinth, of all places.
By the way, if somebody calls you a Corinthian, that’s not a nice thing in the ancient world, it meant you were a sexual pervert.
Corinth had become so associated with great success and sexual licentiousness and Pagan worship. But it was also known as a place where everybody was an expert.
As one historian said that on every street corner in Corinth there is somebody with his own answer to the world problems.
You know, we now we call them Starbucks, but there was somebody was there and they were going to tell you what you really needed to know and they would talk about life.
So Paul, when he came into that environment, listen to what he says in verse 17 of chapter one.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. This is first Corinthians 117.
Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its power.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us.
Who are being saved?
It is the power of God.
Later in that chapter, verse 22.
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom.
But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God.
Christ, the wisdom of God. Chapter two of First Corinthians, verse 2.
For I resolved, Paul says to know nothing while I was with you except Christ.
And him crucified.
So for Paul you see it elsewhere. First Corinthians 15 talks about the centrality of the death and burial and resurrection.
When Paul went somewhere he had to throttle back his intelligence. He had to mute back his scholarship. He had to not indulge in trying to persuade people with logic and rhetoric, although he could have.
What he understood and what I want us to understand before we’re done today is that there is a centrality about the cross that is at the at the hub of the very will of God for the ages.
And it had to be a cross. He had to be crucified. Jesus knew it. But for the Jews it was a stumbling block. Why? Because they could not conceive.
Give of their Messiah being put to death, like the violence of criminals. Do you know in Rome Roman citizens were not allowed to be crucified?
They’ve they considered it too humiliating. There was a a death for our foreigners and for for the violence of criminal offenders and for slaves. But Roman citizens were not allowed to be crucified.
They considered it too demeaning and to humiliating.
So it was a stumbling block to Jews. It was foolishness for the Greeks who celebrated wisdom. Why I think we would all like to think that we’re pretty smart.
And every now and then.
I every now and then God just he just.
He lovingly shows you that you don’t know much of anything.
If you’ve been caught there, I remember I was in seminary and I was learning Greek, so that meant I was an expert in everything.
Everybody knows that. I mean, I was learning Greek participles. That just means I’m an amazing guy.
And so I had this.
Television set that I bought for $25 at a garage sale. No, it was a swap meet. Southern California has swap meets and I bought it at the swap meet.
Big Philco console color television set that had a turntable over here for playing your 33 and a third records.
And it had a radio with the big knobs over here, and a black and white television set. And it even flipped up. And it was like a piece of furniture. And since I only had three pieces of furniture in my apartment at the time.
I had two forks and three cups and I had a Philco console television.
Brought that thing in the living room and I mean it worked great and I used to watch.
Sam, the old movies I used to love the water and then in fact that’s where they had the car dealer.
The car dealer of all time. If you ever lived in Southern California, who’s the car dealer of all time. Cal Worthington and his dog spot?
If you’re looking for a better set of wheels, I will stand up on my head to be tall deals.
I will stand up on my head till my ears are turning red. Go see Cal go see Cal goes I so watch these things and I watch the movie so learning Greek I was also becoming wise in the ways of the world.
And I I would this this TV was my companion, you know, so I would watch this stuff and so finally one day it just wasn’t working at all.
And in that I was studying Greek parsevals and I was really brilliant. I called a TV repairman who it cost me twice what I paid for the TV for him to even come to my house.
Came into the apartment. He saw the books and I had notes. Although he could tell I was a student and you know he’s I kept asking him.
I said, well, what is it? Is it a transformer? Is it a resistor? Is it tube? So he said you not.
I’m not sure so you’re a student, aren’t you said, yeah, I said I’m not sure, but I think this is going to help and he crawled under the television.
He plugged it in.
I paid him $50.00 for the privilege plugging in my $25 television set.
I think sometimes we get all puffed up and we think.
Well, you know what I’m going to figure out a solution to my problem with God.
I’ll just learn some stuff, and the Corinthians were that way. The Athenians that would, just before he said this poll was in Athens, and he said to the Athene.
And I perceive your religious in very many ways. You have altars to everything. In fact, even in your city you have an altar to an unknown God.
What was unknown to you, I’ve now come to preach and starting from there Paul preached in Jesus the death, burial and resurrection from the dead and they said, we’ll hear you more concerning this.
Because nobody ever just proclaimed that this is the only answer. I mean, that’s pretty. Think about it in our day when you get up and say, I know the truth, people look at you like, oh, you’re one of those true believer. Reactionary nuts, aren’t you?
The concept that there would be 1 answer one agreed upon answer and the only answer is repugnant to people who would love to think they have the intellectual acumen to figure things out.
So to the Greeks, the cross was foolishness to the Jews. It was a stumbling block because they couldn’t conceive of their Messiah having to suffer like that. Turn to Matthew 16, would you?
I think this illustrates it.
I love Peter.
It’s one of my favorite Bible characters. Peter is every man, he’s me, he’s you. Peter is bold, he he’s just bowled for Jesus.
Peter is the one that pulled out a sword and lopped off that guy’s ear. And I personally don’t think he was aiming for his ear.
He wanted to cut his head off.
Peter was one of the rest of these guys. Won’t follow you, Lord, but I’ll.
Follow you and Peter was the one that when Jesus asked this question, he said to his disciples, who do the people say that I am?
Some of them said, well, some people think you’re John the Baptist. Come back from the dead. He’d been executed something.
Cure Elijah come back.
But Jesus hones in on his disciples, and he said, but you?
Who do you say that I am?
And it’s Peter.
I love Peter Peters, wanted blurts out, he said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.
Jesus turns to Peter and says Blessed Underuse Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and Blood, didn’t reveal that to you, but my father which is in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
I can’t help picturing Peter doing this soon as Jesus said that he turned to the other disciples went.
That was me. That would be Peter, who had the right answer.
I’ll take sovereign will of God for 500 Alex.
I can just picture him doing that and so the rest of the disciples were running a low. Peter will listen to what happens within it within a paragraph.
Verse 21 same chapter Matthew 16.
From that time on.
Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed. And on the third day raised to life Peter.
Took him aside.
Began to rebuke him, never Lord. He said this should never happen to you. Jesus turned and said to Peter, get thee behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man Peter couldn’t conceive.
And that the same Jesus who was described as the majestic son of the living God, would have to die, let alone how he was going to die.
And you will see as we move along this morning that Jesus made it very clear. He told them a number of times that he was going.
To be crucified.
That’s how he was going to die.
Peter, like you and I can’t. How can you put all that in the same package they were waiting? Everybody had a different concept of what the Messiah was, but the agreed upon concept was this when God Messiah comes, everything is going to be made right.
This will be God’s agent. This will be God messenger. He’ll have power over everything and everyone, and it’s his power that’s going to make everything right.
And then Jesus turns around and says, yeah, but I’m going to Jerusalem. I’ll be delivered to the chief. Priests suffer, be killed.
And then yes, be raised again. I think that Peter, like the others, were what?
That why would you have what that?
Not that, not not that thing. The Romans wouldn’t even do to their own citizens. Not bad.
On a cross.
In verse 22, Jesus again predicts.
When they came together in Galilee.
He said to them.
The son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands.
Of men they will kill him.
And on the third day he will be raised to life, and the disciples were filled with grief no less than three times in that gospel alone did Jesus predict the fact that he would be murdered.
That he would in fact die and that he would be raised again, turned to John Chapter 10.
John chapter 10.
Starting at verse 22.
There’s something very specific about the cross. There’s something very specific about this particular form of execution, crucifixion.
John Chapter 10, verse 22 then came the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s colonnade.
The Jews gathered around him, saying, how long will you keep us in suspense if?
You are the Christ. Tell us plain.
Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you did not believe the miracles I do in my father’s name speak for me.
But you don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life and they will never perish. No one can ****** them out of my hand. My father has given them to me.
My father, who has given them to me rather is greater than all and no one can ****** them out of the father’s hand. And then he said, I and the father are one.
Again, the Jews picked up stones to stone him.
But Jesus said, I’ve shown you many miracles from the father. For which of these do you stone me? We’re not stoning you for any of these replied the Jews but blasphemy because you, a mere man, claimed to be God.
Jesus answered his, it is, is it not written in your law? I have said you are gods. If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.
What about the one whom the father has set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why do you accuse me of blasphemy when I said I’m God son, do not believe me unless I do what my father does, but if I do.
Do it even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the father is in me and I and the father again, they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp number of times in Jesus Public Ministry they picked up stones in a ritualized legal format in their mind.
To execute him by stoning, because he claimed to be God, come in the flesh.
The penalty for blasphemy was to be stoned to death.
And in this instance Jesus has said he just escaped in their midst, another rendering of a similar incident said Jesus just walked right through.
I personally think it’s the same kind of thing where he came through the buildings and he just they didn’t.
Where’d he go?
He he just went right through because he had the power to do that. But why? Here’s my question, why did he exercise power to escape being stoned to death by the Jews, only to orchestrate all the events of his life and ministry?
To be crucified.
A shameful criminal death on a cross as opposed to being executed in a Jewish manner for being a blasphemer. What was the big deal they were going to kill?
Him anyway, why did it matter how?
Well, the Bible has a lot to say about why it mattered. Turned to John 28.
Lots of scripture this morning.
Pardon me John 18.
You’d be looking for John 28 till the end of time I think.
John 18 I did put my glasses on and I did see it finally.
And then the Jews LED Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor.
Now by now it was early morning and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness, the Jews did not enter the palace because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.
That alone is so ironic and so tragic. Just from a legal standpoint that Jews broke their own laws about a dozen.
Times before this even took place.
They held an illegal trial. There were no witnesses. It was not a duly constituted trial from the sand hedron, they struck Jesus numerous times in the face.
During his trial, all things that were forbidden in their own law, and yet they say we don’t want to go into The Dirty Romans house because it’ll defile us before we celebrate.
What the Passover the Passover.
Where they shed the blood of a lamb and put the blood over the doors so that the death Angel would Passover and the sentence of death wouldn’t come up on the people that Passover.
Heard about this Jesus?
That’s more than ironic to me.
What charges do you bring against this man? Pilot said, if he were not a criminal? They replied we would not have handed him over to you, Pilate said, take him yourselves, judge him by your own law. Now listen to the great quest for justice here on the part of the Jews.
But we have no right to execute.
The Jews objected. John gives the very clear application of why they did this, and they didn’t even know why they did it. But the Lord had a plan.
So that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die.
Would be fulfilled.
This happened specifically so that Jesus would be handed over to the Romans.
And be crucified turned to John 12.
Sometime read Psalm 22.
In fact, read the gospel accounts and look at all the quotation marks whenever there’s a quote, go back and find out where it was and you will find out that everything that happened to Jesus from his arrest to his crucifixion, to even how he was buried and where he was buried, was all prophesied in.
Estimate it is absolutely amazing how precise it is that everything Jesus did God prophesied, it was going to happen that way, not the least of which Psalm.
22 was always a puzzle to the rabbis because they they described that it was somebody important dying a kind of death that nobody understood because crucifixion was not in vogue.
As an execution method among the Jews that only happened later when the Romans came, and so before the Romans were there before anybody knew what crucifixion was in the psalms, there’s a description of somebody slowly suffocating to death, crying out my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Numbering all my bones. I have been numbered among sinners and you get the whole picture of Calvary and a snapshot thousands of years.
Before Jesus ever came.
Because the Lord had a reason that it had to be crucifixion. John Chapter 12 starting at verse 32.
Verse 30 actually, to get the sense of it.
Jesus said this voice was.
For your benefit, not mine.
Now is the time for the judgment of this world.
Now, as the Prince of this world will be driven out, but I when I am lifted up from the Earth.
I will draw all men to myself now again. John adds the important detail. We don’t want to miss what Jesus said and why he said it.
John says he said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
The crowd spoke up. We’ve heard from the law that the Christ or the Messiah will remain forever. So how can you say the son of man must be lifted up?
They understood what he meant, lifted up was synonymous with crucifixion. Whether the crucified criminal was nailed to the cross and literally lifted up so that he would be off the ground and his feet couldn’t provide any permanent rest for the slow, suffocating death that it was.
It was designed to display the criminal as well as execute the criminal it was designed to be humiliating. It was designed to be.
I remember reading one time it was the acne of the torturers, art, crucifixion. Every system in the body that could render discomfort and pain is excited by means of crucifixion.
Why? Why is that?
Why couldn’t he Bennett White? Why couldn’t Jesus just could have come there with with the legions of angels like he said to Pilate, he was standing before Pilate, and the Roman governor was afraid of him, because Geopilot said to Jesus, don’t you know that I have the authority to set you free or to kill you? Jesus looked at him and said, you would have no authority whatever unless it had been granted you.
From above, and I’m sure that when Jesus said above, Pilate knew he wasn’t talking about Rome, he was talking about above, above.
It says pilot was afraid.
Number of times since he became increasingly afraid of Jesus, aren’t you a king? Jesus said what you said is true.
But my Kingdom is not of this world. Then he says, if it was, my father could have sent legions of angels.
When Pilate started looking for ways to let him go.
Because he was afraid he knew what he was dealing with.
’cause right after that pilot said.
Where have you come from?
Where you wouldn’t ask him what part of Judea?
He knew what he was dealing with. Why that.
Why such a horrible ignominious degrading, shameful way to die? Why that?
Turn to John Chapter 19.
John says it happened that way. ’cause Jesus wanted to indicate what kind of death he would die to fulfill God’s will.
Right after Jesus said it is finished. Verse 31.
Now it was the day for the preparation and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.
Because the Jews didn’t want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath. They asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who’d been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus, they found that he was already dead and they didn’t break.
His legs instead. One of the soldiers pierced Jesus side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
The man who sought has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies, so that you may also believe these scriptures happen, so that the apartment these things happen, so that the scripture would be fulfilled, not one of his bones will be broken, and as another scripture has said.
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.
Why did John?
Add that detail that none of the other gospel writers included.
Mark didn’t mention to us the spear piercing Jesus side. Matthew didn’t mention it. Luke didn’t mention it, why?
Because John, when he wrote his gospel, he will say many the world couldn’t contain the books about what Jesus did and said, but these things were written so that you might believe, and that in believing you might have life.
He says that in his gospel about his purpose for writing, he was writing a document to convince people and why was it important to convince people?
That the guy stuck a spear in Jesus side and blood and water.
Well, some of you are probably old enough to remember. I hope you didn’t get a copy of it. It was a really despicable book, but back when I was in seminary, there was a guy who wrote a book.
What an arrogant character. He must have been because all of the scholarship of the ages up to the point.
He determined that nobody really had the inside story on what happened at the cross, but he was going to write his book and tell us.
What really happened?
His name was Hugh Scheinfeld and the name of the book was called the Passover Plot.
And in it he says that Jesus never really died.
That Jesus did take the narcotic that was offered to him. You remember they offered him a sponge with wine and gall.
That was a narcotic mixture that was designed to reduce pain. Jesus didn’t take it. You remember that says they offered it to him, but he didn’t take it. Scheinfeld says he did and what really happened was Jesus appeared to die and his disciples.
Got his body down off the cross, whisked him away and he ended up preaching in India.
Now it’s an interesting book and you know a lot of people I can remember in the 60s anytime anybody said something controversial, everybody else went.
Wow wow man. And then they got really clever and set it backwards. Wow, you know. And I remember all these guys with their long hair and I was one of them. You know. And you had your beard and stuff, you know. And you sit there and say man we.
We don’t get fooled again.
Now when you play that news is we’re going to really get to the inside story. And Scott Fells Books sold a lot of copies except for one thing.
Doctor Sin McMillan and his book. None of these diseases had a physician, looks at the miracles of the Bible.
He tells about the fact that if somebody did infact was crucified on a cross and somebody.
Pierced their side and the Bible says specifically and immediately gushed out blood and water.
It’s not until somebody physically dies that the blood products coagulate and separate, and if that happened, that person was dead before they did it.
Jesus was dead.
He died, he didn’t appear to die. He died, and he died a terrible death. He died slow. Suffocation is how he died. What they would do was on the cross.
Plus they had a foot piece that was designed. They would nail the person’s wrists and their heels with wrought iron spike.
And impaled them on the crossbeam, and they would lift them up, so that while there’s their flesh was tearing, and the weight of their own body was pulling down, they had a piece on the bottom of the cross that they could position their legs, which were cramping. And then while they were suddenly being, you know, not suddenly torturously, slowly beginning to suffocate, they could.
At least put their feet on this thing and and try with a little bit of strength. They can imagine the conflict going on in that person’s mind. They’re suffering.
This is causing him to suffer more, but it’s causing them to breathe longer so they can suffer longer.
That’s why they did it. They would watch the person squirming, trying to get a good breath, and as their own body weight would collapse on the diaphragm, they were slowly being deprived of oxygen.
Then they would begin to hallucinate because oxygen wasn’t going to the brain, they would begin to be tormented. Try to get their breath, put themselves up, and every time they move, they tore these horrible wounds.
In their hands and in their feet, and they had splinters on their skin from the rough hewn wood.
And people were coming by hurling insults at him and I don’t know how.
To tell you this other.
Than to just tell you you see depictions of the crucifixion.
You see Jesus on the cross with a loincloth and the two thieves on either side of him. That’s not historically accurate. Criminals were were crucified.
In the nude.
He was hanging there naked in front of his mother and in front of his friends and in front of the religious leaders and for all of the people that he came to save, squirming, trying to get a good breath, slumping down, tearing at his flesh, calling out to God, my God, my God. Why have you forsaken me? Why would he do it that way?
Why? Why wasn’t there another way why the cross turned to Deuteronomy chapter 21?
Deuteronomy chapter 21.
This is part of the scripture that is called the law. There were two parts of the Old Testament scripture, the law and the prophets. This is part of the law.
Those religious leaders that were hurling insults at Jesus were quoting from the law.
They were quoting from what they believed that God was saying about the Messiah and how it couldn’t have been Jesus.
Here’s why they thought. Here’s why. It’s a stumbling block to religious people about the cross. Here’s why. Verse 22. Deuteronomy, chapter 21.
If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, his body is hung on a tree.
You must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.
And you must not desecrate the land. The Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. Anyone any criminal who was hung on an impaled is another way to put it.
On a tree, that was a sure sign the Old Testament writer tried to communicate to people, and certainly the religious leaders believed that they could not have been the Messiah because this man came and died a criminal death.
He was hung on a tree and so he was cursed of God. That’s what they were saying to him.
He was slowly suffocating to death Messiah are you? You must be cursed of God because look at how you’ve ended up.
They couldn’t conceive that the Messiah would suffer a death like that, but Paul understood it later.
In Galatians 3 you don’t need to turn there, he says this Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming.
For it is written cursed. It is everyone who is hung on a tree. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham.
Might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith.
We might receive the promise of the spirit. First Peter Chapter 2 says he himself bore our sins.
On the tree.
It’s fascinating to me that in the book of acts and all the letters, you don’t hear the cross referred to so much as you hear the tree referred to.
Why? Because the tree conjured up images and all of the here’s all the devout Jewish years that Jesus was in fact intentionally impaled on a tree so that he might become accursed as we have been accursed because he was doing it in our place.
And there was only one way, second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 21 says he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness.
First Peter Chapter 3 verse 18 says Christ died for sins once for all. The righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God.
Why did he do it that way?
To bring us to God.
I love this story. It’s hard for me to to read it and see it, but.
In the Old Testament.
Abraham waited a long time for his son. In fact, the tensions in the Middle East go back to the fact that he tried it in his own strength to solve the problem, and he had Egyptian maidservant named Hagar and Ishmael was born.
Welcome to the conflict in the Middle East between the Jews and the Arabs. It goes back that far.
So Abraham was waiting. Finally, God says, I’m going to give you a son from your own body. Now Abraham was almost 100 years old and his wife was almost as old. You know that’s a miracle in and of itself.
I remember one guy was preaching on at one time, Paul Hackett, some of the best preachers I ever heard, and Paul Hackett said he was acting it out one time and he said God spoke to Abraham and Abraham went to his wife.
And said, can you make it to the tent?
You know they were. They were. It was impossible for them physically to conceive. And yet the Lord in his promise said, now I’m going to give you an errand is A and.
And so Isaac was born. Now you gotta agree. Isaac was born supernaturally God air for the promise for all of us. So then God tells Abraham.
I want you to take Isaac your son.
Whom you love?
Sacrifice him to me.
I can’t, I can’t go there.
I looked at Peter in the first service. I just looked. I can’t go. I can’t even let myself think about that.
’cause Isaac was most probably a teenager when this all took place, they went to the place where God had prescribed and they put wood on the back of this donkey and they they brought a sensor with ceremonial fire to ignite the sacrifice and Abraham had his.
Killing knife that he killed sheep with.
And they were going with Abraham and his servant, and Isaac. And they were going to the place of the sacrifice.
And then Isaac says on the way, father, there’s wood for the sacrifice. There’s the fire, but but where’s the animal for?
The set where’s the lamb?
Abraham knew he was. He was going to kill his own son, so Abraham turns to his son. He said God will provide himself a lamb.
They got there. He tide his son on the altar, set the fire and he was gonna kill him, lifted his his knife to kill his own son because God told him to do it and from Heaven an Angel speaks, stops him and says now I know that I can trust you and that from that point on there’s a promise of eternal blessing for Abraham and his offspring. But then it says, you know what?
From a thicket nearby, there was a RAM who got caught in the the hedges and he heard the bleeding of the RAM and and and the fulfillment of what what Abraham had said. God will provide himself a lamb. Let me say that sentence just a little bit differently.
God will provide.
That’s why when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming over the hill, he said, look, there’s the Lamb of God.
Who takes away?
Of the world.
Matthew 20 you don’t need to turn there. Jesus said the son of man came not to be served, but to serve.
And to give his life as a ransom.
The word ransom was very colorful. When the people heard him say that they did not think of a religious thing, they thought.
Of slaves or captives being set free because somebody paid a price. That’s what they thought. When Jesus said that word when he said the word ransom, they knew immediately what they meant. Somebody would be set free because somebody else paid the price.
I say that phrase with me, somebody will be set free.
Because somebody else paid the price.
Yes, that’s what ransom means. Jesus came the son of man.
To give his life a ransom for many first Timothy Chapter 2 says he gave his life as a ransom for all.
Turn to Hebrews Chapter 9, which we’re going to close in just a moment now.
Why the cross?
It was the only way.
Now you understand a little bit what Jesus was doing in the garden, sweating, blood, even thinking about it, father.
If it’s possible, take this cup from me, but if it’s not possible, not my will but thine be done.
And an Angel came from heaven and strengthened him as he needed to be strengthened. He knew what was going to happen in.
But he also said to this end was I born.
To this end, was I born?
Hebrews Chapter 9.
For this reason.
Christ is the mediator of a new covenant with those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.
Now that he has died.
Has a ransom to set them free.
From the sins committed under the first covenant.
He was a ransom.
To take care of the sins.
That have to do with the.
That have to do with.
The law, a new covenant Jesus said in my blood.
Leon Morris, who’s written a commentary on the Gospel of John, said it a lot better than I could, he said. Nowhere in the New Testament is the cross conceived as turning an unwilling God into a willing one.
Has a compulsion on a reluctant God. It’s not the cause of love.
It is its consequence.
It is the spring of love.
It is its outflow that is what that is. What is so often forgotten we read in the New Testament of Christ being offered as quote the propitiation for our sins, and our thoughts go back.
To Pagan faiths where men tried to appease the angry gods, but the tremendous difference is that in all these faiths, men had to do the propitiation. But in the Christian faith God provide.
Reads it, he doesn’t ask men for an atoning sacrifice. He gives the atoning sacrifice and he gives it because he loves the world and he wills that none should perish. It is because he is so passionately eager to forgive that God sent his only son to die.
During the first service I thought of something.
That I haven’t thought about in a long time.
I thought about the last time I saw my father alive.
I was 18 years old. I just graduated from high school.
And within a week I was to head to New York City to the Merchant Marine Academy. That’s where I thought I was going to go to school and my father developed a blood clot as a result of breaking his hip, he broke his hip. He had osteoporosis.
And he broke his hip. Nobody expected that, and while he was on his back of clot, broke loose and lodged in his lung and he died within a day of that happening.
And so nobody saw that coming. I mean, I, I certainly didn’t. I had a lot of unfinished business with him, as as most of my four brothers and sisters did, and my mom, I’m sure. But it was interesting.
To me, I was remembering the scene and I haven’t thought about it in a long time.
And I don’t know why I did while we were singing this morning, but I could remember something my mom did.
We were raised Catholic.
And so, in the Cath you got to put yourself in a 1960s Catholic reference when a lot of it was in transition between everything in Latin and and everything ritualistic into something more modern and contemporary.
There were kind of tumultuous times for the Catholic Church, but one of the things that was always held in in awe and respect was.
It was on the rosary. If you had rosary beads, the crucifix was that the thing that held that all together, and so I remember when.
This all started to go.
South real quick with my dad.
Everybody panic, not the least of which when my mom and I remember her just trying to think of what to do and she grabbed all of us and had us.
In the room ’cause it was like wait a minute and they were saying he wasn’t going to make it and we didn’t know what to do.
When my dad’s dying there, we’re going to do so. We’re doing awesome my mom fever. She went through her purse and everything and pulled out a crucifix.
And tried to put it in his hands and put his hand near his heart. And so we were all praying, but she kept wanting to make sure that crucifix was in his his hand.
So he he could feel it.
I want to tell you that I.
OK, what my dad faith was or what his level of understanding was I. I think there’s a possibility either way and I can’t say one right there, and I won’t.
But I want to say this. I think it was instinctive and I’ve seen it happen a lot. You ought to see what chaplains take into battle and their little gold bags that they have.
They have little copies of the New Testament. What else do they have? They have crosses that they give to people and the soldiers and the sailors and Marines and the airmen grab them. You can’t have enough. That’s on order all the time.
All you have to do is just show up with a cross post across from somebody’s hand and they might not know theology, but they might know this has something to do with me being right with God. And when my father was breathing his last and my mom.
And then I gotta get across somebody, get it across in his hand. Does that mean there’s some magic Talisman or charm?
No, but I’m telling you this, the truth behind the cross is the central truth of all time of all history of all the world, Jesus didn’t come to be a preacher.
It didn’t come to be a social worker. He didn’t come to be a nice guy. He came to die for our sins.
Then across and it was the only solution that’s.
Why it had to be that way?
But there’s no other name under heaven.
By which men should be saved?
Your Bible says that if you would believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and you would confess that with your mouth and be in agreement with that.
It should be saved.
Thank you, Lord.
I just want to make this real simple and short.
Not trying to manipulate you or confuse you or get you to do something you don’t want to do, but I’m going to ask everybody for right now, at least to close their eyes so there’s nobody looking around right now.
I believe the word of God is so powerful that you know now.
You know you have to do something with that truth and this is. This is what it is.
You can keep on trying to be good in your own strength and trying to please God by doing stuff.
You can do that as long as you like. He won’t stop you, but I think by now you must have been convinced that that’s futile and empty, and it’s not going to help.
Here’s the only thing that can help Jesus said, and I.
If I be lifted up.
In your place.
You are sins vicariously dealt with in his body on the cross and.
I if I be lifted up.
I will draw all men to myself.
Second, the gist of it was look up and see it and believe it and believe that it counted for you.
If that’s your decision this morning and you would say I want what Jesus did on the cross to.
Count for me and I believe that it does.
Would you lift up your hand where you are and I’ll pray? A prayer of agreement with you?
I want with you. Yes, ma’am. Yes Sir. Yes in the back there. Yes I want what Jesus did. Yes over here to my right yes son I see that yes I want what Jesus did.
To count for me.
That’s the only answer for me. I should have been on the cross. It should have been me naked and squirming and suffocating to death. But he did it for me out of his great love.
Yes, in the back, yes Sir.
Should have been me.
Second thought yes, Sir, thank you, Lauren.
But you did it for me, yes, ma’am.
Second Father, we give you praise and we thank you for the finished work.
Of Jesus on the cross.
Thus, there remains no more a need for sacrifice, because he did it once for all, and he did it once for me.
We believe you, Lord, we receive that now in Jesus name.
Would you stand?