In the Cross of Thy Suffering & Tomb of Thy Resurrection
[PRAYER] Christ Is All, a Puritan prayer…
May I read the meltings of Thy heart to me
in the manger of Thy birth,
in the garden of Thy agony,
in the cross of Thy suffering,
in the tomb of Thy resurrection,
in the heaven of Thy intercession.
And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
After the sermon last week, as some of you passed by, you said in one way or another, “Pray for me. It’s getting hard.”
It’s getting hard because this is your first Christmas without your loved one.
It’s getting hard because it was around this time of year that your loved one died.
It’s getting hard because your loved one loved Christmas, so you are always reminded of them during this time of year.
Or maybe it’s getting hard for you because of financial strains or relationship strains or occupational strains.
Whatever the case may be, there’s real hope, real peace, real rest, real joy in knowing that Jesus is praying for you.
From the throne of His intercession, Jesus is praying for you if you are in Him.
I aim to give you more real hope, real peace, real rest, real joy today.
I don’t want to distract you from your troubles, your griefs, your strains. The world attempts to distract us at Christmas time, but all our problems are still there when all the presents have been opened and the tree comes down.
I don’t want to distract you; I want you to know that Jesus is your lifeboat in a sea of troubles, griefs, and strains.
I want you to be happy this Christmas, but not shallow happy. I want you to be deeply happy in Jesus. I want to be deeply happy in Jesus.
That’s why last Sunday we considered the Heaven of His intercession.
That’s why this morning we considered both the cross of His suffering and the tomb of His resurrection.
Oh, it’s is real, deep encouragement to know that Jesus is praying for me!
Oh, it is also real, deep joy to know that Jesus died for me and rose for me!
[TS] At Christmas time, we think about gifts, and one of the great gifts that God gives to us in Jesus is the gift of His suffering on the cross and rising from the tomb.
To see what this means for us, we are going to look at the end of Luke 23 and the beginning of Luke 24.
Turn with me to Luke 23:33…
[CONTEXT] The Gospel of Luke is the longest book in the NT. It focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus culminating with His death, resurrection, and ascension.
The first major section deals with Jesus preparation for ministry.
The second major section deals with Jesus ministry in Galilee.
The third major section considers His ministry in Judea and Perea.
And then we come to the climax of Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem.
He drives merchants from the Temple and then engages in debates with the Jewish religious leaders.
He predicts the destruction of the Temple.
He shares the Passover meal with His disciples.
He betrayed, arrested, and tried.
And as we read beginning in Luke 23:33, He is crucified…
The Cross of His Suffering (Luke 23:33-46)
The Cross of His Suffering (Luke 23:33-46)
33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
[EXP] Jesus was crucified between two criminals. He was numbered with the law-breakers although He had not broken any of God’s laws. He was numbered with the law-breakers so that He could redeem law-breakers like you and me by sacrificing Himself in our place upon the cross.
Notice what Jesus prayed in v. 34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
What did they think they were doing as they murdered Jesus?
They thought they were just crucifying another Jew who had stirred up too much trouble.
What were they doing?
They were murdering the sinless Son of God.
And as they did so, they mocked Him.
“He saved others; let Him save Himself…” (v. 35)
“If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” (v. 37)
“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (v. 39)
But this mockery is ignorant to say the least because Jesus can only save Himself by obeying His Father, and the Father has commanded Him to lay down His life on the cross.
And Jesus could only save others—He could only save us—by laying down His life for us on the cross.
[ILLUS] It is, however, important to ask, “Why did Jesus’ suffering on the cross save us from?” Answering that question will help us to understand what a gift it is that Jesus died for us on the cross.
Many years ago now, there was some controversy regarding the hymn In Christ Alone. The controversy centered on one line in one verse. I’ll give you the verse then the line.
In Christ alone who took on flesh Fullness of God in helpless babe This gift of love and righteousness Scorned by the ones He came to save Till on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live
The line that some people had a problem with is…
Till on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied
Some said that Jesus death didn’t have anything to do with saving us from God’s wrath, but not only does that hymn beg to differ, the Word of God begs to differ.
36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Paul wrote to the Romans…
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
And Paul praised Thessalonian Christians because they turned from idols to serve a true and living God…
10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
You see, what makes the cross of Jesus’ suffering such a gift to you and me is that on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
Some people may have problem with that truth, but it won’t stop being true just because they have a problem with it.
Some people may say, “I choose to focus more on God’s love,” but I say there’s nothing more loving than the Father sending His one and only Son to take the wrath I deserved in my place on the cross!
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
[APP] Has Jesus saved you from the wrath of God which you deserve because of your sins? As John 3:16 says, the only way to be saved by Him is to believe.
As I said, Jesus was crucified between two law-breakers. Earlier in the crucifixion, they were both mocking Jesus like others did, but the grace of God opened one criminals heart to believe on Jesus for salvation. He said in Luke 23:41…
41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
And then he added…
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
How did Jesus respond?
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
When by the grace of God you truly believe that only Jesus can save you from the wrath of God, and when by the grace of God you genuinely call out to Him for salvation, how does Jesus respond to you?
I don’t want to put words in the Lord’s mouth, but I think His response sounds something like, “Truly I say to you, one day you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
“Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Have you called on Jesus for salvation?
Do you know you are a breaker of God’s laws, a sinner with God’s wrath hanging over you—a wrath that will mean an eternity of agony and torment?
Do you know that Jesus endured all that for you on the cross so that you don’t have to endure all that for all eternity?
And if you have believed on Jesus for salvation, do you understand that whatever trials you go through while hear on earth, that’s as bad as it is ever going to be for you?
If we are in Christ, this is as close to hell as we are ever going to get!
Oh brothers and sisters, I know that some things hurt right now. I know some things are hard and harder than I know. I know that some of your burdens are so heavy that they feel almost unbearable…
…but in the cross of His suffering Jesus has paid it all!
You may not live in peaceful circumstances, but you have peace with God if you are in Christ!
You may not live in joyful circumstances, but you have joy with God if you are in Christ!
You may not live in restful circumstances, but you have rest with God if you are in Christ!
[TS] And it gets even better when we consider the tomb of His resurrection.
Look with me at Luke 24:1-6a…
The Tomb of Jesus’ Resurrection (Luke 24:1-6a)
The Tomb of Jesus’ Resurrection (Luke 24:1-6a)
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
[EXP] Jesus was supposed to be dead. They had seen Him crucified. No one survives crucifixion. They had seen Him laid in the tomb. Dead people are laid in tombs.
But the stone was rolled away, and the tomb was empty because Jesus who suffered and died on the cross was raised on the third day just as He said!
And because He is raised from the dead, there is true light and certain hope and real peace!
[ILLUS] My favorite movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. It tells the story of George Bailey who gets to see what life would’ve been like had he never existed.
In that movie, the world without George Bailey is dark, cold, and sad with all those he loved hurting, dead, or in the case of his children—non-existent.
Sure, there was darkness in the world in which George Bailey actually existed, but it was a much darker world without his existence.
Now, when we are talking about the resurrection of Jesus we are not talking about a fictional event but a true, historical event. Even so, we might ask, “How dark would the world be if Jesus had never been resurrected?”
I’ll give you a hint: It’d be darker, colder, and sadder with more hurting and dead than the world without George Bailey as imagined in It’s A Wonderful Life.
A world with no true light, no certain hope, and no real peace.
[APP] In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul lays out just how bad things would be for us if Jesus were not raised from the dead.
He says, if Christ was not resurrected, our faith would be meaningless (1 Cor. 15:17a).
Faith in a dead Jesus is a faith not worth having.
He says, if Christ was not resurrected, we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17b).
If we are still in our sins, we are dead to God and still under the wrath of God.
In other words, the cross of Jesus meant nothing if Jesus was not raised from the dead.
He says, if Christ was not resurrected, then our believing loved ones have perished (1 Cor. 15:18).
If our loved ones died believing in a Jesus who died on the cross but never rose from the dead, then when they died, they stepped into hell.
He says, if Christ was not resurrected, then we are of all people the most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:19).
We should be pitied because we have hope in Jesus, but hope in a Jesus who hasn’t been resurrected is a hope that ends the moment we die.
But listen to these glorious words and believe them with all your heart…
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you know what these verses mean?
They mean that our faith is meaningful—most meaningful!—because we believe in a living Jesus!
These verses mean that we are not longer in our sins; we are in Christ Jesus, and the wrath of God no longer hangs over us!
These verses mean that our loved ones who have died believing in Jesus stepped in Heaven the moment they died!
These verses mean that we don’t need the world’s pity because we have certain hope that extend beyond this life and into eternity!
Everything sad will come untrue because He lives!
Because He lives, we will be with Him and He will wipe every tear away!
Because He lives, we will be with Him and death will be no more!
Because He lives, we will be with Him and mourning and crying and pain will be no more!
Because He lives, we will be with Him and God Himself will be among us!
Oh this Christmas please consider the gift that God has given to you in…
…Christ Jesus who was born for you!
…Christ Jesus who obeyed for you!
…Christ Jesus who died for you!
…Christ Jesus who rose for you!
…Christ Jesus who intercedes for you!
In Him we have true light and certain hope and real peace.
But only if we believe.