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Topical - Provision - Near The Cross

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Read Matthew 20:22 - Think about this: if you or I had been in Jerusalem when Jesus had been crucified, how near to the cross would you have stood?  It’s one thing to stand here as we did today and sing to Jesus, maybe even saying, “Keep me near the cross” but it’s entirely another thing to do it.  Remember, Jesus was “despised and rejected of men” therefore, it would have taken a great deal of love and courage to stand by His cross. 

The Roman soldiers were there because they had to be, it was there duty.  Just like some church goers because they think they have to been in church because its their duty to God.  Some women were there out of their love and devotion to Jesus, not duty!  They wanted to be there!  There was Mary the mother of our Lord, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the wife of Cleophas.  John, the disciple who wrote the Gospel of John was standing there as well.    

Why are you here today?  Are you here out of duty or love?  To know why makes all the difference.  We might pray, “Lord, keep me near the cross” and that is a way we describe our love and devotion to God.  But what does it really mean if we pray that and are we willing to pay the price to have our prayer answered?  The Lord may say (Matt.20:22).

Obviously being near the cross is not a matter of geography but of spiritual position.  This would refer to having a special relationship to Jesus Christ, identifying with Christ in his suffering and shame, it is what Paul had called “The fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil.3:10).  The third statement from out Lord made from the cross helps us to understand what it means to be near the cross (John 19:25-27).       

A.                 Mary Magdalene.

1.                  A Place of Redemption (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9).

a)                  Delivered from demons.

(1)                 I think if we were to ask Mary Magdalene, “What does it mean to be near the cross”?  I think she would have answered, “To me, this is a place of redemption”.
(2)                 What does redemption mean?
(a)                 First of all, it is derived from exagorázō “To buy out of, redeem from” & was used to “purchase a slave for his freedom”.    
(b)                The consequence of being purchased is that the buyer has the right of possession.
(c)                 He, having paid the price, binds us to Himself.

Jesus Himself said "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45, NKJV)

Paul says that "You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."  (1 Corinthians 6:20, NKJV)

He puts it this way in Galatians by saying "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)," (Galatians 3:13)

(3)                 The Lord had set Mary Magdalene free from the bondage of demonism.  Bondage to Satan is a terrible thing, but Jesus can deliver us.
(4)                 2 Timothy 2:26This word “captive” is used only twice in the N.T. 
(a)                 In (2Tim.2:26) – It means “to take captive, used only spiritually for the captives of the devil in a moral sense, to ensnare, seduce” (2 Tim. 2:26).
(b)                In (Luke 5:10) – To take alive, to catch, as hunters or fishermen do their game, and is applied spiritually to taking or catching men by the preaching of the gospel.
(c)                 Just like Pharaoh was holding the Hebrews captive in slavery, Satan is holding people captive to do his will (2Tim.2:24)
(d)                Moses said to Pharaoh “Let My people go” (Ex.5:1), We are to pray to God to set free, those who are held captive (2 Corinthians 4:3-7; 10:3-6).

!!!!! (5)                 Mary Magdalene was delivered from the power of Satan to the power of God, from guilt to forgiveness, from poverty to wealth.

(6)                 When Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene from the power of Satan, it cost Him his life:

The words of our Lord are "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."  (John 12:31-32, NKJV)

(7)                 Jesus had to die that we might be set free:
(a)                 For us to move out of darkness into light, He had to move from the light into the darkness.
(b)                For us to be delivered from Satan to God, Jesus had to be handed over to wicked men and then forsaken by God.
(c)                 For us to be delivered from guilt to forgiveness, Jesus had to be made sin for us.
(d)                For Him to make me rich, He became poor.
(8)                 NO WONDER MARY WAS STANDING AT THE CROSS!  And that’s not all
(a)                 She was at the tomb when Jesus was buried & she was at the tomb early on resurrection morning. 
(b)                Mary had experienced redemption and Jesus was precious to her.

B.                Salome.

1.                  A Place of Rebuke (Matthew 20:20-28). 

a)                  She did not know what she was asking.

(1)                 The second person we see standing at the cross is Mary’s sister, the mother of James and John, and the wife of Zebedee.
(2)                 James was the first of the apostles to be martyred (Acts 12:1-2), and John was the last of the apostles to die, but experienced suffering and persecution before he was called home. 
(3)                 If we were to ask Salome what the cross meant to her…

She might have replied “The cross is a place of rebuke.  I stand here rebuked because of my selfishness.  I stand here seeing Jesus on a cross, not on a throne, and I am ashamed of myself for praying as I did. 

b)                  She did not consider the cost (James 4:3).

(1)                 She was concerned about her sons, not the glory of the Lord.
(2)                 For Jesus, the way to the throne was through the cross (Philippians 2:5-11).
(3)                 For Paul, the way to the throne was through the cross (Acts 9:16; Romans 8:18).
(4)                 For the Philippians it was to suffer (Philippians 1:29).
(5)                 For us today, it is to suffer.  Listen to these powerful verses…

2 Timothy 2:12 says "If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us."

Peter writes in his first epistle "but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.”  (1 Peter 4:13-14, NKJV)

He goes on to say in chapter 5 "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”  (1 Peter 5:10, NKJV)

(6)                 But I think one of the most powerful verses and a picture to see it is…
(a)                 Pick up your cross daily (Luke 9:23) & then Simon (Matt.27:32) a perfect picture of following after Jesus.
(b)                If we want to wear the crown we must be willing to drink the cup.
(7)                 Mary Magdalene tells us the cross is a place of redemption, and Salome tells us it’s a place of rebuke.  Let’s see what Mary, the mother of our Lord says.

!! C.                Mary. 

1.                  A Place of Reward (John 19:26-27).

a)                  God rewards those who suffer for Him.

(1)                 Interesting note: Mary is at the beginning of the Gospel of John (chapter 2) and at the end of the Gospel of John (chapter 19), but not in the chapters in-between.  
(2)                 Chapter 2, Mary attends a wedding and is involved in the joys of a feast.  Chapter 19, she is involved in the sorrows of an execution and a burial. 
(3)                 In John 2, Mary was speaking to Jesus and suggesting that He help solve a problem, in John 19, Mary is silent.  Her silence is very meaningful, for Mary was the one person who’s testimony could have saved Jesus from the cross.
(a)                 The Jewish rulers knew that Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus.
(b)                All she had to do was to say to the authorities, “I am His mother, what He says about being the Son of God is not true, set Him free.”
(c)                 Authorities would have jumped at any opportunity to prove that Jesus was a deceiver.
(d)                But May’s silence was testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

b)                  Consider the pain Mary went through (Luke 2:35).

(1)                 She felt that sword pierce her soul as she stood by the cross.
(2)                 When discovered with child she suffered shame and reproach.
(3)                 Her pregnancy was misunderstood and the neighbors probably gossiped about her.
(4)                 She was married to a poor carpenter, gave birth to her child in a stable.
(5)                 Had to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt to escape the sword of Herod and yet innocent children died because of her Son.  How do you think she felt when she heard the report? 
(6)                 Remember when the Lord Jesus said to Mary, “Did you not know I must be about My Father’s business?”  That statement must have begun a painful separation between Mary and her Son.
(7)                 Mary suffered because of the way her Son publicly died, crucified between two thieves treated like a criminal.  
(8)                 All kinds of people walked by and hurled abuse at Him.  Mary was feeling the very sword piercing who own soul!

c)                  Jesus assured Mary of His love for her (John 19:26-27).

(1)                 What was accomplished here?  He established a new relationship between Mary and John. 
(2)                 The Lord Jesus felt her sorrow, He knew her loneliness, and he rewarded her by giving to her the disciple whom He loved so dearly. 
(3)                 To Mary, the cross was a place of reward, for God ultimately rewards those who have suffered because of Him.

!! D.                John. 

1.                  A Place of Responsibility (John 19:26-27).

a)                  Taking Jesus’ place in caring for His mother.

(1)                 If we were to ask John, “What does it mean to be near the cross” I think he would have said, “This is a place of responsibility, I’m taking Jesus’ place in caring for His mother.” 
(2)                 It was as though Jesus said, “John, you’re taking My place, be a son to Mary and car for her.” 
(3)                 Aren’t all of God’s people supposed to take His place now that He has gone to heaven?  You and I represent Jesus Christ in this world.  What does this mean? 
(4)                 If we claim to be Christians, we must live as Jesus lived when He ministered in this world, and we must faithfully represent Him…

b)                  The responsibility we have today.

(1)                 It is a tremendous responsibility to represent Jesus Christ in the world today, but by the power of the Spirit of God, we can be faithful witnesses.
(a)                 1 John 4:17 says “As He is, so are we in this world”   
(b)                In John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world” but He also says in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”    
(c)                 In His prayer to the Father, Jesus said "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”  (John 17:18, NKJV)
(d)                Jesus said to His disciples "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."  (John 20:21, NKJV)
(e)                 Jesus told Peter, “feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17).
(f)                  Jesus made disciples, and we are to do the same (Matthew 28:18-20).
(2)                 Matthew 12:46-50who is My mother, and who are My brothers.
(3)                 Near the cross is a place of responsibility.  If we stay near the cross, we have the responsibility of loving the Lord Jesus and living for Him in a world that has rejected Him

c)                  Near the cross is where Jesus wants us to be.

(1)                 Near the cross is a place of redemption: if you have never trusted the Lord Jesus, you can be redeemed and transformed.  Just come to the cross by faith and trust in Him.
(2)                 Near the cross is a place of rebuke: our pride and selfishness fade away as we stand at the cross and see the Lord Jesus suffering for us. 
(3)                 Near the cross is a place of reward: no matter how many times your heart has been pierced and broken, God will reward you.  He knows how to transform suffering into glory!
(4)                 Near the cross is a place of responsibility: when we come to the cross, we identify with Jesus the fellowship of His sufferings.  Then we go do the work that He has commissioned us to do as we take His place in this world.

!! E.                 Jesus.

Jesus was the nearest of all, of course He was on the cross.  What did Jesus see when He looked at the Cross?  Well of course we know that the cross is a place where Jesus demonstrated His love for us (Romans 5:8).

1.                  He saw Himself as The Good Shepherd (John 10:15-18).

a)                  The subsitutionary death of Christ (15:11 “for”).

(1)                 The word “for” (huper) it is a word with profound meaning when used with the death of Christ (Rom.8:32; Gal.1:4; 2:20; Eph.5:2; 1Tim.2:6;Titus 2:14).
(2)                 It does not mean that Christ died only as an example for us, showing us how we should be willing to die for the truth or for some great cause.  What it means is that Christ died in our place, in our stead, in our room, as our substitute.

Jesus said that I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."  (John 6:51, NKJV)

Speaking about his disciples And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth."  (John 17:19, NKJV)

(3)                 In (v.15) Jesus did not say that He would fight and protect the sheep.  He said He would die for the sheep.  He knew that death awaited Him & that His purpose was to die for them.

2.                  He saw His body as A Destroyed Temple (John 2:19)

a)                  The Temple was His Body (v.21). 

(1)                 His death and resurrection was to provide a new temple, a new meeting place for God and man.  At Jesus’ trial, some of the witnesses cited this statement as proof that Jesus was an enemy of the Jewish law (Matthew 26:59-61; Mark 14:57-59).
(2)                 The body that God had prepared for His Son was the temple of God:

John said "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14, NASB95)

Paul wrote "For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him," (Colossians 1:19)

He goes on to say "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Colossians 2:9, NASB95)

(3)                 It was to be in Him that men would be reconciled to God (1Tim.2:5; Rom.5:1-2, 9-11). 

That is why Paul wrote "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5, NASB95)

And because of our faith in Christ "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God."  (Romans 5:1-2, NASB95)

(4)                 They tried to destroy this temple, but they failed.  God fulfilled the promise of (Ps.16:10).   

b)                  Our bodies are the temple of God.

(1)                 The believers body (1Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; John 14:16-21)
(2)                 Do not be unequally yoked (2Cor. 6:14-18)

3.                  He compared Himself as The Uplifted Serpent (John 3:14-15).

4.                  He compared His death as Seed Buried in the Ground (John 12:20-28)

a)                  Life comes through death (v.24).

(1)                 When you hold a kernel of wheat in your hand, you cannot see what is in it.  Literally each grain contains, if it is good seed, a million similar offspring. 
(a)                 In planting season, a grain is cast forth into the ground as if in a tomb.  Then it dies and becomes a resurrection plant, and its many grains are its fruit!  . 
(b)                Paul in (I Cor.15:36) uses the same illustration of the resurrection that Jesus does here.  Jesus shows here the paradox that life comes through death.

F.                 The Father.

1.                  A place of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).

a)                  We have this ministry to the world!

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