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When Passion Runs Deep

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We Preach Christ and Him Crucified

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In the Beginning...

Hebrew then English: In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. After creating all of the plants and animals to live in and on the earth, He made mankind in His own image, male and female. They were given every plant in the Garden of Eden for food except one: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man and woman He made them. And it was found to be good. He rested on the seventh day. Some time later, while she was alone, Eve was approached by the serpent, who tempted her to take of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man followed her example and both were no longer able to live in the presence of a holy and sinless God. But he prophesied for them while cursing the serpent:
– And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
And thus began God’s plan to reconcile humanity to Himself, so that a race that was once free from all sin and temptation could return to that state. The plan’s penultimate turn required a sacrifice that could not be fulfilled with an animal. It required the death of God Himself. But in the story of the Lord’s Passion, we see the story of all salvation history.

I Thirst...

Ever been thirsty? Like, really really thirsty? It was a nice day in Jerusalem, that early day in April, 33 AD. But Jesus had been beaten within an inch of His life. And he was making the 650 yard trip from Pilate’s court to the hill that he’d be crucified on. Some scholars argue that Jesus was carrying the crossbar, which only weighed 80-110 pounds, but this is highly unlikely as Jesus had only been sentenced to death a few minutes before this, so there was no way that they would have been prepared ahead of time to execute Him. This means he was carrying the full 300 pound cross. Even in 60 degree weather, you are going to get hot and sweaty from this. Add to that the fact that He’d just been beaten within an inch of His life with a metal and stone tipped leather whip, and was wearing a crown of thorns that had been pressed into His head. Even with the help of Simon of Cyrene who was drafted into helping, this would have been an excruciating ordeal that would have left Him drained. Before they put Him on the cross to nail Him to it, someone, probably trying to help, offered Jesus some wine with myrrh mixed in.

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

Scourge

If you think back, when the magi were visiting Him, He was given gifts of gold, to mark Him as King, and frankincense, to mark Him as God incarnate and our High Priest, and myrrh, to indicate that His ultimate fate was to die. Usually, myrrh was used in the embalming process. In this instance, myrrh is used to dull pain and as a mild sedative, making death that much closer and easier to attain. Jesus, knowing what He had to do, refused this and chose to endure the full brunt of the suffering and humiliation that the cross had to offer. He was not going to cop out of what He had to do.
If you think back, when the magi were visiting Him, He was given gifts of gold, to mark Him as King, and frankincense, to mark Him as God incarnate and our High Priest, and myrrh, to indicate that His ultimate fate was to die. Usually, myrrh was used in the embalming process. In this instance, myrrh is used to dull pain and as a mild sedative, making death that much closer and easier to attain. Jesus, knowing what He had to do, refused this and chose to endure the full brunt of the suffering and humiliation that the cross had to offer. He was not going to cop out of what He had to do.
So the first wine (mixed with myrrh) was designed to dull Jesus’ pain, to keep him from having to endure the cross with full consciousness. This wine he refused. And the second (sour) wine was given to keep him “conscious for as long as possible,” and thus have the effect of prolonging his pain. This is the wine Jesus drank. Other condemned criminals would have taken the first (to ease their torment) and passed on the second (so as not to prolong their horrific pain). But Jesus would take no shortcuts on the way to our redemption. This is the God
And the second (sour) wine was given to keep him “conscious for as long as possible,” and thus have the effect of prolonging his pain. This is the wine Jesus drank. Other condemned criminals would have taken the first (to ease their torment) and passed on the second (so as not to prolong their horrific pain). But Jesus would take no shortcuts on the way to our redemption.
Other condemned criminals would have taken the first (to ease their torment) and passed on the second (so as not to prolong their horrific pain). But Jesus would take no shortcuts on the way to our redemption.

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

Scourge

So the first wine (mixed with myrrh) was designed to dull Jesus’ pain, to keep him from having to endure the cross with full consciousness. This wine he refused.
But Jesus was offered another drink later on, in :

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”

And the second (sour) wine was given to keep him “conscious for as long as possible,” and thus have the effect of prolonging his pain. This is the wine Jesus drank. Other condemned criminals would have taken the first (to ease their torment) and passed on the second (so as not to prolong their horrific pain). But Jesus would take no shortcuts on the way to our redemption. This is the God
And the second (sour) wine was given to keep him “conscious for as long as possible,” and thus have the effect of prolonging his pain. This is the wine Jesus drank. According to one scholar, the sour wine vinegar is mentioned in the OT as a refreshing drink, and in Greek and Roman literature as well it is a common beverage appreciated by laborers and soldiers because it relieved thirst more effectively than water and was inexpensive. The Gatorade of the first century. The thought, then, is not of a corrosive vinegar offered as a cruel jest, but of a sour wine of the people. The people who offered it to Him wanted to see what else would have happened or what else He would say.
Other condemned criminals would have taken the first (to ease their torment) and passed on the second (so as not to prolong their horrific pain). But Jesus would take no shortcuts on the way to our redemption. This is the God who we serve; the one who would go the distance to save us from ourselves.

The Temptation

Isn’t it ironic how Satan continues to try the exact same techniques to seduce the people of God into committing sin. From the very beginning Satan has tried to contradict the word of God and use it to his advantage. If you eat from the tree you shall not surely die… immediately… Sadly, humanity fell to the temptation offered by Satan. Similarly, Satan tried to get Christ to fall to the same temptation. In we get an understanding of the devil and his trickery aimed at Jesus.
In this story we see Jesus, freshly baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist. We see a dove descend down from heaven and we hear a voice exclaiming the Christ is the Son of God. Jesus has just recieved conformation that He in fact is the Son of God and immediately after this, Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.

4 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God,

and him only shall you serve.’ ”

9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,

to guard you,’

11 and

“ ‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

For forty days and forty nights He was tempted by the devil and for the entirety of His time in the wilderness, Christ ate absolutely nothing. Based on the wording of the text in the original langue it is understood that Christ did not eat anything and therefore, Christ was hungry enough to eat a horse! At this moment of starvation induced weakness the devil decided he would stage his attack. The devil begins to ask Jesus a series of questions with the intent of making Jesus fall and sin.
In this story we see Jesus, freshly baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist. We see a dove descend down from heaven and we hear a voice exclaiming the Christ is the Son of God. Jesus has just recieved conformation that He in fact is the Son of God and immediately after this, Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. For forty days and forty nights He was tempted by the devil and for the entirety of His time in the wilderness, Christ ate and drank absolutely nothing. Based on the wording of the text in the original langue it is understood that Christ did not eat or drink anything and therefore, Christ was hungry enough to eat a horse! At this moment of starvation induced weakness the devil decided he would stage his attack. The devil begins to ask Jesus a series of questions with the intent of making Jesus fall and sin.
For forty days and forty nights He was tempted by the devil and for the entirety of His time in the wilderness, Christ ate and drank absolutely nothing. Based on the wording of the text in the original langue it is understood that Christ did not eat or drink anything and therefore, Christ was hungry enough to eat a horse! At this moment of starvation induced weakness the devil decided he would stage his attack. The devil begins to ask Jesus a series of questions with the intent of making Jesus fall and sin.
The devil begins by asking Jesus, “If you are the Son of God then turn these stones to bread?” A temptation of physical need. At that moment Christ was hungry to the point of near death and I can imagine that nothing on earth would look better than a nice, well baked, fresh out of the oven loaf of bread, but Jesus recognized that this question was an attempt to make Him sin by using His divine power for self serving reasons, a clear reference to . I’m gonna come back to the second temptation. That one is on a whole different level, but the third temptation is a temptation of safety and security. Satan is trying to get Jesus to prove His divine safety by jumping off a tall building. Jesus knows, just as Satan does that legions of angels would stop any injury that would befall Christ up to the suffering He must endure on the cross. Jesus responds by telling Satan not to test His patience. The second temptation that I mentioned earlier is the worst of all. Satan is basically offering Jesus the same glory and honor that He would receive after the cross, except in Satan’s scenario, Jesus would not have to endure the cross! Crazy right?
Now let’s jump to the cross. Jesus has already been beaten, bruised, scarred, abused and ultimately forced to carry a 300 pound killing machine up a large hill. Jesus is so worn out by the time that they reach Golgotha that He is barely able to stand, let alone walk. Imagine the level of hunger and thirst that Jesus must be going through at the point of the cross. Notice with me, that every time Satan tries to tempt Jesus, he waits until Jesus is either hungry or thirsty to the point of physical exhaustion. Satan does not tempt Jesus while He is in good health, but he waits until Jesus is at His lowest point. The Bible tells us in that the soldiers at the cross tempt Jesus in a similar way to what Satan had done.

35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

They tell Jesus that if He is the Son of God, let Him save Himself. Does anyone here notice the similarities? This was not a temptation of ability, but a temptation of identity. They weren’t questioning Jesus ability to come down off the cross, they were questioning whether or not Jesus was the Son of God, just as Satan had done in the wilderness.
Does anyone here notice the similarities? This was all three temptations previously mentioned in all wrapped into one giant temptation. Coming off the cross would show that Christ had the power to bring himself down. It would also show without a shadow of a doubt that Christ is the Son of God. And finally it would allow Christ to assume Messiah-ship without the pain and death on the cross. Also, during this temptation, Christ does not have God the father, or the Holy Spirit with Him as He had become sin, and we all know God and sin cannot bear close proximity to one another. Notice how Christ did not physically answer to this temptation. Christ’ death was more than enough of an answer! Since Christ death was the final answer to sin, He did not need to give a verbal response to the temptation on the cross.

Father Forgive Them...

You just heard how Jesus endured the temptations. But did you get the full ramifications of His resistance to sin? Let me break this down for you: Jesus, by living a sinless life, and then dying as a willing sacrifice redeemed man, who leads a sin filled life, who actually deserves death. Okay, I don’t think you all are hearing me. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were told that eating the forbidden fruit would kill them. They ate, and were then dead in their sin. Jesus, by dying as a sinless sacrifice, brings us back to life! We are restored! We are redeemed! Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever, I am! An Adventist pastor recently published a book that had this quote: “The Cross is not just some pop psychologists’s five-step plan to a better life; it is the power of God for salvation, and it shows how seriously God takes sin and how seriously He loves you and me.”
We are to love others as Jesus loves us. Jesus, showing how much love He truly had for humanity, asked for forgiveness for the people mocking and killing Him. One of His last acts while incarnate on this earth, was to ask the Father to forgive the people who had broken and beaten Him. Even better than that? The centurion who gained salvation, literally, at the foot of the cross when he said “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Matthew and Mark both record this. And according to Luke’s account, so did the thief that declared Jesus’ innocence and asked to be remembered when He came into His kingdom.
After it was all finished, His followers got permission to have Him buried, in a borrowed tomb. And if that were the end, I wouldn’t be up here preaching to you. On the third day, He rose again; He ascended into Heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, living in these last days, we have to understand that what happened on and at the cross was nothing short of an act of total and complete forgiveness of sins, all sins, if we just believe in the name of Jesus, and declare him with our mouths and with our hearts, our Lord and Savior. Everything in the life of Jesus was reflected in His Passion, and pointed to our Salvation. It’s also the fulfillment of the promise God made to Man when we fell, reconciling us with Him once and for all.
As we close out today and reflect in this season, I want each and every one of you here to reflect on the sacrifice made for each of you. Ellen G. White said in her book Desire of Ages : “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.”
Let us pray.
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