Faithlife Sermons

The Cross

Matt Redstone
Easter Week  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:57
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In this short message, I invite you into the story of Jesus' death on the cross. I invite you to walk where Jesus walked, and feel what his followers would have felt.

Welcome to our Good Friday Live Stream
Honored that you have invited us into your home
Pastor Matt Redstone
Different Good Friday Service
If you grew up in church
joint Good Friday service
same service every year
maybe you have no prior experience
This is a little different
Going to read the story
With all the different going on, I’m a big ambassador of getting back to basics
As we read the story, I will add little details that the author assumes you know
I encourage you to read the story for yourself later on today. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all tell the story, and they all tell it from slightly different perspectives. This morning we are going to read from Luke’s account. Luke is a Greek doctor, reporting on behalf of his friend. As the only non-Jewish author of the 4 accounts, Luke makes fewer assumptions about our knowledge of Old Testament or other necessary background information.
Set up
Before we start reading, I want to set the scene
Jesus has had his last supper with his closest friends
He went to a garden to pray to prepare his heart for what was to come
Judas, one of his 12 close friends, leads temple guards to take him into custody
Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, which in Old Testament law was the price for a slave
Jesus, who came to serve, not be served, was sold for a slaves price
He is brought before the religious leaders for a fixed trial
that brings us to Luke 23
Luke 23:1–16 ESV
Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.” When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”
4. At this point, Pilate is just trying to appease the people
a. He can find nothing against Jesus
b. Herod has found nothing to charge him with
c. By the sounds of things, this is the first time the two have seen eye to eye on anything.
d. So Pilate concludes that he should have Jesus punished, or flogged as the other accounts say.
e. When Romans flogged a prisoner, they had one rule; don’t kill him. There was no limit how many times a person could be hit. Another name for a Roman flogging was ‘half death’
f. Another note, flogging almost always preceded crucifixion. Though the scripture says Pilate was going to punish him and release him, there is a sense that Pilate knows he’s not getting off that easily
Luke 23:18–25 ESV
But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.
5. Notice the charges against Barabbas
Rebellion and murder
The crowd is becoming hostile, and he’s already got rebellion on the mind. In the attempt to prevent more rebellion, Pilate gives in to the demands of the people
Luke 23:32–38 ESV
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 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!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
6. There is so much packed into this passage
Jesus’ cry from the cross
The apostle Paul talks about how while we were still enemies of God, Christ died for us
They know not what they do
What an example of unconditional forgiveness. What a reminder to be quick to forgive before bitterness and hurt set in.
The mocking of the chief priests
He saved others, let him save himself
Imagine how confusing this would have been for Jesus’ followers. What if they’re right? Why isn’t he coming off the cross? Is he really the Messiah that we were promised?
The Jewish people wanted a conquering king. Jesus was here dying on a cross.
The sour wine
I’ve always thought this was a kind gesture. It’s not. This was not the kind of wine you would normally drink. This was probably done in an attempt to make him stop talking, not lift his spirits
Luke 23:39–43 ESV
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
7. An interesting back and forth between the criminals
One clearly is self serving, wanting all the benefit of Jesus as Messiah without any of the sacrifice
It actually isn’t all that different from the heart of the Pharisees; they envisioned a conquering king that would do all the work. They got a servant leader who calls everyone to put others first and live a counter-cultural life
The other criminal knows he’s done wrong, humbles himself before Jesus, and prays for mercy.
Luke 23:44–49 ESV
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
8. Jesus dies
The temple curtain is torn in two
This same curtain was designed to separate people from the presence of God, the Holy of Holy place.
The curtain being torn was a symbol of the fact that Jesus has opened the throne room of God, that anyone could enter into God’s presence and make his requests known.
9. But this is not the end of the story, but only the beginning
It is because of Jesus’ death that we can have life
The cross went from the symbol of persecution and degradation to the symbol of hope and the central part of the Christian faith
It was Jesus death that opened the door for us to have life, to be forgiven, to be set free from all that separates us from God
Jesus conquered an enemy, our spiritual enemy Satan. The devil that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us, has been defeated by the cross
Your old life, the rebellion, the addiction, the waywardness, the guilt, the mistakes, all of it was crucified with Christ when we surrender our will to him.
Jesus died a horrible death, and that is something that can not be taken lightly. But he did it so that we could live the marvelous life that Jesus called us to; the abundant life
The cross calls us to see life from God’s perspective. The cross reminds us how God can take something that looks like definitive and despairing, and use it for the good of those who love Him, and are called to his glorious purposes.
The cross.
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