John #49 Oh The Wonderful Cross
That you may Believe and Have Life #49
“Every religion is the same”
That is what some say. But there is something that is NOT the same. Despite the fact that the God who always existed and created all things came to earth and was born of a virgin in a little town just as prophesied. Put aside all the prophesies fulfilled. There is ONE thing that stands tall above all the rest … and OH the WONDERFUL CROSS
There are doctrines, there are distinctions, there are devotions; but there are also foundational truths upon which every doctrine, devotion, and distinctive must be based or they are nothing more than useless religious exercise.
In Acts 2:42, they “devoted themselves to the teachings of the disciples”. In Romans 6:17 they obeyed the form of teaching to which they were entrusted. In Phil. 2:16 they hold out the word of life. IN Col 2:7 they were “rooted, built, strengthened in the faith as they were taught” In 2 Thes 2:15 they were told to “stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed to you … by word of mouth or by letter.”
There developed in the early church statements of faith, confessions, or creeds that you can trace back in the simplest form to the statements of faith about Jesus Christ and our Salvation. In 1 Cor 15 Paul says “what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” Phil 2:8 says of Jesus, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross
The purpose of the teachings, quoted, sung, written, and repeated, was that these new followers of Jesus Christ in the Gentile world, and those transitioning from a hopeful Jew to a completed Jewish follower of Christ would have truth on which to base their life of faith.
These basic statements grew over the first few centuries into what came to be known, in the 4th Century, into what came to be known as the “Apostles’ Creed” which, of Christ, said “Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost; born of the Virgin Mary; suffered un Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Hell; the 3rd day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty …”
That’s what Jesus Christ did for us.
I don’t know that I have preached the cross or the Resurrection in September but I try to take you to the cross every message I preach. However, for the next four weeks we wijll look at the Cross and the Resurrection and how they changed history and transformed lives.
So now, read with me in John’s Gospel, written “that you may believe, and have eternal life.”
Let’s begin in 19:16-41
What I want you to do for a few minutes, ok, more than a few, but Look to the cross. Remember what has been done for you … LOOK at the Glorious Cross
Crucified, Dead, and Buried … all critical to our faith and for you, if you are considered personal faith in Christ … Look … he was …
“were you there, when they crucified my Lord?”
Jesus Christ … “the Darling of Heaven Crucified, worthy is the Lamb”
Ø Jesus who lovingly formed man with his OWN hands, now at the hands of man, crucified in hatred and contempt.
Ø Jesus who wept over Jerusalem, finds very few of them weeping for him and most jeering or indifferent
Ø Jesus, who spoke every tree into existence now carrying the tree he created for this purpose
and John tells us what is significant to HIM here and that is that Jesus is …
A. Carrying His Own Cross
1. the Ruler of Heaven and earth didn’t order a servant to do his dirty work … he did it himself
2. In the Old Testament, a lamb had to be sacrificed, blood shed, to atone for the sin of man. In Exodus 12:5 it says that the animal must be “without defect” But those sacrifices were temporary because as the writer of Hebrews wrote, those sacrifices were only a “shadow of good things to come and then Jesus was offered once and for all to bear the sin of many”
3. Isaiah 59:15-16 says “… the Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him.”
4. Jesus Christ was crucified because there was no other. He bore his OWN cross. He bore YOUR own cross. The word “carry” is bastazo meaning “to take up in order to carry; to put on one’s self; to bear what is burdensome” Jesus Christ carried his own cross because no one else could bear the burden. Two others were crucified that day … 1000s were crucified by the Romans but they were not without defect. Jesus Christ carried the cross, the burden of sin for ME. He was lied about, he was spit upon, he was beaten nearly to death. His beard was plucked out, a crown of thorns on his head, scorned and jeered and crucified
5. Martin Luther, when writing on the Apostles’ Creed, said “Christ is my Lord! Christ redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, bought and won me from all my sins, death, and the authority of the devil. It did not cost him gold or silver, but his holy, precious blood, his innocent body – his death! Because of this I am Christ’s very own …”
He Carried his own cross to the place of the sjull which in Aramaic was called …
1. in the creed, they were careful to place Jesus in a Kairos, that is a specific time. They said he was crucified of Pontius Pilate. He was a historical figure who could be dated in time
2. Jesus Christ came at a real time and to a real place
3. The gods, worshipped by the pagans, were non-descript entities from some time and some place, but not sure when or where. But THIS Jesus was no myth. We may have lost some of the details to the sands of time, but the writer, readers, those in the immediate history could place Jesus at a point of connection.
4. Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, tired by Pilate for claiming to be the King of the Jews sentenced in Jerusalem, he was placed on a cross on top of a hill called Golgotha – it means skull – no further description was given because everyone would have known where it was. It was a bare rocky knoll beside a major road into and out of Jerusalem.
5. Jesus Christ paid a precious price, he carried his own cross this place and “there they crucified him with two others one on each side, Jesus in the middle”
C. With Two Others
1. yes, those two were NOT without defect, so they didn’t die for our sins, but as consequences of their own actions.
2. But Jesus Christ, a lamb without defect, taken, like a Passover Lamb, “from your own herd” was among us, one of us, yet NOT like us in our sin.
a. Isaiah 53:4 “surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows …” He became one of us that he might be crucified FOR us
b. Hebrews 4:15
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
3. The perfect sacrifice hung between two sinners, the perfect Savior, living among sinful man and he was crucified
Isaiah 53:5-7 (NIV)
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
4. Pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds
- Because our transgressions, sins committed, and our iniquities, sin condition, caused us to be separated at war with God and sick with the disease of a sinful nature. And because of his sacrifice an offer is made to us that we might have peace with God and healing of the dreadful disease of sin
5. And Isaiah 53:8 says “by oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was CUT OFF from the land of the Living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken”
He was Crucified …
Two things I notice in Jesus’ words in vv 28 & 30, he said “I am Thirsty” and “It is Finished”
There are two egregious lies told about Jesus Christ 1) that Jesus didn’t live and 2) that he didn’t die
Well each of the gospels was careful with details that we might know the veracity
A. He WAS alive
1. the fact that he died say the opposite must have been true, that is, he was alive
2. there are those who say that no one named Jesus of Nazareth ever existed, he is just a story – well
3. the name jesus was a common name. And in the works of Flavious Josephus, a famous Jewish Historian of the 1st Century, eh wrote many times of different men named Jesus in his history of the Jews. But he wrote of a particular Jesus:
- while Pilate was governor, he wrote ‘now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with plesaure. He drew over to him many, of the Jews, and many Gentiles. He was the Christ and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him, to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again, the third day, as divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him and the tribe Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
4. Jesus Christ WAS alive, from Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, to Golgotha and not only did he live but he IS …
B. Flesh and Blood
1. part of the lie that Jesus did not live was a Gnostic le that said that though Jesus was God, he was only Spirit and he was not fully human. Either, he was an abbirition, or divine hallucination.
2. But you know, he said “I am Thirsty” … and Ghosts don’t get thirsty, Ghosts don’t bleed, Ghosts don’t die. But Jesus didn’t just suffer for us, sipping at the sufferings, tasting, the sacrifice … no …
C. He Finished the Cup
To the Last DROP
1. Jesus was thirsty to do the Father’s
2. Jesus was thirsty to put to death the power of sin and death
3. Jesus asked, in the Garden, if the Cup could pass from him, but NOT “my will but thine” was his response. Then on Golgotha, he drank the cup to the very last drop.
4. And when the cup was empty he said “Tetelestai” - “It is Finished”
a. yes his sufferings were finished, but so much MORE
b. yes prophesies were all fulfilled, but more
c. tetelestai – had several meanings
1) a servant would say to his Master “tetelestai” or “I have finished the work you assigned me”
John 17:4 (NIV)
4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
2) When the Priest looked at an animal for sacrifice and found it perfect / faultless, he would say “tetelestai” – Jesus knew his sacrifice was perfect and as both priest and lamb he said It is Finished
3) when an artist finished a painting or an author finished a manuscript they would say “tetelestai” the beautiful picture of salvation that was begun in the Garden of Eden, went to Abraham and Isaac, through the law’s sacrificial system, was still shadows developing, but then in Christ received the details and the final strokes of his brush the red added on the cross … Jesus said “Tetelestai” and held it up for the World to admire. The Author and Finisher of our Faith put down the final words of his Story of Salvation and said It Is Finished
4) But the greatest for us is that countless accounting books contained these words stamped across the bill “tetelestai” meaning “Paid In Full”
<EYE SURGERY – N/C $4,000>
But I owed Jesus MORE than I could have ever saved up and repaid … but on that cross Jesus looked down history at all my sins, knowing I would be his child one day, and he stamped on my bill Tetelestai!!! Paid in Full … Father It is Finished!
He was crucified, dead, and he was …
Isaiah 53:9 (NIV)
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
He lived and he died. He did not pass out or swoon, he DIED. And He was buried. Believe me the Roman Soldiers didn’t make mistakes when it came to crucifixion. Reading Josephus’ writings this week, they knew how to do it. If they took a guy off the cross without him being dead, they would be dead. I read of one emperor who threw a debaucherous party while 800 Jews were crucified at once. Titus, during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes was arresting 500 Jews a day and there were crucifying them as fast as they could and with as many crosses as they could make.
Jesus Christ died for the sins of the World. I have painted a picture for you but my question to you is what do you do with the Cross of Jesus?
Two groups of people were involved in the burial of Jesus that day. The soldiers took him, down and saw to it that he was buried, his body was awarded by Pilate, but Joseph and Nicodemus and the women made preparations for his burial and laid him in the tomb.
They all saw everything that happened that day but many were nothing more than …
1. who knows how many people these soldiers had crucified. They were unfazed by Jesus. Just another crucifixion
2. Those up and down the road had seen it before and didn’t pay any attention, just another crucifixion
3. The religious leaders prayed for a Messiah, but had their own opinions of what he would be, and ignored the prophesies and though acquainted with him but he was just another would be Messiah
4. Pilate stood face to face with him, questioned him on truth, but he was an inconvenience, a frustration, just another insurgent …
5. They were all untouched by his love and sacrifice.
But though there were many indifferent that day, there were some who turned away from conventional wisdom and practices and embraced him as …
1. They scorned shame and embraced Christ
2. they sacrificed position and proclaimed love for him
3. they made preparations while the acquaintances just observed
4. They made responding to his crucifixion and death their personal responsibility
5. What will you do?
6. You might say:
a. you can’t expect the Roman Soldiers to recognize Jesus – but the Centurion in Mt. 27:54 – “Surely he was the Son of God”
b. Oh the Religious Pharisees wouldn’t embrace one doing away with the law … but Nicodemus became a friend
c. Oh the Rulers of the Sanhedrin would embrace one declaring a new Kingdom and release control but Joseh of Arimathea became a friend and purchased a tomb in the garden for him
d. His Friends included a teenager like John, fisherman, tax collectors, respected leaders, simple mothers, scorned women, and rejected men.
It was not easy to embrace Christ that day. But they did.
Some of his friends struggled that day, but came to him later, then stood with him no matter the cost.
It is NOT easy today, but look at the Good News you have before you.
The Holy Spirit is drawing you
What will YOU do?
How will you respond?
Will you be unfazed by the cross today?
Will he be just another messiah, zealot, teacher, another way?
Look at the Cross
Look at the Cross
See His Love
See his Sacrifice
See his Beautiful Painting of God’s Love
See the Book of Love
Hear the love Song Authored by Christ
Look at the precious story of Salvation
Look at the Cross the Wonderful Cross
The Wonderful Cross
Oh the Wonderful Cross
Bids me Come and Die and find that I may
Oh the Wonderful Cross
Oh the Wonderful Cross
All who gather here
By grace draw near and bless your name
Oh the Wonderful Cross
Oh the Wonderful Cross