“Thinking About Jesus On The Cross”
David P. Nolte
What a great song! What a great truth! “When He was on the cross I was on His mind.” We are still always on His mind! But the question is, “Is Jesus on OUR minds?” Is He in our thoughts daily? And when you think of Jesus, do you think about the cross? If you do, what do you think about?
We will go to Isaiah for some insights, and some things about which to think. Isaiah was written about 740 years before Christ and it is amazing how by inspiration he wrote so accurate an account of the crucifixion.
I. FIRST THINK ABOUT HIS SORROW:
A. “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:3-4 (NASB).
B. Here we see Jesus as the Suffering Servant – a man of sorrows to Whom grief was no stranger.
1. Though to some it appeared that Jesus was being afflicted by God for His own wrongs, in reality it was our grief and sorrow He bore.
2. Love does that. The sorrows of those we love are as poignant and grievous as though they were our own.
3. He taught us how to obey the command, “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NASB).
C. What sorrow did Jesus bear? With what grief was He acquainted?
1. The sorrow of being rejected by those He came to save. “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11 (NASB).
2. The sorrow of the stubbornness of His own people. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” Luke 13:34 (NASB).
3. The sorrow of the coming ordeal and agony of the cross. “They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here until I have prayed.’ And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.” Mark 14:32-35 (NASB).
4. The sorrow of having all the sins of all people of all times rolled onto Him.
a. Peter said, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (NASB).
b. Paul said, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB).
D. Sometimes because we think we can handle sorrows by ourselves, or for lack of trust in God, we try to carry our own sorrows and grief.
E. We are like a man I read about this week. While walking along the shores of the Dead Sea one day, the man lost his balance and fell into the water at a point where it was rather deep. He couldn’t swim, so he was panic-stricken. In desperation he began to thrash about with his arms and legs, fearing he would drown. At last completely exhausted, he cried out to God for help, and prepared to die.
He was immediately surprised, for as soon as he relaxed the water bore him up. He had forgotten that the Dead Sea is so full of salt and other minerals that if a person lies still, he can easily float upon its surface. He will not drown as long as he resigns himself to the buoyancy of the water.
There is a good lesson for us. He will bear us up when we simply relinquish our grief and sorrow and rest in Him. Reliance on Him will quiet our hearts even in our most desperate hours of pain. God is a never-failing Help when we flounder in the sea of trial and sorrow.
II. SECOND, THINK ABOUT HIS SUFFERING:
A. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:5-10 (NASB).
1. He was pierced, crushed, chastened, scourged, oppressed, to become a sin offering for our transgressions and iniquities.
2. And He did it without murmuring or complaining or whining.
3. He had no violence, nor deceit, nor any sin for which He should have suffered.
B. His suffering God’s wrath for sin spared us suffering that wrath.
1. He paid a debt He didn’t owe because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay!
2. At the cross the Justice of God fell on Him and the Mercy of God fell on us.
3. His death brought us life.
4. The song said, “The look of love was on His face, Thorns were on His head. Blood was on His robe, stained a crimson red.”
C. How many do you know who has, or would, suffer that way for you? You might name three or four but there is one for sure: Jesus. Paul is right: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 (NASB).
D. It may fall to us to suffer for Him as well.
1. Paul wrote, “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29 (NASB).
2. And, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3 (NASB).
3. And, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 (NASB).
4. Peter said, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NASB).
E. He sought His suffering as a necessary part of our salvation. We need not seek suffering, but if it comes, endure it in faith! We don’t need to choose suffering, we need to choose God’s will whatever it be. I heard a story about Dr. Claude H. Barlow, a missionary to China and one of the most revered foreigners to work there. He suffered for others. A strange disease for which he knew no remedy was killing people. There were no research laboratories for this disease, so Dr .Barlow conducted his own research. He studied the disease, filling a notebook with his observations.
He then procured a vial of disease germs and sailed for the United States. Before he arrived, he took the germs into his own body, then went to the John Hopkins University Hospital to be observed. He was very sick now., suffering infection, cough, headache, loss of appetite, various aches and pains, difficulty in breathing, skin irritation, and nausea.
He allowed his old professors at John Hopkins to use him for experimentation. A cure was found, which a healthy Claude Barlow took back to China with him. His efforts saved countless lives.”
This is in a small way what Jesus did for us, He took up our infirmities, our weakness, our sorrows and provided a remedy for it.
III. FINALLY, THINK ABOUT HIS SATISFACTION:
A. “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11-12 (NASB).
1. By His sorrow and suffering He experienced the satisfaction of justifying many by bearing their sins.
2. There is always satisfaction in accomplishing what you set out to do.
a. There is satisfaction in winning the battle of the bulge – i.e in shedding those extra pounds.
b. There is satisfaction in doing commendable work on t he job.
c. There is more satisfaction in knowing that at the end of the day you have seized and fulfilled the opportunities God gave you.
3. For Jesus, satisfaction was accomplishing the Father’s will and making peace with Him for us who were alienated.
B. He is not alone in His satisfaction. All of heaven joins in. Jesus said, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:4-7 (NASB).
C. Is His work in your life a satisfaction to Jesus? If you are that one lost sheep, He won’t be satisfied until He has found you!.
1. His mission in life and His work in death was to seek and save the lost.
2. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” Isaiah 53:6 (NASB).
D. Are you satisfied with Jesus? We should all be glad about, His work to save us.
E. Are we satisfied with our own work for the Lord? I want to show a clip from the movie Schindler’s List illustrating a man who was not satisfied that he had done enough.
The film Schindler's List revealed the heroic efforts of a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler. Through his unselfish activities, over a thousand Jews on the trains to Auschwitz were saved. Schindler found out what was happening at Auschwitz, so he began an effort to save as many Jews as he could. He could buy Jews to work in his factory which was part of the military machine of Germany. On one hand he was buying as many Jews as he could, and on the other hand he was deliberately sabotaging the ammunition produced in his factory. He entered the war as a financially wealthy industrialist; by the end of the war, he was basically financially bankrupt.
When the Germans surrendered, Schindler met with his workers and declared that at midnight they were all free to go. The most emotional scene of the film was when Schindler said good-bye to the financial manager of the plant, a Jew and his good and trusted friend. CLIP HERE
Schindler said, "I could have done more." He regretted not selling his car and another small possession and he cried, "Why didn't I do more?"
Jesus had no such regret. He did all that could be, or needed to be, done. His only regret is that many do not avail themselves of His offer of salvation.
Don’t disappoint Jesus! Give Him the satisfaction of being your Lord and Savior. He went to the cross long ago and to this day waits there for all who will come!