Summary: A sermon examining how Calvary is redemptive in real life...Jesus' view of Calvary.
A Hill With A View
A Good Man’s View of Calvary
It’s appropriate in the weeks leading up to Easter that we devote extra attention to the story of Calvary. The preaching of the cross is central to Christianity...there can be no Christianity without the cross. The idea of subsitutionary atonement...that Christ died in our place for our sins...is the painful and magnificent centre of our faith. We as Apostolic Pentcostals can place so great an emphasis on the experience we have in God that we forget to place any emphasis on the experience of the cross that made ours available. So, in the weeks leading to Easter we are taking another look at Calvary.
Jesus suffered as no other man had ever, or could ever suffer. Yet, his suffering brings a redemptive message to us in our suffering too. “Of course,” you’ll say. “Everyone knows that the story of the cross is a story of redemption. Everyone knows that Jesus’ death was a substitutionary atonement, that he bore our sins in his body on the tree.” Even if we can’t explain it, we have at least a rudimentary grasp of the theology of redemption; that he who knew no sin became sin for us...that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
But I want to have more than a rudimentary grasp of the theology of redemption. I want to know more than the theory...I want to know how the reality of redemption works itself out in my life from day to day. I want this to be something that isn’t just theoretical, theological, or virtual...I want to know redemption in real life.
How does the message of the cross affect me in the day to day? How is redemption manifested in my common human experience? As important as the theology is, and as significant as the theory is, I want to know that when I walk out into the real world and am forced to deal with real stuff, that Calvary has a message for those circumstances.
We’ve called this series “A Hill With A View”...but it just as easily could have been called, “Calvary IRL...In Real Life.” We’ve been looking at the redemptive message of Calvary by examining the life-occurrences of five different people who were witnesses to the Cross. And so far we’ve discovered that what they saw, and what they experienced isn’t all that different from what we experience in life. And we’ve also learned that the Cross brought a redemptive message into the lives of those witnesses...and that redemptive message can speak to us.
By studying Mary’s story we learned that there is a redemptive message to every parent experiencing that unique sense of loss that often comes as your children grow up and choose a path other than the one you feel is good for them. The message is, stay as close as you can. There’s always the possibility that they may eventually turn to you, and you need to be there for them. And, stay open...for someone else may need you. Because your own kids don’t want your guidance doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.
By examining the thief’s story, we learned that Calvary brings a redemptive message to the most hopeless of circumstances. We learned that if you will humble yourself, take responsibility for your choices, and acknowledge Jesus as your one and only King, that a new life can be yours.
By looking at the story of John, Jesus’ disciple, we learned that there’s even a redemptive message in the Cross that speaks into our loneliness. And it speaks this message, “You may be lonely, but you’re not alone. You’re never alone. God has placed you in a family that loves and cares for you.”
Today, by the grace of God, we’re going to look at the story of Calvary and try to learn another redemptive message through the experience of another witness...that of Jesus Christ himself.
Just before we start examining Jesus’ experience and responses at Calvary, I’m going to issue a disclaimer. I don’t often issue them, but I think it’s important you realize that I don’t pretend that any of our studies about Calvary are exhaustive. This morning I’m going to speak to you using Jesus as a witness of his own death, and what you’re going to hear will be true, applicable, and hopefully meaningful...but it won’t be the last word on the subject of Jesus on the cross. What Jesus’ death means and what his death accomplished is far broader and deeper than I can hope to explain in one 35 minute message.
Things To Consider
Now, as we begin to examine the story of Calvary through Jesus’ eyes, there are a few things we need to consider.