Summary: Take a close look at the Lord’s: 1. Serenity (vs. 11-14). 2. Purity (vs. 15-24). 3. Loyalty (vs. 25-31 & 38-44). 4. Destiny (vs. 33-37). 5. Majesty (vs. 45-54). 6. Victory (vs. 50-53).
A Close Look at the Cross
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 25, 2012
(Revised from sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church - April 1, 2007)
*Today we will look at the darkest day in human history, the day when the holy Son of God was nailed to a cross for our sins.
*Max Lucado wrote: "The Cross: It rests on the time line of history like a compelling diamond. Its tragedy summons all sufferers. Its absurdity attracts all critics. Its hope lures all searchers.
*My, what a piece of wood! History has idolized it and despised it, gold plated it and burned it, worn it and trashed it. History has done everything to it but ignore it. That’s the one option that the cross does not offer. No one can ignore it! You can’t ignore a piece of lumber that suspends the greatest claim in history. A crucified carpenter claiming that he is God on earth! The cross: Its bottom line is sobering. If the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period." (1)
*Today I want to ask you to move closer to the cross of Jesus Christ, but it is not always and easy journey. We are bound to see some things that are hard to look at: the suffering of our innocent Lord, and the ugliness of the sin that put Him there... -- the ugliness of our sin.
*It may be hard, but we must move closer to the cross to see the greatness of our Savior. We must move closer to the cross to find the life God wants us to have.
1. So come close today and first take a look at the Lord’s serenity.
*Look for the Lord’s calmness and composure in vs. 11-14:
11. Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?’’ So Jesus said to him, "It is as you say.’’
12. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’’
14. And He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
*Pilate was amazed by Christ’s serenity in the face of His murderous accusers. Jesus uttered not one word of protest, when a word was all it would have taken to end that travesty of a trial.
*Earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had asked the disciples: “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than 12 legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)
*Church that’s over 70,000 angels! -- And in Revelation 7:1 we see just 4 angels holding back all the winds of the earth. Jesus could have easily called for help. For that matter, He could have handled all the armies of Rome on His own.
*But Jesus was serenely silent before His accusers, because back in the Garden, He had already confirmed His commitment to die for us. There Jesus made the most difficult decision anyone has ever made.
*Matthew 26:37-39 tells us that,
37. . . He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
38. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’’
39. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’’
*Luke 22:44 tells us that Jesus was in agony in the Garden, and as He prayed "His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." But Jesus prayed three times. "Father, Thy will be done." And after that, His heart was settled, even as the Lord stood before that mob.
*Come closer to the cross of Jesus Christ, and see the Lord’s serenity.
2. But also see His purity.
*Even a hard-hearted, Roman politician like Pilate could see the Lord’s purity in vs. 15-24:
15. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
16. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
17. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’’
18. For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him.
19. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.’’