Summary: A three weeks series looking at the cross cross different perspectives.
A View from the Cross
Intro: What did Jesus see as He hung there between heaven and earth? There amidst the throng of people, I think He saw His accusers and His abusers – He saw the faithful and the fearful – He saw the hopeful and the hopeless – He saw you and me.
Trans: Jesus saw many faces, many hearts, and many decisions that fateful day – He saw His mother and some of His closest friends mourning His death. He saw His most beloved disciple – John comforting His mother. He saw Pilate trying to wash away the guilt. He saw the Pharisees gloating over their presumed victory. He saw Judas burdened unto death by His betrayal. He saw His archenemy, the devil, preparing to land the knockout blow. In reality, there are so many faces in the crowd – so many stories that could be told, but this morning I want to take a look at three stories that I believe will challenge each of us today.
Review series – a journey to the cross – from Jesus’ perspective.
I Close to the Truth, but far from Commitment (Disciples)
Verse: Mt. 26:56b and 26:69-75
Scene: Only a few hours had past since the disciples were confirming there allegiance to Christ and yet they were no where to be found. Peter had boldly proclaimed he would die for the Savior, and yet history records that he denied Jesus three times.
One would think that after three years of walking with the Master that the level of commitment from the disciples would have been a little more intense. The genuineness of their friendship should have commanded at least a little bit of support one would think.
I wonder where they were. Did they go home thinking it was all over? Did they stick around lurking in the shadows hoping no one would recognize them? Did they hang out at the temple or find a safe place to watch their master die at a distance? Other than Peter, we really don’t know.
Trans: But there is one thing we know – they all came back. Slowly but surely, they all returned to the upper room. Peter, Andrew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Nathaniel… they all returned.
I’m sure they were all embarrassed. They were certainly racked with guilt and grief. I know they felt foolish, and yet they all returned to the last place where they had met with the Master. Maybe it was the rumor of the resurrection. Maybe after three years they did know where else to go – but I suspect that it was their commitment. There commitment to the Savior wouldn’t allow them to leave.
They were too convicted to go home, yet too confused to go on. They were caught on that uneven ground b/w failure and forgiveness – b/w “I can’t believe I abandoned Him”, and “I’ll never abandon Him again.”
I think that they were too ashamed to ask for forgiveness, yet too loyal to give up – too guilty to be counted in, but too faithful to be counted out.
Despite the fact that the disciples abandoned Jesus at crunch time, there was something in their hearts that wouldn’t allow them live with their betrayal.
Idea: While commitment is primarily measured at crunch time, it is equally measured in times of failure.
Truth: For those of us, who like the disciples, have turned from the Savior at crunch time, we don’t have to continue to live under the burden of failure. We can come out of the shadows and return to the last place where we met with the Savior – b/c He who forgave His disciples stands ready to restore us.
II Close to the Timber, but far from Blood (Soldiers)
Verse: Mt. 27:27-37 and Mt. 27:54
Scene: There were games being played at the foot of the cross. Within earshot of the cross, Jesus listened and watched as several Roman soldiers huddled in a circle with eyes cast downward gambled for His clothes.
I wonder what Jesus thought. I wonder what He felt. Common soldiers witnessing the worlds most uncommon event – and they don’t even know it. As far as they are concerned, it is just another Friday afternoon and nothing else matters but winning.
So close to the Cross, yet so far from the Savior. It reminds me of the modern church and of modern day Christians – it reminds me of us here today. So many religious people with so little regard for the Christ – there are still many people playing games at the foot of the cross.
Churches competing for members – Christians competing for status and attention – too many people have made up there own rules for playing the game.
There is just one problem – it’s not a game. He died for you and for me.