Summary: A sermon on the meaning of the Cross.

Luke 23:32-43

“Accept that You are Accepted”

“I just want to be accepted and loved. That is what I want more than anything in the world,” confides the honest teenager who has been left on the margins, rejected by the so-called ‘popular’ people, lives in a household rife with drug and alcohol abuse, and thus seeks attention…

…any kind of attention…

…by acting out and getting into trouble.

“I just want someone to love me,” admits the young pregnant woman who has two other children by men she does not know, no money and no job.

“I just want to be ‘SOMEBODY’,” cries out the starving actor who has packed up everything and headed to Hollywood to be a ‘star’.

“I just want to be liked,” screams the person who has turned their back on everything they know to be good and right and true, and instead have caved into every kind of peer pressure which has come along.

“We just want to be accepted…to fit in,” thinks the young couple who have found themselves deep in debt, and on the brink of home foreclosure with little hope of escape.

“I just want some kind of feeling of ‘self-worth’” admits the workaholic father who has little time for his wife and children, but provides them with every material amenity…

…when all they really want is his time.

These are some of the cries of our world.

“I want the assurance that I am loved, accepted and important.”

“I want to know that there is meaning to this often, very difficult life.”

Are these cries and questions left unheard and unanswered?

Are we screaming into a chasm?

“No you are not,” answers our Christian faith.

“No you are not,” answers the Bible.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

“God so loved the world…”

That means “Us” and that means “Them.”

We are all somebody because God loves us, and God proved the full extent of God’s love for us by dying a shameful death of execution on the Cross!!!

One of the most amazing and wonderful things about Jesus’ life on earth was that He turned no one away.

Sure, there were plenty who didn’t want to have anything to do with Him, but He sought them and loved them no matter.

And it should come as no surprise that at the Cross of Christ, some 2,000 years ago, there was a true motley crew of folks from every walk of life who descended on the scene.

The common people were there.

We are told that “they stood watching.”

What was going on in their minds?

Did they cringe at the horror of it all, wondering, “Why is this man Who loved so deeply being treated with such hate?”

Were they waiting to see if something “spectacular” would happen?

Many of them, had, no doubt heard about Christ’s miracles.

Some of them may have even been fed by Him on a hillside, amazingly, as He blessed two small fish and a couple loaves of bread.

“Maybe He’s going to come off that Cross and plunge all these murderous oppressors into a fiery pit.”

“How will He escape before the credits roll?”

“What is this all about?”

“Will we find ultimate meaning in this bloody scene?”

“Surely this is not the end.”

We are told that “the rulers…sneered,” and taunted Him saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

Jesus had scared and intimidated them with His healings, His teachings and the crowds that had followed Him.

They had been afraid that they would lose only their place of importance in the world if they allowed Jesus to go on as He was.

They were “covering themselves,” protecting themselves.

In crucifying Christ and in thumbing their noses at Him they were trying to justify their own existence and feelings of importance.

We are told that the “soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar,” a joke for a dying king, “and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

One scholar says that the Greek word for “mocked” suggests that the soldiers “acted like little boys.”

They were being bullies.

They fed on the mob mentality of the scene.

They too, wanted to “fit in.”

And in this particular instance, it seemed to them that the way to “fit in” was to ride the wave of “pushing Jesus around.”

They wanted to be “one of the pack.”

In essence, they were insecure…

…just like the rest of us.

And Jesus saw through all of this.

Throughout the Gospels, we are told over and over again that Jesus “had compassion on the crowds.”

In one place we are told that He had compassion because people “were like sheep without a shepherd.”

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