Summary: In this sermon we look at what Jesus accomplished on the cross from the Gospel of Luke
Calvary from the eyes of Luke
Text: Luke 23:44 – 49
So we’ve been looking at some of things that have been taking place during the last week of Jesus’ life while He was here on earth. We started out by looking at how Jesus made intercession for Peter, so that he would repent after he had been tripped up by Satan. And how Jesus is alive and seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us today. Then last Sunday we talked about Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and how that prayer was brought on because Jesus fully understood the reality of what was going to take place on the cross… that God’s wrath was going to be poured out on Him for our sake. And today, we’re going to continue looking at the death of Jesus.
Jesus’ death is so important for us to understand if we are going to live the Christian life with confidence, and if we’re going to enjoy fellowship and relationship with God. We need to have a good, working understanding of why Jesus did what He did, and what He accomplished.
That’s where we’re going this morning… with that in mind, take your Bibles open them to the Gospel of Luke and follow along as I read Luke 23:44 – 49 (READ).
Now Luke’s description of the crucifixion focuses in not so much on what was happening physically, but what Jesus was accomplishing during the crucifixion. Back up in verse 34 he tells us that the first thing Jesus did was pray, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Which show us that the very purpose for Jesus dying on the cross was to gain forgiveness for us. We actually see that played out a little bit later in verses 42 and 43 when Jesus forgives the repentant thief who was crucified next to Him. And then we come to our text for this morning.
And it begins by telling us that it was the 6th hour and darkness came over the whole land. So it was the 6th hour… that’s 12:00, high noon. And there’s darkness over the whole land until the 9th hour… that’s 3 hours. From noon until 3:00 PM.
Now scientists will try to tell you that this might have been a solar eclipse or something that can be scientifically explained. And it might have been, but the fact of the matter is that there is a spiritual reality behind the darkness. This darkness is a physical display of a spiritual reality that’s taking place. We could say that the darkness was a physical manifestation of Jesus absorbing the righteous judgment of God that was being poured out on Him for our sin. Now where do I get that from? Well… from the Bible. In Exodus chapter 10:22 – 23 when God brings judgment upon Egypt He sends darkness over the whole land… it was a symbol of His judgment. Turn with me to Amos 8:7 – 9 and look at this…
That darkness there is a picture of God’s judgment against sin. And we’re seeing the same sort of thing take place here in Luke, but the amazing thing here is that it isn’t coming on sinful, wicked rebellious people… it’s coming on God’s only begotten Son. God’s wrath is righteous, and we deserve it. But Jesus takes it instead. Let me try to give you a mental picture of what’s happening here. God’s wrath… His anger and fury against all our sin is coming down from heaven. But Jesus; willing goes to the cross and is lifted up, so that He absorbs it before it comes to us. That’s the idea that Luke is trying to get across here. Luke is telling us right here, this is what the cross if for… this is what the cross does… this is what Jesus was doing as He was hanging up there. He was taking the punishment for our sins, dying in our place, absorbing the just and righteous wrath of our Holy God.
So Jesus takes our place… but that’s not all. In verse 45 he tells us that the curtain in the temple was torn in two. This is significant! You see; in the Temple there was what was called the “Holy Place” and only those who were in covenantal relationship with God could go there, then there was what was called the Holy of Holies… and it was blocked off by this huge curtain. And in the Holy of Holies was the presence and glory and majesty of God. And the Holy of Holies could only be accessed by the High Priest as he went in there to make sacrifices for the sins of the people of God. But that was only after he had purified himself. But this curtain being torn, from top to bottom was God’s way of showing us that Jesus’ death has opened the way up to God.