Summary: A look at the Cross and the mysteries surrounding it.
Jesus had gathered around Him group of twelve ordinary men like you and I. They were common folk, several of which were fishermen. For the past three years Jesus had been spending night and day with them, making an incredible investment in their lives. During this time Jesus had made frequent warnings of what He would one day suffer in Jerusalem. As we read these accounts we often are taken back out how dull His disciples really were for not understanding what He was trying to tell them. Despite all the warnings and preparation, the cross was still a shattering blow to all His disciples. The truth is that the disciples just could not grasp the scope of all that Jesus was telling them. Like any good Jew they were raised with a grandiose portrait of the Messiah, who would be a great conquering King who would restore the nation of Israel back to the prominence of being a world power. I think deep inside they were still waiting for Jesus to unleash His mighty power in Jerusalem and wipe His enemies of the face of the earth. We point a shaking finger at the disciples but they were suffering from an all too common ailment. It seems that the human mind has the nasty habit of only hearing what it wants to hear. Over the years we soon learn that there are none as blind as those who refuse to see. There is a wishful thinking in all of us that believes the unpleasant truth can not really be true, and the thing that we really do not want to happen, just can’t happen. Well I guess that’s idealism at its best. This passage assures us though that even though we don’t grasp all the teachings in God’s Word, although we have an inability to see the big picture we can still be one of God’s children. What I would like us to do is take a very good look at four questions that arise when we begin to examine the mysteries that surround the cross.
I. How can the Kingdom of God be advanced by something as brutal and cruel as the cross?
A. This is completely contrary to history, human experience and all sensible logic.
1. Almost every great revolution or movement, ended with the death of its leader.
2. Human logic causes us to reason how anything good could come from such a horrible instrument of death.
3. The worldview of death is that it is an end in itself.
4. Another notable fact to consider, more often than not persecution and severe opposition brings forward progress to a halt.
5. If we are bluntly honest, it does not make any sense.
6. When examine the evidence, the facts will say that anything good resulting from a leader’s execution is impossible.
B. However this is very consistent with prophecy found in God’s Word.
1. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner, says the Lord Almighty. Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs. (Zechariah 13:7—New Living)
2. Jesus saw himself as the “smitten shepherd” and interpreted his ministry along the lines of this passage.
3. Jesus told his disciples as they were on their way to the garden of Gethsemane, “You will all fall away; for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
4. All the evidence pointed to the fact that the cross was a necessary part of God’s plan.
5. Centuries before it ever happened; Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would suffer for His people. (Isaiah 53:5—New Century)
6. These facts were also consistent with all that Jesus taught about the kingdom.
C. This is consistent with the very nature of Christ.
1. The Savior was sent to provide man with redemption. (Hebrews 9:22—New Century)
2. In order to provide man with the much needed redemption, the Savior had to die to pay the penalty we owed for our sins.
3. Christ did this when He offered Himself as the perfect once for all sacrifice.
II. How could men be so cruel to the Son of God?
A. Think about it if you will, don’t you think He deserved a medal rather then mocking.
1. Aren’t human memories short? Look at how quickly they forgot all the good that Jesus had done.
2. It was more than obvious that God’s stamp of approval was on Him through all the miracles He did.
3. With every shred of evidence pointing to the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah, why would the people destroy their only hope?
B. Well this just lends credibility to the fact that evil will pull out all the stops to forward its cause.