Summary: Part 9 of our study looking at the extra ordinary man Jesus.
Last week I asked you this question 'Have you have ever thought about dying?'
After all, the odds are against us! If, and I'll stress that if, IF you were betting people and you walked into a betting shop or went to some online betting site, you can bet on pretty much anything!
But I can assure you, no one would ever accept this bet 'I bet 'random person' will at some point in the future die' because, ultimately, unless Jesus comes again, and no one knows for sure when He will come again, we are all going to die.
And so I asked this question and, if you're like me the answer is 'Yes', and I gave a list of the ways I want to die and would choose to die if I was in control of the universe, which I think we all pretty much agreed on.
No. 1 was of course no death at all! Either like Enoch and Elijah I would be taken up into heaven in a chariot or the Rapture would come in my time and I wouldn't taste death at all!
No. 2 was to peacefully and painlessly die in my sleep. Ideally I'd like to play with my great great grandchildren, have a meal with my whole family, go to bed in the night with my wife, cwtch up together, drift off to sleep and never wake up- the both of us.
No. 3 would be an instantaneous death. No long months of suffering, just when it's my time, BOMP gone.
And that's the extent of my list! There are no other ways I even want to consider!
And then we come on to Jesus, who IS God and who DOES control the universe, and we asked the question 'Why did Jesus have to die?' and we spent last week answering that question.
And to sum it up, what we said was:
1) There is punishment for sin ('If you eat of that fruit you shall die'; 'the wages of sin is death...')
And 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God'.
2) That punishment is separation from God here on earth, death, and eternal separation from God in hell after death!
3) God is love and doesn't want '...any man to perish'. He wants a relationship with us, He wants us to know Him and experience Him and His goodness and blessings and everything else that He is.
4) God is just and therefore MUST punish sin! To just overlook it or to declare a guilty man not guilty is impossible for God who is perfect in every way, and that includes His sense of justice!
5) Jesus gave Himself as a substitute for us! He took our place! The punishment for our sins He took upon Himself! He took the wrath of God for us! He took the punishment so that the righteous requirements of the law may be fulfilled, so that the justice of God may be satisfied.
6) And the only way that could be accomplished was through Him dying. First becoming like us, living like us and experiencing the things we experience, yet remaining sinless, perfect, spotless and then giving His life as that perfect sacrifice unto death! And there was no other way!
That's Why He died, but today I want us to focus on How He died. And as we go through this I want you to remember everything He went through was because I lied that 1 time, or because I didn't listen to my parents when I was younger when they told me to do or not to do something, or because I got angry with someone or took something that wasn't mine, even a pen or an eraser or a candy that I shouldn't have.
And Jesus, He didn't die peacefully and painlessly in His sleep nor did His death come instantly. Instead He died by one of the most painful, torturous ways in history- on the cross!
Today many people wear the cross as a fashion statement, weather they know Jesus or not! In churches we see these lovely, shiny, lit up, beautifully carved crosses front and centre on the wall, and on top of masts outside the buildings.
But in Jesus day, the cross was far from beautiful! Far from a fashion statement! Far from anything anyone wanted near them let alone hanging on their wall or around their neck!
The cross was an instrument of death! It was designed to kill! It was designed to cause death! It was designed to make the person on it suffer in excruciating pain for as long as possible! The word 'excruciating' was made to try to describe the pain of the cross and it literally means 'from the cross'.