Summary: This is the second in an Easter series. This sermon deals with the power and reality of forgiveness found in the shadows of death.
Shadows of the Cross
Pt 2 – Golgotha, In the Shadow of Death
Last week we walked in Gethsemane’s shadows – facing the broken promises, broken religion, and Jesus’ broken heart.
Today we move further into the shadows – as we enter the very shadows of death.
This passage opens on a hill in Jerusalem called Golgotha “the place of the skull”. A place of Pain, Brutality, Torture, and Death. I hope that these passages this morning make you squirm just a little in your seat – they certainly make me squirm to read them. The truth is I hate these lines of scripture – I hate them and I love them – and I squirm at the conflict – because I am faced in full with the cost of my sin and disobedience.
Golgotha – it is brutal, bloody, and horrifying place. When we come to these passages of scripture they should break our hearts open with grief and should wipe away the pride of our hearts. The Songwriter put it this way – When I survey the wondrous Cross on which the Prince of Glory died – my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.” Golgotha is a place on which our lives should break and crumble and where Christ should become all in all. Look into the shadows of the cross on Gologotha’s hill and find in the shadow of death…
1) The Power of Forgiveness v34 – this passage continues to amaze me. – This is one place that I don’t like my translation. V34 in the Greek text reads this way – and after all this Jesus said. Those are some of the most powerful words in all of scripture. After all this – what’s this? Stand with me at the foot of the cross for a moment – not the sterilized picture that we often portray – but the foot of a torturous device of capital punishment. Today the cross is worn as jewelry hung in homes, stands in our churches – and it symbolizes freedom, salvation, beauty and hope. But that is not the cross that throws it’s shadows on Golgotha. This cross is a device of unimaginable brutality, torture, and death. See Jesus, God in human flesh, hanging from nails driven into His hands and feet – see the crown of thorns pressed down on His head – see the blood dried and caked on his body from the brutal beatings and scourging that has gone before. See the Messiah now bearing the full weight of the sin of the world upon Himself – crying out Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani – my God my God why hast thou forsaken me? Sins separation of Father from Son. Now see with me His lips as they form the words – Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Seeing through the ages – Jesus looks upon – every lie you have ever told – every time you have cheated your boss, every word of gossip that seeped from your mouth, every outburst of anger, every moment of neglect, every act of disobedience, every lost and squandered moment – and those words ring more clearly Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing. He sees these things because He bore them all in His body. He hung on that cross to pay the price for what you purchased.