Summary: We discuss how Jesus had to endure terrible suffering during His crucifixion, because of our sins, our separation from God, and the fact that He alone could save us. It concludes with a heart-stirring story of a man being saved.
GOOD FRIDAY MESSAGE
Jn. 19:16-18; Mt. 27:50-53
1. The Ironman world championship competition has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978. It is known for its grueling length and harsh conditions as men and women push themselves to their absolute limits in the triathlon.
2. The race begins with a 2 ½ mile swim, then a 115 mile bike ride, finishing up with a 26.2 mile running marathon. To complete this course is an incredible achievement. Whoever can do it is an Ironman!
JESUS CHRIST: THE REAL IRONMAN
“16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.” Jn. 19:16-18. “50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” Matt. 27:50-53.
I. THE SUFFERING OF THE CROSS WAS REAL
1. We see so much make-believe in our world today that we have lost our sense of reality. When Jesus was crucified, there was no stunt man, no fake blood, no rubber nails, no paper cross -- it was real.
2. When they beat him in the face, it was real. When they spit upon Him, it was real. When they whipped Him, it was real. When they pounded the nails into His hands and feet, it was real.
A. THE HORRIBLE DEATH OF THE CROSS
1. The Journal of the American Medical Association [3/21/86] described in detail the death of Jesus on the cross. They painted a chilling picture of human cruelty.
2. The report mentions seven-inch spikes driven through wrists and feet; the work of insects and birds on the victim’s eyes, ears and nose; the continued blood loss and infection at the scourge wounds, and the fiery bolts of pain connected with victim’s body weight suspended on the nails through hands and feet.
3. The most common causes of death by crucifixion were shock and asphyxia. It was a horrible death.
B. THE SHAME OF THE CROSS WAS REAL
1. Jesus had His outer clothes stripped off and was crucified along a road-side, before a hostile crowd.
2. Rubber-neckers mocked and gawked at this ghastly freak show. He was made a public spectacle before the world and He bore the shame we should have borne.
C. HIS SEPARATION FROM THE FATHER WAS REAL. Jesus cried from the Cross about our sins separating Him from His Father (Matt. 27:46). He was cut-off from God for us.
II. WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO SUFFER?
A. BECAUSE OF OUR SIN
Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” This means we’re ALL equally guilty of sin before God.
B. BECAUSE OF OUR SEPARATION FROM GOD
1. Isaiah 59:2 – “Your sins have separated between you and your God, and hidden His face from you, that He will not hear.”
2. Sin has separated us from God. God is Holy and can’t let us come into His holy presence with sin in our lives.
C. BECAUSE ONLY JESUS COULD SAVE US
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
ILLUS.: FINDING TRUE FORGIVENESS
1. Dr. Jacob Chamberlain, an early missionary to India, recalls that while preaching to a group who had
come to bathe in the "sacred stream" of the Ganges, a man joined them who had crawled many agonizing miles on his knees and elbows to reach that spot.
2. The poor exhausted soul made his prayer to Gunga, and then slipped into the water, but emerged with the same conviction of sin as before. The fear of death still tugged at his heart.
3. Then he heard Chamberlain tell the wonderful story of grace and how Christ died on the cross to pay the debt of sinners before God.
4. He quoted the verse, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Heb. 9:14.
5. The man staggered to his feet, clasped his hands together, and cried, "Oh, that’s what I need! That’s what I came for! Tell me again this happy news!” The man soon found forgiveness and peace in Jesus Christ!