Summary: Jesus didn’t put the demands of being a disciple in fine print at the bottom of the contract...but IN BOLD TYPE! The cross PRESENTED, the cross REJECTED, the cross ACCEPTED. Link inc. to formatted text, audio & video, PowerPoint Presentation.
I Have Decided...
This chapter zeroes in on 2 big things Jesus wants to teach His disciples:
• Who He is = His Person [last week]
• Why He came = His Work [this week]
The Lord has spent nearly 3 years with these guys and now it’s final examination time. Peter has already passed the first part of the test. Who am I? “Thou art the Christ!” Now Jesus begins to reveal why He came.
For the first time ever, Christ reveals that He was born to die. But His followers don’t get it, tho’ He spells it out for them...and they won’t really understand fully until after His resurrection.
Last time we saw Jesus mentioning for the first time the church, and now He brings up the topic of the cross. The cross was God’s plus sign in a minus world...where man was at his worst and God was at His best. Man’s sin met w/ God’s grace!
1. The Cross Presented.
v. 21 notice the use of the conjunction ‘and’...
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, AND suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, AND be killed, AND be raised again the third day.
This little word ‘and’ suggests several stages we need to examine carefully and meditatively. It’s like the cadence of a beating drum as Jesus marches toward His destined task.
The word ‘must’ suggests the necessity of the cross.
a. The necessity of the cross.
On another occasion He said to Nicodemus, “as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up.”
We need to realize that the cross was part of God’s plan from before the foundation of the world. Some people wrongly think the cross was like an ambulance rushed to the scene when man sinned...like it was a surprise to God when Adam and Eve sinned. The cross was not a band aid slapped on a cut. It was in the heart of God from eternity past that the Creator would redeem the creation because of His great love for it.
Don’t let the word ‘must’ make you think Jesus had no choice, however. It simply shows how important it was for Him to do the will of the Father. And all of us have choices to make with our free will as well, but we should say w/ Jesus I must do what is right, not my will, but Thine be done!
Oh that we had such a sense of urgency that would drive us to say I MUST find and do the will of God for my life!
‘And suffer many things’ speaks of...
b. The misery of the cross.
None of us will ever fully comprehend the suffering, both physical, emotional and spiritual, of the cross.
Physical-For He suffered in a body that had never sinned, and was never desensitized to the pain of sin as we do.
Emotional-For He lived under a cloud of illegitimacy thru His childhood, and was called a blasphemer when He claimed to be God, and then they stripped Him naked on that cross and called Him all these names and much more! He was put to an open shame.
Spiritual-For His fellowship w/ His Father was broken when He was forsaken by God Who turned His back on His only Son for us!
‘And be killed’ speaks of...
c. The brutality of the cross.
It wasn’t murder, for they did not take His life, He willingly laid His life down...in the final moments He ‘gave up the ghost.’ But ‘killed’ means it would be a violent, brutal death.
Today we highlight the cross as a symbol of glory and honor. We put it atop our churches, and on gold chains around our necks. But in those days it was a symbol of death and gore, suffering and shame, and wasn’t even spoken of in respectable company. The Phoenicians invented crucifixion...inspired by seeing rats nailed to a wall. It made death slow and painful, and very public, and was reserved for the lowest of criminals. No pictures you ever see depicting Jesus on the cross will do it justice...it was simply too gory. Isaiah said he was so marred you couldn’t recognize Him as a man...more like hanging meat, flayed, bloody, and thoroughly brutalized.
‘And be raised’ is symbolic of...
d. The victory of the cross.
The misery of the cross and the brutality of the cross are not God’s final word. For this same Jesus that suffered, died, and was buried, is the One who rose again, conquering death, and is today seated at the right hand of God the Father!
The cross presented...