Summary: This is the second in a series of Easter sermons examining the Passion of Christ. This sermon investigates forgivess as a theme of the cross.
The Passion Pt 2
It Is Finished
Last week we began our discussion of the Passion of Christ. Those climactic 4 days in the ministry of our Lord. Last week in Gethsemane’s shadows we found the Love of God demonstrated. We found the frailty of human effort and the power of God, and we found the power of Darkness to blind us to the reality of Christ. Today we move from the deceptive beauty of Gethsemane’s shadows to the stark reality of a hill 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.
The scriptures spare us a little the gruesome details and agony of the Passion. Contained in our accounts are just enough detail to make us squirm and not enough detail for us to loose the message in the method. The truth is there is nothing magnificent, nothing wonderful, nothing engaging about the process of crucifixion. The message of this day is not in the cross but in the crucified. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen the movie – the truth is that there is no glory here on Golgotha – it is brutal, bloody, and horrifying at the very best. 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 at Golgotha this morning – the place of the skull – and find
1) The Power of Forgivness 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. 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. Clear now are the scriptures from Isaiah – “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” And so the words ring loud and clear “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
2) The Reality of Forgiveness – Today ... paradise. No sweeter words have ever been spoken. Here was a man who had squandered his entire life – and with his dying gasps called on Jesus. And into his hopeless condition Jesus spoke these words of hope. Today you will be with me in paradise. We live in a world full of hopelessness.