Summary: This is the 9th sermon in the series "When Jesus Comes To Your Town". This series is based on the "Passion Week".
Series: When Jesus Comes To Your Town [#9]
JESUS, IN YOUR MESS
In my lifetime, I have made numerous mistakes. I have found myself in messes that I didn’t think I could get myself out of.
2000 years ago, Jesus found Himself in my mess. As Jesus hung on the cross for six hours, He made seven profound statements:
1. First, He looked at the people and said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
2. Next, He looked at the thief beside Him and said, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
3. Then He looked at His mother and said, “Woman, look at your son.” To John He said, “John, take care of her like your own mother.”
4. As the agony increased Jesus yelled, “I thirst.”
5. Later He shouted, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
6. Moments before He died He cried, “It is finished.”
7. Then as He died, His last words were, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
This morning, I want us to go to the cross at noontime. Mark 15:25 records Jesus was crucified at the third hour. The Romans started counting the hours of the day beginning at 6:00, so Jesus was nailed to the cross around 9:00 a.m. He hung there for six long hours. From 9:00 a.m. to noon, it was daylight and it was during these first three hours Jesus most likely spoke the first four sayings from the cross. At noon, it became dark.
There are 3 important points we need to notice that occurred from noon until 3p.m. that day.
During these last three hours, Jesus went from being perfect to the greatest sinner ever as He bore the sins of the world. In those moments He endured hell for me and for you. There are at least three ways in which Jesus experienced my hell on the cross:
1. Hell is a place of torment. On the cross, Jesus experienced torment. Although Jesus had suffered immense physical pain, it was nothing compared to being loaded down with the sins of the world.
2. Hell is a place of separation from God. The worst thing about hell is not the fire, it is being separated from God. As Jesus was hanging on the cross He experienced this separation, this alienation from His Father. He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the only time you will find Jesus not referring to God as Father and instead saying “My God”.
3. Hell is a place of darkness. Many people laugh and make jokes about hell. They don’t really believe in hell, but if hell exists they think it’s going to be one long, wild party. They think there’ll be plenty of good music and plenty of other people to party with; but Jesus said in Matthew 8:12 that hell is a place of extreme darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. That’s why there was darkness at noon at the cross. This darkness reveals to us how much God hates sin. When Jesus took on our sin, it was so horrible that God had to turn away.
When it became dark, the curtain in the Temple was torn. This curtain was thirty feet wide, sixty feet tall and woven as thick as a man’s hand. It hung between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. As Jesus hung on the cross that afternoon, this thick curtain was suddenly ripped apart. It wasn’t just partially torn, it was ripped completely into two parts.
I want you to notice 3 very important things concerning this torn curtain:
1. No more barriers. God instructed the Jews to construct this curtain for the tabernacle and later for the Temple for a very simple reason. God’s glory was so overwhelming that if anyone approached Him they would die. The Jewish Temple was a series of barriers or walls. If you weren’t a Jew, you could only go into the court of the Gentiles, if you were a Jewish woman you had to stop before you came to the court of the men. If you weren’t a priest, you couldn’t enter into the court of the priests. Only a few priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place which was the room outside the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement, the Jewish High Priest would lift the corner of this massive blue curtain and slip into the Holy of Holies with fear and trembling. Once inside, he would take the blood of a lamb and sprinkle it on the seat of the Ark of the Covenant. He was there as a representative of the Jewish people to seek forgiveness on their behalf; but when Jesus died on the cross, this curtain was torn! God was saying, “There will no longer be any barriers between you and Me!” Now, you and I can approach God freely.