Summary: This is the 8th 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 [#8]
JESUS, IN YOUR PLACE
As we have studied in our series, ¡§When Jesus Comes To Your Town¡¨, we have studied when Jesus comes to our home, our church, etc¡K; but today you must see what Jesus did for you- ¡§Jesus, In Your Place¡¨.
Today we are going to Golgotha, where Jesus was being taken to be hung upon a cross that should have been mine and yours. We are going to the place where Jesus was going to go from being the only perfect person to ever live on this earth to becoming the greatest sinner that was ever here.
In our text this morning we are going to go to the place where Jesus Christ was crucified. There at Golgotha, we are going to focus on the people gathered around the cross. The view that the writer gives us is not the view of looking at the cross, but the view that Jesus had from the cross.
The amazing thing about this view from the cross is in year 2005; you can still find the same kinds of personalities that Jesus found.
Simon of Cyrene
Can you imagine how Simon felt? Think about it. Simon had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. He had traveled all the way from Cyrene, which was in North Africa. Simon was coming from his lodgings outside the city and had no idea that this strange event was about to take place. As he was watching Jesus stagger under the weight of the cross, Simon suddenly was grabbed by the soldiers and forced to carry the cross. I¡¦m sure he was mad about this interruption. Undoubtedly his attitude was one of unwilling involvement.
There are many people today who are resentful that God would dare change their plans. We don¡¦t want things to happen to us by surprise that don¡¦t fit into our routine. We resent it when some circumstances over which we have no control suddenly changes our plans, especially if it involves pain and suffering.
Gathered around the foot of the cross were the soldiers who had crucified Jesus. These rough Roman soldiers had crucified many people. They undoubtedly had much experience in crucifixion, because when they had finished their work and Jesus was hanging from the cross, these soldiers got out a pair of dice and started a ¡§craps game¡¨ at the foot of the cross. It seems strange to us that any man could contemplate the dying of Jesus and carry on in such a way, but here were men who were far more interested in making a buck than they were in the blood of Jesus.
We too, in year 2005 have many people who are not at all concerned about the meaning of the death of Christ. Their whole concern is focused on making a fast buck. These soldiers stand forever as examples of those callous individuals who have no interest in the great story of the cross ¡V who shrug their shoulders with indifference to anybody who tries to call their attention to what was really happening at this scene.
Here are two men who had been arrested because of their acts of terror and violence. They were professional revolutionaries. They were angry young men, committed to the philosophy of ¡§get what you can any way that you can and it doesn¡¦t matter who is hurt in the process.¡¨
These two looked upon Jesus as the same kind of man. They hated Him because He was of no more help to them than they could be to Him. We do know that one of these men had a change of heart. One of these robbers asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom.
There are still many today that even at the point of death, they are still mocking and hating Jesus Christ. There are still many today who question the power of Christ. There are still many today who seem to think that Jesus was no different than we are, there are also many who see the need for the Savior.
In verse 29, Mark tells us that there were certain passers-by who came by the cross as Jesus was suspended on it. These were just bystanders, but when they saw Jesus, they remembered that He was the One who had made these great claims, and they said, ¡§Look, they¡¦ve caught you, haven¡¦t they? You¡¦ve gone too far. You were doing fine teaching the people, but then you began making these ridiculous claims that you could destroy the temple and raise it up again. You got what you had coming.¡¨ They were enjoying the verbal abuse that they put upon Jesus.
There are many today that claim to be followers of Jesus, but when someone says something like ¡§Jesus is the only way to salvation¡¨ they can¡¦t follow that. In another words, they can¡¦t and refuse to listen to the truth. They would rather spend their time arguing about things such as the virgin birth or the way to salvation, things that are not arguable instead of living a life of truth.