Summary: Forsaken Place, Divided Place, Saving Place
OUT OF WEAKNESS…STRENGTH - Jesus: “It’s Finished”
Mark 15:33-47 (p. 712) September 24, 2017
Fanny Crosby wrote one of my favorite hymns…“Jesus keep me near the cross…there a precious fountain, free to all a healing stream flows from Calvary’s mountain.”
Then the chorus echoes…“In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever…till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.”
I’ve sang that song hundreds of times in my life, but as I prepared to stand before you today I thought about the words in a different way…on that day Jesus was crucified over 2000 years ago how near to His cross would I really have been?
Would I have been like Peter…following the events incognito and when called out would I have lied, run and wept…and then watched from a distance.
Or like John, would I originally have been so scared I just ran…shedding my cloak in the arms of the people who tried to grab me…but like the other disciples…l run so I can be safe. Would I resurface on that day, the day He was crucified. Would I stand with his mom, close enough to hear him breathe, close enough to talk to Him as He dies?
There were others near the cross. Some came for the gore and entertainment. Public punishment appealed to some. Others were there because it was their job, the soldiers, the centurions. Others were at the cross because they wanted to make sure Jesus was gone. The Chief Priests, the rulers, they were there like foremen in a Silverado truck, holding the clipboard and demanding things be done just so.
Mary was there because she loved her son and she was going to love and comfort him to the very end, so was Mary Magdalene, Solome, and many other women who had loved and cared for Jesus during his ministry. They were there to comfort, support and minister to him as he died.
There were 2 other men there who had no choice in the matter. One on his left, the other on his right, dying in the same way, but near his cross none the less.
Different reasons and different people near the cross, filled with emotions ranging from anger and hate, to a mother’s heartbroken love. To some the cross was foolishness and a Stanberry clock but the Apostle Paul would later write, “We preach Christ crucified: A stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:22-24)
QUOTE 1 CORINTHIANS 1:27
You see God chose the cross to be the altar upon which the Lamb of God was sacrificed; and we choose whether to worship there or not. Let’s examine the truth of the cross this morning.
I. THE CROSS IS A FORSAKEN PLACE!
In the book of Deuteronomy Moses writes concerning various laws and curses. Here’s what he says concerning anyone who is guilty of a capital offense and is hung on a tree, “You must not leave his body on the tree overnight (one of the reasons Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus wanted to bury Jesus’ body in a hurry). Be sure to bury him the same day, because everyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
The Apostle Paul saw that by taking a curse of the Law upon Himself, Jesus removed the curse of the Law from us. Galatians 3:13 says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written “cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
We must understand there was nothing glorious or polished about the cross. As we view the electric chair, the gas chamber, that is how the cross was viewed in Jesus’ day, and anyone going to the gas chamber, the electric chair, the cross, is dying in infamy and shame.
When Jesus tried to explain what was going to happen to his closest friends, the disciples, that God’s plan involved Him dying on a cross, Peter could not wrap his mind around that idea. It was too horrible, too impossible for him to imagine. “Never Lord, never will this happen to you.” That’s when Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan, you are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)
Oswald Chambers who wrote “My Utmost for His Highest” said, “Calvary means “place of the skull” and that is where our Lord is always crucified, in the culture and intellect of men.”
For a Savior to die on a tree, at a place where soldiers gamble and thieves curse, a garbage heap where cynics talk smut, a crossroads of humility where his title is written in 3 languages: Hebrew, Latin and Greek. This is where he died. No wonder he cried out “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthai.” My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”