Summary: THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!
JOURNEY TO THE CROSS PART II: THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS
MATTHEW 27: 11-26
April 6, 2003
INTRODUCTION: The government of Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski had ordered crucifixes removed from classroom walls, just as they had been banned in factories, hospitals, and other public institutions. Catholic bishops attacked the ban that had stirred waves of anger and resentment all across Poland. Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly in the schoolrooms.
But one zealous Communist school administrator in Garwolin decided that the law was the law. So one evening he had seven large crucifixes removed from lecture halls where they had hung since the school’s founding in the twenties. Days later, a group of parents entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down as well.
The next day two-thirds of the school’s six hundred students staged a sit-in. When heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby church where they were joined by twenty-five hundred other students from nearby schools for a morning of prayer in support of the protest. Soldiers surrounded the church. But the pictures from inside of students holding crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. "There is no Poland without a cross."
Chuck Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, pp. 202-3.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: As we continue on our Journey to the Cross, we too must remember that without the Cross there is no salvation. Our text for today teaches us another lesson concerning the cross. It takes us through the trial of Jesus and the Questions asked and the responses given. Let us hear together the old story and let us learn once more of the horror and truth of the cross.
THESIS SENTENCE: THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!
IF THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, THEN HOW DO WE GET THERE?
I. THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS IS A CONVICTION VV. 11-14
A. CONVICTION A: A QUESTION ASKED
1. Our text begins with a trial. Jesus stands before Pilate. But this, however, is not were the trial begins.
2. Early on Friday morning in Jerusalem, shortly after midnight, Jesus was arrested by the temple police and brought before Annas. He was a former high priest who still ran the office through his son-in-law Caiaphas. Now Jesus stands before the Sanhedrin. But the Sanhedrin had a problem. They could not pronounce the death sentence, so that brought Jesus to Pilate the governor, who could! 3. This brings us to the political question of the hour: “Are you the king of the Jews?”
4. Interesting to note is that all historians view this entire process as illegal. Every action taken was not according to the laws and procedures of the day.
5. Have you ever noticed when powerful people desire to get their way they never follow the laws and procedures that are in place?!?
B. CONVICTION B: AN ANSWER GIVEN
1. The question has been asked and the answer will be given.
2. Jesus does not speak much on His own behalf, but in this instance He answers the question: “Yes, it is as you say.”
3. What follows is interesting. Powerless people make all kinds of accusations about Jesus and He doesn’t say a word.
4. What does this teach us??
AN ASIDE: The Gospel of John adds another conversation between Pilate and Jesus. It is found in John 19, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin (vv. 10-11).” AGAIN, WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US?
KEY QUESTION: “ARE YOU THE KING OF THE JEWS?”
II. THE PROVISION OF THE CROSS IS A CHOICE VV. 15 - 21
A. CHOICE A: GOING THE CROWD’S WAY: BARABBAS
1. Now, as was the custom, Pilate offers the Jews a choice. Isn’t it amazing that when we are just about to leave God’s path, a choice is given, a reminder that we don’t have to go this way!
2. I think Pilate was wiser than we may think. I believe he was doing everything possible to help Jesus, but at this point, Jesus could not be helped!
3. Do you see the choice here? It is so obvious! Barabbas, as we read in the book of Mark (15:7) was an insurrectionist and murderer. Our text tells us he was a notorious prisoner. Obviously people weren’t in doubt about who this man was! 4. Isn’t sin obvious? But how often we become so blinded!