Summary: The cross,God's solution to man's problems.
Pastor Billy G. Lobbs
Theme: The cross-God's solutions for man's problem.
"Years I spent in vanity and pride
Caring not my Lord was crucified
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great and grace was free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary." 1
The congregation had risen to its feet and hundreds of voices blended together in song, filling the sanctuary with the timeless story of Calvary, the cross, and the crucified Savior.
As I joined my voice with theirs, I thought of how many years ago it was when I first heard that story told to me. It had moved me deeply back then and even as I sang about it in that old hymn of the church, I was moved again in my spirit. It's a simple story that even a child can grasp and yet it's so profound that even the angels of heaven have not yet fathomed it's depth of meaning.
(I Peter 1:10-12.) It has been called the Story of Stories, The Greatest Story Ever Told. It's a story that never grows old and the repeated telling of it through the years has never diminished its truth in any way. It's study has never been exhausted, for no human mind is big enough or broad enough to understand it in its entirety. It's a story that stands unequaled in history. It's the story of the cross.
Today, I want us to hear Matthews version of that precious old story again, as it is recorded in the gospel bearing his name. As we hear it told, it is my prayer that Calvary's crucifixion scene will once again come alive to us, and that our hearts will be touched one more time by , "The Message of the Cross."
Text: Matthew 27:27-54, (NIV).
The Judgment Hall: verses 27 - 31,
"Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around Him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, And then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" They said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him."
The Crucifixion: verses 32-44
"As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull), There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots, And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe him. He trust in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him."
The Death of Jesus: verses 45-54
"From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?"--which means "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him." And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"