Summary: There is great symbolism to be found in the events leading up to the cross, and even in the cross itself that God wants to use to draw you to His Son Jesus.
In last week’s message I preached from verses 24-26, and showed you briefly some of the powerful symbolism that was found in the events leading up to the cross. Today I want us to continue that look as we notice more of this symbolism, and I want you to take note of this – it is no small coincidence that the events unfolded the way they did. Everything that happened that day had been carefully orchestrated by God Himself down through the centuries so that all the events of all of history culminated in this one man Jesus Christ on this one day that He purchased the salvation of all mankind.
I’m looking for one of three responses out of you today, knowing full well that God may choose to work in other ways should He so choose. First, there are some among you today who have never chosen Jesus Christ to be your Savior. For whatever reasons, your faith is not in Christ, but is instead in your own ability to be good or earn God’s favor. Maybe you’re even a bit skeptical about all this Jesus stuff anyway. You need to come to Christ today. You may be here just because its Easter and you need to get somebody off your back. I’m glad you came, and I trust that since you have come that you will at least give the Lord a chance. Second, there are some among you today who know Christ as your Savior but you’re nowhere near where you ought to be in your relationship with Him. He is distant and you may even like it that way. Your relationship with Him has waned and He has taken a back seat to other things in your life. You need to repent and ask the Lord to forgive you and then you need to get back on the right track. Third, there are some of you today who know and love the Lord with all your being – and the words I speak on God’s behalf today are words for which to praise His holy name. You do that today as I share with you these powerful symbols on and around the cross.
Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knew before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
THE SCARLET ROBE & THE CROWN OF THORNS
Last week we read from Leviticus 16 about the sin offering. I want to read that to you again.
Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: and he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins…[then] he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
You remember that the priest would take these two goats and kill the first. He would cut its throat and sprinkle the blood on the altar and on the mercy seat inside the Most Holy Place. This goat’s blood was shed for the sin of the people. Then the priest would take the second goat and place his hands on its head and confess over it the sins of the people, then a fit man would lead the goat into the wilderness never to be seen again.
The Scriptures tell us that after Pilate released Barabbas, he had Jesus scourged, or beaten with whips. His back and body were ripped to shreds and in that bloody moment, they stripped Jesus and put on Him a scarlet robe. Now I want you to think about what is happening here. Isaiah said,