Summary: *We must move closer to the cross to find the victory and joy God wants us to have.
Moving Closer to the Cross - Part 2
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - April 1, 2007
*Today we will look at the darkest day in human history, the day when the holy Son of God was nailed to a cross for our sins.
*Max Lucado wrote: The Cross...
-It rests on the time line of history like a compelling diamond.
-Its tragedy summons all sufferers.
-Its absurdity attracts all critics.
-Its hope lures all searchers.
*My, what a piece of wood!
-History has idolized it and despised it.
-Gold plated it and burned it.
-Worn it and trashed it.
-History has done everything to it but ignore it.
-That’s the one option that the cross does not offer.
*No one can ignore it!
-You can’t ignore a piece of lumber that suspends the greatest claim in history.
-A crucified carpenter claiming that he is God on earth!
*The cross. Its bottom line is sobering.
-If the account is true, it is history’s hinge... -Period. (1)
*Today I want to ask you to move closer to the Cross of Jesus Christ, but it is not always and easy journey. We are bound to see some things that are hard to look at: the suffering of our innocent Lord, and the ugliness of the sin that put Him there... -The ugliness of our sin.
*It may be hard, but we must move closer to the Cross to see the Lord as He really is. We must move closer to the cross to find the victory and joy God wants us to have.
1. So come close today and first see the Lord’s serenity. Look for the Lord’s calmness and composure in vs. 11-14:
11. Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?’’ So Jesus said to him, "It is as you say.’’
12. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’’
14. And He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
*Pilate was amazed by Christ’s serenity in the face of His murderous accusers. Jesus uttered not one word of protest when a word was all it would have taken to end that travesty of justice.
*Earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had asked the disciples: “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than 12 legions of angels?” (Matt 26:53)
*That’s over 80,000 angels! -But Jesus didn’t call for help, because in that Garden, He had already confirmed His commitment to die for us.
-There He made the most difficult decision anyone has ever made.
*Matt 26:37-39 tells us that,
37. . . . He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
38. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’’
39. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’’
*Luke 22 tells us that Jesus was in agony in the Garden, and as He prayed His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. But after Jesus prayed that third time, “Father, Thy will be done,” His heart was settled as He stood before that mob.
2. Come closer to the cross of Jesus Christ. See the Lord’s serenity, and see His purity. Even a hard-hearted, Roman politician like Pilate could see the Lord’s purity in vs. 15-24:
15. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
16. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
17. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’’
18. For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him.
19. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.’’
20. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
21. The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’’ They said, "Barabbas!’’
22. Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’’ They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!’’