Summary: Part two of "The Passion" series. Jesus was Emmanuel (God with us)..."Savior" means God came to suffer for us.


sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC


March 7, 2004


But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Isaiah 53:5-6 (NASB)

The Passion of the Christ film has filled a lot of conversations (and fueled more than a few controversies) both among Christians and non-believers alike. When an R-rated film does that, AND stays true to the Bible, it will even be recommended from pulpits.

I agree with Robert K. Johnson who calls motion pictures the “stained glass” of our time and culture. In ancient times stained glass pictures of the crucifixion, nativity and other scenes were the “poor man’s Bible”. The illiterate people of the lower classes were told the Gospel in pictures of stained glass.

Illiteracy in our day is a much smaller problem. Getting literate people to even hear the Gospel is another thing. Perhaps with movies such as “The Passion” literate people of the twenty-first century who won’t read the Scripture will go see the Scripture.

During these several weeks before Easter many of our Christian brothers and sisters are celebrating Lent. Lent is preparation for the drama of The Passion. Our preparation series for Easter has focused on The Passion. The first message was about Emmanuel, God with us. We were led to the conclusion that the passion, or suffering (as the word patho suggests) means that it was God who came to be with us and suffer for us.

Today’s message is “Savior” – which is the logical next step. It was through the valley of suffering, the valley of the shadow of death that Jesus walked in order to save us. Not everyone agrees that we needed a savior. However, I’m so glad God doesn’t do things according to opinion polls!

God did give a message to Isaiah about our need to be saved:


All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

Isaiah 53:5-6 (NASB)

There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:10 (KJV)

There are a lot of people today, and always have been, who disagree with Isaiah; they don’t think man needs a savior. A USA Today article spotlights multi-billionaire Ted Turner. Turner is the Time Warner Vice Chairman who also happens to be the country’s largest landowner with more than 1.6 million acres, on which he runs his herd of 17,000 buffalo. His successes include ownership of television channels CNN and TBS. He won the America’s Cup in 1977, and his Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series. According to the USA Today article, "behind his entrepreneurial spirit lies a much higher, and deeper, social agenda…. To his core, Turner believes in anything that promotes peace, harmony, understanding, and brotherhood."

Toward the end of the article, Turner explains his motives:

You know, I’m not looking for any big rewards. I’m not a religious person. I believe this life is all we have. I’m not doing what I’m doing to be rewarded in heaven or punished in hell. I’m doing it because I feel it’s the right thing to do.

Almost every religion talks about a savior coming. When you look in the mirror in the morning, when you’re putting on your lipstick or shaving, you’re looking at the savior. Nobody else is going to save you but yourself. [1]

With all due respect to Mr. Turner – he will have a rude awakening one day; he will wake up in this life to his own need of a savior, or he will wake up in hell knowing he missed the only savior. No human being can save himself.

In a sermon several weeks ago I referred to a man I couldn’t reach. John was ex-Navy, a heavy drinker and a violent man. He was very personable when you first met him; when he drank enough beer the demons took over. I must confess that, until I met John I always thought people were born with a good nature, and, if they wound-up on the wrong side of things, had just somehow made a wrong turn. John taught me better.

John had married Rosemary only a few months before I met him; it was his fourth time at the marriage license bureau – her second. A few weeks after Rosemary joined our church, John came down the aisle also. We baptized him and it seemed they would escape the divorce statistic hanging over multiple marriages. Rosemary thought she could get John to quit drinking; she was wrong. It seems I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t reach John.

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