Summary: Will consider the different attitudes and circumstances of the people who are detailed at the scene of the crucifixion, especially the penitent thief
1. Title: Standing Around The Cross
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, 4-9-06, 3rd in the series “Walk To The Cross”
-for the people to consider the different attitudes and circumstances of the people who are detailed at the scene of the crucifixion, especially the penitent thief
-for the people to identify with the thief – with the good things he was able to understand about himself and Jesus that led to his salvation
-for each person to examine him or herself in regards to the way we approach the cross on a daily basis
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to better seem themselves around the cross, consider why they are there, and to adjust their attitudes there to better honor the purposes of Jesus
6. Type: textual
7. Dominant Thought: people who stand around the cross of Jesus with a right heart leave changed forever
Intro - This summer, many will be gathering in late July in Louisville, KY for the NACC. Through the years, the convention has undergone a lot of changes, but it has always been a place where people get together.
I remember as a kid going to the NACC with my parents a couple of times. My dad enjoyed going, but the thing he always enjoyed the most was getting to see all the people there he knew. Dad would walk along, and there would be someone he hadn’t seen for 15 years. So, we’d stop and Dad would talk, and then we’d start moving along again, and there would be someone else he hadn’t seen for 15 years. Sometimes I wondered if Dad was really there for the convention or to see a bunch of people. I have a feeling he enjoyed the people the most.
Here we’ve been on a walk to the cross, and this morning, being Palm Sunday, I want us to look not only at the cross, but to see the people there. After all, we’ve taken this walk; doesn’t it make sense to look around at who else is there? And as you look around, there ought to be an obvious question to those people: “Why are you here?” I want to ask the same question of you this morning. As you, in your heart, stand around the cross of Jesus, why are you there? My hope is that we’ll all leave with a more careful attitude about the cross.
I. Some Who Hate Him
There were some people just passing by the hillside that day. They stopped off to see the spectacle. But before they ever got there, there was a group of people who had done everything they could to get Jesus on the cross in the first place. So, as we walk to the cross, we find them there too, as if to make sure that He really is killed. There’s no question why they’re at the cross:
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 in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ’I am the Son of God.’"
If Jesus hadn’t meant to say such things He could have set it straight and stopped all this. But Jesus meant to say it. He was the Son of God. He was the King of Israel. He did trust in God.
A thousand years before, God inspired David to write about these people standing around the cross:
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
OK, so there were people who hated Jesus. There just aren’t people today, around here, anyway, who would do such a thing. There aren’t people who hate Jesus like that!
Oh, really? What about those who deny His deity? What about those who deny His resurrection? What about those who deny His miracles? Just this past week there was some guy trying to explain Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee by saying He could have been on suddenly-forming ice! What about those who hate Christianity? What about those who try Jesus and decide to turn their back on Him?
The writer of Hebrews in Heb. 6 says that people who have accepted Christ, if they fall away, are to their loss crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
There are plenty of people hating the cross of Jesus today. They’d likely be in the crowd that stood there and hurled their insults at Jesus. They do exist.