Summary: Today we will explore four facets of the cross, four features that compel us to trust in Jesus Christ.
The Compelling Cross of Christ
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - March 21, 2010
*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)
*But why is the cross history’s hinge? Why is the cross so important? The Word of God shows us. And today we will explore four facets of the cross, four features that compel us to trust in Jesus Christ.
1. First: Trust in Jesus for the misery of His cross.
*Trust in Jesus for the pain, suffering and humiliation He went through for us. We see part of the Lord’s misery in John 19:1-3:
1. So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.
2. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.
3. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!'' And they struck Him with their hands.
*They scourged Jesus. They scourged Him. Even the word sounds ugly, but no word can capture the brutality of the beating Jesus took from a whip laced with scraps of metal and glass. Then, the mocking with the crown of thorns, the purple robe, and their cruel praise: “Hail, King of the Jews!” It meant “Rejoice, be glad, fare well! Good health to you! Peace to you King of the Jews!”
*They mocked Jesus with their cruel praise. And they struck Him with the palms of their hands. Matt 27:30-31 adds that they spat on Him, and took a reed and struck Him on the head to drive those thorns deep into the Lord’s scalp. Then they put His own clothes back on Him, and led Jesus away to be crucified.
*Those Roman soldiers were vicious and cruel. And it’s easy to think, “I’m glad I’m not like that.” But it never would have happened without our sin.
*It surely wasn’t the Lord’s sins that took Him to the cross. Jesus was innocent. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent from the start. Matt 27:17&18, tells us that Pilate asked the chief priests: “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him. Then, in John 18:38, Pilate told the Jewish leaders, “I find no fault in (Jesus) at all.”
*Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Look at John 19:4: “Pilate then went out again, and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.’” Now look at vs. 6: “Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.’”
*Pilate was sure that Jesus was innocent. -- But he had Jesus scourged and crucified anyway, just as God had always planned. Jesus was perfectly innocent. He never sinned a single time. And thank God for His perfection! Jesus couldn’t die for your sins, if He had to die for His own. But Jesus Christ did suffer and die for our sins.
*As Wayde Wilson said: “Jesus Christ carried much more than the cross. He carried the weight of the world’s sins on his shoulders. Every sin you can think of was added to the weight. -- Your sin was added to that weight.” (2)
*W.A. Criswell was one of the best known preachers of the last 100 years. He was the pastor of FBC in Dallas for 50 years!
*One time Dr. Criswell told the church about a dream he had. And in this dream, Dr. Criswell saw Jesus. The Lord’s back was bare and there was a soldier lifting up his hand and bringing down that awful scourge. In the dream Dr. Criswell reached out to grab the soldier’s arm to hold it back. When he did, the soldier turned in astonishment and looked at Dr. Criswell.
*Then, Dr. Criswell looked at the soldier’s face, and saw that the soldier was him! Jesus went through all of that misery for our sins. (3)