Summary: Ways Jesus identified with us on the cross other than the physical pain. He is calling us to identify with Him to find our breakthroughs.
Illustration: (Recuperating in her hospital bed in Southwest Germany, Army Private First Class Jessica Lynch had several requests for her doctors: pink casts for her fractured legs and arm, a new hairbrush and a menu of turkey and steamed carrots for when she was stable enough to eat solid food. Lynch, an Army supply clerk with only minimal combat training, shot several advancing Iraqi soldiers, emptying her weapon of ammunition and incurring a series of gunshot wounds.
Navy SEALs who slipped into the hospital, were led to her room by a doctor on duty. At first, she was silent, a sheet pulled tightly over her head. "We’re U.S. soldiers," said one of the SEALs. "We’re here to protect you and take you home." As they rushed her out to a nearby helicopter, Lynch squeezed the hand of an Army Ranger and said, "Don’t let anyone leave me")
1. Scattered across the nations, numbering in the thousands, is an army of soldiers, wounded and out of the fight.
a. Some are unable to walk, and many are confused.
b. No, I’m not talking about Iraq...I am talking about the Body of Christ!
c. Many who were deeply in love with Jesus now live in the shadows, separated from fellowship.
d. Sometimes we just want to pull the sheet over our head! But our loving Savior whispers, "I’m here to protect you and take you home."
e. Hebrews 13:5, "...God has said, ’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
2. Often it is the people with the most passion for the Lord who get taken out by discouragment...
a. John 6:66-69, "From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. ’You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, ’Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.’"
b. Jesus’ own disciples became discouraged when their idea of His ministry was incomplete.
c. John 21:3, "I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ’We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but THAT NIGHT THEY CAUGHT NOTHING."
3. After fear, discouragment is Satan’s most effective weapon against a believer.
a. When we leave Jesus, all our efforts result in empty nets.
b. When Jesus saw Peter catching nothing, He cooked for him what he could not catch and gave him an invitation...’Follow Me!’
c. God is not against the hopeless.
d. Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
4. The ministry of Jesus BEGINS in a muddy river to which He would bring life...
a. Mark 1:10-11, "As Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ’You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well please.’"
b. The heavens were "torn open" and a voice lets us know that Jesus is the "Son of God."
c. There is a new relationship with God. The world would never be the same again.
5. The ministry of Jesus ENDS with death on a cross by which He would bring life...