Summary: What does his death on the cross mean for us?
Winston Churchill: "And where were you?"
In the early days of World War II, Winston Churchill called Britain’s coal miners together. A great crisis had arisen. The miners were not getting out enough coal to fuel the factories that produced the planes, ships, etc., so desperately needed. When the Prime Minister arose he said, "I want to give it to you straight--nothing! Two hundred guns, no more! Twenty tanks, that’s all! I heard he (Hitler) was coming with a million men, and I said to myself, ’The British Navy will put five hundred thousand of them to the bottom of the channel, but what will we do with half a million of them ashore?’" For an hour and forty minutes, he outlined the desperate situation confronting Britain. Then in stirring language he said, "When at last it is all over, we’ll parade these streets again and as you go by people will call out, ’And where were you?’ Someone will answer, ’I marched with the Eighth Army,’ and someone else will say,’ I was in the skies over Britain.’ Another will reply, ’I was in the Merchant Marines pushing the ships through the sea up to Archangel.’ Then I shall be standing there and I will call out, ’Where were you?’ I will hear you answer, ’We were down in the black pits right up against the face of the coal." Then, thousands of coal miners arose and with tears streaming down their faces, cheered the Prime Minister, and the coal came out! They had caught a fresh vision of the importance of their work.
I thought when at last it is all over for us, we will parade the streets of Heaven. And it may be that someone will call out, "And where were you?" Many impressive answers may be given, but none more satisfying than to say, "I was in my town reaching out to people with the Gospel of Christ."
THE DEATH ON THE CROSS JN 19:28-30, LK 23:44-46
Did you know the death of Christ is mentioned 175 times in the N. T.? The Holy Spirit at the foot of the cross lays all the great doctrines of the Bible. Jesus was nailed to the cross. When we preach Christ we have to include the cross and crucifixion. We see the glory of the cross in the grace that puts away sin and slays the enemy of the human heart. What does this death represent in terms we can understand?
1. It was a shameful death.
It was for robbery or murder that one was placed on the cross to die. The One with no sin fared the fate of such a criminal. They stripped Him naked and put Him to open shame on the cross. To be put on a cross was to be considered at fault in heaven and on earth. He suffered shame and sin for us and are we this morning ashamed of our sins that we have stopped. What dishonor we show if we are ashamed of Him who suffered a painful and shameful death on the cross for us. He did this so we could be saved from the power and guilt of sin and eternal separation from God.
2. It was a voluntary death.
It was to do the will of God. He was the Son of God yet He became obedient unto death on the cross. He said, “I lay down my life.” He also had power to take it up again of which no one else can say. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will take it up again.” His voluntary death needs not to overlook His voluntary life He lived. He gave His life to please God and he was raised back to life that we might please God.
3. it was predicted death.
We could say it was the predicted death. It is not an after thought that God would give His Son for the salvation of the world. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world the plan was made for the Son to give His life for the sins of the world. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life for a world of lost sinners. The death of Christ was predicted and in the same breath, He spoke of His resurrection. No one else except Jesus Christ met the conditions that were predicted about Him.
4. It was a substitution death for us that are lost in sin.
He laid down His life for us for the purpose of saving us from guilt and sin. He made it possible for us to draw near to God. 1 PT 2:24 “He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!” TIT. 2:14 “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.”