Summary: Uses the last sayings of Jesus to understand the meaning of the cross.
As with all my sermons no sermon is original, there may be some material for other sources through the years.
Title: The Meaning of the Cross
Theme: To try to understand the meaning of the cross through the last sayings of
Text: Luke 23:32-34
Luk 23:32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
The cross. What is the meaning of the cross. We look at it. We see it represented in many places and many forms. But we must ask what does it mean. It is a universal symbol that has never been the same. You go around this world and people see one association to the cross.
In the Old Testament is was a cruse to did by the cross. But today it is different. The cross. Today as we look at the last words of Jesus let us allow him to answer for us, “The meaning of the Cross.
As you put the events of the crucifixion together in the gospels you come to see that there are seven last sayings of Jesus. Seven things that were said as he was hanging on this cross. In each one he described to us and gave us the answer to the question “What is the meaning of the Cross?”
Two sections: 1) For others first three
2) For self last four for self
Suffering is a great test of character. What one does during suffering is the sign of ones character. Jesus first thought was not for him but for others.
I. Intercession and forgiveness
Luke 23: 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
It would seem from here that the purpose of the cross was a means of intercession and forgiveness. Without this there was no way that God could forgive these men or any other person that committed sin. But with the cross the Father, through the Son, can now look down and offer forgiveness for their sins.
Before this statement would mean nothing. It would actually go against the very nature of God to forgive man with out some kind of sacrifice. God cannot turn his head to sin. God cannot look the other way but if there is a way that the sin can be covered up. If there is a way that the sin can be wiped away. If there is a way that the sin could be changed then he could forgive and forget. This is what the cross has done.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the
spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was
numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12 ASV)
Jesus is not only making the way but he is offering it up. He is fulfilling his own words as said in:
Pray for them that persecute you; (Matthew 5:44 ASV)
Jesus here shows who is father is.
Then Jesus shows that he was an advocate.
Then we see the answer, very speedily.
1) Have you been forgiven?
2) Do you forgive?
II. A life of eternity with Christ
Luke 23:39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
It was quite evidence from Mt 27:44 and Mark 15:32 that these thieves were cursing Christ and degrading him from the beginning. But something happened to one. As this thief looked at the compassion and forgiveness of Christ as he saw who he was and realized it he wanted forgiveness.
The man was converted
1) He had an honest confession vs. 41
2) He declared the Lord’s divinity.
3) He knew that the soul after death still lived “Remember me”.
Then the Lord gave him a swift reply.
1) Shows us that there is no such thing as purgatory, “Today you shall be with me in paradise”