Summary: In times of trouble we need to trust God. When we don’t understand, when everything is falling apart, when we don’t see a way forward, we need to confidently believe He is still on the throne. Despite much disappointment and pain we hold on to hope because we are condemned to victory!
Message by Eddie Fernandes
(Click intro title) The message I am about to preach today couldn’t have come at a better time. I am convinced God knew what I would be going through and He inspired this series many months ago knowing this message would coincide with my situation and a really terrible week for me. That’s what I love about God. He is not bound by matter, space or time. He looked into my future and He led me to prepare a sermon that would be uniquely woven for me. Normally, we preachers believe our sermons are for other people to hear. Rarely do we prepare sermons for ourselves. Well, this Sunday God wanted me to hear this sermon. I am preaching to myself not so much to the choir. If others, such as you my friends, can benefit, that is an added bonus.
We are in part 8 of our series on the Stations of the Cross. This will be the 5th message I preach in this series of 12 messages. Tom, one of our Elders, preached one; my middle daughter Renée preached another, and last week, Gaby, my youngest daughter, came in from Riverside Lisbon to preach the 7th message. The key people we will study today is Jesus and His Father in Heaven. The key teaching is CONFIDENCE/TRUST. And the key Scripture passage is Mark 15:33-39. You can also read the narrative in Luke 23 and John 19. Let’s read: (Click passage 1a) “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, ‘Listen, he’s calling Elijah.’ Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. (Click passage 1b) ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:33-39 – NIV).
And thus ended the life of our beloved Messiah. Let’s recall His last week of life. The weekend prior to His death Jesus walked towards Jerusalem knowing He was about to face the worst week of His life and knowing He would be killed. He arrived in the town of Bethany six days before Passover and there on the Sabbath He was anointed at Simon the leper’s house. A great crowd gathered to hear from Him on the Sunday. We could say He held a “service” for those who had come from near and far to see Him.
The final week in the life of Jesus (Click sub-title)
Early on Monday morning He got up and entered Jerusalem, visited the Temple and returned to Bethany. The date was Nisan 10 on the Jewish calendar, the exact day when Jews selected and separated the unblemished Passover lambs to be sacrificed. Jesus, in effect, presented Himself as the sinless Paschal Lamb who would take away the sin of the world. On Tuesday He returned to Jerusalem, cursing the barren fig tree on the way. He also cleansed the Temple of money changers and vendors who were blocking access for gentiles to come and worship God. This infuriated the religious leaders and they plotted to kill Him. At sunset He returned to Bethany with His disciples. On Wednesday as they walked back to Jerusalem the disciples noticed the fig tree had withered. At His Father’s House on Temple Mount, Jesus was questioned and defiantly challenged by the religious leaders. In the afternoon He climbed the Mount of Olives and delivered His famous teaching. He also predicted that He would be killed within two days. Judas met with the religious leaders and planned the betrayal of Our Lord. Darkness was fast approaching.
On the Thursday Jesus instructed His disciples to start preparing the Passover. He began to prepare them for what would be the most painful and terrifying time of His life. He ate the Seder, or Passover meal, with them and He prayed for them. He then led them to the Garden of Gethsemane where He spent the night in prayer suffering tremendous agony as all hell was loosed upon Him. That night Judas arrived with soldiers. Jesus was betrayed, arrested and taken to be tried by Annas and later by Caiaphas, the High Priests of Israel. They had religious power but could not sentence a man to death. So they mocked Him, beat Him, spat on Him, and sent Him to be tried in the early hours of Friday morning, first by the religious Sanhedrin, then by Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor, and then by King Herod Antipas. Wherever He was sent He was abused, tortured, ridiculed, mocked and hurt. Finally, He was sent back to Pilate, the only one with power to decree the death sentence. Pilate washed his hands to imply his innocence, and then handed Jesus over to be whipped with 39 lashes, as was customary for the Romans, and then to be crucified.