Summary: The dark road to the Cross was full of rejection and pain, but and Jesus emerged on the other side of the cross into the brilliance of resurrection life! This road is also the pattern for every disciple.
The Road to the Cross
by David O. Dykes
Communicating clearly is always a challenge for us. When we use the wrong word or mix up our words the result is often humorous. Here are some actual examples of excuse notes (with original spelling) parents sent to school with their children:
1) My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
2) Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
3) Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
4) Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
5) Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
6). Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
7) Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.
It is hard to communicate clearly! Sometimes it’s difficult to understand some of the cryptic passage of the Bible–but not this passage. Here Jesus speaks plainly. He doesn’t employ apocalyptic language, or use a parable with a hidden message. He says, “Read my lips: ‘I’m going to Jerusalem to die.’” And still, the disciples didn’t get it. Let’s read beginning in Luke 18:31:
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” Can you get any clearer than that? Yet look at verse 34: The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
Even before His birth in Bethlehem, Jesus was on the road to the cross. Revelation 13:8 says the Lamb of God was “slain from the foundation of the world.” In this passage, Jesus is moving closer to the cross. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the south, near Jerusalem. He grew up in Nazareth up near the Sea of Galilee. For three years, His base of ministry was Capernaum, which is on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is a large fresh water lake, about seven miles long and three miles wide. He visited Jerusalem a few times, but He was basically a country boy who didn’t care for the big city. When Jews in Galilee visited Jerusalem they traveled south through the valley surrounding the Jordan River. So Jesus said, “Boys, it’s time to go up to Jerusalem.” That sounds awkward because we usually talk about going “up” when we’re heading north. We say, “I’m going up to Chicago.” But we seldom say, “I’m going up to Houston this weekend.” In the Bible people always went up to Jerusalem. It wasn’t the highest point in elevation, but it was the Holy City, and was exalted in its holiness. As we retrace the road to the cross, let’s learn four important spiritual lessons:
1. THE ROAD TO THE CROSS WAS PREDICTED BY THE PROPHETS
In verse 31 Jesus said, “Everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” There are over 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. Many of them predict the details of His death. If you aren’t convinced the Bible is the supernatural Word of God, I invite you to consider the following ten Old Testament prophecies about the death of Jesus. Although they were written hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, He clearly fulfilled each of them.
1. Betrayed by a friend. “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9. Mark 14:10 tells us that one of his disciples, Judas, went to the Jewish authorities to offer to betray Jesus. He led them to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and kissed Him on the cheek.
2. Sold for thirty pieces of silver. “‘If you think it best, give me my pay.’ so they paid me thirty pieces of silver” Zechariah 11:12. Matthew 26:15 confirms Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
3. Silent when accused. “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7. Instead of trying to argue for His innocence, Matthew 26:63 tells us Jesus remained silent when He was given a chance to defend Himself.
4. Slapped and spit upon. “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6. Mark 14:65 confirms the Roman soldiers took a whip and tore open the back of Jesus. They plucked out His beard and their foul spittle desecrated the face of the Messiah. What Isaiah wrote 750 years earlier came true!