Summary: A sermon to focus on the cross leading up to Easter.
“Series – A Date with Destiny”
Pt. 1 - The Cross
John 19:17-18 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
I. The pace of his crucifixion v. 17a “…and he bearing his cross went forth…”
A. The Fame
Where it not for “his cross” the cross would be just another image and would have almost no significance in our culture. How many of you have a picture, a piece of jewelry, or an image of a cross somewhere in your home? Because of his cross there are over one billion Catholics who see his cross as a sacred icon to be displayed in their homes. There are a million crosses on a million steeples. There are crosses displayed on highways and hills in almost every town, city and state in this country. There is a large cross in from of a church on Hwy 78 going towards the children’s home in Eldridge, Alabama that you can see for miles. What is the fame of the cross? What makes the cross special and so recognizable? It is because it is “his cross.” The cross would be just another tool in the arsenal of man’s cruelty if it weren’t for Jesus.
B. The Shame
What do I mean when I speak of the shame of the cross? As far as the Romans and Jews were concerned there no death more shameful or disgraceful than the cross.
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
C. The Blame
Who is to blame for the cross? Some would say the Romans or the Jews and others would say that ultimately we all are for our sin hung the Savior on the cross but in the grand scheme of things it is God the Father who loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son and all those who believe in Him are given the promise of eternal life.
ILL – There is power in the cross. It’s undeniable. Even unbelievers seem to squirm when considering its potential. David Brooks, of the Weekly Standard, reports "of the conniption being thrown by the American Atheist, the group founded by the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair (may God have mercy upon her soul). It seems that when the World Trade Center collapsed, the force of the fall, or some supernatural force, fused two steel beams into a 20-foot-high cross, which has been kept on the edge of the site. The atheists want the cross removed, of course, but in their passion to do that, they are actually revealing their faith in the power of the cross. If it didn’t have power, why get so upset?" There is power in the cross. It’s undeniable.
Second: What of this place that the Lord “went forth” to?
II. The place of his crucifixion v. 17b “…into a place call the place of the skull…”
A. The formation
What does the Bible tell us about the location? The Gospel writers call the place where Jesus was crucified Golgotha—an Aramaic word meaning "the skull." Calvary is the Latin form of the word. Scripture does not reveal the precise location of Golgotha. It simply states that Jesus’ crucifixion took place outside the city of Jerusalem, though near it (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12). Jewish law did not permit executions and burials inside the city. Further, Jesus was undoubtedly crucified near a well-traveled road, since passersby mocked him (Matthew 27:39; Mark 15:21, 29-30). The Romans selected conspicuous places by major highways for their public executions. The crucifixion probably took place on a hill, because it was at an elevation high enough to be plainly visible at a distance (verse 40). As for the tomb or sepulcher, we’re told only that it was in a garden near the place of crucifixion (John 19:41).
B. The function
From early Christian times, virtually all commentators held that Golgotha was named “the place of the skull” simply because it was a place of execution, where the skulls and bones of criminals lay scattered. The Romans had borrowed this method of execution from earlier civilizations, the Persians and even Alexander the Great was said to have crucified 2,000 survivors of his conquest of the city of Tyre.
C. The form
The New Testament uses the word tree five times to refer to Christ’s crucifixion on a cross. The references are found in Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24. Most of the time, the noun stauros (stake) and the verb stauroo (crucify) are used in connection with Jesus Christ’s death. These two words appear 74 times in the New Testament.