Summary: Crucifixion sermon
“The Soldiers’ Spit”
Matthew 27: 27-31
March 11, 2001
Intro: This morning, we begin a series about Jesus and some of the accompanying aspects of the crucifixion. Each time I read about the crucifixion, I become overwhelmed with how much Christ loves me. We sang last week, “Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” I want us to look in our Bibles this morning to see just how great the love of the Savior is.
Turn with me first this morning to Luke 18:31-33.
This week Billy Graham was on TV. We think, wow, wouldn’t it be great just to sit and talk with Billy for a few hours. We often idolize him. Yet, Billy tells publicly of some of his failures as a father. Ruth Graham shares that she never thought about divorcing him, but sometimes she did think about shooting him. When we get to know someone well, we see all the flaws and sins that they hide so well. This morning, we don’t have a church full of glorious saints, but pews filled with horrible sinners, as well as a pulpit filled with a horrible sinner. We know this to be true, because often we hate the sin that we do the most! We see it, and despise it, and sometimes even hate ourselves. Yet, when God looks at us, he sees us as we are, yet he loves us.
Jesus is headed towards Jericho. He is teaching the people, blessing the children, offering parables. And he gives his disciples a picture of what is ahead. Yet they don’t understand it. 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 turned 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." The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
Jesus knew what awaited him. He knew what kind of people he would confront. Yet he walked that road to Jerusalem, because of love. Have you ever done anything that you really didn’t like doing, yet you do it because you love someone?
#Tim Brown - Chuck E Cheese - Good News - “you couldn’t pay me enough” - for the Lord
As we look at Jesus, compelled by love to face what awaited him, let’s see what he endured.
Turn with me now if you would to Matthew 27:26-31. READ TEXT
I. We see our hopelessness in the soldiers.
What was the order given to the soldiers? To take Jesus and have him crucified. These were soldiers, men under orders, and we don’t fault them for the act of the crucifixion. They were following orders. But what do we see here in this passage. Before the crucifixion, there is a period of beating and mocking and spitting. They spit on Jesus. Why?
In this terrible scene, we see all the filth and corruption that is in the hearts of the soldiers. This degradation showed their evil hearts.
*They take him into the praetorium, the courtyard of the palace where the soldiers “hung out” - they take him into a safe place, where they can act out their sins in secret.
*They all got involved - “the whole company” participated
*They try to do whatever they can to humiliate Jesus - strip him, the robe, the thorns, beating
*The spit - spitting is intended not to do physical harm, but to degrade the soul.
In our society, we don’t often spit on people, but we find other ways to degrade people. We try to make them feel bad so we can feel good at their expense. We have exchanged spitting for slander, cursing, obscene gestures, rage and aggression.
We look at the soldiers and we see the depth of sin in their hearts, as they mock and degrade Jesus. But we can cast no stones, for when we see them, we see ourselves.
We come to this church, and we often come across as great saints who have our lives together. But let’s admit to one another this morning that we struggle with anger, and jealousy, and lust, and deceit, and blasphemy, and gossip, and all kinds of corruption. Just as the soldiers, we also spit on Christ.
##story - “Taking Aim” - darts at picture - picture of Jesus underneath.”
The apostle Paul, one of the greatest saints of the New Testament, gives us some very transparent confessions about himself. In one place he says “I am the chief of sinners.” In Romans 7, we find some honest confession about his struggle with sin. Read Rom. 7:15-8:1