Summary: This sermon looks at Jesus’ agony on the cross and what it accomplishes in our lives.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS
They’re hurting him. Make them stop," cried 4-year-old Caitlin as she watched the Easter cantata. She stared w\wide eyes as Jesus was beaten, mocked, & crucified.
Earlier she had danced and sang as Christ healed the brokenhearted, forgave sins, and provided for the poor. But now as she watched the sacrifice needed to do all of these things, she didn’t try to hide her horror. "Mommy, they aren’t being nice." "I don’t like this." It’s okay Caitlin Jesus will be okay its just pretend
But maybe we can learn something from Caitlin We shouldn’t move too fast to Easter Blowing right past Good Friday
Two thousand years ago, it wasn’t pretend. Stop for a moment and ponder that thought. There was a day in history when this crucifixion was very real.
Do you smell the sweat on Jesus’ skin after a long night of prayer and pleading with His heavenly Father? Do you allow yourself to hear the buzzing of the flies as they crawl on the Savior’s wounds?
1. Consider the way of the cross for Jesus
Jesus knowing what was coming has been to the garden He sees the enemies assembling, knows the evil to come Struggles to the very core of his being asks for another way
But then embraces God’s way
And that way includes being publicly humiliated Taken from his friends none of whom stand with him Peter grabbed the sword and took off a soldier’s ear. Peter was more than willing to fight, but not to give up. It was silly and beneath him Tried before a jury who already has it’s mind made up Crucify him
He is surrounded by shady characters Soldiers rip away his clothes and gamble for them He is beaten almost to death then God sees the son surrounded by two sin
As Jesus hung on the cross, persons at the foot of the cross made statements that made sense from a human perspective. “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. Then we will believe you.” Sounds like a pretty fair proposition on the surface. But the problem was that Jesus had already proved who He was over and over again. Those at the foot of the cross that were making those statements had no interest in placing their faith in Jesus. Bible doesn’t record it, but I can hear others at the foot of the cross saying things like, “What a waste! He was such a good man. He had so much to teach us. He healed so many people. And now He hangs on a tree, dying as a common criminal.
Feeling abandoned and alone. But sees even more the two thieves covered in sin
Cry of abandonment
Psa 13:1-4 NIV How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
2. But it is called “Good” Friday
What’s so Good About it?
good (good) adj. bet’ter, best I. a general term of approval or commendation 1. suitable to a purpose; effective; b) producing favorable results; beneficial
The amazing thing about Good Friday is that it was - and is - part of the “good” declared by God at creation. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31, NIV). The fall was not good; sin, disobedience, suffering is not good. But God’s purpose in creation, and the redemptive drama that ensued, was – and is – good.
Some talk of suffering God knew humans would experience by creating them & giving them free will, so God has placed a burden on human life. What is less noticed is how God always knew of Good Friday. In the rapture of creation, the cross loomed large. Yes, there would be suffering, but none more so than for God Himself.
C.S. Lewis writes: God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.