Summary: This sermons speaks of 3 men who witnessed the cross and three different reactions.
The day a person calls upon the name of the Lord for salvation is the most important time in one’s life. It’s a privilege to be there for someone’s spiritual birth. I was there when all three of my children were born. What a great moment that was. There was a day when dads weren’t allowed in the delivery room. To experience a great miracle of birth is a wonderful experience. I can see why they call it labor, holding her hand, reminding her to breath, watching the monitor to let her know another contraction is on the way. It was exhausting. To experience the new birth with someone is also a beautiful moment. To hear them in all sincerity pray the sinners prayer, “Lord I admit I am a sinner, and I believe Jesus died for me and rose again and today I ask you to save me.” To realize you just witnessed a new birth. By the way, the only way you will ever be a witness to a new birth is to tell someone else about the Savior and the Bible way to heaven.
There are many key players we could talk about today and build a message around. Peter…Judas…Pilate…the thief on the cross…Mary Magdalene …
Today I would like to speak to you about 3 soldiers or groups of soldiers who had different reactions to what they were about to see unfold that day.
Three Soldiers who witnessed Calvary
I. John 19:23-24 The soldier who won the coat
A. 4 soldiers who missed the bigger picture. So close to the Savior.
B. They had their eye on the clothes. Perhaps this was a common practice. One of the perks of the job that you get to keep what the prisoners would leave behind.
C. One thing is for certain they were concerned about their welfare. What can I get out of this deal? But wait, this is such a nice coat. It is a shame to waste such a garment.
D. They were living for what they could get out of life right now.
1. Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
a. Speak of some who have died early in life.
2. We work so hard to have a comfortable life and well we should but do not miss the greater picture. Eternity is a long long time and you will spend it in one of 2 places.
E. Many will get to the end of their lives and will see that all the things they have collected over the years do not really matter.
1. The most frustrating thing about getting older is that every time you see an expensive antique, you remember one just like it you once threw away.
F. Christians are not immune to just living for the here and now. Sometimes we forget the most important things in life are eternal. We catch ourselves working long hours to make ends meet, burning a candle at both ends and we miss out on God’s best for our lives.
I counted dollars while God counted crosses
I counted gains while he counted losses
I counted by worth by the things gained in store
But he sized me up by the scars that I bore
I coveted honors and sought for degrees
He wept as He counted the hours on my knees
I never knew until one day by the grave
How vain are the things that we spend life to save
I did not know until my loved one went above
That richest is he who is rich in God’s love
II. There was another soldier. John 19:34
To speed up the execution they broke the legs. Jesus was already dead. Everyone seemed satisfied. They didn’t feel it necessary to take any further action. All except one. In a calloused and inhuman act he thrust a spear into His side.
A. This man perhaps was a bitter angry man.
B. Maybe he hated his job…to be around death all the time
C. Maybe he was having trouble at home, children, maybe he was one who lost the bet for the coat or was having financial difficulty.
D. We are not told the reason why this particular soldier reacted in such a violent manner. Prophecy declared it would happen. But the man did not do know prophecy. It was no surprise to God.
E. This man rejected the very one who came to give him life. He had heard the words that were spoken:
1. Woman behold thy son, Son behold thy mother
2. My God why hast thou forsaken me
3. I Thirst
4. Father forgive them for they know not what they do
5. Today you’ll be with me in paradise
6. It is finished