Summary: I talk about how Jesus endured the emotional, physical and spiritual sufferings he encountered.

What Jesus Knew About the Passion

April 11, 2004

Intro: "You have to be living in a hole like Saddam was to avoid all the attention that’s been given to Mel Gibson’s new movie The Passion of the Christ."

Rick Warren.

I encourage you to go see it if you haven’t. It has caused quite a stir in our culture hasn’t it? Ever since the movie came out there has been non stop talk about Jesus! Some of it has been negative but there’s been a whole lot of positive. I heard there was going to actually be a 20-30% increase in people attending Easter worship services then last year—just because of the movie.

For the month of April here at Riverwood Church we are going to focus on the Passion of Christ. When we talk about the Passion, that word means his sufferings. Specifically we are talking about the last 12 hours of his life and the pain and suffering he endured. In our growth groups for the next three weeks we will be diving into this topic in more detail. I want to invite you to join a group if you aren’t in one already. I am so proud of you all. 100% of you who attended a growth group during our 40 Days of Purpose indicated you wanted to continue meeting. Praise the Lord. Those of you who are not in one I want to really challenge you to give one a try. What a great time to do that. What I would like to do now is have everyone tear off the information side of their bulletin. I want everyone to fill out this information and if you want to try out a growth group just check the appropriate box. When the offering basket comes by just drop it in there.

TRANSITION: I am so glad you all are here today this Easter morning. I pray we all understand what this day is all about. It is a family day and I hope you take the time to spend it with family. But it is also a very significant day as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. But there could be no resurrection without the cross. I want to look at a very significant reality about Jesus just before he goes to the cross.

Let’s look at Matthew 26:1-2. “When Jesus had finished saying all these things (instructions to the disciples), he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Now, I don’t know about you but if I were Jesus and I knew I was going to endure crucifixion I would probably have taken the first donkey out of Jerusalem! I wouldn’t want to stick around. You wouldn’t have either! Jesus is making this statement as fact…his death was about to happen…and it wasn’t going to be pretty. Now, that leads us to a serious dilemma about Jesus. Someone who knows he is about to suffer like this and yet goes through with it is either one of three things. He is either out of his mind, crazy. Or he was a very good con man. Or, he was who he was claiming to be. And Jesus was claiming to be God! Really, there are no other alternatives. And this forces a decision for you and I—what do we believe about Jesus?

We either believe he is a liar, lunatic or he is Lord. What do you believe about him? You had to have been crazy to endure what he did unless he was who he said he was. Jesus didn’t run away from the cross but he endured it. Why? There were some important truths that Jesus knew. He knew something that most everybody did not know at the time.

I. He knew this was the Father’s will & purpose

This was his destiny. This is what the Lord wanted him to do. In Matthew 26 we see the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Jesus is desperately trying to come to terms with what he was about to do. It was en excruciatingly difficult decision Jesus was wrestling with. He could have at any time said, “I’m out of here.” But he didn’t. He even asked his Father, “If there is any other way to do this, please do it, but not my will but yours be done.” The death of Jesus was God’s plan of winning man back to himself. The Bible says we are all sinners and all have sinned. We are all guilty of sinning against a holy God. We all stand condemned and we all deserve a place in hell.

But in an incredible act of grace, justice, mercy and love God sends his Son to die in our place. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 The sins of the whole world—all the sins you have committed before, all the sins you will commit in the future were put on Jesus Christ. Think about all the different ways you have displeased God. You are probably pretty embarrassed by them...hopefully. And so can you imagine the struggle that Jesus is having the night before his crucifixion there in the Garden. The emotional struggle. The physical struggle. He knew what was coming. The pain, the agony of his flesh being torn apart. He knew what was going to happen physically. “Yet the real issue is that He realized He was going to take the blame, the guilt for every evil act ever done in history on Him. Imagine the burden. He realized he was going to take the blame for every rape, for every child molested, for every wife who was beaten. He was going to have to take the guilt for every murder, for every lie, for every jealousy, for every unfaithfulness and adultery, for all the pornography in the world. He was going to take the guilt for every sin, every theft.” Rick Warren

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