Summary: A Holy Week / pre-Easter sermon about "What Jesus dying on the cross does for us."
While Dying on a Tree
“Then they nailed him to the cross” Mark 15:24
Intro: Today I’m going to talk about what Jesus dying on the cross does for you. As people would walk by the cross, they would look up and see not only the shock and brutality of the crucifixion, but also written above the criminal was a sign stating the crime that individual had done. The public would see the man dying in agony, pain, and blood, and suffering on that cross. Then they would read the charge above him. It would tell what that man had done. Every person who walked by would say, “I’ll never do that. If I commit that crime I too will be crucified. Whatever that person hanging there did, I will never do it, because I don’t want to end up there. I will not commit a crime that will cause me to end up on the cross."
But the truth is we have all committed those crimes, we have all broken the laws, and we have all sinned. We might think that sin is only robbery or adultery, or murder, but the bible teaches us that anything that doesn’t please God is a sin. Losing your temper, stealing, gossip, talking about someone behind their back, anything you do you shouldn’t do is a sin. And anything you should do and don’t is a sin. When you fail to have a prayer life. When you neglect reading the Word your bible. When you don’t truly love your neighbor. When you put work or recreation first in your life. When you prioritize possessions or pleasures before God. When you are too tired to worship or are having too much recreation to worship ball games and sports and fun and other activities before coming to worship that is a sin. Idolatry is physical and material things that come between us and the right relationship with God.
There are sins of actions and sins of inactions. Lying and lust and hatred and pride and self righteousness. Then there is apathy, indifference, laziness, lack of concern, do nothing about the lost. And I am sure that you can think of several more sins in your own life that I have not yet to mention. So the verdict is already in. Guilty. We cannot walk past the cross where Jesus is dying and claim our innocence by our own works or deeds. What is the penalty for your sin? What did the death of Jesus accomplish?
Today I am going to tell you the Good News of what took place while Jesus was dying on a tree.
I. Forgiveness while being tortured.
Jesus forgave while he was still being sinned against. While he was still being tortured Jesus offered forgiveness. There is a very important lesson to learn here: Most of the time we think that other people have to stop hurting us before we can forgive them. When they quit being mean or they must first realize that what they have done is wrong. Then we can begin to forgive. But the fact that Jesus showed forgiveness while the torture was still happening means that we also must forgive others even if they continue on being mean and hurting us. This is impossible to do without the help of God and the Holy Spirit.
A father and daughter were walking down the street together when the little girl said to her father, “daddy I’m tired.” The father picked up his little girl and began to carry her on his shoulders. They soon met a neighbor who had just seen the little girl the day before. The neighbor looked up at the little girl riding on her father’s shoulders and said, “Wow, you sure have grown since I saw you yesterday.” The little girl looked down with a smile and said, “It is not all me.” What she was saying was, “I’m not really this tall. I’m riding on my daddy’s shoulders.” As believers we are never very tall by ourselves. We all go through life riding on our Father’s shoulders.
If you are able to forgive someone who has harmed you it’s not because you are such a great person. It is not because you are so morally good. If someone has wronged you and you find the strength to forgive them. It is not your own strength. It is not your own doing. It is the Holy Spirit enabling us to forgive. It is riding on God’s shoulders that makes us the taller person. Learn this lesson: The cross is where God does all the work.
II. Mercy while being mocked
How difficult it is when people mock you and talk bad about you. They scorn you, and persecute you and ridicule.
You know what I have discovered. Is that when someone comes up to me and starts talking bad to me about someone else. I watch out. Because it want be long until they are talking bad to someone else about me. So the next time someone starts talking bad to you about someone else. Look out! They will probably be talking to me about you next.