Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

03/25/2018 A.M.

 

A Day At The Cross

Celebrating The Lord’s Supper

Reading – Mark 15.16-39

 

It was six o’clock in the morning... Jerusalem was coming to life in anticipation of the most important day of the year... PASSOVER!!

 

To the Jews... Passover was about two things... It was a day of remembrance and anticipation.

• Every household... Every person… Will be remembering that it was on this day fifteen hundred years earlier that God had freed their forefathers from Egyptian slavery.

• It was also a day of ANTICIPATION... At this time in history... It was commonly believed that on a soon to come PASSOVER God would deliver all Israel through the promised Messiah. Like Moses... He would free them from their Roman bondage and reestablish the glory days of David and Solomon.

 

So... This morning... The air is filled with both nostalgia and anticipation.

 

Fast forward to nine o’clock...The third hour of this special day... We join a group making our way to a hill just outside the city... It’s located just outside the Damascus Gate... On a road leading South to Gaza... The Damascus Road.

The hill is called

• Calvary in the Latin...

Golgothain Hebrew...

• They both mean place of the skull.

The site is a flat area...Used frequently as a Roman execution site.

 

We find a small crowd already gathered.

• Three men on three crosses... stand like sentinels in the early morning sun...

• There’s a detachment of soldiers... A Roman crucifixion squad... Overseen by a Centurion.

• Jewish officials from the Sanhedrin and the office of the High Priest.

• A few disciples of Jesus... Including John... Mary... And others.

• Then there were the passersby... The casual bystanders... Who were using this road on their way to Passover events.

 

The three men have been...

• Accused...

• Tried...

• Sentenced...

• And crucified... Roman style.

Two are guilty... one is not.

 

On the center cross hangs Jesus of Nazareth. The sign meant to communicate His crime reads... King of the Jews... Written in... Latin...Greek... ARAMAIC.

 

For Jesus... It’s been a long, stressful night...

Most scholars believe the confrontation and arrest in the Garden must have taken place around one or one-thirty Friday morning...

 

Through the night... He was taken to what is estimated to be seven trials...

• To Annas...

• To Caiphas

• Before the Jewish... Elders... Scribes... the Sanhedrin...

• To Pilate... To Herod Antipas... Back to Pilate... Where He was scourged... Beaten beyond recognition...

• From 8AM until around 9... The Roman Soldiers... In The Praetorium… Made sport of Jesus... Mocking Him with a Crown of Thorns... A Purple Robe... And a Shepherds Staff... Hailing Him as King of the Jews... Making fun of both Jesus and the Jewish officials accusing Him.

It was during this time... They allowed people to... Fist Him... Slap Him... Spit in His face.

• Somewhere around 9AM... They place the strip of the cross on Jesus’ bloody shoulders…

Starting the slow possession to the crucifixion site.

 

At this point... We want to stop and contemplate the significance of the cross.

What do we see... And what does it mean to us...

 

First there is the darkness.

Mark says it happened at noon... And lasted until three o’clock… Darkness over all the land. It’s interesting to note that... The Mishna tells us that the sixth hour... noon... Was the exact moment which marked the official beginning of Passover.  This same document says that on Passover... The Priest began offering the Passover lamb at precisely three o’clock.

 

Interesting isn’t it that...

• At NOON... Darkness came on the whole land.

• At THREE O’CLOCK Jesus became our Passover lamb and the darkness vanished.

 

Science has no explanation that could account for this phenomenon.  Some have suggested an eclipse of the sun... But we all know that such an eclipse lasts for only a few moments… Neither coming or going quickly.  This darkness lasted for three hours and evidently ended as suddenly as it had begun.

 

What caused this darkness...? We don’t know... Some suggestions...

 

God is light... Was God turning His back on what was happening on the cross?

Was God removing His presence from the planet?

 

If we spiritualize this event... Darkness would represent what happens because of SIN.

• John tells us that... God is light and in Him there is no darkness.

• The prophet Isaiah says... Our sins... Our iniquities... Have separated us from God... Making Him hide his face from us.

So... When Jesus became sin for us... God would have turned His face... Forsaken Him.

Scripture tells us that Hell is such a place... A place where God is not present... So there is Utter...Outer... Darkness.

• The bad news here is that...  We’ve all sinned and that there is none righteous, no not one.

We must know this morning that we allstand in the darkness of that day at the cross.

• Here’s the good news... Paul says... We have been delivered from this darkness... The kingdom and power of darkness... We have been delivered from this Hell... By Jesus’ death on the cross.

 

Not only do we see the darkness... We smell His sweat... We sense His humanity.

No... In opposition to what the Gnostics taught... This was not a ghost... This is not just a spirit hanging on the cross... Here we see Jesus’ humanity... He’s one of us... He’s human.

• You could beat Him... And He could feel the pain.

• You could scourge Him... And He would bleed.

• You could spit in His face... And it would make Him sick.

• You could mock and make fun of Him... And His feelings would be hurt.

• You could load Him up with a heavy cross... And He would stumble.

• You could drive nails in His hands and feet... And He would moan.

• You could forsake Him... He would cry out... why!

• You could crucify Him on and cross...  And He would die... And He did... and He did!

Jesus was human... God in the flesh... God with skin on.

 

Listen to these scriptures which affirm His incarnation.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us.

God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.

• When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His son, born of woman, born under the law.

• Philippians two says... He was in the likeness of men.

• The Hebrews’ writer says... He was made lower than the angels... Was tempted and suffered in all ways as we are.

 

Jesus’ humanity can be seen in the fact that he wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus.

He lamented over the fate of Jerusalem... O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you under my wings like a hen does her chicks, but you would not.

He experienced fear and anxiety... With sweat as He prayed for release in Gethsemane.

Our senses tell us that...The human Jesus... Suffered... Bled... and Died... To take away our sins... Praise God for His humanity.

 

This brings us to our third point... Because He’s human... We sense Jesus is Dying.

In today’s medical terms...We see Jesus is actively dying...

• He hasn’t had any sleep for over thirty hours.

• He was arrested and dragged through several mock trials.

• He has been scourged... Beaten within an inch of His life.

• Men have… fisted… slapped… beat Him.

• They have spit in His face.

• The crown of thorns has been repeatedly pushed into the flesh of His head and face.

• He was made to carry His cross from downtown to Golgotha.

• Spikes have been driven through His hands and feet... Holding Him to the cross.

• He hangs there until He suffocates from not being able to take in another breath.

 

Church... Here is the question... Do we... Do you... Feel the pain of Jesus??

Do we?... We should... Because He died... Where we should have died.

What He suffered... We should have suffered.

 

No wonder Isaiah is found saying... He has borne our grief, carried our sorrow. For us He was smitten and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement we should have suffered because of our sins, was given to Him.  By His bruises, His stripes, His scourging, by His suffering we are healed.

 

Church... Something is wrong... Seriously wrong... In my life and yours... If we come here Sunday after Sunday and do not feel His pain.

 

This brings us to what we HEAR...

Even though Jesus was in excruciating pain... Even though dying... We catch a glimpse of who and what He is... His... Heart... Attitude... Disposition... In the seven utterances made while dying...

• Father forgive them... They know not what they do...

• Today... You will be with Me in Paradise...

• John... Behold your mother... Mother... Behold your son...

• I thirst...

• My God... My God... Why hath you forsaken Me...

• Tetelestai... It is finished...

• Father... Into your hands I commit My Spirit.

 

Everyday... At the ninth hour... Three PM... A sacrificial lamb was killed in theTemple. 

 

At that very moment... When Jesus said... TETELESTAI... It is finished... Father into Your hands I commit My Spirit.

 

At that moment… Four things happen...

• Jesus dies...

 

• Everybody in Jerusalem heard the sound of a ram’s horn... Announcing that the Priest had offered the sacrificial lamb.

 

• Maliciously... The Temple Veil was ripped by the hand of God... From top-to-bottom... Exposing the presence of God... Announcing that... His Spirit... His Presence... Was now available to dwell in Human kind.

 

• And the darkness ceased.

 

Tetelestai is not saying JESUS was finished... But IT is finished. TETELESTAI is in the third person... it is finished.

• The scheme of redemption...

• The plan of salvation...

• The mystery in the mind of God through the ages...

• What God had planned for the salvation of all mankind...

Is Finished

 

Jesus is saying... My work on earth is done... The price has been paid for sin.

In classical Greek... TETELESTAI...Meant... PAID IN FULL... Nothing else is owed.

A word written across bills of laden.... Stamped on notes when the debt was paid.

 

Tetelestai speaks of our salvation... For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no-one can boast.

 

Then finally... We taste His blood... Blood shed for our sins.

During The Passover Meal...Jesus was found saying... This is My blood of the New Testament, the New Covenant.

 

Christianity is a blood religion... Praise God for that.

You see... If we remove His blood from the cross... Then we have no sacrifice for sin.

The Hebrews’ writer says... Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

Without the shedding of blood... We have nothing to look forward to except the absolute and eternal darkness of Hell... Eternal separation from God… Both in this life and in the life to come.

 

Note quickly now... What His blood does for us.

 

It justifies and saves us.

Justification is just–as–if–it–never–happened.

Romans 5.9... Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from God’s wrath through Jesus.

 

Remember Barabbas? When Pilate tried to release Jesus... The crowd cried... No, give us Barabbas!...Barabbas was scheduled to and should have hung on the center cross that day. Jesus took Barabbas’ place... More importantly... He also took our place. Where He dies Guiltless... Sinless...Shameless... we should die... Guilty, as a sinner unclean.

 

His blood redeems us.

Redemption literally means to buy back.

Jesus paid our sin debt with His blood... We’ve been purchased... Bought with a price... His blood for our sins.

 

Peter says... You know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold...But with the blood of Christ, as a lamb... A Passover Lamb... Without spot nor blemish.

 

His blood sanctifies and makes us clean.

Paul writes to the Ephesians telling them of Jesus’ love for the church... Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it. That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

 

1 John 1.7 tells us His blood continually cleanses us... If we walk in the light as He is in the light, you have fellowship with one another and the blood of Christ continues to cleanse us from all our sins.

 

How long will the blood of Jesus continue to cleanse us?... Just as long as we walk in the light... In TrutH.

 

The blood of Jesus forgives us.

Ephesians 1.7 says... In Him we have redemption through His blood... Even the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

 

The blood of Jesus purges our conscience.

I don’t know what an atheist does with his guilt.

I know what I do with mine...Allow the blood of Christ to purge it... How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, to purge our conscience from dead works and to serve a living God.

 

There is no reason for us as a Christian to live with guilt... NONE!

Jesus died on the cross so we wouldn’t have to... So don’t!

Forgiveness, justification is just-as-if-it-never-happened.

Let it go... God has forgiven... Accept His grace.

 

Well... Passover was a day of remembrance and anticipation.

• A day when everyone remembered deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

• A day of expectation...Anticipating the day Messiah would come set up His kingdom.

 

Sure enough... At the cross... Jesus became our spiritual PASSOVER.

He came and died to deliver us from the bondage of sin.

 

So… This morning... As we partake of the Lord’s Supper... Let us do two things...

 

• Let us look back, remembering the cross and His suffering body broken for us.

Let us REMEMBER what His blood... Shed that day... Has and continues to do for us.

 

• Then let us look forward in Anticipation to that time when He comes again to usher us into... Our eternal reward...Our home in heaven.

 

At this point in the service...

We are going to sing an appropriate communion song...

During this Lord’s Supper... Let me challenge you to

See Jesus

Feel His Pain

Smell His Sweat...

Hear His Cry...

Comprehend the darkness without His forgiveness...

Sense the benefits we have because of His dying for us.

 

INVITATION...

The most important decision you and I will ever have to make... The most important question we will ever have to answer is this one... What will you do with Jesus?

 

• Will we let go of all our pride and submit to the cross of Christ... Accept Jesus as our Savior...Lord... And King?

 

• Will we allow His blood to... Wash our sins away?... Forgive?.... And cleanse us?... Save us?

 

This is possible by... Faith... Repentance... and Baptism… Immersion in water for the remission of your sins.

 

As a child of God…

 

• Perhaps we have sins to acknowledge to God… Asking His forgiveness.

 

• Perhaps we need to REDEDICATE and recommit our lives to Jesus... To having His Heart… Attitude…Disposition… and Behavior.

 

• Perhaps most of all we just need to... Examine the cross more often… with a deep appreciation of what took place there on our behalf.

 

Come to Jesus as we stand and sing together.