The Cross

The Cross: As Jesus saw it

The Cross – As Jesus saw it.

 

Introduction.

 

Over the years many books, plays, and films have told the story of Jesus Christ. Some which don’t necessarily hold that the gospels are an accurate account have portrayed Jesus as being some what weak and confused. He doesn’t seem to know who he is – he is depicted as a feeble victim of circumstances who didn’t always appear to know what he was supposed to do.

 

However if we hold that the Gospels are accurate historical account of Jesus life then we get a very different picture. Incidentally, most historians would concede these are reliable accounts even if they don’t personally believe in Jesus Christ.

 

Even some Christian theologians have tried to portray Jesus’ death on a cross as plan B. In other words, Jesus came expecting people to follow him, not murder him – as if the crucifixion was some kind of Divine after-thought.

Such a view is simply unsustainable if we are to base what we believe on what the Bible teaches.

 

The Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost said the following Acts 2:23 23 This man {Jesus} handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (NIV)

Then later in a letter he wrote 1 Peter 1:20 20 He [Jesus] was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)

The Apostle Paul wrote that God promised eternal life “before time began” [Titus 1v2] and that “he chose us in him [Christ] from before the foundation of the world”

 

The question is “Where did Peter and Paul and the other NT writers get this idea from?”

They heard it from Jesus himself – that is what I want to focus on today.

 

There is no way that Christ’s death and resurrection was a divine after-thought / or plan B. The OT predicted the cross aas we have seen in our series so far. Jesus used the OT teaching to point this out to his followers.

Listen to what he says to his disciples after his resurrection.

On the road to Emmaus to two disciples Luke 24:25-27 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (NIV)

Later to the eleven – Luke 24:46 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, (NIV)

 

How then did Jesus see his death on the cross – let’s look at 5 pictures that he gives us to emphasise his death in different ways.

  1. 1.      The Lamb. – replacing / fulfilling ALL sacrifices and offerings.

In the days of the OT when God gave instruction to Israel, through Moses, about how they were to approach God in worship there were an abundance of sacrifices and offerings required.

There were –

–         burnt offerings signifying total surrender & obedience.

–         Sin offerings – paying penalty for offences against God.

–         Various other animal, meal, drink offerings.

All these were symbols pointing to the one great sacrifice of Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus fulfils the requirements of all the sacrifices and offerings – therefore the book of Hebrews says: Hebrews 10:4-7 4 … it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” (NIV)

 

Jesus accomplished with the one sacrifice of himself on the cross what millions of sacrifices on Jewish altars could never accomplish.

 

We had a glimpse of this when we looked and Genesis 22 – God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac BUT at the last minute stops him. However on the way up the mountain Isaac asks his father “Where is the sacrifice?” to which Abraham replies “My son, God will provide for himself a lamb for the burnt offering.”

Without Abraham necessarily understanding the full implication of what he was saying it was a prophetic utterance of God’s future provision through the Cross.

That is why when Jesus comes to the river Jordan to be baptised by John the Baptist he says, John 1:29 , “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (NIV)

John hesitates – Jesus is the Messiah who should be baptising John. BUT listen to Jesus’ reply — Matthew 3:15

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” …

 

Who does Jesus mean when he says ‘us’. John? Is it possible for John, a sinful man like you and me, to help God ‘fulfil all righteousness’.

Another more likely interpretation could be – At Jesus’ baptism as He comes up out of the water the gospels records Matthew 3:16-17 16 … At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (NIV)

Jesus, the Son of God is in the water, God the Father speaks from heaven and the Holy Spirit coming upon him – the whole Godhead is involved. [Father, Son, Holy Spirit]

What does baptism represent? – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is a picture of the Easter event.

 

Jesus begins his public ministry witnessing in his baptism to the fact that he came to die for the sins of the world.

Jn. 1:29 “…, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

 

 

  1. 2.     The Temple.   – destroyed and raised in 3 days

– the place of sacrifice and worship.

Jesus says the following in John 2:19-21 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. (NIV)

The Temple [and before it the Tabernacle] was the place where God’s presence was shown – and the place of worship. The Son of God comes into the world by taking on a human body – ‘becoming flesh’ – God in a human body. That God-man was humiliated, beaten and nailed to a cross ND he was completely innocent – The greatest miscarriage of justice in all history.

 

God’s enemies failed to destroy the temple and Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave. In Christ / because of Jesus sin is dealt with / forgiven and worship is possible.

 

  1. 3.     The Serpent. – The look of faith bring life.

Jesus spoke to Nicodemus the Jewish religious leader n these words: John 3:14-15 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (NIV)

 

In the days when the Jewish nation was wondering through the wilderness poisonous vipers entered their camp and people began to die. God instructed Moses to make a bronze snake on a pole and lift it high up in the centre of the camp – those who were bitten could look and be healed. LOOK and LIVE!

As we by faith look at the cross and see what Jesus did for us there we too can have the poison of sin dealt with and LIVE.

 

  1. 4.     The Shepherd. – gives his life for the sheep.

If we are tempted to think that Jesus was a reluctant victim he give us another picture. The Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.

John 10:17-18 17 … I lay down my life — only to take it up again. 18 No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.

 

ILLUS.: Imagine you are driving down a road – probably in Wales – and you come around a corner in a 60 mph zone and there in the road is a sheep and a person. In that split second you know you can’t avoid both. Would you decide to kill the sheep or the person??

No right thinking driver would sacrifice the person to save the sheep – Even Jesus taught that humans were of much greater value than animals.

 

Yet Jesus, the Good Shepherd is willing to give his life for the sheep – sinners like us who deserve to die.

The Shepherd becomes the sheep for the sacrifice – willingly! Amazing Love!

 

  1. 5.     The Seed. – dies alone to produce an abundant crop.

This last picture is of seed buried in the ground to produce fruit. The emphasis is on Christ’s willingness to totally give his life to bring glory to His Father. John 12:23-24

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (NIV)

That one seed – Jesus dying – has produced through history millions and millions and millions of people as fruit to glorify God. Revelation 7:9 9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (NIV)

The fruit from one seed willing to fall into the ground and die.

The cross looked like a defeat – as if the powers of darkness had won BUT it was exactly the opposite – It is the greatest victory in time and eternity!!

 

Conclusion and application.

These are wonderful pictures of the cross – and there are others we don’t have time to look at today.

BUT what does it mean for us – Yes our sins forgiven and eternal life with God forever.

BUT what about now – all the blessings of sins forgiven and peace with God…..

BUT there are responsibilities…. Jesus said….

John 13:16 .., no servant is greater than his master, …

John 20:21            21 … As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Matthew 16:24-27         24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. (NIV)

Matthew 6:33 33 .. seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all other things will be given to you as well.

 

On Wednesday night were the Pride of Britain awards – there was one for Carer of the Year.

 

ILLUS.:

It’s On The House, Jill Tells Asthma Sufferers

Jill McGowan, 45, sold her home to help fellow asthma sufferers

By Barbara Davies

[BIG Brother presenter Davina McCall admitted she fears her own baby Holly may suffer from asthma because husband Matthew has it and it could be passed on to her. So she was full of praise for Jill McGowan’s efforts in fighting the condition

SELFLESS: Jill McGowan with Davina

Presenting nurse Jill, 45, with her Carer of the Year award, Davina, 34, said: “It’s difficult for me to find words to express how much admiration I have for someone like Jill who has gone to great lengths to fund research into something she believed in.”]

Mother-of-two Jill funded trials into the Buteyko technique, which relieves asthma through breathing control without drugs and inhalers. She set up the Buteyko Institute Trust, raising £55,000 by selling her home and donating ¾ of her annul salary for the last two years. A pilot study resulted in a 96% success rate.

Jill, a lecturer in nursing at Paisley University, near Glasgow, said: “I knew I was not going to get backing from pharmaceutical companies. I wanted others to benefit. But to get Buteyko accepted by the NHS it needs to be tested under proper conditions.”

Judges said her efforts were “an incredible act of selflessness.” [The Mirror – 7th March 2002]

 

Helping Asthma sufferer is a very worthwhile cause.

BUT compare that to the gospel, to the rescue of boys and girls and men and women through the Cross so they can receive the gift of God – eternal life through Christ.

 

What is my response to Jesus give to me?

 

26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

 

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny self and take up his cross and follow me.

 

THE CROSS – As Jesus saw it.

 

1. The Lamb.

  • replacing / fulfilling ALL sacrifices

   and offerings.

 

2. The Temple.

  • destroyed and raised in 3 days.
  • the place of sacrifice and worship.

 

3. The Serpent.

  • the look of faith bring life.

 

4. The Shepherd.

  • gives his life for the sheep.

 

5. The Seed.

  • dies alone to produce an

abundant crop.

 

 

 

 

 

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