Forget Us Not—Matt. 27:45 Resurrection Sunday April 4, 2010
Intro: It is proper and fitting that the church pause to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our liberty as citizens and to guarantee us the freedom to worship as we see fit. Since the Revolutionary War some 1,162,000 people have given their lives for our freedom. Countless millions more have served and suffered. May we never forget!
Still, there was a time when America did not exist. There will be a day when it will no longer exist. And, while we are grateful and thankful for the lives we memorialize this time of the year; we must remember that our very presence in this church today speaks of something far more eternal in nature. I never want to forget the price others have paid so that I might be free. But, even if I were locked in a dark dungeon today, I would still be free. Why? Two thousand years ago a man named Jesus paid the ultimate price to secure my liberty and eternal freedom when He died on the cross. I want to examine that sacrifice again today. Let’s look back to that day when Jesus died for us on the cross. Let us remember His sacrifice as we consider three aspects of His sacrifice that I pray we will never forget. I want to preach on the thought: May We Never Forget.
John MacArthur- The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the climax of redemptive history, the focal point of God’s plan of salvation. God’s redeeming work culminated in the cross, where the Lord Jesus bore the sins of the world. But also in the crucifixion of Christ the wickedness of man reached its apex.
When we think of what Christ did three things come to mind:
I. The Cruelty (Matt. 27:27-31)
A. The crown-
1.Imagine this group of soldiers (600 in all- called a cohort). They robe Jesus in a robe that would have been worn by travelers. They then pretended that he was a royal soldier. Although the soldiers of the governor were under his orders to scourge and crucify Jesus (v. 26), they exhibited their own wickedness by far exceeding what basic duty required. As they took Jesus into the Praetorium, they decided to make public sport of their prisoner and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him to watch.
a. They press a thorny branch into his head, they place a reed in his hand- to look like a scepter and the soldiers mockingly worshipped him. As the mock crown was pressed on His head, blood ran clown from the new wounds to mingle with the blood that already covered the rest of His body. By this time Jesus face was almost unrecognizable.
b. They then turned to more direct abuse by spitting in his face.
c. Then they put this own clothe back on him and led him away to crucify him.
2. John MacArthur- Jesus’ enemies so hated Him that even His death seemed to be a disappointment, because it ended their opportunity to spew venom on Him even as He suffered the agony of crucifixion. The heartless intensity of the evil words and deeds of those who participated in His death beggar description.
3. Jesus’ face was swollen from the slaps and beatings He received from the Temple police and was covered with spittle from His Jewish tormentors. He was bleeding profusely from the scourging, with terrible lacerations from His shoulders down, exposing muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and perhaps even internal organs. Because He had not spoken for the past hour or so, the soldiers may have considered Him mentally deranged and worthy only of ridicule. They played Him as the fool, making sport of the comments they had overheard about His claim to kingship.
4. They then beat him with the reed. In an effort to say we have stripped you of all your dignity.
B. The crowd (39-44)
1. Many of these people were Jewish pilgrims in town for the Passover. Since there was so many people in Jerusalem at that time many had to camp outside the city. It was many of these people that had Jesus passed by on the way to Golgotha. Some of these people had walked with Jesus in the past, most had seen his miracles. Many had welcomed him into Jerusalem just a short while ago.
a. John MacArthur- These were the fickle wicked who had a place for Jesus only when He satisfied their wants. They were fascinated by Him, knew who He claimed to be, and had witnessed countless demonstrations of power that verified that claim. But although they were grateful for His miracles and awed by His preaching, they had no desire for Him to cleanse them of cherished sins or to give Him control of their lives.
1. Reviled- action occurred in the past and was still occurring (Reviled- hurling abuses)
2. Many people today are like them. They may have been raised in the church, heard the truths of the gospel many times, and know that Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God. They may have been baptized, made a profession of faith, and attended church regularly for a while. But because Jesus does not fulfill their worldly, selfish expectations they lose interest in the things of God. They may be quite willing to have the church attack evils in society but are quite unwilling to be confronted with their own sin and need for repentance and forgiveness. In effect, they mock and sneer at Jesus as they turn their backs on His truth, His righteousness, and His lordship. The world is full of passers-by who once praised Jesus but now ridicule Him.
C. The cross (35-37)
1. The symbol of rejection and shame. The entire cross, weighing in excess of 200 pounds, that the victim carried. He would normally be surrounded by a quaternion, four soldiers who would escort the prisoner through the crowds to the place of execution. A placard bearing the prisoner’s indictment was often placed around his neck, giving notice to others of the high price to be paid for the crime
2. The place chosen for Jesus’ crucifixion was a hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull. As an outcast both of Israel and of Rome, Jesus “suffered outside the gate.
3. Because crucifixion was designed to inflict maximum pain, the gall, or myrrh, was not offered as an act of mercy on the part of the soldiers. It was simply used to stupefy a victim to keep him from struggling violently as the nails were driven into his hands and feet.
a. Crucifixion originated in Persia, where a man named Ormazd was believed to consider the earth sacred, Because a criminal who was executed had to be raised above the earth in order not to defile it, he was suspended on a large pole and left there to die.
b. Description of crucification by Dr. Truman Davis- At this point another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber; then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over … the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues. The tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
D. The Conclusion (Matt. 28:1-6)
1.The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and is the greatest one event to take place. The message of Scripture has always been a message of resurrection hope, a message that death is not the end for those who belong to God. For the believer, death has never been an end but rather a doorway that leads to eternity with God. Because of his resurrection, our resurrection is guaranteed.
II. The Cause
A. Our condition- a divine dilemma
1. Rom. 3:23- we are all sinners, all deserving to go to Hell- all doomed. Jesus died to deliver us from that condition.
2. Have sinned- aorist tense (this tense puts the whole human race into one bag)- God see the human race as doing nothing but sinning. All men fall short in glorifying God.
B. His love- a divine solution
1. John 3:16-
May we never forget