Title: The Wounds of Christ
Theme: Remembering His Cost was Our Gain
Introduction: When I first got started in the Arabian Horse business, my parents and I attended a special coronation celebration for a beautiful Arabian Stallion. On a Saturday night, in Lincoln, Nebraska we sat in a large indoor arena, excitingly watching this beautiful horse receive the very high honor of “Legion of Merit.”
The lights were turned off and a large spotlight appeared at the entrance gate. Music was playing and our hearts beat with anticipation. Then suddenly a beautiful bay stallion with long black flowing mane and tail entered at a gallop. The spot light followed him as he loped through the arena while the announcer told of all the achievements that this horse had accomplished.
When the announcer was finished, the horse trainer entered and called the horse to come to him. With lights upon them, a coronation of roses was fastened around his neck and laid across his chest. With a standing ovation this beautiful Arabian Stallion was led from the arena.
In contrast was the atonement day of Christ--the day the perfect man received for a coronation a crown of thorns. He went about accomplishing the complete will of God, healing the sick, feeding the multitudes and raising the dead. If anyone was worthy of honor it was Him. Yet, He was not greeted with lights and music, but darkness came over the land. (Luke 23:44) He did not receive a coronation of roses, a public announcement of achievements and a standing ovation. Rather, He was given a crown of thorns and afflictions from men.
Listen as I read Matthew 27: 28 – 31, “They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.” Pray!
Proposition: I would propose to you that Jesus means for the Communion service to be a lot more than just a religious observance, but to keep fresh in our minds the act of sacrificial love He has for us.
Interrogative Sentence: What are we to remember? What are the blessings of His wounds?
Transitional Sentence: The Word of God gives us great details on the “Battlefield Wounds of Christ” which were inflicted upon Jesus Christ as He gave His life for our redemption. The scene of the battlefield of which Christ was on was humanity at his worst and Jesus was inflicted with many wounds, one was a “crown of thorns.”
The crown that the soldiers pressed on the brow of Jesus was meant only for insult with the purpose of causing pain and mockery. Yet, even through their view, God was pronouncing some power truths. Thorns came in with sin and became part of the curse that was the product of sin. (Genesis 3:18) Therefore, Christ being made a curse for us, and dying to remove that curse from us, felt the pain and hurt of those thorns.
Jesus’ bearing the crown of thorns answers the type of Abraham’s ram, which took the place of Isaac. (Barnes Notes; New Bible Dictionary; Matthew Henry’s Commentary) The “thicket” (bak) that the ram had his horns caught in were a dense growth of heavy shrubs or underbrush that are intertwined in a manner that would catch persons or creatures and were very difficult to go through. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains) The Bible is very clear, God told Adam, "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…” (Genesis 3:18) Thistles (darda) were a very prickly plant having no value for producing life giving fruit. Even though they are a abundantly growing plant, they are still a worthless plant. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains; Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament) Thorns (qowts) are a non-fruit bearing bush noted for their sharp, wood-splinter-like spines or tines. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains)
It has been said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.” Sin holds you in bondage and keeps you from having a fruitful relationship with Christ. Sin grows vigorously yet will leave you in a worthless state of mind and heart.
Transitional Sentence: Sin, sooner or later becomes public, thus, Christ wore publicly the “Crown of Thorns” a representation of that which brings disgrace on all men. Symbolically Jesus wore our sins so all could see, so that we may receive forgiveness and have our sin no longer to be remembered against us. Another wound that was laid upon our Lord was mocking. Matthew 27:29 says, “They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”
A definition for mock is an object of ridicule. The common mode of showing respect or homage for kings was kneeling or prostration. This showed the tremendous love that Christ has for us. He withstood a false homage from the sinful wicked so that we may not have to remain guilty of sin that always brings mockery in the end.
Jesus undertook His Father’s will. No one could not find any real fault in Him so they hurled Him with lying accusations and put Him through an unlawful trial. Mockery and reproach is at all times very cutting to a man’s integrity. Yet our Lord took those words and actions of mockery for the sake of God and us. The Holy Spirit spoke through David, a man after God's heart, reflecting the heart of Christ regarding His Father’s will, “For I endure scorn for your sake…” (Psalm 69:7; The Treasury of David) That is exactly what Jesus did for His Father and us.
Transitional Sentence: Another battle wound laid upon Jesus was flogging or scourging. Matthew 27:26 says, “…he [Pilate] had Jesus flogged.” The New American Standard Bible says, “Scourged.” Among the Romans it was customary to scourge or whip a slave before he was crucified. This was done to inflict greater suffering and cause a quicker death while adding horrors to the punishment. Our Lord was put to death after the manner of a slave or a criminal, therefore He was treated as a slave and a criminal. This is because sin puts mankind into bondage and causes him to become a criminal against God's perfect will. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)
While attending horse shoeing college I listen to a retired homicide detective share how it never gets easy walking in on a homicide scene. Every time it makes you want to cover your eyes, turn and look the other way for you just can’t stand to look on the sight of such a horrific scene. The sight of a loved one suffering the long term effects of addiction, a life without Christ and heading for hell is a horrific sight.
Transitional Sentence: Another battlefield wound of Christ is the Crucifixion. The Bible says, “After they had mocked Him… Then they led Him away to crucify Him.” (Matthew 27:31) When Pilate asked the crowd, “What shall I do with Jesus who is the Christ?” (Matthew 27:22) The people answered with, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22)
Klausner, the Jewish writer, says, “Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellow man.” He continues with, “The criminal was fastened to his cross, already a bleeding mass from the scourging. There the criminal hung to die from hunger, thirst and exposure, unable to defend himself from the torture of the gnats and flies that settle on his naked body and on his bleeding wounds.” Our modern day pictures painted of Jesus hanging upon the Cross do not give the full picture of what Christ suffered. Isaiah 52: 13, 14 says, “See, my servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at Him--His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.”
Before His return to the abode of God, Jesus gets victory over death, the grave and all the workings of hell, thus paving the way for Christians to get victory over sin. The Bible says, “…if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)
In Closing: In the battle for the souls of mankind Christ wore the “Crown of Thorns” representing the sins of the world. He took our mocking and bore our shame. The great news about Easter is that it records the end of the life of Christ upon this present earth before He was taken up to be once again with His father. Yet before He leaves this earth, He opens the way for man to enter into the Holy of Holies for communion with God. The Bible says at the moment Jesus gave up His spirit willingly, the curtain of the temple was torn into from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:38; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary; Daily Study Bible Series)
When I was young, I went to the Veteran's Day Parade not realizing the cost our veteran's paid for our freedom. When I became a pastor of a church - I had the privilege of doing visitation with a Korean Vet, a soldier who had a purple heart. I was captivated with his testimony about how he received his injuries and the battles he fought in fighting for our country. From that time on, I had a lot different perspective about Veteran's Day. When Pennie and I were on our honeymoon trip, she took me to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. While there we visited the battle field and heard the stories about all that went on during that battle which so many soldiers shed there blood. Just driving into Gettysburg on our bike, we could feel the cost that was paid for the freedoms we have today. Pennie and I had the privilege of attending the Army graduation of our boys. We watched the DVD, showing what our boys went trough. It gave us a perspective we never understood, as we watched young and men get prepared to do battle for our country.
The teaching in this message gives truths that most people have not heard or considered. However, these truths are exactly what God wants to focus on. He has given the Body of Christ an ordinance to observe until He returns.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 we read, "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, 'This is My Body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes."
We give our Maker and Redeemer a standing ovation by surrendering our entire lives over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Considering, “The Battle Field Wounds of Christ,” and remembering the cost He made for us is His call to the church of Christ.