- Sermon Notes
What Is Your Call at the Cross?
Intro: The call and the cross.
- Throughout the night preceded this point, Jesus had stood trial six times and would ultimately determine that the cross was where Jesus would go.
- We know from Matthew 26 that Jesus had been betrayed by one of His disciples named Judas and was then arrested by a Roman cohort of over 600 soldiers, as well as the chief priests and elders.
- After His arrest Jesus stood trial before six people or people groups in power who would have to make a call as to whether Jesus should go to the cross.
- For His final trial, Jesus would stand before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.
Illus. The charges.
Luke 23:1-2, They began to bring charges against Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
- What we see through the gospels is that Pilate was conflicted as to the call to crucify Christ. He had come to a different conclusion, declaring his belief that Jesus was innocent (Lk. 23:14), but the public pressure that put his political position in jeopardy rendered him willing to hand Jesus over.
- The crowd continued to cry out for Jesus to be crucified as the encouragement of the religious leaders, and though Pilate tried to literally wash his hands of wrongdoing regarding the sentence applied to Jesus, He would ultimately make the call to crucify Him.
- It was determined that the cross was where Jesus would go for crucifixion, and that is where we center our focus and study this morning as the questions is asked, “What is your call at the cross?”
I. Understand Where Jesus Went
Matthew 27:26, …After having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Illus. Being scourged.
- After being scourged, we see in verse 27 that Jesus was taken into a place called the Praetorium. The Praetorium was residence of the governor while in Jerusalem which was adjacent to the temple.
- While there, the whole Roman cohort gathered around Jesus. The Roman cohort was at least 600 soldiers.
Matthew 27:28-30, They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.
- Everything done here was to humiliate Jesus.
- Jesus had been mocked by the Jewish leaders at the Messiah (Mt. 26:67-68), and now He was being mocked by Roman soldiers as a king.
- The charge against Jesus was that He was king. So, the soldiers begin to mock Him by means of a cruel game according to His sentence.
- His charges were “King of the Jews,” So in mockery, they would begin to inflict pain for a criminal, rather than the praise for a king upon Him.
Matthew 27:31, After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.
- On the way to crucifixion, the condemned was consigned to carry the crossbeam of their own cross which typically weighed around 100 pounds.
- At first, Jesus carried His own cross, but eventually, likely due to the extreme torture He had already endured and in His weakened bodily state, the soldiers found a man named Simon, and they pressed him into service.
Matthew 5:41, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”
- Simon from Cyrene was likely in town to celebrate the Passover, but found himself carrying the cross of Christ.
Illus. What would come of Simon of Cyrene?
Matthew 27:33-35, And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.
- As they arrive to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, also called Calvary, they offered Him wine mixed with gall.
- The mixture, if taken, would help dull the pain, and keep the condemned from struggling violently as nails were driven into His hands and feet.
- Jesus did not want what was being offered. That was not the cup He had come to the cross to drink. Rather, He had already surrendered to the will of the Father, Jesus was willing to endure the full measure of pain – physical, spiritual, and emotional.
- Jesus was then stripped and forced to have His arms stretched out on the crossbeam where they were nailed in place. The crossbeam would then be hoisted up to an upright piece and His feet nailed and legs slightly bent.
- Verse 35 says, “when they had crucified Him,” which does not refer to the finished execution, but rather, His being raised upright and the vertical beam of the cross was then placed into a hole as Jesus would hang on the cross until He died physically. From the book of Mark 15:25, we know that it was the third hour of the day, or 9am.
Matthew 27:36-37, And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.
Isaiah 53:12, He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors.
- It was to the cross that Jesus went, He had said it was coming, had even told His disciples the way in which it would happen, that He would be betrayed, condemned to death, delivered to the Gentiles, mocked, scourged and crucified. But on the third day, He would rise (Matthew 22:18-19).
- Jesus knew the physical death He was headed to. And here we understand see clearly where He went, to the cross.
- Still, as we picture the Savior there, it can be easy to find oneself at a loss, asking “why” He went.
- I believe some of that is answered in the first thing Jesus said once His place upon the cross was finally set…
Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
- Jesus own words will help us here as we seek to…
II. Understand Why He Went
- Various groups are at the cross with a variety of responses as He is placed on the cross and placed between two criminals being crucified next to Him.
- Jesus would have a response for each, and His answer is important for us currently.
- The first group was those who were passing by… Matthew 27:39-40
- What did they say to Jesus? To save Himself and come down from the cross in order to prove that He is the Savior.
- The next group is the religious leaders… Matthew 27:41-43.
- What did they say to Jesus? “He saved others, He cannot save Himself.” Interesting that they finally admit what He did in the lives of others by saving them.
- From Matthew 27:44 we know that the robbers then chimed in with similar words.
- What were their words? “Come down from the cross;” “save yourself;” “prove who you are by coming on down;” and the chief priests even try to tempt Him by suggesting they would believe if He would have come down that day.
- Jesus was not there to save Himself. He came to save sinners.
Ephesians 2:1, And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Timothy 1:15, It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…
1 John 2:2, He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
- He did not go all the way to the cross to give up and come on down, had He done so humanity would drown in sin. Rather He became sin, so that we would have a way to be saved from our sins.
Isaiah 53:5, But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.
- Our sins would cause us to perish, to be condemned, to be excluded from the life of God.
1 John 3:16, We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…
- There was darkness from the sixth hour until the ninth hour; from 12 noon until 3 PM. Darkness would have been the consequence we would have suffered for our own sins.
John 8:12, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
- He went all the way to the cross that day so that a way could be made for you and for me to be called out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
- Jesus said in John 10:10 that He had come that we may have life abundantly, a way to the Father and eternally, as He said in John 14:6, He is the way and the truth, and the life personally.
- No number of good deeds could ever repay the debt we have accrued from sin. And our sins required a severe punishment. So, Jesus stepped in.
- In verse 46, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” meaning, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”
- The Jewish leaders would immediately have recognized those words from Psalm 22, an amazing Psalm written by David that foretells the way that the Messiah would be killed.
Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 16, My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?… All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” …A band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.
- It is, however, through Christ being forsaken in our place, that the way was made so that we might be brought near to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- He would not come down to entertain the offer that they “would” believe, He was willing to remain on that cross that that they COULD believe if they would turn to Him and receive.
- And He would stay on that cross, going all the way to death, so that we would have a way to God both now and for all eternity.
- In fact, in verse 51, Matthew wrote, “Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
- The veil in the Temple is what kept everyone separated from the holiest place in the Temple, the place where His glory dwelt. And by God making a way for us to have relationship with Him, makes all the difference in our lives.
Ephesians 2:13, But now in Christ Jesus you who were formally were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
III. Let Your Understanding Lead to Your Confession
- What I want you to see is though there were those who crucified Him, there were also those who chose Him that day.
- In verse 38 we are told of the two robbers that were crucified next to Jesus, and in verse 44 that they were hurling insults at Him, mocking Him as the others were.
- But in the book of Luke, we are told that one of criminal had a change of heart after seeing Jesus understanding who Jesus was and why He was there.
- He allowed his understanding of who Jesus was lead Him to confession of Christ, and Jesus told Him after His confession that he would be headed with Him that day to paradise.
- It seems there were others at Jesus crucifixion who were willing to let their understanding of the facts about Christ and what they had heard and seen, led them to confession personally.
Matthew 27:54, Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
- What they had seen, changed them powerfully. It is evident that they had seen Jesus surrender His spirit to the Father.
- In verse 50, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and then yielded up His spirit. From John 19:30, we know that in those final words Jesus declared, “It is finished.” From Luke 23:46, we understand He also said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
- Jesus’ word was finished on the cross, the debt paid, Jesus declared that because of His death, the work was done.
- And He committed His spirit to the Father.
- This impacted the centurion and those keeping watch over Jesus, they understood, they saw, they heard the direction Jesus was going personally to the Father and made their personal confession of Christ.
1 John 3:16, This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”