Good Friday Message: Near the CROSS!

INTRODUCTION

The cross is the most common religious symbol. You see the cross on churches, jewelry, tattoos, posters etc. But the basic idea of the cross came from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In the time of Jesus the cross was a symbol of shame and reproach. The Romans used the cross for execution of slaves, murderers, and robbers but a Roman citizen was never crucified on a cross because it was considered a shame. Jesus died on the very same cross for no fault of his. It was a very gruesome scene and from then on the cross is a sign of hope, glory, and deliverance for the ones who trust in God.

I want you to turn your attention on the cross of Jesus. I wonder how I would have stood near the cross on that crucifixion day. We sing the song Jesus keep me near the cross but I would how far we would haves stood from the cross if Jesus was actually crucified today.

This morning we are going to look at the crucifixion of Jesus. We will also look at some people who were near the cross when Jesus died. We will see how Jesus suffered and died and what the cross means to you and for me.

CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS CHRIST

John 19:1-13 1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face. 4Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

John 19:14-16 14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

SUFFERING OF JESUS

Can you imagine the depth of Jesus’ suffering?
Jesus was beaten.
Jesus was bleeding and sweating.
He has the shock of death on Him.
People who participated in Hosanna Sunday are watching.
Finally Jesus is walking to Golgotha to be crucified.

Jesus reached Golgotha tired and weary.
The soldiers stripped Jesus of his loin cloth.
The cross was laid on the ground.
Jesus with his back lacerated was thrown backward on the cross.
The soldiers pierced nail through his wrists (The Bible says hands, it is actually wrists as hands wound tear off the flesh).
They pulled his feet together one on the other and nailed his feet fast to the cross.
They erected the cross on a hole.
Jesus fell thud on the nails, his body came down.

As Jesus hung there
His hand sent excruciating pain to the brain.
He would stand on his feet and feet sensed excruciating pain.
Jesus would hang back on the hand.
Jesus shifted weight from feet to hands. That is how he could breathe. When he put weight on his hands Jesus could inhale, then he would put his weight on the feet to exhale. Both movements are in pain.

SEVEN SAYINGS ON THE CROSS

Jesus hung on the cross and uttered 7 short sentences.

1. Father Forgive them. Luke 23:34 34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
This shows the forgiveness of God even when he suffered the most.

2. Today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke 23:39-49 39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
On the cross Jesus gave salvation, not only to this drying criminal but to the entire world.

3. Dear woman here is your son. John 19: 25-27 25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
This shows the affection of Jesus towards his mother. Jesus loved you even when he died.

4. My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:45-46 45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This shows the anguish of Jesus on the cross.

5. I am thirsty. John 19:28-29 28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
This shows the suffering of Christ on the cross. He suffered for you and for me. Without proper water Jesus died.

6. It is finished. John 19:30 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
This shows the victory Jesus won the cross. Jesus finished his responsibility of taking the sin of the entire world and he said it is finished.

7. Into your hands I commit my spirit. Luke 23:44-46 44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
This shows contentment in fulfilling His task.

Finally Jesus died on the cross. Jesus never died the death of crucifixion. The death of crucifixion was suffocation by breaking of the legs. Medical science say Jesus died from heart failure due to shock and constriction of his heart vessels.

Yes, Jesus died of a broken heart for you and for me.

John 19:31-34 31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

The soldier did it out of anger but it opened a fountain in the house of God, a fountain of blood and water. Blood is for cleansing from all sin and uncleanness. Water is the water of life which brings life on everyone that believes in Jesus.

STANDING NEAR THE CROSS

Around the cross stood people watching this gruesome sight. If you ask them they will tell you how it is to stand near the cross.

  1. Four Roman soldiers.
  2. Four Women. (Mary, mother of Jesus; Salome Mary’s sister; Mary Magdalene; Mary, wife of Cleopas).
  3. John, the beloved disciple.

We will meditate on 3 women and John the disciple for our study today.

1. Mary Magdalene – A place of Redemption

Mary had a terrible past. She had evil procession. Luke 2:1-2 1After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.

She had been bondage to Satan for a long time. They made her to terrible things. It destroyed her life. Mary was hopeless and helpless. The encounter with Jesus changed her life. Mary was redeemed and released from the bondage.

Acts 2:18 18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Jesus spoke to Saul on the way to Damascus.

When we come to Christ He opens our eyes from darkness to light from the power of Satan to power of God, we receive forgiveness of sins. This is the redemptive process. But redemption is a costly thing. Mary looking at the gruesome sight of Jesus’ death saw the price Jesus pain for her redemption. Like Mary the cross is the place for redemption of every one of our sins.

2. Salome – A place of Rebuke

Salome is Jesus’ mother, Mary’s sister, the mother of James and John. She asked Jesus a very selfish question, “Can my 2 sons be sitting in your right and left in glory?” She wanted some position for her sons. Jesus responded “Can they drink the cup that I am going to drink?” referring to his death. She did not know what was suffering, she just wanted the glory. Now at the foot of the cross she saw the cup that Jesus had to drink. She saw the suffering that comes before glory when she saw Jesus suffer and die.

I wonder if you are standing near the cross for some selfish, earthly desires, desires for position, power in his Kingdom, desire to be a leader and not a servant, desire to just get your prayers answered. Jesus is asking, “Are you willing to suffer for me?” and many times we say “Oh no, I just want position, glory, popularity, stage. I am not willing to take up servant hood.” Cross is a place of rebuke for you. Jesus suffered and took up the cross like a servant and then he was glorified. The glory of our ministry comes only through suffering for Christ.

3. Mary, Mother of Jesus – A place of Reward

John 19:26-27 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

For Mary the cross was a place of reward for all her suffering from his birth to his death.
Mary had to suffer shame, reproach, and gossip for Jesus’ birth. She had to run away to Egypt. As Jesus grew there was great separation between Mary and Jesus as Jesus had to fulfill Father God’s desire and Mary was pained. Finally when a mother saw her own son die on the cross it was the climax of Mary’s suffering.

Jesus saw Mary’s suffering, loneliness, shame. Jesus rewarded Mary by giving her the disciple whom he loved so dearly.
If you are suffering today because of God, your family, personally, the cross is a place of reward for you. God loves you.

4. John, the beloved disciple – A place of Responsibility

Jesus asked John to take care of his mother and he took Mary to his home. For John the cross was a place of responsibility. John along with the other disciples had run away from the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested. But John alone came back to the cross. He was forgiven and restored by Jesus. Now he is given a responsibility.
As believers we deny our Lord every time we sin but if we truly come back to him today he will restore us, forgive us and give us responsibility to take in the Kingdom of God.

CONCLUSION

How do you stand today in front of the cross?

Have you been delivered by God, forgiven your sins. Look at the cross for the price Jesus paid for your redemption. Are you still fighting for position, fame, and authority today? The cross is rebuking you to take up servant hood and to suffer for Christ. Are you in a lot of pain and suffering, the cross is a place of reward for you. Jesus took our suffering on the cross.

More than anything, the cross is a place of responsibility for every one of you. We are to reach out to the world with the good news of the cross. Amen.

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