THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-1-02
LESSON TITLE: THE CROSS OF JESUS: "THE PICTURE OF CALVARY"
Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord's Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.
I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won't you bow with me at this time before the throne of God.
At this time we want to get started by singing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we lift up our voices together, in the hymn, "Power in the Blood."
(SONG # 1)
When was the last time you started complaining about something in your life. What was the reason that you got depressed? Was it concerning your job or school? Possibly it was from problems in relationships, between loved ones, family or friends. Or maybe it was due to poor health or problems with sickness. Whatever the reason is, we always seem to get down about something.
I wanted to remind you of what the Lord told Paul when he was complaining about his "thorn in the flesh." In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." You see Paul had to be reminded that things don't always go our way or how we think they should. In fact, if you look at a few earlier verses in the text, Paul clearly realizes that it is our infirmities and problems that keep us from becoming puffed up or boastful in the Lord. In verse 7, Paul said, "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure."
When we are Christians and laborers of God, one of our biggest temptations is to become arrogant, because of the blessings and promises in Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is the trials and problems of life that bring us back to reality so that we can realize that without God, we are really nothing. For this reason Paul went on to say in the latter part of verse 9, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Furthermore, in verse 10, he goes on to say, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Where does our strength come from? Are we able to be like Paul and accept where we are and what we have today? Look around you in this world, everyone suffers due to the things of the flesh. Thus we must always keep in mind that no matter how bad it seems to get we can always look next door or across the street and find those who are in much worse shape! Instead of complaining, won't you count your many blessings, and name them one by one? We can only have this attitude with Christ!
In our study this morning we will again focus on, "The Cross of Jesus." Our specific topic today is entitled, "The Picture of Calvary!" So please continue with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study of the morning. Now, let's join in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, "This is my Father's World!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now can go to God's Word and look further at the cross of Jesus. I think we began a good series last week and we had a lot of good discussion as far as who Jesus Christ not only is but the great sacrifice that He made for us and the many things that He does on a daily basis for us in a physical and a spiritual way.
But now we want to continue our discussion this morning as we look together specifically at a picture of Calvary. We've now kind of seen how significant the blood of Jesus is. We've seen what it means to us when we think about what the blood was for in the Patriarchal, the Mosaical, as well as the Christian Age today. But now, we want to see about that picture of Calvary and how that it ties in specifically to the whole equation as far as really showing how important the cross of Jesus Christ is and the great sacrifice, the blood again that was shed there.
If you'll turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 26, what we basically want to do this morning is to go through the story, the events that lead up to the crucifixion itself and actually the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We want to discuss these with the many things that took place, the many ramifications that were involved in the text, the different events, the different things that were said, the different things that happened, and as we do it, I hope it will again bring back to our minds the cross of Calvary and how really a difficult thing that it was, and how a physical thing that it was, how that Jesus Christ as well as many others suffered greatly because of this sacrifice that was made, the sacrifice that would be made not only for me and for you, but for all those who would respond to the great shedding of the blood.
You might notice there in Chapter 26 there in our lesson that there in verse 1 it really begins to set out t the whole situation. Jesus kept trying throughout all of His ministry to tell His disciples that the time was coming when He would die, the time was coming that He would be put to death, and that He had to die according to the plan. It just seems like it was above their heads. It was just something hard for them to understand that someone could know about his own death and could seem so okay with it or as if it should take place or had to take place.
But yes, Jesus knew about it. He was going around doing wondrous things, miracles, and people were wanting to touch Him, hear Him, and knew He was the Son of God. Many of them believed and followed and obeyed. But in all of these things, we find that there in verse 1 of chapter 26 that He begins talking to His disciples and then we see the reactions again of the Jews, the great, deep-seated hatred of the Jews as they really wanted to somehow destroy this man, Jesus, because He was somehow stealing their thunder. He was going to take away from them what they had always known. He was going to relieve them of their power and He was going to be the new authority, the new man before God, that is the Son of God.
But it says there in verse 1, "Now it cam to pass when Jesus had finished all these things that He said to His disciples, you know that after two days in the Passover and the son of man will be delivered up to be crucified."
Again, as I said, it was just mind-boggling for them to say that "here He seems to know of these things so surely it won't take place. Surely this won't happen." We'll mention a few things about that in just a moment as some of the disciples said, "We won't allow it to happen." But yet, we find that it did.
In verse 3, He goes on and we read there, "Then the chief priests, the scribes and the elders and all of the people assembled at the palace of the High Priest who was called Caiaphas and the plot to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him, but they said, 'Not during the feast lest there be an uproar among the people.'"
Here we see that those of the Jews, the High Priest there in his own chambers as well as other chief priests as well as many priests or followers of the Jews, many of ranking positions, all were plotting to do what? Plotting to do those bad things, trickery. Tricking Christ to somehow twist Him up and to cause people to somehow want to turn away from Him and ultimately to kill Him was their goal. But then finally we see that they were waiting, very cunningly waiting until after the feast because the people would have become very upset. The people loved Jesus because He helped the people. He cared for them. He showed that He was interested in them just as God would be interested in them and not so much interested more in specific religious things or carrying out rituals as the Jews did or being maybe somehow puffed up or haughty in my own abilities but rather in simplifying the service of Jesus Christ.
Now as we continue on there though, we see the anointing that took place there in Bethany. We find a story where Jesus there in the house of the leper and how there was a woman who came to Him and she began to pour oil. The disciples became very upset. Why? Because she was wasting this oil. We could sell that expensive fragrance there and we could distribute the money to the poor but He says, "She has chosen wisely." Why? "Because again, My death is at hand." He goes on to speak about that. "I soon will die." Again, above their heads. They just couldn't get it. Jesus said or basically said, "She's anointing my body to prepare Me for My death that is at hand." He had already told them "two days and I will be dead."
Then we see there in about verse 14 that it goes on and Judas actually is approached by these chief priests and those who we were talking about earlier, the High Priest, and he is bought off with money to deceive Christ, to show who Christ is, the actual scene that we later see taking place there in the Garden of Gethsemene.
It was not long after that that the Passover was assembled. Judas and all the others were there in the upper room. As they were in the upper room, they were there eating and feasting and it was then that Jesus took the emblems as we read there in this book. He tells us that these emblems represent something new, something better. There the bread representing the body that would be shed. There again, they still it seems were having a hard time comprehending. The blood being represented by the fruit of the vine that He was there again taking and giving to them. Then He said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." There again, these emblems to remind the disciples and those followers of God that truly God was worthy to be followed, a memorial feast just as the Passover had been but now a Passover feast that had a greater and more vast meaning based on the death of Jesus Christ. His own body the bread. His own blood the fruit of the vine.
Later then also we see that Jesus at the table predicts the denial of Peter. We see that Peter adamantly denies it. "I will not deny Thee." There is no way. But Jesus said, "You will before the cock crows." And we know that obviously again that played out. The sad thing was is that after the feast, He went there to the Garden of Gethsemene you might remember and He prayed fervently to God. He took with Him those beloved disciples. There, "Peter," it says in verse 37, "Two sons of Zebbudee." And as they were praying or rather Jesus praying, as He had left them just briefly and He went back and they were asleep and several times as He would go and pray and return, they had fallen asleep. Forsaken over and over and over again, it seems. Jesus Christ alone. Alone with the Father.
But then we go on and we seen in verse 47 that the actual scene in the garden continues. There in Gethsemene, that after He had prayed and they arose that Judas and others were coming toward Him and Judas kisses Jesus Christ and betrays Him. This is the Son of God. Even to the point that a sword was drawn and an ear cut off. But Jesus said, "This is not what is to be done. This is according to prophecy." Do you remember there the apostles? It seemed above their heads. They just couldn't get it. Jesus says, "I've got to die. This is the way that it has got to be. This is what has been prophesied. I have to shed My blood. The significance of the blood," Jesus said, "is uncomprehendable. It cannot be stopped. We have to follow through with the Will of the Father."
Then in verse 57, we see further that Jesus then is taken prisoner. He is brought before the Sanhedron. He's brought before those who accuse him now. And even in verse 69 it is during that time that he is before the council that people say, "Aren't you Peter the one who was with Christ?" And he is adamantly denying it once again. He's saying, "I don't know that man." He was even cursing, the Bible says. He says, "I don't know that man." There he goes away weeping bitterly, sorrowful. Why? Because in verse 75 the cock crowed and he knew that he had done contrary to the Will of God, the thing he said he would never do was the very thing he was guilty of. Does that sound familiar? Aren't we guilty of that many times? The very thing that we say, "I'll never do it Lord. I'll never turn from you. I'll never sin in that way." The next thing we find often is that we're human. We do make mistakes. We do sin. We do those things contrary to God.
After the Sanhedron, they accused Him and they found Him guilty and then they brought Him to Pilate. Then the story goes on that Pilate actually accused Him there in verse 1:27 and following of nothing. Pilate says, "I can't find anything wrong with this man." But basically the Jews were still adamant about it. Even though he faced him over and over and over again and said things that "I am the king of my people. I am the one who has been sent by the Father in a spiritual sense." Pilate found no ill with this man. Eventually though there he had to wash his hands of the situation, even trying to offer Barabus and bring forth Barabus and say, "We need to kill Barabus maybe somehow to get their minds off of it." But the Jews were so caught up and had the taste of death for Christ in their mouths that they would rather let go an individual who was mentioned there in verse 16 as being "a notorious thief," an individual who was very wicked and evil in the world, to allow him to go according to custom rather than to let Christ go.
"And they took Him," there in verse 26 of chapter 27 and they beat Him and they scourged Him and they delivered Him to be crucified according to the wish of the Jews."
What did the soldiers do in verse 27? It says there of chapter 27 and verse 27 that "the soldiers and the governors took Jesus into the common hall and gathered the whole garrison around Him. They stripped Him. They put a scarlet robe on Him and they twisted a crown of thorns onto His head and a reed in His hand. And they bowed down before Him and mocked Him saying, 'Hail the king of the Jews,' and they spat on Him," in verse 30, "and they took the reed and they beat Him or struck Him on the head with it. When they had mocked Him and beat Him, they took the coat off of Him and put on His own clothes and lead Him away to be crucified."
Think about again the picture of Calvary. Think about the suffering. Think about the agony. Does that sound like something that you would have wanted to go through? Certainly not. Nor would I. But Christ was willing as the Son of God, as Deity, as God Himself willing to shed His blood, to go through that agony, there in the garden suffering tears of sweat and blood. Here again, suffering beatings, a crown of thorns pushed and beaten on His head. On and on and on the story goes as He suffers. He suffers for you and for me.
Then they began to lead Him away. I love verse 32 because there was a man there. A man of Cyrene named Simon who actually came to help Jesus bear His cross which must have meant so much to Christ that someone would be found who would even help Him at this point after He had been beaten and was so physically weak and probably unable in so many ways. But there in verse 33, they took Him to the place of Calvary and as they took Him there they gave Him vinegar, that is sour wine, to drink. He tasted it but He would not drink and they crucified Him and they cast His garments, in other words lots for it, and they said, "we will divide these garments and we will keep them," as they hung Him there without His clothing. And as they again continued to abuse and spit on Him and curse at Him and laugh at Him and mock Him, Jesus Christ the Son of God being put on the cross with nails through His hands and through His feet. He suffered. Who did He suffer for? For you and for me.
In fact according to prophecy all of these things had been fulfilled. In fact in Psalm 22, it talks there about how that they would cast lots for His garments. They would divide His garments as if He were a mere thief.
Then we see on in verse 38 that there were two robbers in chapter 27 and verse 38, two robbers on either side, thieves who were there. In fact, if you'll go to Luke chapter 23 and verse 39 it talks there about how there was even a conversation with those and one was told he would be in paradise and the other said, "If you're God then call your angels to save you." One rejected Christ. But even on the cross one believed, and He said, "You'll be saved."
But there as we continue on in the book of Matthew we see that they suffered there on the cruel tree, the cross of Calvary. He agonized. The blood was pouring forth from His head, no doubt from His hands, His feet. He was suffering and agonizing. He was growing closer and closer to death. There in verse 45, we see about "the 6th hour until the 9th hour there was darkness over the land. About the 9th hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
But it was just a few verses later that He actually yielded unto the Spirit in verse 50, that He gave up the ghost so to speak and He said, "I give My spirit into your hands, God."
The act had been done. The very people of God, the Jews, had killed the Messiah that they had been told about, had murdered Him and hung Him on the cross to suffer the cruelest death known in that day to mankind, the most agonizing death. Therefore, it had been done according to prophecy, according to the Will of God. Why? To shed the blood for you and for me so that we might have the forgiveness of sins.
Wasn't it in John chapter 19 the parallel account in verse 31 that tells us about how that "after He had died they came and they found He was already dead and they pierced His side and blood and water flowed forth." Again, the shedding of the blood. The blood coming forth from the dead body there of Jesus Christ. He had died physically. But then we see even further that not a bone was broken as the text tells us there in John. Not a bone, there in John 19, could have been broken because prophecy tells us "they will not break a bone. They will not harm any or destroy any bone of His body." So again, according to prophecy.
Then furthermore after He was dead, He was taken to be buried. A rich man, in fact, as the verses tell us, verse 57 of chapter 27 actually gave Him a burial place. Pilate allowed them to take the body but then he placed soldiers there. But it wasn't very long, just a few days that Christ remained there in the grave, there lying, waiting, His physical state being dead, that He might revive and be risen. In fact, in chapter 28, a bold and courageous, zealous concept is brought out and brought forward as it says, "When they came there they rejoiced..." Why? "Because the stone had been moved." Some thought that His body had been stolen. But what had happened? He had arose from the dead. He had overcome the great punishment of death and had become the victor and actually had been the greater crushing blow. Satan, as we read back in the book of Genesis chapter 3, was able to deal a blow that put Him in the grave, but Christ was able to overcome it according to the plan of God. But ultimately, He did shed the blood. He shed the blood, but then He was again presented before His disciples, before the apostles and they saw Him and it was after that that they gave Him the Great Commission and He says, "You go out and you preach the gospel, preach that I have shed my blood. I have given my life for all." If anyone will respond and hear, truly the significance of the blood can be seen. Why? Because salvation is only found through Jesus Christ and Calvary.
(SONG # 3 - "Walking alone at Eve!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all look continuously to the beautiful picture of Calvary, realizing more every day the great sacrifice made there for you and for me.