3/31/13 Easter Sunday Pastor Michael sermon The Blessing of the Cross-The Ultimate Sacrifice Luke 23:33-43
One of the reasons that the Cross still evokes such emotion is because it is a symbol of Victory. The Cross is the symbol of Blessing. Jesus defeated the Cross and it is a symbol of conquering, overcoming and Resurrection. In Jesusí time, the Cross was not a blessing. Under the Roman government, it was a place of shame. 2,000 years ago it was a cursed place. Everyone who died on the Cross was considered cursed. Not just because they died but because they died on the Cross. ďCursed is everyone that dies on at treeĒ, a Cross. Jesus changed this place of cursing to a place of blessing.
His final week was a busy week for Jesus. On Monday he cleansed out the temple of merchants. He told them the temple was to be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves. On Tuesday, Jesus deals with the Sadducees at the temple. On Wednesday, the plot against Jesus is formed and Judas joins it. On Thursday was the Passover. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Jesus three times. On Friday, Jesus is in front of Herod and then Pilate in court. Jesus is found innocent. But when Pilate asks the people who they want released, they choose Barrabas , a criminal instead of Jesus. When Jesus is hanging on the Cross in His last dying moments, He taught us some lessons.
1) Forgiveness of Sins vs 34
Jesus asked God to forgive his offenders. He said they didnít know what they are doing. For three hours on the Cross, Jesus had the sins of all humanity resting on him. Jesus became sin on our behalf so we can be saved. He stayed on the Cross dying innocently for our sins and took our curse so we could be blessed! We should all be glad that we are not dealt with according to our sins. We should thank Jesus for taking the curse for our sins!
Jesus didnít react to the sneering people mocking Him. He said no man takes his life but He himself was laying it down. Jesus allowed their ignorance to put Him up on the Cross and later they would understand and be ashamed. Jesus sees the worst in us but brings out the best in us. Jesus didnít leave us in our mess but picked us up out of our mess. Jesus found us in a bad place but didnít leave us there. Jesus stayed on the Cross three hours for us so we that can have salvation and get back with God. Jesus is the bridge between humanity and divinity. Jesus is the bridge between man and God.
2) Jesus Forsakes Himself vs 35-37
Jesus remained true and fought back the natural instinct to defend himself. He just ignored them and said / did nothing. He forsook his natural instinct to strike back. Jesus did this so we can have hope
3) Jesus Saw Our Future vs 43
Jesus told the thief on the Cross that today he would be with Him in Paradise. He had asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus stops dying, looks to his right and tells the thief that this day, today your destiny, your life is going to change! You will have the freedom to be with me- Jesus- in Paradise! Jesus left us a plan. He says if we want to be there -paradise, to just ask and you shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened! Ask Jesus this day to save us, change us and heal us!!