PASSION WEEK | APRIL 14

THE BRIDGE TO SACRIFICE

 

“A large number of people followed Him, including women who mourned and waited for Him.  When they came to the place of the Skull, there they crucified Him…Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’…But all those who knew Him…stood at a distance…”  Luke 23:27, 33-34, 49 (NIV)

 

“A picture is worth a thousand words”…After seeing the movie,

The Passion of the Christ

, that is an understatement!  As horrific and graphic as the movie is, it is likely to be less violent than the actual crucifixion.  The sacrifice that Jesus made truly does go beyond any sacrifice in history.  In order to fully grasp the event, it is important to learn from both Jesus and the crowd of people.

 

LESSONS FROM JESUS – It is Friday, the worst and the best Friday that has ever       been known.  Jesus, who has been known to walk on water, is now entering             unchartered waters.  Even for this Creator of the universe, it is like nothing that He has ever experienced before!

 

            There would be no miracles this time, except for the miracle of God’s grace and forgiveness.

 

  1. There is physical pain:

 

  • whipping posts and scourging
  • spitting and mocking
  • multiple beatings along the way
  • the weight of the cross
  • the sting of the nails and thorns

 

  1. There is emotional pain:

 

  • rejected love
  • looking down on weeping mother and friends
  • carrying the weight of, and even becoming, sin

 

Why would anyone treat a gentle Lamb this way?

Why would you and I make Him re-live the pain by walking in disobedience,

reminding Him of why He died?

 

LESSONS FROM THE CROWD – So many people in the crowd, so many different personalities; yet, they all have names and faces that are known by Jesus.  We must respond to Jesus personally because Jesus is personally concerned about each of us.
 
  1. The Unbelievers:
  • people with empty lives that get caught up in the “feeding frenzy”
  • Roman soldiers and power-hungry religious leaders

            These people come and go, surrounded by the events of God; yet, they never     recognize the God of the events!

  1. The Almost-Believers:

 

  • the centurion called Jesus a “righteous man”: I wonder if he ever

                saw Him as God?

  • those who felt sorry for what Jesus was having to endure

            These people may view Jesus as good:  they believe half-truths and have a

            “form of religion that denies them the power thereof.”

 

  1. The First -Day Believers:

 

  • the weeping women
  • the embarrassed Peter

 

            These people, out of choice or force, are following Jesus at a distance.  When     you follow Jesus from a distance, instead of pressing into Jesus as much as you can, you experience grief and fear and feel distant from God.

 

God does not want you to be a “First-Day Believer.” Since He has provided the

sacrifice, we can closely follow Him.

 

JESUS MADE THE SACRIFICE THAT GIVES US LASTING CHANGE.