at the cross

Topic: Easter. Good Friday. At The Cross. Category: Son of Man> Love of God>
Bible Scripture: John 19:31-35 and 1 John 5:5-13.

Listen to the full sermon.

At the cross opposites collide. Earth and heaven, death and life, humanity and God, shame and honour, bondage and freedom, suffering and salvation. 

Let us go back in time, to that moment at the cross.

It is Friday. Today is preparation day, the day before the special Passover sabbath.

the death of the cross 

Three will be crucified. Amongst the two criminals is the one who just last week was hailed as king. He has been betrayed, falsely accused and sentenced to the most shameful death. The death of the cross. 

The cross is the most brutal and humiliating form of execution devised by humanity. It is for the lowest of low. Yet He is an innocent man, unjustly condemned to die. 

The multitudes follow the procession through the city.

The depravity of humanity ripped His flesh apart. Blood, so much blood. He has all power and authority, yet He does not resist or take by force what is rightfully His. 

He continues towards the cross. 

Women lament for Him. He turns to them and says, ‘Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children. For I came from heaven to earth, to my own people and they have rejected me. In doing so they have rejected their own pathway to salvation. Do not weep for me, weep for yourselves and your children.

He comes to the place of death, near the city, yet outside. At the cross where opposites collide.

Soldiers drive the nails into His already tortured flesh. They strip off His clothes
and dignity, yet they cannot take away His identity. 

He is raised up high for all to see. He hangs between two criminals. 

the cross of shame

People pass by and sneer at Him. ‘You said you’re going to destroy the temple and then rebuild it in three days? Why don’t You start with saving Yourself? Come down from the cross if You can, if You’re God’s Son.’

They try and challenge His identity by projecting their own corrupted thoughts of power and control. They refuse to acknowledge His identity, love and power. The fail to see the love in His eyes, as He willingly gave up His life. 

As His blood flowed down to the ground, into the dust and dirt of humanity’s shame, they refused to receive and believe.

Behold this is God who became one of us, born of Spirit in human flesh and dwelt amongst us. He chose to give up His life, so that humanity would be passed from death to life, shame to honour, bondage to freedom, suffering to salvation, for all eternity. 

God the Father sent His Son into this world damaged by evil, to rescue, heal, restore and renew. 

the only pathway of salvation

In rejecting the Son of God, they have denied their only pathway to eternal life.

The Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders also mock Him and say, ‘He saved others, but He can’t save Himself. If He’s really the King of Israel, then let Him climb down from the cross—then we’ll believe Him. He claimed communion with God—well, let God save Him, if He’s God’s beloved Son.’

They challenge His right to rule and reign and say, If He is really the King of Israel, their king and anointed One sent by God, do what we say! 

They saw the miracles, the know the scriptures and the prophecies and Jesus fulfilled them all, yet they chose not to believe. 

Instead in an attempt to keep their own power, they mocked, shamed, falsely accused and shouted, crucify Him! They refused to surrender their abuses of power, pride and self glorification. 

As a result they continued to reject Him, having chosen to give their allegiance to evil and self. In rejecting the King they have denied their only pathway to enter into God’s eternal kingdom. They chose the temporary things of this world damaged by evil and lost their own souls.

The soldiers of the Roman Empire also mock Him. Sitting down they are indifferent to Him and divide His clothes. They observe His tunic is without seam and talk amongst themselves, ‘Let us not tear His tunic, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be.”

They come to Him, offering sour wine they say, ‘Save yourself if you are the King of the Jews’. He would not drink. 

Even the inscription they placed over Him was intended to mock Him. It read, This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

Yet His own rejected Him. 

the cross of destiny

He is the all powerful who gave up His heavenly riches to become a servant to humanity. To give His life and pay the cost for all our offences. 

The injustices of this world are exposed at the cross. In rejecting God, being consumed with power, having taken by force what is not theirs in oppressing others, humanity seeks self gratification and self glorification. 

One of the two criminals being crucified with Him taunts. ‘If you are the Anointed One save yourself and us.’

The other responds. ‘Don’t you have any fear of God at all? You are sentenced to death just as He is. We are under condemnation, being guilty of committing offences we are getting what we deserve, but He is completely innocent!

Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, when You come into Your kingdom, please remember me. 

At the cross opposites collide. One who refused to acknowledge His guilt chose to reject Jesus and His right to rule and reign. The other who not only acknowledged His guilt, but knew Jesus was an innocent man, chose to receive Him and His right to rule and reign. 

He calls Him Lord. A title given to one in supreme authority, it is full of reverence and honour. And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.

This the great exchange. The criminal gave His guilt, shame and punishment to Jesus in exchange for Jesus’ innocence, honour and pardon.

God is in an eternal state of forgiveness, yet for us to believe and receive it, we must meet Jesus at the cross. 

love so great

It is now the 6th hour. Death and darkness, guilt and shame abound. Yet Jesus the anointed One who through Him and by Him all things were created, remained on the cross. His love so great, His compassion so immense. 

Jesus looks down and sees His mother and His beloved John. Jesus entrusts the care of His mother into the hands of John. John sees the love in Jesus’ eyes, as He willingly gives up His life.

It is the 9th hour. He is about to utter His last words. Knowing all things are now accomplished Jesus cries out, ‘It is finished.’ 

He bows His head and commits His Spirit into the hands of God our Father.

Jesus has completed the work His Father had sent Him to do. He drank every last drop of human suffering, even to the point of death. He willingly came down from heaven, to the lowest point of humanity and laid down His life, to set humanity free. 

It is finished is His victory cry. The veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. A vast earthquake came over the land and many graves were opened. The powers of evil and humanity are disarmed.

So when the centurion who stood opposite Jesus and saw all these things, he glorified God saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” 

At the cross opposites collide. Earth and heaven, death and life, humanity and God, shame and honour, bondage and freedom, suffering and salvation. 

the testimony true

The Apostle who saw the love in Jesus eyes as He willingly gave up His life writes. 

John 19:31-35 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

The sacrifice is complete. The testimony is true. Out of His physical lifeless body flowed the blood and water. All this so that we may believe and receive Him and live in His everlasting life, identity and victory. The victory to overcome in this life and the next. 

To live in the freedom and reality that we are forgiven, having been passed from guilt and shame, into His innocence and honour.

the Son of God

Once again the Apostle who saw the love in Jesus’ eyes as He laid down His life testifies.

1 John 5:5-13 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

There are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

In the beginning was God. God the Son, God the Spirit and God the Father. The three are one. At the cross heaven and earth collide. Jesus came from heaven to earth in water and blood. 

the word became flesh

He is the Word who became flesh, born of Spirit, sent by the Father into our darkness. He died on the cross so that we may believe and receive all that He sacrificed to give us. 

Jesus life, death and resurrection is the greatest testimony of God. Yes He physically died, yes He physically rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of the Father. 

The Spirit testifies of Jesus, the Father testifies of the Son and the Son testifies of the Father. 

God is life. He is eternal. Jesus’ sacrifice as a man is finished. Jesus’ resurrection as a glorified man is eternal. God’s eternal life is given in His Son. Believe and receive Him is to believe and receive His life everlasting.

To believe in His name is to be believe and receive the one who bears that name and everything associated with that name. The Son is life everlasting, the very essence of the Father. His life giving Spirit from the Father through the Son dwells within. 

This eternal life is a present and future experience. The Father reveals eternal life in Jesus Christ. His eternal life He gives to us.

The testimony is true.  We have the assurance of the one who is faithful and true. God Himself. 

At the cross opposites collide. Earth and heaven, death and life, humanity and God, shame and honour, bondage and freedom, suffering and salvation. 

the choice

Each one has a choice. Just like the two criminals on either side of Jesus who were crucified with HIm. One rejected Him and chose to enter into eternal condemnation, darkness, bondage, suffering and shame. The other who testified of His own guilt and believed and received Jesus and His sacrifice chose to enter into eternal innocence, light, freedom, peace and honour.

At the cross destiny is defined. The choice is real, the consequences eternal. The testimony is true, the events undeniable. 

What is your response?

Download the pdf version of this sermon.

Go to the Garden of Victory and At The Empty Tomb for the full Easter story.

Sermon categories: son of man> love of God> hope and healing> know God> truth> power> end times> experience God> life> success in life> kingdom>

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