* God and man were reconciled
* God's righteous demands were satisfied
* What was lost by man in the Garden of Eden was regained
* Satan and his minions were dealt a crippling and decisive blow
* Our salvation was purchased
We can never talk about Christ's sacrifice on the cross too much or contemplate it too often. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper for this very reason, saying, "Do this in rememberance of me" (Luke 22:19)
THE CORNERSTONE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Scripture tells us that the foundation of the Christianity rest's in Christ's death and resssurrection: "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" ( 1 Corinthians 15:14-17)
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT JESUS DID DIE AND ROSE AGAIN - AND BECAUSE OF THIS, WE KNOW THAT THERE TRUELY IS LIFE BEYOND THE GRAVE !
CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION: MAN AT HIS WORST As the incredible story of the crucifixion begins, we find that man had treated Jesus - God in human form - in the worst possible way:
* When the One by whom the world was made set foot on this earth, "the world knew Him not" (John 1:10)
* the eyes that sin had blinded saw no beauty in Jesus that He should be desired
* At His birth, there was no room at the inn, which foreshadowed the treatment he wasto receive at the hands of men (Luke 2:7)
* Shortly after his birth and throughout his ministry, His enemies tried to do away with Him, but "His hour had not come" (Matthew 2:13)
CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION: The Ultimate Sacrifice - Matthew 27:33-56 While Jesus briefly displaye dHis power to His enemies in the Garden of Gethsemane, He chose to lay aside His devine privilege and willingly go to His death. in this way He demonstrated His great love for us. Upon His arrest, Jesus was brought to the High Priest, then passed over to Pilate, then sent to Herod, then returned to Pilate. Because of the unique charges brought against Jesus, He had become a political "hot potato" for the ruling Roman government. In spite of being declared innocent of all the charges brought against Him, He was still blindfolded, ridiculed and beaten, enduring the cruel scourging of the Roman whip. Untimately, He was sentenced to death on a Roman cross.
Cricifixion was not simply a means of execution, but also an instrument of incredible pain, anguish and humiliation. This method of execution fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, or Savior, of the Jews.
* The Messiah's hand and feet would be pierced
* The Messiah would have wounds on His hands
* The Messiah would become a "curse" for us by being " hung on a tree"
In the Old Covenant, an animal would act as a "scapegoat" for the atonement of the people's sins but it failed to get at the root of the problem. Jesus the perfect, sinless, Son of God became the final atoning sacrifice for our sins. Though Jesus was God, He was still human with human emotions. He clearly had the ability to feel real physical pain. Interestingly, when Jesus was offered the "sour wine mined with gall" to drink in order to numb the pain, He refused. In his article, "The Cricifixion of Jesus: The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View" Dr. Truman Davis gives this description of Jesus during his final hours on the cross: "He experiences hours of limitless pain, cycles of joint rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins - a deep cruhing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over..the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues. The tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air"
THE SEVEN STATEMENTS JESUS MADE FROM THE CROSS In this incredible agony, Jesus utters the first of seven statemants He makes from the cross:
1. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Jesus made this statement following the thieves' comment to Him.
2. "Today you will be with Me in Paradise" Jesus uttered these hopeful words in response to the one thief beside him who had come to his senses and asked Jesus, "Lord remember me when You come into Your Kingdom" (Luke 23:43)
3."Woman, behold your son! Son, behold your mother ! Jesus spoke these endearing words to two of the closest people in His life: His mother, Mary, and His disciple, John. Even in death, He refused to think only of Hinself.
At this point, Scripture records that there was "darkness all over the land" Several historical and extra biblical sources suggest that a universal darkness did occur. In fact, history relates that in a report from Pilate to Emperor Tiberius, Pilate assumes the Emperor's knowledge of a certain widespread darkness, even mentioning that it took place from 12:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon.
4. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me ?" The horrifying presence of sin surrounded Jesus at this dreaded monemt. To be forsaken of God was much more a source of anguish to Jesus than to anyone else because he was absolutely holy. Never for one moment during His entire eatthly life did He ever step outside of intimate fellowship with His Father.
THE ANGUISH OF THE FATHER'S HEART Imagine for a moment how hard th must have been for the Father. He loved His Son ! Jesus never had a though that was out of harmony with the Fathers mind. His Son never spent a monent out of His conscious presence. HE had never committed one sin ! God Himself took the great knife of His own fierce wrath against sin and brought it upon His Son.
WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN ? Jesus had to go through this ordeal because of the unsaclable wall between God and man. God in all his holiness could not look at sin. As a result, man in all his unholiness could not look at God. So the holy Father had to "turn His face" and pour His wrath upon His own Son. For Jesus, this was the greatest sacrifice He could have possibly made. Yet, He had to feel forsaken of God because that is the necessary consequence of sin.
5. "I thirst" In saying this, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy, "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" (Psalm 69:21)
6. "It is finished !" This is Jesus' "battle cry of the Cross." Never again would He experience pain or be in the hands of Stan. Never again would He even for a moment be forsaken of God. He had completed what He had been sent to do.
FINISHED WAS SATAN'S STRONGHOLD ON HUMANITY "Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:14)
7. "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" These final words signified the restoration of the relationship between Father and Son, but they also ushered in the new relationship we can now have with the Father. Immeadiately the veil in the temple, a visible reminder of the barrier between God and man, was torn in two (Matthew 27:51). In essence, God was saying, "Through the death of my Son, you now have total access into My presence"
What kept Jesus going when his disciples deserted Him....when the crowds screamed "Crucify Him !" ...when He underwent the horrible ordeal of taking on all of the sins of the world ?? YOU DID !!
WHY DID JESUS DIE ??? HE DID IT FOR YOU !!!
* He did it so that you could enter into a close fellowship with Him
* He did it so that you would no longer live an empty, purposeless life
* He did it so that you could be forgiven & free of ever present guilt
* He did it so that you could know that there is life beyond the grave in Heaven for you
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE PRICELESS GIFT GOD GAVE YOU AT THE CROSS OF CALVARY
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