Crucifixion Luke 23:26-43

Facing Jerusalem  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Paul Aurandt shares this true story of James Macie. He was an illegitimate child, which is really a foolish idea, for it is the parents that are illegitimate, and not the child, but as is so often the case, the stigma of this followed him for life. The laws of England, in the 18th century, denied him the rights of any ordinary citizen. He was born in 1765, the illegitimate son of a British Duke. He abandoned his mother in France, and then returned to England. James was made a citizen, but with limitations.
He could not enter Parliament.
He could not hold public office.
He could not hold any job under civil service.
He could not enter the army or navy.
He could not be a member of the church of England.
He was bitter at these and other limitations, and when he grew up and became a noted scientist, he could not be knighted, as were his colleagues. The constant rejection by his country led him to reject them. When he died in 1829 he left his wealth to the United States of America. He had never been here, but by willing his fortune to the U.S. he disinherited the country that had disinherited him. He named it to acknowledge, and perpetuate his true family name, which was denied him in birth. It was the name Smithson. The result is, we have in our capital the vast storehouse of cultural and scientific accomplishment-The Smithsonian Institution. All of this was a gift from one who was called illegitimate.
-Jesus offers us life through His death.

At the Cross, Jesus Offers Us…

I. An Invitation to Follow vv. 26-27

As we continue looking at the story of Jesus, we see Him led away to the hill of Calvary, outside the city where He will be crucified
In the scene that follows, we are faced with a couple of images:
Simon of Cyrene, a man in Jerusalem for the Passover feast is compelled to carry the cross for Jesus
A multitude of people, mourning for Jesus, follow Him on the way to Calvary
These images are powerful, because they give us a picture of the life of a disciple of Jesus
Continually, Jesus was inviting people to follow Him and now, they are following Him, even to the place of His death
We need to take seriously the cost of the call, because it is a call to die!
We must not be afraid or surprised by the way of suffering, because it is the road that our Lord has walked before us.
Matthew 16:24–26
[24] Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [25] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [26] For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (ESV)
There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross- bearers here below.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

II. A Warning to the Ignorant vv. 28-31

Next, we see the crowd lamenting all that is taking place, they weep for Jesus, but they do not understand!
Jesus makes it clear that there is a judgment that is coming that is far greater than the one that He is currently experiencing:
There is a judgment on all Jerusalem that will come in a generation through the Romans
There is a judgment on all humanity that will come some day from the Lord
Jesus calls us to look at the severity of the judgment:
If it is this bad when the green wood (Himself) is burned, how much worse when the wood is dry (us)?
It turns out that judgment is coming for all of us; our only hope is to hide in the place that judgment has already taken place!
H. A. Ironside told the story of pioneers who were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them.
One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"

III. Mercy for the Mocker vv. 32-34

Jesus is crucified, but in the process, we see His heart for sinners on display
He has been cruelly beaten and mocked by the authorities, yet He prays for them!
Specifically, He prays for God’s forgiveness to those who have treated Him cruelly
This is the ongoing posture of God towards sinners; He is shockingly merciful and He longs for all to repent and experience reconciliation to Him
This is not a license to continue in disobedience to God, but it is an opportunity to respond:
God wants you to have a relationship with Him, regardless of what your past or present behavior holds
God has made a way of redemption for you
You are out of excuses, but you must make a decision!
Romans 5:6–8
[6] For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

IV. His Life for Ours vv. 35-39

There is an ongoing call that goes out to Jesus as a mockery: “Save yourself!”
If you are the Christ (v. 35)
If you are the King (v. 36)
If you are a Savior (v. 39)
However, it is precisely because He is all of those things that He cannot save Himself:
He is the anointed servant, chosen by God as the sacrifice for sin
He is the King of the Jews, who stands before God on behalf of all of the people
He is the Savior, who gives Himself so others can live
Jesus saves us by substituting Himself for us
He is obedient to the purpose of God, even to the point of death!
By doing this, He offers us life!
1 Peter 3:18
[18] For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV)

V. Hope for the Broken vv. 40-43

In the final scene that we consider today, we see a second thief on the Cross.
His attitude is different than most of what we have seen
Seemingly, he “gets it” understanding some of what this is all about
Let’s look at the pattern:
He admits his own sin v. 41a
He believes in Jesus and His innocence v. 41b
He commits himself to Christ v. 42
As a result, he receives the gift of eternal life
The innocent Jesus died for the guilty thief so that the thief could share in His eternal kingdom!
When Lincoln's body was brought from Washington to Illinois, it passed through Albany and it was carried through the street. They say a black woman stood upon the curb and lifted her little son as far as she could reach above the heads of the crowd and was heard to say to him, "Take a long look, honey. He died for you". So, if I could, I would lift up your spirit to see Calvary. Take a long look, He died for you.
Would you take a look at Jesus and what He’s done? He died for you!
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