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(Mark 15:1-4) Compassion from a Cross

(Mark 15:1-4) Compassion from a Cross

by Stephen Davey
Series: Sermons in Mark
Ref: Mark 15:1–41

Christ came to earth with a mission in mind, and He accomplished it fully on the Cross. He came from heaven to build a bridge back to the Father -- a bridge that would stand for eternity. The account we read in Mark 15:1-42 will shatter false doctrines and draw all men to a knowledge of the Truth.




(Mark 15:1-4)


Our study continues in Mark, chapter 15, where we find ourselves after several months of study.  We find in chapter 15 in verse 1, Jesus before Pilate.  I want you to notice verse 1 of chapter 15 with me.  We’ll begin there and take this at a rapid pace and yet, slow enough to hit the points that I think are necessary for us to understand, at least as best we can, some of what Christ endured for us.

By the way, we had a tremendous time yesterday with “Walk Through the Bible.”  This room was filled with more than 130 people.  I don’t know if you were part of that, as we went through the Old Testament and Floyd as our teacher.  As a matter of fact, I went home last night figuring how I could put hand signs into this sermon and I couldn’t come up with any.  So, I’ll keep my hands, at least, to my sides.

Chapter 15, verse 1, “early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation”.  Stop, just a moment.  You need to understand that this is illegal, or at least a sham.  You see, they were supposed to, by law, spend the night and sleep on the decision they made the day before.  So that, if they decided that a man was guilty and deserving of death, they were supposed to spend the night, come back in the morning, and consult together and agree, “Yes, he is deserving of death.”  But they had already decided that He would die, the day before, as you remember we studied.  So they came together, just for appearances sake, just so that the people would say, “Yes, they did get together the morning after.”  But they had already determined, in their hearts, that they would send Him to the cross.  “And binding Jesus, they led Him away, and delivered Him up to Pilate.”

Now, I want you to notice, first of all, Jesus before Pilate.  If you have your notes, it will help to follow along in the outline.  “Pilate questioned Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’”  This man was intrigued by the person of Jesus Christ.  He was supposed to be an insurrectionist.  The Jews were telling him that He was seeking after the throne of Herod.  And, I think, Pilate must have scratched his head and thought, “Is this man, a carpenter dressed in plain garments, really saying that He’s the king?”  And I think he asks, in all honesty, wanting to know for himself, “Are You” - really - “the King of the Jews?”  “And” - Jesus - “answering He said to him, ‘It is as you say.’”  And, at that moment, “the chief priests began to accuse Him harshly.”  “But Jesus made no further answer; so that Pilate was amazed.” - you could translate that, original word, “he was astounded.”  He could not believe Jesus Christ would remain silent before those who accused Him.  But you and I remember that Jesus remained silent because the prophet, many years before in Isaiah, had said that this is what Jesus would do.  And Jesus was fulfilling prophecy from the very moment of these trials, as He went as a lamb to the slaughter, He was dumb, He was silent before His shearers.  So, Jesus Christ fulfills prophecy by not answering His accusers.

Now, we find Pilate before the multitude and this introduces us to a rather interesting custom.  Notice verse 6, “Now at the” - Passover - “feast he used to release for them” - the Jews - “any one prisoner whom they requested.”  You remember now, by the context, that they are approaching the Passover season, the feast.  And, it’s a custom that the Jews would release some terrible criminal and forgive, in a sense, that criminal’s sins.  This was a picture of the Passover that God had forgiven the sins of the nation.  This was, kind of, the visual aid that God had forgiven them so now they would forgive some criminal.  So, Pilate goes to them and he says, in effect, “Do you want me to release a prisoner?”  Thinking that they would say, “Yes, we’ll forgive Jesus of all His crimes.”  But they say instead, look at verse 7, “And the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection.”  Perhaps Jesus would be crucified hanging between two of the members of this cut-throat band, called the Sikari, perhaps.  Now, Barabbas, literally, could be translated, “Son of the Rabbi.”  This, possibly, is not even his name, it’s simply a designation.  There is a chance, and we can’t be sure, that Barabbas, or this man called Barabbas, that his father was such a well-known Rabbi in Jerusalem that he was simply known as the “Son of the Rabbi.”  It is possible that here we have the son of one of the men who revered the law and he is a member of the Sikari, a cut-throat band that they got the name Sikari by the meaning of “the dagger under the cloak.”  They kept a dagger under their cloaks and they committed  assassinations as a way of life.  They were constantly in gorilla warfare against Rome.  He was a terrible criminal, a murderer.  He - “had committed murder” - verse 7 says.  And I want you to notice that Pilate understood the jealousy of the leaders.  He says, skip down to verse 9, “And Pilate answered them, saying, ‘Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?’  For he was aware that the chief priests had delivered Him up” - underline in your text the next words, however they may be translated in your text, mine says - “because of envy.”

You know, this all started several years ago when Jesus Christ preached and He taught.  And you remember what the people said?  They looked at Jesus and they heard what He said and they said, “He’s different.  He preaches with authority, not as the scribes do.”  Do you remember that?  And the scribes, from that moment on, were filled with envy and jealousy.  This was a preachers quarrel.  “This man has more people listening to Him preach than me preach.  His congregation is bigger than my congregation.”  This isn’t a new struggle and it’s certainly not anything unique.  In fact, I am a history buff of some of the great men who have filled pulpits.  And it’s interesting to study that in Spurgeon’s day, Charles Spurgeon, as an eighteen-year-old, was preaching to crowds of more than 10,000 people.  He went to London to pastor a church at the age of 20.  They built a building, it was immediately obsolete.  They had to build another tabernacle that seated more than 6,000 people and he had several services.  Here he is, a twenty-year-old man, self-taught, never went to school.  Well, here you’ve got these preachers over here, who have been preaching for years to 25 people.  You know, seminary graduates.  And, as you would guess, they, kind of, banded together in jealousy against Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  And, finally one day, the Baptist Union, which he was a part of, decided to censor Spurgeon.  That is, they would tell their people, “Don’t hear him.  Don’t go to him.  He’s a heretic, if you please.”  They censored him.  But now, as we stand on this side of the century and we look back, we can see that it was for one reason, jealousy.  It’s interesting that F. B. Meyer, who’s books adorn my shelves, was probably one of the greatest writers on the characters of the Bible.  If you ever want to study a character in the Old or New Testament, get F. B. Meyer’s writings.  He had been preaching away, as well, faithfully to about a thousand people.  And then another man came to town, by the name of G. Campbell Morgan.  A man who would be known as the “Prince of Expositors.”  Immediately Morgan’s church was packed and jammed.  And F. B. Meyer struggled with jealousy and envy.  He was different, though, because he got the victory over that jealousy and he began praying that God would fill G. Campbell Morgan’s auditorium.  And he would one day write in his diary that, “We have, now at our disposal, that God answered my prayer and the overflow from his church filled mine.”  You see, this struggle of envy is certainly not new.  And Jesus faced it, and as a result of being so popular with the masses, as a result of the people flocking to hear Him.  There was one reason they wanted to crucify Him, the motivation of their heart, not only was rejection but, it was jealousy and envy.

And so, they began to cry for His death.  Look at verse 11, “the chief priests” - now - “stirred up the multitude to ask him” - that is, Pilate - “to release Barabbas for them instead.”  I want you to notice the crowd’s foolishness.  You know, not many days prior to this event, they were lining the streets of Jerusalem, saying, “Hosanna!  Hosanna!” - which means, “Save us!  Save us!”  “You are the Savior.  You’re the Messiah.”  And now they are crying, “Crucify Him!”  How foolish!  How mindless that they could be so easily stirred.  And yet, I think that’s the picture of so many people today, stirred by the leaders who determine for them their course and they put to sleep the critical faculty of asking, “Is this right or is this wrong?”  And let me camp, just for a second, since we’re talking about the cloth here.  Don’t ever assume that what’s said from behind this desk is correct.  Don’t ever, for a moment, just take for granted that because somebody, who wears the collar or has been to school, and says something, that you are to believe it.  Now, we’re not asking you to question every jot and tittle but never put to sleep what God has given you.  And that is, the critical faculty that says, “Is this the word of God?”  Do you remember when Paul preached to the women of Berea?  He preached a sermon, the great apostle, and what did the women do?  They go back to the Old Testament to search if those things be true.  Well, these people would not do that.  They were mindless and foolish and, as a result, were part of this terrible plot to put Jesus Christ on the cross.

Now I want you to notice, Pilate’s cowardice.  Look at verse 14, “But Pilate was saying to them, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’” - He’s innocent - “But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify Him!’”  Notice verse 15, “And wishing to satisfy the multitude,” - “wishing to satisfy the multitude,” what a coward - “Pilate released Barabbas for them”.  Now, we don’t need to be too hard on him, we know, from history, that he was, at this very moment, having a squabble with Tiberias, who was claiming that Pilate was inflexible with the Jews, as he was the governor of that very difficult nation.  So, perhaps, if he said, “No,” to the Jews on this account, they would report back to Tiberias that he, in fact, was inflexible.  So, he gave in to the whim of the crowd, hoping to skirt trouble.

And he does something that he didn’t need to do.  In fact, it was illegal to do this to a man who was supposed to die on a cross.  He had - “Jesus scourged”.  And this brings me to the second point in our outline and that is the inhuman torture of Jesus Christ.  The first thing that I want to notice with you is His scourging.  History records for us that a scourging was called “the halfway death.”  In fact, very often the criminal would not survive the scourging.  There wasn’t any prescribed number of lashes, it was totally up to the Roman soldiers.  If they were feeling vindictive, they could take it out on this poor criminal.  If they were feeling merciful, they might give him a dozen or so.  He struck with a flagellum, which was a short, stubby stick with long strips of leather and sewn into the ends of the leather would be pieces of stone and metal.  The poor person who had received this would be stripped totally naked, bent over a post, and tied by his hands.  And, in this position, this burly Roman soldier, in fact, there would be one on his left and one on his right, and they would alternate lashes and they would do that until they were through.  Many times the person was delirious, his back would be raw, after the scourging.

Then I want you to notice the mocking, in verses 16 to 19.  “And the soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort.  And they dressed Him up in purple”. This is, literally, a piece of rag, perhaps with a little dye in it that would be purplish.  This isn’t a full length robe.  I want you to understand, not to be gory but, to understand the agony of Christ.  That here He is standing in humiliation, naked, and they throw over His shoulders, that might reach to His elbows, a rag.  And then they weave - “a crown of” - little - “thorns, they put it on” - His head - “and they began to acclaim Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’”  They’re having fun with this Jew, the one who claims to be the king.  “And they kept beating His head with a” - stick or - “reed, and spitting at Him, and” - in mockery - “kneeling and bowing before Him.”  My blood begins to boil at about this point.  And the only thing that seems to help me, as I am filled with anger at these people, is realizing that, perhaps, I would have been one of them myself.  But, not only that, is going to Revelation, chapter 19, where we see Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, coming, robed in kingly robes and holding, not a reed but, a diadem and ruling the world.  One day, there will be vindication and Jesus, Himself, will come.  And Philippians tells us that then, not in mockery but, in honor, “every knee should bow, . . . and . . . every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

I want you to notice the journey in the next two verses, verses 20 and 21.  “And after they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, and put His garments on Him.  And they led Him out to crucify Him.  And they pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.”  Let’s stop here for just a moment.  It was the practice, of that day, that once the individual is to be led to the place of crucifixion, that they would give him the top crossbeam to carry, not the entire cross but, just the top piece.  That, in itself, weighed more than a hundred pounds.  And they would place it on his shoulders and he would carry it like this.  And then they would take four soldiers, one in the front, and one to either side, and then one behind him and they would lead him, not the shortest route to crucifixion but, the longest route.  They would take him down every side road possible on the way to Golgotha, as Jesus would be crucified here.  And that was to show, as many people as possible, the terrific penalty for defying Rome.  And crowds would line the streets.

Now, Jesus, just having been scourged, of the three criminals he was the only one that we know of who was scourged, He was so weakened that He could not bear that hundred pound crossbeam.  And so, the soldiers looked around and they found a passer-by, probably, from history it tells us that, this man was a pilgrim from Cyrene on his way to Jerusalem.  And he had come to celebrate the Passover.  Cyrene was a city in North Africa.  This man, perhaps, was a black man from North Africa who was pressed into service, in a cruel way, by these soldiers.  But, I want you to notice that the text says, in verse 21.  It says, ‘Simon of Cyrene” - and notice in parenthesis - “(the father of Alexander and Rufus)”.  Now isn’t that interesting?  Because what would that mean to us?  Nothing.  But it meant something to these readers.  Because they knew that Rufus, according to Paul as he wrote in Romans, chapter 16, he said to - “Greet Rufus,” - a Godly man who was part of the church.  Perhaps this is the same Rufus, fathered by Cyrene.  Maybe, we can’t be sure.  But this man, Simon of Cyrene, put into service, pressed, the word means “forcibly,” meaning that he didn’t want to do it.  He probably argued.  This was humiliation.  He would carry that hundred pound crossbeam through the streets, as a criminal.  But yet, perhaps he hung around.  And isn’t it fascinating to think that he had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, to celebrate the sacrifice of a lamb, to celebrate the shedding of blood for his sins for a year and he would meet the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world?  And, perhaps, during that time he trusted this Christ.  And his sons were told the truth and Rufus would be part of the church.  Simon is mentioned in Acts, chapter 13, as helping Paul in his first missionary journey.  Evidently, behind the scenes, in between the lines, perhaps, there was a tremendous conversion on the journey to Calvary.

Well, with this cruelty as a backdrop, we come to the place of crucifixion.  Sometimes the setting of things helps, at least it does for me, and this is a cruel and black backdrop of agony from which the Savior hangs for mankind.  I can remember, I think I shared this over a year ago, the illustration of when I went to buy the engagement ring for my wife.  And I went myself because I wanted to surprise her and I picked out the diamond and then, kind of, hinted around at the kind of setting that she might want.  Have you ever tried to do that without actually proposing?  It’s impossible, she knows it’s coming.  But she, kind of, gave me an idea and I went to pick out the diamond.  And I remember that jeweler taking out this black velvet and he, kind of, in one fluid movement, laid it out on the counter.  And he pulled out this bag of diamonds the size that I wanted.  And he, kind of, spilled the diamonds on that black velvet backdrop.  And I’m feeling very poor about now.  I want to buy them all and make payments for the rest of my life.  I select one.  I don’t know how or why.  I just thought, “Well, that one looks kind of good there.”  He probably chuckled under his breath and he puts the eyeglass to his eye and he says, “Yes, that’s a good diamond.”  And he sold me that diamond.  But, you know what, I can remember now, the diamonds looked so beautiful and so exquisite because they are beautiful but because they were against the backdrop of that velvet that seemed to bring out the luster of their beauty.  You know, the cross is a beautiful diamond in the history of mankind.  And it is so beautiful as I understand ALL of the cruelty and ALL of the agony and then I turn and I look at, not the bitterness, not the reaction but the compassion of Jesus Christ as He hangs on the cross.  And I want to take just enough time to give you two episodes, in this account, that reveal to us His unbelievable compassion.

You’ll notice, first of all, that compassion is shown toward His condemners.  And I need you to turn to another gospel account, Luke, chapter 23.  Luke, chapter 23, and let’s begin with verse 33.  Luke, chapter 23, verse 33, “And when they came to the place called The Skull,” - or Golgotha - “there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.”  The practice would be to reach that hill, they would take the crossbeam off the shoulder of the person carrying it, in this case Simon.  They would lay it down and they would connect it to the other piece, the vertical piece.  And then they would lay the criminal on top.  And they would drive long spikes through the forearms of that individual and the feet, one foot on top of the other.  Now, between the legs of that criminal, they would place what they called “the saddle.”  It would be just a little peg and, if the man had enough strength in his legs, he could push up and rest on the saddle and be able to breathe.  But as soon as he lost strength, he would slip off the saddle and, if he was unable to pick himself back up, he would die from suffocation.  That’s why they would come later and with a stone mallet, break the legs of the criminals so that they would slide off the saddle and hang in such a way that they couldn’t breathe.  After doing that to Jesus Christ and these other men, He is now hanging on Calvary.  Notice verse 34, “But Jesus was saying,” - the tense means that He continually said this over and over again - “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  Not just once but, every time, that someone, perhaps, came up and slandered Him or sneered.  Look at verse 35, “And the people stood by, looking on.  And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself’”.  And every time, perhaps, that one would come to the foot of the cross and look, He’s hanging anywhere from ten to twelve feet in the air, every time they came and mocked Him, perhaps Jesus said, “Father forgive” - him - “for” - he does - “not know what” - he is - “doing.”  He said that many times according to the text.

Now, it’s interesting, and you need to circle the word “forgive,” because the Greek word is “aphiemi,” which, literally, means “release them.”  And that opens a world of implication.  Jesus Christ is saying, “Release them.”  Release them from what?  Release them from murder in the first degree.  It’s interesting, as we study the Old Testament, that they had a practice called “the city of refuge.”  And if you killed someone by accident, let’s say that this happens in the twentieth century and we have a city of refuge.  And you’re driving down the street and some little boy runs out in front of you and you accidentally hit that child and kill him.  That’s manslaughter, that’s murder by accident.  You didn’t mean to, you didn’t know what you were doing.  Then you had an opportunity to live and you would flee to the city of refuge before the relatives could catch you.  The law declared that if they could catch you, they could slay you.  But, if you made it to the city of refuge and you stayed there the prescribed amount of time, you would be safe.  And, I think, that Jesus Christ is thinking back to the provisions that the law made for those who killed another without understanding or knowing or by accident.  He says, “Father, release them from a murder one rap.  Hold them only to manslaughter so that they will have the potential, one day, of fleeing to the city of refuge.”  Which is who?  Which is Jesus Christ.  So there was hope, even for those people who put Him on the cross.  And listen, there is hope for you and me because we killed Him too.  So Jesus Christ evidences tremendous and unbelievable compassion toward His condemners.

Not only that, He evidences compassion toward the condemned.  I want you to notice, let’s pick it up again with verse 35.  “And the people stood by, looking on.  And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if’” - circle the word “if” - “this is the Christ”.  Don’t they understand that because He is, He can’t come down off the cross.  If He came down, it would prove that He wasn’t.  If He remains up there and dies, that proves that He is the Christ.  Next verse, “And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine”.  It was the practice, in that day, that as a person reached the place of crucifixion, certain devout women, Jewish women in Jerusalem, would have a drink, it would be wine mixed with myrrh.  Myrrh had an anesthetic property to it.  This was developed from something that Solomon wrote, years before, in Proverbs, chapter 31, verse 6, where he said, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.”  So, from that passage of scripture, came this practice.  And devout women would give, in compassion, to the criminals, wine mixed with myrrh.  So that would dull the senses.  But Jesus refused it earlier.  Now, once again, they offer, on a sponge, something for Him to, literally, suck, by way of nourishment.  And, Verse 38, “Now there was also an inscription above Him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’”  The soldier, who would walk in front of the condemned criminal as they paraded through the streets of Jerusalem, would carry the placard describing the crime of the one who would die.  Now think for a moment, that soldier went through the entire city, as many streets as they wanted, carrying the sign that, at one moment at Calvary, would be nailed to the head of the cross, he carried it in front of the criminal as they went through that city and it said his crime.  What’s His crime?  “This is” - Jesus - “King of the Jews.”  How ironic.  “And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse” - that’s intensive, he was throwing abuses - “at Him, saying, ‘Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!’”  And I think he probably emphasized, “and us” - rather than - “Save Yourself”“But the other answered, and rebuking him said,” - the Greek, literally, says, “another of a different kind,” a criminal of a different kind - “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds”.

Now, I want you to notice two things about this criminal, you need to jot into your notes.  First of all, I want you to notice, his courage, by what he says next.  He says, “but this man has done nothing wrong.”  I love that!  Here’s the entire Jewish nation, all of the scribes and the Pharisees and the religious leaders declaring that He’s done all of these wrong things.  And here’s this criminal, declaring from his lips that, Jesus is innocent.  What a rebuke to the nation that a criminal could see in Him innocence.  And you know, God’s plan has been that way from day one.  When Jesus Christ entered planet earth through human flesh, who declared, by announcement, that He had come?  The religious leaders?  No.  The religious outcasts, the shepherds.  And now, at His death, who declares His innocence, that He is, in fact, the Christ?  One of the religious leaders who had studied the law?  No.  An outcast, a criminal.  He had tremendous courage in saying that because, by saying that, he ostracized himself from any compassion of the crowd and from his friend, who was hanging just a few feet away on another cross.  He immediately cut himself off.

But then, I want you to notice his humility.  Look at verse 42, “And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’”  “Remember me,” this was one Greek word that was found on many tombstones that dotted the Greek countryside.  One Greek word, they wouldn’t have names.  It was the practice of many people, who feared God, to simply have on their tombstone the word, translated, “remember me.”  It was a perpetual prayer to God, wherever you might be, that hopefully, in the resurrection, they would be remembered.  And so, he uses that same word and said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me”.  And yet, what humility.  He didn’t say, “Lord, give me a spot in the kingdom of ruling, give me a prominent place.”  He just said, “Lord, at the resurrection, when You bring in Your kingdom, would you mind remembering me?”

Now, Jesus’ next statement is one that I love.  “And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’”  Jot down, if you would, four false doctrines that Jesus’ answer shatters.  There are four doctrines, and you may even think of more, but I can come up with at least four false doctrines that the answer of Jesus here totally wipes away.  First of all, the false doctrine of baptismal regeneration.  Jesus Christ said, “After you’re baptized, I’ll remember you in the kingdom.”  Let’s get this guy off the cross and baptize him or somebody sprinkle him or do something.  He wasn’t baptized in ANY form.  And yet, he was to be with Christ in paradise.  Those who say you must be baptized to be saved need to camp here for just a moment because it is so clear, salvation does not come through a tub, it comes by faith in Christ.

The second false doctrine that Christ’s answer shatters, obviously, is salvation by works.  This man couldn’t do anything, his hands were either tied or nailed to the cross.  He couldn’t go anywhere for Christ, his feet were either nailed or tied to the cross.  He didn’t have an opportunity to do anything.  We don’t know that he testified, we don’t know that he did anything.  He certainly didn’t give any money.  He couldn’t do a thing.  No church to join on Calvary.  But yet, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  You see, you don’t enter the kingdom through a Bible study, through good works, through church membership.  It is simple faith.  As Floyd said so clearly yesterday, “It is simply coming to a point in your life where you cease trusting in yourself for salvation and you begin to trust God for your salvation.”

The third doctrine that I think Jesus, literally, shatters is the doctrine that perpetuates the idea of soul sleep.  Have you ever heard of that?  When you die, you just kind of go into an unconscious state and you just stay there until Jesus comes back.  Jesus Christ said, “TODAY you shall be with Me in Paradise!”

And you could add the fourth, and it’s an even more difficult doctrine to hold to by simply studying this passage,  and that is the doctrine of purgatory.  Where they say that you must, after conversion, go through the fire to be purified and prepared for the kingdom.  You are purified, you are prepared at the moment you trust Christ.  Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, says, you are - “justified” - by the blood of Jesus Christ and because of that blood and the - “faith” - in that blood - “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.  No purgatory, no need to fear the fire.  You are perfect, not in your works but, in the works of Christ.

Well, at that moment, we won’t take time to get into detail but, at that moment, another gospel writer tells that darkness fell upon the face of the earth.  There was darkness.  And, I think, once again, this simply goes back into the Old Testament history.  You see, there were ten plagues.  For those of you who were there yesterday, you think of doing that (?) when you hear the word “ten plagues.”  There were ten plagues.  The tenth was the death of the first-born.  What was the ninth?  Darkness.  I think this is a powerful insinuation that Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, is about to die.  “And, I want to remind you, Jews, that these are like the plagues.  And while there is darkness, if you do not put across the doorposts the blood of the lamb, you will face death.”  And, I think, this is a powerful picture that, unless we place the blood of Jesus Christ on the doorposts of our hearts, we will also face death.  And so the darkness came.

And somewhere, after the darkness came, Jesus Christ says, in one Greek word “teleoesti(?),” He cried it, which is translated, “It is finished.”  He didn’t say, “I am finished.”  He said, “It is finished.”  What is?  The redemptive plan of God is now complete.  “It is finished.”  This word was used in Greece by servants who would go to their masters and tell them that the job was completed.  It was also used by merchants, who would use this word “teleoesti(?),” to indicate that the price was paid in full.  And that’s the Greek word that Jesus Christ chose to indicate, as the servant of the Father, that Your will is finished, the price is paid in full.

I’ve been studying, all week, this passage and I wish you had the benefit of doing that and I appreciate you giving me the benefit of doing that.  And I had just come to complete this study on the word “teleoesti(?),” and I’m giving it to you in sixty seconds and I spent a couple hours.  Right at the finish or conclusion of that study, the phone rang and a gal was on the other end of the line.  And she was from the Unification church inviting me to come to a seminar in Washington, all expenses paid, to hear Reverend Sun Yung Moon(?) teach his doctrine.  She called at the wrong time because, you see, Moon believes that Jesus did not finish the work that He came to do.  They believe that the cross prematurely cut the plan that God had to raise up a spiritual nation.  And so, now God has Moon come along and finish what Jesus didn’t complete.  Boy, was I ready for her.  And, as tactfully as I could, I said, “Ma’am, I can’t go because my Bible teaches me that Jesus finished the work.  Moon is not needed to finish what Jesus did.”  And I gave her about thirty seconds of everything I had studied and finally, she said, “Well, God bless you.”  And she hung up.  And, you know, I just sat back in my chair and I thought, “That’s exactly what God has done.  He’s blessed me and He’s blessed you because you trusted the One who finished it all.”

Christ came and He finished what He had come to do.  He had come from heaven to build a bridge from earth to heaven.  And that bridge was in the form of a cross.  And, as one poet said, “The foot of the cross touched earth, declaring that God had moved to touch man.  The top of the cross pointed heavenward, as if to tell men, ‘Now, there’s a way to heaven, to the kingdom.’  And the arms of the cross stretched outward as if to plead with men, ‘Whosoever will, may come.’”  Even me, even you.                                                                                  




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