Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Passion of The Cross

This video really sets up this message well.

It is Jesus who taught us how to love people and bring dignity to their lives. It is Jesus who met people wherever they were, He showed us His passion. He was passionate about the spiritually lost, the hungry, the seeker no matter where they showed up whether it was coming through a roof, climbing up a tree, crying out in a crowd. He saw them, He listened to them, He ate with them.

Take the account of Jesus and the woman at the well; here is a woman who is his complete opposite: Samaritan, female and promiscuous. So, while the disciples purchase food, Jesus asks her for a drink. This could have been a very explosive situation yet it becomes clear very early on that this man is not flirting with her in a culture that segregates men and women from these situations. It is Jesus who immediately confronts her with her moral condition and she is shocked…why? More than likely this is the first time a man who is more interested in her as a person, her redemption more than what she could offer him. It is Jesus who meets us with honest love, who can redeem our sexuality, our dignity, our life.


It is Jesus who ultimately brought dignity to our lives by showing us the ultimate act of love, He laid down His life for us, who He saw as His friends!

The Passion of Jesus’ Separation v36-38

The cross separates and brings overwhelming sorrow.

It was the Father who listened to His one and only Son’s request. He could feel the pain that was poured out in the intense sorrow and knew the way His Son would be treated. We need to recognize the price the Father paid to let His only son die, to pay the price for the crime of sin he did not commit. He knew the mockery, the slander, the cruelty, the betrayal and the total ungratefulness of mankind. He knew our ignorance and still He determined to turn His back on His Son, to abandon Him to let him die alone because of His great love for us.

Luke 22:44 reads "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."
What does it mean for sweat to be like drops of blood? Certainly it would be showing us the incredible intensity of the moment. Jesus was suffering from a rare medical condition known as 'hematidrosis' It is a condition is brought on by extreme mental stress or anxiety in the patient causing capillaries - small blood vessels - in the patient to burst. Some escaping blood gets into the sweat glands and so the subject literally sweats blood. This is a fairly new medical revelation so even Luke as a doctor at that time would not have been aware of the condition, so he writes as accurately as he is able.  It was 'like blood'. Again, this is a point of reference to the authenticity of the Bible!

The Passionate Love of Jesus for our Dignity v39-42

It is while Christ was lying face down to the ground that He accepted the decision that God had laid out for Him,… Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, it was prophesied of Him, but He still had to in His humanity accept the divine plan for why He would do what He did. The battle wasn't won at Golgotha, it was won when Christ made the decision in His mind and in His spirit to go to the cross.

The price was that He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you.
M Lucado.

He became sin for us. 2 Cor. 5:21 Jesus Christ alone took upon Himself , not only the physical, but spiritual suffering and death.

He endured the agony of being made sin. He didn't just command the sin to leave, like He did with demons or the hypocrites in the temple. Christ came down in the very mire and stench of our sin. He allowed Himself to be touched by that which shipwrecks our lives and leaves us hollow in our innermost being.

He did this all the while we were sleeping like the disciples in the sense that we were so unaware of the price that He paid for us.

Not my will, but your will be done.

The structure is complete in two clear statements by our Lord.

He shows us

1. Complete honesty
2. Complete surrender

It is a simple and short prayer that bypasses the pain of the heart and goes straight to the will. It is a place where we are often called to go even in the midst of our own ‘gethsemanes of the soul’. It is a place where we feel all alone, a place where we feel our closest friends have deserted us, a place where we are barely holding on.

He also learns to submit to the will of God and teaches us to do the same by His very example.

The call to rise and go with Jesus v43-45

We can never go where Jesus has gone in His payment for our sin to bring us into newness of life; however he calls us to carry our cross as well in recognizing the death sentence that He has placed over the power of sin in our life

Luke 14:26-28 It is call to follow Him with reckless abandon, to give Jesus our ultimate loyalty, no matter what may face us.

A court hearing for Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh -- Iranian Christians who were arrested by security forces in March 2009 -- was held on April 13. In November 2009, the two were conditionally released from the notorious Evin Prison

 Although they have been receiving medical treatment for the past five months, they remain weak and suffer from various illnesses. Yet, despite their frailties, they were determined to be faithful to the Lord and speak the truth in court whatever the consequence or personal cost. At last report, the outcome of their hearing was unknown.

I rise with Jesus that in love gives me power over sin

It is a death to self, to my own will. As Christ said, not my will, but God, your will be done.
Mark 14:32. We die to personal, self -seeking desires

We move from the place of ultimate sorrow to ultimate joy.

Co- Crucifixion is allowing the Spirit of God search me until I know what the level and nature of sin is in my life, to see the very things that struggle against God's spirit in me. I have died with Christ to the power that sin has over me, I am sick to death with sin and hate its deadly venom. It is a flat out refusal to give in or to give up.

The cross is no place of concealment of hiding, of covering sin. It is the place where we break with sin the place of exposure, of guilt, of open shame.
The Cross kills. The man who exposes himself to Calvary soon discovers that a hidden fire burns within his bones. Oh. let me, put no limits to is concentrated force. May its death-dealing, life giving and healing rays penetrate my most secret life, until its hidden fire burns in all the bones of my inmost being. But let me not fear to expose myself to the divine treatment. As I allow this to happen, I will continue to conform to the image of the Son. 

Roy Hession in  'The Calvary Road'

Christ fulfilled His destiny as Savior of the world. God raised him from the dead freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2:24
His resurrection means He has the power to convey His life to me. We have a new nature.

A follower of Christ must realize that there is no sin that should have complete and total domination over us. If we live in the power of the Spirit as a result of our union with Christ, then we have the winning formula. The key is that we continue to yield to Christ's living his life through me. In a nutshell, If sin rules in me, God's life in me will be suffocated, if God rules in me, sin will be suffocated.

Galatians 2:20

To be resurrected to a new life is a recognition of the fact that my ties to my former life are severed and my new allegiance is to Christ.
When a person immigrates to Canada, my feeling is that they've got to become a Canadian outright, love the great white north, know all the provinces, enjoy the great outdoors, pay their taxes before April 30th and of course follow hockey.
I don't want to hear anybody talk about how good it was over there. The same is true of the Christian life, we have a new citizenship and the cross has cut me off from my old nature.

I not only rise up to conquer the power of sin in Christ but...

I no longer live for myself. I live to bring Christ’s redeeming love and dignity to the life of others.

God gave Heather Derrick a vision for Romania, a passion for Goldie!

It is the same reason our youth went 30 hours without food to raise funds for World Vision

The Takeaway

The passion of Christ’s cross redeems me and brings dignity to others.

The cross changes the way I look at everyone. Each person that I see is a person that Jesus died for so that is why even when helping my wife sell scrapbook kits at Scrapfest, I had one of those moments where I was overwhelmed in sorrow and called to prayer as a woman I met shared with me about her son Aaron going off to Afghanistan yesterday with the largest contingent of soldiers ever to be deployed. I believe she said 2000 troops left yesterday. He is an engineer that goes ahead of the army to clear the path and make the way safe as possible for the troops.

Why do I care about Aaron. He is a person that Christ died for.

Questions For Discussion

1. How does the man of sorrows, how does someone 'overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death' yet go through with his task?
2. How can we, when we find ourselves in our Gethsemanes', echo Jesus' "yet not my will, your will"?'
3. Can you identify how the resurrection power of Christ has given your power over the compulsion to sin?
4. In what ways can you bring dignity to the life of others?

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