The Way of the cross Demands Sacrifice of Self
Almighty and eternal God, because it was Your will that Your Son should bear the pains of the cross for us and thus remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may receive remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death.
The way of the cross demands sacrifice of self. This sacrifice was most significant in the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. What will be Death for most is the hour of defeat and tragedy. For Jesus the hour of His death was the hour of His glory – it was His finest hour! When you are remembered what will stand out? When people reminisce what will they recall? Jesus saw His death as a good thing. Though He had to struggle with His human nature, which wanted to live, He accepted the Father’s will to die as an opportunity to glorify the Father. When we contemplate Jesus’ attitude and of His own death on the bloody cross, we can be helped to face our own hour of death and transform it into an hour of glory.
Consider today Jesus’ most glorious death –
I. His death brings new life – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. V.24
A. New life is made possible because our sin, with all of its evil lusts is drowned and killed. Our old sinful self, our old nature is terminated.
B. In place of this old sinful self and new man comes forth and will arise to live before God in righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Soon area farmers will be about the busy season of spring planting. Jesus gives an illustration of what we have experience repeatedly. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. V.24 Jesus Christ died once for all that we might be given this new life.
Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life. His death also glorifies the Father.
II. His death glorifies God -Father, glorify your name!”Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” – V.28
A. The Father glorified the name of Jesus. It was glorified first on the night Jesus was born. The angelic host cried out in one voice; “glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will with men” (Luke 2)
B. The Father glorified the name of Jesus a second time at the cross and empty tomb. The Son gave Himself into the Father’s hands and the Father was pleased with this ultimate sacrifice. The curtain in the midst of the temple that once reminded the people of a great separation between God and man was ripped in two. Now God and man are reconciled. Because of this reconciliation, you can be reconciled with your neighbor.
1. Satan might tempt us to think – what is done is done the past can’t be forgotten and the future is uncertain because of a broken relationship.
2. Yet alienation will not last, it cannot last. Because the Father and sinful men are now at last reconciled we have the hope of reconciliation between people as well.
C. The Father will glorify the name of His Son at His Second Advent – His 2nd Coming. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life, it glorifies the Father. In this most vicious death, Satan is defeated.
III. His death defeats Satan – Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out -V.31
A. Jesus came for one purpose – the judge the world. To render a just verdict He must defeat the enemy – Satan was totally defeated at the cross when the Son of man cried out “it is finished!”
B. Jesus tells us now the prince of this world will be driven out! One of the joys Tammy found while living in the South Suburbs of Chicago was voting for the retention of Federal judges. Each received a no vote - because they were so corrupt. But, you see, a majority of votes were necessary for the corrupt judges to be removed. The corrupt of the corrupt was voted out with the violence inflicted on an innocent man.
Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life to a new people and in so doing, it glorifies the Father. It is at the cross that the Devil is defeated. It is through His death that people will come to Him.
IV. His death attracts people to Himself – "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” V.32
A. Christ was lifted up on the 3rd day when He broke down the door of death. Death is the last enemy. It could not hold Him. Jesus has swallowed up death in victory.
B. This is what drew men to Jesus and continues to draw men to this very hour. The early disciples had only one message- Jesus is alive and we are witnesses to these events. We are witnesses to the new life He has given us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His appearance to His disciples and the changed lives in those who have met Him is what has turned this world up-side-down, or as we might rightly say has turned this world now right-side-up!
The death of Christ on the cross is what draws people. Our responsibility is simply to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. When the cross is seen and understood, it draws men to the Savior.
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things; - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;