Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jesus I will Ponder Now

Make me see Thy great distress,
Anguish and affliction,
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And Thy crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails, did wound thee,
How for man Thou diedst, O God,
Who with thorns had crowned Thee.

Finally, Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified – John 19:16

Introduction: Hanging on a cross - suspended between earth and heaven - the Son of man suffers – as no one has ever suffered – before or since. Stricken, smitten and afflicted see Him hanging on that tree – He hangs there - for you and for me.

We have come to the end of our series – Jesus I will ponder Now. Today we witness Jesus as He offers Himself as a sacrifice for the life of the world. The old song sings:

1. Make me see thy great distress,
Anguish and affliction,

A. The distress of Jesus is one no one has ever experienced. The physical torture was tremendous. But even greater was the spiritual torments He received. On that bloody and cruel cross, Jesus was abandoned by God and by men.

B. Thus, the Savior’s affliction and anguish was the highest cruelty. The wrath of an angry and offended God was poured out on the Son of man on a hill called Calvary. Heaped upon Him was a double load.

1. He suffered, as no man should.

2. He suffered innocently the righteous for the

Transition: Jesus suffered great distress, anguish, and affliction. He suffered in time so we could be in bliss with God eternally.

2. Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And Thy crucifixion;

A. Mel Gibson’s movie the “Passion of the Christ” is a vivid portrayal of the Roman style of execution called crucifixion. It is a rendering of what took place in Jerusalem during those short three hours on Good Friday. This movie is an apt depiction of what crucifixion was really like. No wonder the world feared the Romans! No wonder some still today cannot bear to see it. No wonder the Romans had a law that read: Roman citizens may not be crucified. The scourging, whippings and beatings Christ endured was pure violence.

B. And yet, Gibson’s film is not “gratuitous violence.” To the contrary - there is a higher good, which comes from the sufferings and the passion of the Christ.

1. Your sins, oh man, are gone. Your sins are buried in the tomb of Christ never to be seen again.

2. He separates them as far as the east is from the west and He remembers your sin no more.

3. There is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ who was crucified. This is why we call this day Good Friday, for on a Friday - in time - the Son of God suffered to set you free.

Transition: Why mark these sacred hours when Jesus the Christ suffered? Why does every faithful Christian church station a cross prominently? What it the significance of the cross?

3. Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound Thee,

A. It was a human who transgressed God’s law. When the Father said, “Of all the trees you may eat. But of the tree in the midst of the garden you will not eat, lest you die.”

B. It was a human who believed the lie when the tempter said, “you will not die, for the Lord knows in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing the difference between good and evil.”

C. It was a human who disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit.

D. Therefore it had to be a human who would suffer in your stead. Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a human mother became the Father’s only attempt and the only hope for the human race to be free from sin. There is no other plan. There is no other way. There is no other hope except through Christ. This is what prompted St. Paul to write, “I determine to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Transition: What is the significance of the cross? The hymn writer sums it up in thirteen powerful words.

4. How for man Thou diedst O God,
Who with thorns had crowned Thee.

A. Sacred Scripture is quite clear. “There is salvation in no
one else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

B. Here we see that great exchange God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cross of His own Son! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

C. “No other child, no other Savior, Can ever help this sinful earth. Then take the Gift the Father sent us And spread the Story of His Birth.” That’s what our children said to us this past Christmas Eve. Good Friday assures us of a Merry Christmas! The birth of a baby means the death of a man – and that miserable death has saved us!

Conclusion: Come now, come weary sinner, come to the foot of the cross for all things are now ready!

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

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