Sermon title:  Christ Crucified, But Coming Again

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, July 5, 2020

 

 

Immanuel Baptist Church describes itself as a church

“preaching Christ crucified, risen and

coming again.”

 

It’s not popular today to preach Christ “coming again,”

because that would disrupt the status quo.

 

But Christ “coming again” is the key outcome

of “Christ crucified” and “Christ risen.”

 

And we dare not neglect it—

especially in view of the way

this world seems to be heading today.

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In recent weeks we’ve looked at the trials,

our Lord Jesus was subjected to

before he went to the cross.

 

There was a whole series

of criminal hearings & trials—

within hours of each other,

before the Jewish supreme court,

and the Roman courts of Herod

and Pontius Pilate.

 

The Roman governor Pilate

found Jesus ‘not guilty’

but gave in to pressure

to have him executed anyway.

Pilate made several attempts to release Jesus,

but finally sent him off to be crucified—

—a man he knew to be innocent.

 

All of this was foretold

thousands of years ahead of time

by the prophets of the Old Testament.

 

It wasn’t just some miscarriage of justice,

but, rather, God sent his only Son

to die on the cross for us,

so that we might receive

forgiveness of our sins

and everlasting life in heaven.

 

But, first, Christ had to suffer—

to keep us from suffering everlasting damnation.

 

And the 4 Gospels take us step by step

through that suffering of Christ.

 

Let’s take those steps now, with our Lord Jesus,

as he sets off from Pontius Pilate’s courtroom

to the cross of Calvary.

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Luke 23:26 tells us,

“As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”

 

It appears that what he experienced

and witnessed that day

must have led Simon of Cyrene

to become a disciple,

along with his 2 sons

who are named in Mark’s Gospel.

 

Luke continues to say,

 

27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

they will say to the mountains, Fall on us!

and to the hills, “Cover us!

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

 

If such a terrible thing was happening

when Jesus was there with them,

what worse things would happen

after he was gone?

 

Christ was apparently referring

to the desolation that would come upon Jerusalem

within a generation—

the “great tribulation” he foretold would happen

when “the abomination that causes desolation”

—the Roman armies would kill a million Jews

carry off the rest captive,

and desolate the city of Jerusalem.

 

That horrible experience would be easier to go through

for the childless

than for women with young children.

 

So, Jesus told them,

 

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;

weep for yourselves and for your children.”

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The procession continued

toward the place of execution,

and Mark Chapter 15 tells us,

22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews.

27They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.

 

Luke 23:34 tells us,

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

 

All 4 Gospels tell us about how the Roman soldiers

divided Jesus’ clothing among them,

and about the sign Pontius Pilate

had posted on the cross over Jesus’ head.

 

But John Chapter 19 fills in more of the details.

It says,

19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

 

22Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

 

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

 

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them

and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

 

That Scripture that was fulfilled was Psalm 22,

written a thousand years earlier,

which begins with words Jesus spoke on the cross:

 

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

and tells how those standing around would mock him,

...

7 All who see me mock me;

they hurl insults, shaking their heads.

8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,

“let the Lord rescue him.

Let him deliver him,

since he delights in him.”...

 

Psalm 22 also says,

they pierce my hands and my feet...

18 They divide my clothes among them

and cast lots for my garment...

 

And it tells, not only what happened at the cross,

but also how belief in Jesus as Lord

would spread from Israel, to reach people

of all nationalities, worldwide:

 

27 All the ends of the earth

will remember and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations

will bow down before him.

 

Written a thousand years before Christ,

the Psalm’s prophecies were perfectly fulfilled

the day he went to the cross.

 

Matthew 27 says,

39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him,

for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.

 

It’s not just a small thing,

that prophecy was fulfilled

1000 years after it was written.

 

That reassures us that the prophecies

about Christ coming again will be fulfilled,

even though 2000 years have passed.

 

Everything prophesied about Christ’s crucifixion

was fulfilled.

 

And that gives us confidence

that everything about Christ’s coming again

will be fulfilled.

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Luke 23 tells us that even one of the men

nailed up next to him abused him:

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

John 19 tells us that some of Jesus’ supporters

were still standing close to the cross:

 

25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

 

Mark 15 tells us,

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

 

It must have been the Roman soldiers

who mistakenly thought Jesus was calling Elijah.

 

The Hebrew word “Eloi” meant “my God,”

and Jesus was actually repeating

the first verse of Psalm 22,

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

 

Jesus was fulfilling prophecy,

when he cried out those words.

 

John 19 tells us,

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

Luke 23:46 adds

Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

 

Yes, our Lord went to his death.

 

He went like a lamb to the slaughter.

 

He let himself be taken by his enemies,

and he allowed himself to be abused,

falsely accused

and finally killed.

 

It looked like evil triumphed.

 

It looked like injustice prevailed.

 

It looked like Satan triumphed over God.

 

At least, it looked like that to Satan and his henchmen.

 

And it looks today like Satan triumphs

when people disregard God, and get away with it,

and when the Supreme Court

puts their own laws in place of God’s.

 

But Christ actually won the victory at the cross.

 

The wicked were blinded to what happened,

as the wicked are often blinded to God’s purposes.

 

But God’s purpose in Christ

was spelled out in the Old Testament

thousands of years ago.

 

From the 3rd Chapter of Genesis, onward,

God’s purpose in Christ was foretold.

 

It said there that Satan, the original serpent,

would strike the heel of the woman’s Seed—

which was fulfilled

when the nails pierced Jesus’ feet,

but that Jesus, the woman’s Seed,

would crush Satan’s head.

 

We saw this morning how the 22nd Psalm

foretold thousands of years ahead of time

the events of Christ’s crucifixion.

 

And how that same 22nd Psalm foretold that

 

27 All the ends of the earth

will remember and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations

will bow down before him.

 

The wicked are blinded to God’s purposes—

so blinded that it looked to them

like Jesus was defeated at the cross.

 

But it was actually a victory—

a victory for God, and for us,

because Christ died for us,

to free us from the power of Satan

and give us new birth as children of God.

 

What happened at the cross was not a defeat for God,

but a victory for God and for all of us.

 

Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about his First Coming,

and that guarantees he will also fulfill

the prophecies about his Second Coming.

 

The Apostle Peter drew his sword

when Christ was being arrested,

but Jesus told him to put away his sword

so that the prophecy could be fulfilled

about his going to the cross.

 

Christ told Peter he didn’t need

protection by Peter’s sword,

because he could call on the Father

for 12 legions of angels to save him.

 

But his intent was, not to be saved from death,

but to go to the cross for us, to save us from death.

 

Jesus went to the cross, and he died.

 

But then he rose from the dead the third day.

 

And he ascended to heaven,

to sit on the throne of God.

 

And, once in heaven,

Jesus called those legions of angels into action,

with the Archangel Michael

leading God’s angels into battle

against the devil and his demon angels.

 

Revelation Chapter 12 tells us,

7Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

 

Satan was hurled to earth,

and his demon angels with him.

 

And the devil is angry because his time is short.

 

This is why we see so much horrific evil

in the world around us today.

 

Political analysts struggle to explain

why the world is in such a mess.

 

Conspiracy theories try to uncover

the evil intrigue that is going on.

 

The deep state, the corrupt politicians,

the complex network of financial power figures—

they are all involved in perpetuating evil.

 

But exposés and investigators all miss the point,

if they fail to see what the Bible reveals

as the hidden hand behind it all.

 

This world has been throwing aside its Christian heritage,

throwing aside belief in the God of the Bible,

throwing aside biblical marriage,

throwing aside Bible-based law and order,

and embracing instead evolution and abortion,

homosexuality and fornication,

godless socialism, mob-rule and violence.

 

And it’s all been because

that ancient serpent

called the devil, or Satan,

who leads the whole world astray.

... was hurled to the earth,

and his angels with him.

 

That 12th Chapter of Revelation concludes

by saying that the devil next goes off

to persecute Christians.

 

12 ...woe to the earth and the sea,

because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury,

because he knows that his time is short.”

... 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

And we see that opposition to biblical Christianity

and that persecution growing around us now.

 

Even America, with its strong Christian heritage,

is rejecting that Christian heritage

and turning against those who

those who keep God’s commands

and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

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But Jesus isn’t finished with those legions of angels.

 

Those angels who Jesus held back from calling on

when he told Peter to put away his sword—

Jesus used those angels

to drive Satan and his demon angels

out of heaven.

 

And Revelation Chapter 19 tells us

that those angels will be fighting again,

with Christ himself leading them into battle

against the wicked forces ruling this world.

 

In Revelation 19:11 the Apostle John says,

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

 

That’s our Lord Jesus, coming back in power.

 

Verse 13 continues

13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” a He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

king of kings and lord of lords.

 

Jesus didn’t resist the corrupt government in Jerusalem

and the armies of the Roman Empire

when they whipped him bloody

and nailed him to that cross 2000 years ago.

 

But Christ is coming again,

this time leading the legions of angels into battle

to defeat and overthrow

the corrupt rulers of today’s world.

 

He will crush and put an end to these wicked rulers,

and will put in their place

the Kingdom of God

that Christians pray for.

 

He will answer the prayer for God’s Kingdom to come,

for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!