[26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.]
Those who loved him saw what was happening, it had to have been scary and sad and disturbing and awful.
Not understanding or knowing the real reason HE came in the first place.
If you have ever witnessed anything traumatic you recall how sick it made you feel?
[32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”]
[44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.] (VERY IMPORTANT!)
[46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
And having said this he breathed his last.
47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.]
Do you ever wonder how dark the darkness was? Do you ever wonder what it felt like to have no hope?
I often sing the song ‘were you there when they crucified my Lord?’
Sometimes it causes me to tremble… the magnitude of the moments.
Have you ever seen a really dark and gloomy day? We have them in Oregon a lot.
This day was way worse than those, the movies always show us rainy cloudy horrible conditions.
We really don’t know what the weather was, what we do know it was a dark day because hope was gone.
The trial took place after the guards took Jesus out of the garden.
Can you imagine the thoughts he might have had at that moment in time?
He had the power to stop it. But we know he didn’t because it was all in the plan.
[53 “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me.
But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53]
[63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.] Can you even imagine?
It continues as he is harassed and treated poorly.
[66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes.
And they led him away to their council, and they said,
67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe,
68 and if I ask you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”]
[3 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”
4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”]
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14
and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.
And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him.
16 I will therefore punish and release him.”]
[18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—
19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder.
20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus,
21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”
22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death.
I will therefore punish and release him.” 23
But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.
24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.]
Jesus knew the cross and it’s horrible way of killing the person crucified on it.
In the garden he was restless (as any of us would be) and he was praying.
The word says he prayed so intensely that his sweat was like droplets of blood.
[And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.]
Asking the Father to remove this ‘cup’… let this NOT be the way it has to take place.
Any of us would pray the same prayer.
Let it be easier God, don’t let me suffer.
Then he knew he had to move on to the last part of his journey here.
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them.
He approached Jesus to kiss him,
48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
The disciples were beginning to lose their intensity towards him and even some denied the three years they spent with him.
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
Jesus had told Peter when the rooster crows three times you will deny me.
How horrible of an event for Peter. Have you ever felt so disappointed in yourself?
So sad of the choices you made against someone you once loved?
The cross has a story for all of us.
Redeeming, Restoring, Rescuing. But it had to take place.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Palm Sunday as we know it was the beginning of the finality of the story.
Death would come as we will read about later.
Jesus would be placed into the most horrendous mixture of emotions and reactions.
This day the people were exalting his name and praising with palm branches and song.
Days later they would be the same people who would exchange him for the thief who should never have gotten freedom.
The story is all about the plan for US as to have the gift of salvation.
The story is about love. The Father gave HIS son from heaven for a season till he would return.
The story of life and teachings and life and forgiveness and life and hope.
The circle of life had to take place, the birth of a baby and then death.
Death had to take place so life could once more be the reason for hope.
Who is this man they ask? It is Mary’s Jesus, the baby born in a manger.
May we always remember the story of God’s amazing grace to us.
As we move closer to the time we know as Easter we must pause to remember a few things.
The whole purpose of why God created a Savior was because He knew from the beginning of time… death was not the final moment, the resurrected Jesus would bring us hope.
It’s hard to imagine that the day of resurrection could not happen without the day of his birth which we now call Christmas.
The preparation that would make it all happen was long thought out and long planned.
Every detail had to be a prophecy fulfilled down to the finest detail.
It was the beginning when time changed. A Savior would be born.
As we move back into the story, where MARY met the angel.
In the first book of Matthew we read the line of ancestors of Jesus.
There had to be a certain lineage traced back to David and Abraham, who he was a descendant of, for the purpose of history as it was presented.
The multitude of generations were necessary so that Jesus could fulfill scripture.
Isn’t it interesting that Mary was the only woman mentioned in the lineage of generations?
This is really important to remember as we move into the story.
Remember the Power of the Holy Spirit fell upon her and she was pregnant.
It was all done in order for the fulfillment of the message to the prophet: (in the Old Testament)
[“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel* which means ‘God is with us.’]
It was planned from the very beginning.
The angel had told her in the book of Luke, “don’t be afraid you have found favor with God.”
As the series of events unfolded in the story we find Mary confused, then trusting, then worshipful and then waiting.
Observing all that surrounded the message given to her about the birth of her little baby boy.
Most new mom’s as they carry their tiny baby, dream of their child and his or her future.
I would imagine Mary was not that different.
Luke 2:18 it says, [“Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often.”]
[34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”]
This is very important to remember!
A prophetic word spoken to her about the trauma and pain and intense heartache and loss.
How would any of us feel if someone told us our baby was very special but we would soon know, pain like our heart being pierced with a sword.
Deep grief was going to be a part of the story. HIS birth was the revealing of HIS death.
[As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. (AND at that point in time) a sword will pierce your own soul.]
I would imagine as the days were leading up to the Easter finality she was deeply tormented by the sorrow.
The words spoken over and about her son.
Wrestling in sleep that wouldn’t come for her as she replayed the moments of his beginning days.
Anna said in the temple:
[38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.]
Then remember in Luke 3:40-52 we find Mary and Joseph losing sight of where Jesus was after looking for him for three days.
They finally found him in the temple teaching.] (can you even imagine?)
We don’t know how old he was but we do know he amazed all those who were listening.
[vs 48 “His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your Father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
vs 49 He said “why did you need to search for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I would be in my Fathers house?”]
vs 50 [But they didn’t understand what he meant. Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.]
There is so much we want to remember about all this as we move deeper into the story.