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Cross Examination - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2023 6:00 am

Cross Examination - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 28, 2023 6:00 am

Listen as Skip begins a message looking at the profound meaning of the final words Jesus spoke at Calvary.

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Here's what's noteworthy. All of Jesus' words, all of his statements on the way to his execution and while hanging on the cross, up to a point all of them were focused on other people. Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Pastor Skip begins a message looking at the profound meaning of the final words Jesus spoke at Calvary. But first, we want to tell you about a resource that will strengthen your faith with answers to tough questions about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Is there archaeological proof that Jesus existed? Did Jesus ever actually claim to be God? Is Jesus really the only way? There's a good chance you'll be asked tough questions like these at some point.

You may ask these questions yourself. That's why we want to send you Josh and Sean McDowell's new book, Evidence for Jesus, to help you answer crucial questions about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Was that truth challenged in the presence of knowledgeable witnesses, especially antagonistic witnesses? Peter on the truth phone, he says, men of Israel, listen to these words, you leaders, Jesus of Nazarene, a man attested to you, not just to us. See, he threw it right back and the antagonist said, attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. I'll tell you this folks, if those antagonists had not seen those witnesses, miracles, and signs, Peter would have been lucky to have made it out there alive.

Instead of what happened historically, thousands were added to the church. Evidence for Jesus will help you confidently answer tough questions like, is there evidence that Jesus was real? Did Jesus actually claim to be God? What makes Jesus unique from other religious figures? Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

And why does that matter? Evidence for Jesus by Josh and Sean McDowell will join classics like more than a carpenter and evidence that demands a verdict that have shaped Christian apologetics. We'll send you a copy of Evidence for Jesus as thanks for your gift of $50 or more this month to reach more people with the teaching and resources of Connect with Skip Heitzig.

So be sure to request your copy of Evidence for Jesus today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, let's join Skip now for today's message, cross-examination. A defense attorney was cross-examining a police officer in a felony trial. And I'm told that what I'm about to read you is the actual transcript from that portion of the trial.

It's in a question and answer format. So the defense attorney in the cross-examination begins, question, officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene? Answer, no, sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender running several blocks away. Question, officer, who provided this description? Answer, the officer who responded to the scene.

Question, a fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers? Answer, yes, sir, with my life.

Question, with your life. Let me ask you this then, officer, do you have a locker room in the police station, a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties? Answer, yes, sir, we do. And do you have a locker in that room? Answer, yes, sir, I do. Question, and do you have a lock on that locker?

Answer, yes, sir. Question, now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, that you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with the same officers? Answer, well, you see, sir, we share the building with a court complex. And sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.

Well, the courtroom burst into laughter, and the judge had to put the gavel down and call for a recess before they reconvened. Today we're going to make a cross-examination, not putting somebody on trial and peppering them with questions, not interpreting them, and we're going to make a trial and peppering them with questions, not interrogating a witness. We're going to examine the cross. We're going to examine the cross through the lens of a messianic psalm, prophetic scripture. In this series, Against All Odds, we have looked at the prophecies made in the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. And as we move closer to Easter, we are now looking at the cross of Jesus Christ. The very fact that this psalm opens and closes with two statements that Jesus made while hanging on the cross immediately piques our interest. You will notice how it begins, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The psalm also ends with, at least in the original Hebrew, with the words, it is finished. Now, you know, there are some Old Testament texts that when you read them, they're difficult to understand until you put Christ in them. And when you put Jesus in that Old Testament text, it comes to life.

It all makes sense. Psalm 22 is one of those texts. This psalm is quoted seven times in the New Testament. All of those times, they refer to Christ.

Why is that important? Because it shows us that the New Testament authors interpreted Psalm 22 as being prophetic, as being messianic. Even John, in John chapter 18, as Jesus was hanging on the cross and the Roman soldiers were casting lots, for that last piece of clothing of Jesus, John said, this was done that the scripture might be fulfilled. And he quotes the 22nd Psalm.

The problem we have is this. It says it's a psalm of David. At the very top, you'll notice the superscription above the psalm designates it as a psalm of David.

So he wrote it. The problem is we can't find in the historical books that tell us about King David, any instance in his life that this psalm is psalm would fit into. There may have been, and certainly there's great upheaval, poetic description is a prayer to his God in anguish.

We just can't find something this desperate. And as we work our way through the psalm, we discover these are expressions that describe an execution. A righteous man is being killed in the psalm. In fact, many over the years have noticed, many scholars have noticed that Psalm 22 is as accurate or more accurate a description of the crucifixion of Christ than even the accounts found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It's as if someone was watching this firsthand and writing about it. But more amazing than that is that David wrote this a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. And he wrote this 600 years before crucifixion had ever been invented at all. So David is writing with accuracy and detail about a method of capital punishment that he knew nothing about or never saw before.

It is truly amazing. The question is, how could he do that? The answer, of course, for Bible believers is simple. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we would say, Acts chapter 2 says, David, being a prophet, wrote these things. So David was a prophet, and prophetically, he looks forward in time to the cross. Now, you'll notice that this is a lengthy psalm. We're not going to have the time to go through it all. We're just going to come back to the psalm. We're not going to have the time to go through it all.

We're just going to kind of skim certain parts because of our time. But one thing to notice is that it's divided into two parts. First part is verses 1 through 21. Second part, verse 22 through 31.

And they're very different in tone. The first part is all a prayer. The second part is all a praise. The first part focuses on agony. The second part focuses on accomplishment. In the first part, the one speaking feels deserted by God. In the second part, the speaker is delivered by God. We've outlined it. You can find it in your worship folder.

I've outlined it. The first part is the torture of the cross, and the second is the triumph of the cross. Let's begin at the beginning with the torture. Psalm 22, verse 1. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me? And from the words of my groaning. Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not hear.

And in the night season, and I'm not silent. But you are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted, and you delivered them. They cried to you and were delivered.

They trusted in you, and were not ashamed. Now we recognize that first verse, don't we? We recognize that statement as being the fourth statement that Jesus made on the cross. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Here's what's noteworthy. All of Jesus' words, all of his statements, on the way to his execution, and while hanging on the cross, up to a point, all of them were focused on other people. It's noteworthy because somebody who is carrying a cross or being stapled to a cross with that level of pain and suffering, tends to be focused inwardly on oneself, on one's suffering.

People, I've noticed, who suffer, they can't think of anything else but their pain. But Jesus interestingly was in his pain focused on others. So he's on the way to the cross, and there are women in the street who are weeping for him. And Jesus says, women, don't weep for me.

Weep for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when they will say, blessed are the wombs that were barren, and they'll cry to the rocks, fall on us. He was foreseeing the fall of Jerusalem and the anguish that would fill that city, but he's focused on others. When Jesus laid on the cross and they put those spikes through his wrists and his feet, and they put him up on that cross, the first words out of his mouth, first words were, Father, forgive them.

They don't know what they're doing. Focused on others around him. Then there was a thief, an insurrectionist that was crucified next to him, one on either side actually. And one of them said, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom? And Jesus turned to him and said, today you will be crucified.

You will be with me in paradise. Focused on others. Then after a while, he looked down and noticed his mother standing at the foot of the cross and thinking of her and her future said, woman, behold your son to John as apostle. Son, behold your mother.

In other words, take care of my mother. All of the words of Jesus were focused not on himself, but on others. But then we know the story, a darkness fell upon the land, upon that area of crucifixion. Other historians, not biblical ones, say it was a darkness that you could feel, whatever that meant. It's interesting if you look in verse two, he says, Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not hear.

And in the night season, and I'm not silent. Jesus was crucified at nine o'clock in the morning. It was the middle of the day until three o'clock when he died. But a darkness fell on the land.

There was a night season that occurred even in the middle of the day. Jesus was silent during that period of time. He may have silently recited Psalm 22.

We don't know. But then he broke the silence with his fourth cry on the cross. And it's this one. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. That was the Aramaic of my God, my God. Why have you forsaken me? Anybody who knew the scriptures would have said, I know that's a Psalm. It's Psalm 22.

Also noteworthy in that is it was the first and only time recorded where Jesus referred to his father, not as my father, but as God. It's as if there's a distance now between the relationship that once was so close and so intimate instead of father or my father. It's my God, the generic form, my God. It's a cry of broken fellowship. He is feeling a separation. Will you notice in verse one, why are you so far from helping me? And from the words of my groaning as he bore the burden of our sin, he felt separated because sin always separates. He felt the separation from his father when he cried this, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me? This was not a lapse of faith. This was not a broken confidence.

This was simply a cry of disorientation. He had never experienced this feeling of being separated from the father. What was he used to? He was used to intimacy. He was used to that protective presence of his father until now. Jesus even spoke of that. When he raised Lazarus from the dead, we're told that Jesus came up to the tomb of Lazarus and he prayed a prayer. He goes, father, I thank you that you have heard me, for I know that you always hear me. Then he said to his disciples in John chapter 16, the hour is coming, yes, and now has come that you will be scattered each to his own and will leave me alone. But I am not alone because my father is with me.

All of that was true until now. Now as the sin bearer, he is feeling the effects of sin, and that is separation in fellowship. As Isaiah the prophet put it, the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. All of the sin of all of humanity, every single person's filth from the past when humanity began to the very end was placed upon Jesus, and he feels separated from his father, and he cries out. Looking at the cross and hearing these words, we would ask, why is this necessary? Why is this necessary? All of this anguish, all of this pain, this guttural, plaintive cry of being abandoned, why is that needed? And the text gives us the answer, verse three, but you are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

That's the reason. That's the reason for the cross. God is holy. God is perfect.

No one else is like that. He is so unique, so perfect, and I guess the best way to describe it is God's perfection can't just mingle with our imperfection. I mean, it's sort of nice to think that God is just going to pull up a chair and hang out with whoever, and yeah, you're okay. You're okay.

Come on in. But he can't do that. He is holy.

He is absolutely perfect. Let's suppose for a moment that you can't sing very well. I mean, when you open your mouth, bad things happen. You can't carry a tune in a bucket. Now, I'm not indicting you.

I'm just, for the sake of an analogy, saying that. But let's just say you can't sing, and when you sing, it's like, ugh. Sing louder.

Cover that up. You can't decide that you're going to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I don't know why you'd want to do that. How about the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir or any choral group?

You can't. They're not going to just say, come on in, man. Let's sing a tune together. They're not going to let that happen because they're at a level that requires a transformation in you for that to ever happen. So this is why Jesus, the perfect one, became the substitute for all the imperfect ones, and we are a part of that group. Fortunately, what I just said is put in one verse of scripture. I like when the Bible sums it up that nicely. 2 Corinthians 5, verse 21 says this, God made him who knew no sin, that's Jesus, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. I could do several sermons on that one verse.

There's a lot of theology in that. God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in him. So our righteousness is an imputed righteousness, not an intrinsic righteousness.

It's one that is given to us, not one that is earned by us. So he is feeling deserted by God. That's part of the torture of the cross. There's another reason he feels that, not only deserted by God, but despised by people. Verse 6, but I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men and despised by the people. All those who see me, ridicule me, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, what a vivid description, shooting out the lip, wagging their heads back and forth, saying he trusted in the Lord, let him rescue him, let him deliver him since he delights in him.

Now, again, those words are familiar, right? If you know your New Testament, you know that as Jesus hung on the cross and the crowd that surrounded him in seeing Jesus dying, that group included scribes, priests, chief priests. They all said, according to Matthew 27, these words, listen, he trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if you will have him, almost verbatim. Did you notice verse 6? But I am a worm and no man. It's hard to think of Jesus saying that, isn't it?

Thinking that. I am a worm and no man. We've heard of the I am statements of Jesus, right?

You know them. I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world.

I am the true vine. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth and the life. There are several statements Jesus made that he said I am. Here is one of the forgotten I am statements of Jesus Christ. I am a worm and no man. Now, obviously, this is a figure of speech.

A worm is one of the lowest creatures in the world. But while Jesus was on trial, he was not treated like a human. He was not treated like a man. He was denied human rights, legal rights.

They gave a verdict to his case before the case was even heard. He's guilty. Get rid of him. Kill him. Get rid of him. Kill him.

Get rid of whatever it takes. Isaiah the prophet said he was tortured. His visage was so marred more than any other man. The physical effects of the beating that he had received. I am a worm and no man.

But I don't want to just move on too quickly. I want you to look at the word worm. It's a Hebrew word tola or tolath in some cases.

42 times the Old Testament has the word tola or tolath. Sometimes it's translated worm. Other times it's translated scarlet, like the color scarlet. Now we listen to that and go, I don't understand. Those two concepts are so far apart. Worm scarlet.

Why is that? Well, come to find out, there was actually a worm that was a scarlet worm called the crimson crocus. It was the worm which they extracted the fluid out of to make a scarlet dye to dye garments like the royal robes of kings or the scarlet hangings in the tabernacle. They got it from the crimson crocus. The only way to get the crimson is to crush the worm. It was the crushing that brought the crimson.

Very, very picturesque. Jesus was in effect the scarlet worm, lowly to look upon, ugly to look upon. But when his life was crushed, his blood was the source, not to change somebody's garments, but to change somebody's eternity. There's something else about this little worm, this crimson crocus. There's a life cycle and we are told that that crimson crocus, when it's ready to give birth, the mommy worm will find a piece of wood or a tree and crawl up into a place in the trunk or on a tree branch and embed itself into the wood. In giving birth, it will bring her death. Shortly thereafter, she dies.

It's like this explosive birth where all of that crimson dye explodes onto the wood and that wood is stained with crimson in giving birth to little worms. So again, how picturesque of the cross where Jesus gave his life, but in giving his life, he brought life to so many. That concludes part one of Skip's message from the series Against All Odds. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskipp.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can connect others like you with life-changing teaching from God's unchanging Word. Studying Scripture is vital if you're going to hold firmly to biblical truth.

That's why we share these Bible teachings to strengthen you in God's Word so you can stand on his truth. And when you come alongside this ministry through your generous support, you do the same for many listeners around the world. This year, I'm praying God will open doors for these teachings to reach more people in major cities across the United States. When you give today, you will make that vision possible. So please consider a gift today.

Here's how you can do that. Visit connectwithskipp.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskipp.com slash donate, or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And the next extension of this ministry is coming right to your backpack, purse, or pocket. It's text messaging, and we're all set to give you more content and opportunities to connect to God and his Word on the go. To join, just text the word connect to 74759. It's that simple, and we'd love for you to join in. Come back tomorrow as Skip shares the encouraging truth that God has always wanted to save you. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-28 13:09:23 / 2023-08-28 13:18:37 / 9

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