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Crucifixion

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2022 3:52 pm

Crucifixion

The Verdict / John Munro

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July 11, 2022 3:52 pm

Dr. John H. Munro July 10, 2022 Matthew 27:27-44

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The Scottish reformer, John Knox said, to remember Jesus is to remember first of all His cross.

And I think John Knox is right. And I have to ask you as we've been singing and reflecting about the cross this morning, have you been to the cross? It is at the cross where our sins are forgiven. It's at the cross where we're saved. It's at the cross where we first see the light. It's at the cross where we are transformed and we're never the same again. And so, this morning we're coming to the cross.

I want you to meditate on the cross of Christ this morning as we have already done. Anyone here strayed a bit from the Lord? Any of you over the last few weeks, months been dabbling in sin?

Anyone here has a cold heart? Anyone who feels that your faith is rather stale? You got into a routine, a dull routine in your Christian life?

Anyone here bowed down by anxieties and worries? Anyone here struggling with spiritual doubts? Anyone wondering this morning, am I truly an authentic follower of Jesus Christ? The answer to all of these questions and many more is found at the cross. I ask you to open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 27. We're consecutively going through the gospel of Matthew, and we're almost at the end. We're at the second last chapter, and we are reading at Matthew chapter 27. We're being taken to the foot of the cross.

Our subject is crucifixion. Matthew 27, verse 27, then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before Him, and they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a reed in His right hand. And kneeling before Him, they mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit on Him and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe and put His own clothes on Him and led Him away to crucify Him.

As they went out, they found a man of Samin by name. They compelled this man to carry His cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means place of a skull, they offered Him wine to drink mixed with Gol.

But when He had tasted it, He would not drink it. And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over Him there. And over against His head, they put the charge against Him, which read, This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Then two robbers who were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads and saying, You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.

So also the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked Him, saying, He saved others. He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel. Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God.

Let God deliver Him now if He desires Him. For He said, I am the Son of God. And the robbers who were crucified with Him also reviled Him in the same way.

Let's see. The cross reveals our sinfulness. It's at the cross we see what we, men and women, sinful men and women do to Christ. And we see our Lord Jesus Christ experiencing immense cruelty at the hands of sinful men.

Here are the Roman soldiers. They mock Jesus. They beat Him. They spit on Him. And they crucify Jesus Christ. They mock Him. Hail, King of the Jews.

They don't realize that in their midst not only is there the King of Jews, there is the King of the universe. They put a scarlet robe on Him. They thrust on His head a crown of thorns in mockery. For a scepter, they put a reed in His right hand and kneeling down in mockery, they take the stick and beat Him on the head. Verse 30, did you notice? They spit on Him. They don't realize it, but in so doing they are fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy. I gave my back to those who strike and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard.

I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. Isaiah 50, verse 6. Isaiah 53, verse 3, written 750 years before the event, Isaiah talks of the coming Messiah. He was despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Who is Jesus to the Romans?

He's a bit of a joke. He's someone that we can mock and pass the time as we crucify this man. Think of the shame and the humiliation of our Lord. Isaiah writing in that wonderful servant song writes in Isaiah 52, verse 14, as many as were astonished at you, His appearance was so marred beyond human semblance and His form beyond that of the children of mankind. As people look at Jesus, they're shocked. He's almost unrecognizable as a human being.

You can't recognize Him because of what He has endured. Now, we don't know how long this mockery lasted, the beating, the spitting, the ridicule, but we read in verse 31, they led Him away to crucify Him. Paul is going to say, as he reflects on these events in Philippines 2, he's going to say the Lord Jesus Christ was obedient to the point of death. Yes, death on a cross. He's crucified. Crucifixion served a couple of purposes. Number one, it punished the criminal in a very sadistic way by prolonging the pain and ignominy for as long as possible.

This is not a quick death. This is not death by hanging or death by lethal injection or death by the firing squad. Crucifixion is designed to be sadistic. Those crucifying the person can indulge themselves in their sadistic torture. Cicero said, crucifixion was the most cruel and shameful of all punishments. Secondly, the person crucified was publicly exposed as a warning, as a deterrent to others. Don't behave like this person or you too will be crucified. The victim, as we read on the way to crucifixion, is paraded through the streets, carrying his cross with a placard with the crime of which he was supposedly convicted. Often the crosses were strategically placed at a crossroads to produce the maximum number of people who could look on the crucifixion. It was a punishment.

It was a deterrent. And in verse 33, just look at there for a moment. After the mocking, the Roman execution squad, the soldiers, they lead Jesus to be crucified, and they came to a place called Golgotha. Golgotha, the place of the skull. Golgotha, the place of shame. Golgotha, the place of agony. Golgotha, the place where the serpent is going to bruise the Messiah's heel. Golgotha, the place of death. Golgotha, the place of the cross.

Golgotha. A few weeks ago, a little boy, five-year-old boy came after the service, and I think I mentioned this before, he asked me a question which had never been asked before as little children do. He asked me, what does Calvary mean? Why is this called Calvary Church? And why is it called Calvary? Where do we get Calvary? I was talking to Goodney in her Faroese Bible and I said, is the word Calvary in your Bible? And she said, no, it's always Golgotha. Jerome, in the fourth century, translated the Bible into the Vulgate, Latin. And I put up on the screen verse 33 for you Latin scholars, you can read it.

There it is. Et venorund in locum quaedicatur Golgotha cod est Calvary locus. You know what locus is? It's the place.

You can understand some of it. Golgotha. And he says, which is the place of the skull. And in Latin, the skull is Calvaria.

And so we generally refer to the place of the crucifixion as Calvary, but probably more accurately, we should keep to the Aramaic and say Golgotha, the place of the skull. The condemned prisoner as he goes to Golgotha is generally carrying his cross beam. In some cases, perhaps in the case of the Lord, he's carrying the whole cross. So much so that they recruit this man from Cyrene Simon to carry the cross.

Possibly Jesus was moving too slowly after his beating and after the torture and after the lashing on his back. He's moving a bit too slowly as he's carrying this heavy cross. It's a tree. It's a piece of wood.

Don't think of something nice. It's a rough piece of wood that he's carrying and moving too slowly. And so they recruit this man, Simon. And they come to Golgotha, the place of the skull.

The hour arrives. They reach the place, the cross they raise on high. The Lord of glory and of grace, they leave to die. They take the wooden cross, they put it on the ground. The Lord would be laid on the cross and do you picture it? The nails are put through his hands and his feet. Isn't it very interesting that the Gospel writers do not go into the actual method of crucifixion? Matthew simply says, and we read it, and verse 36, and when they had crucified him. Nails through his hands and his feet. Then the cross is raised upright, possibly by four poles, and it's dropped in the hole.

And so the individual's body might be dislocated of some bones, sometimes a small chair or a kind of seed, a rough seed is provided to bear some of the weight of the condemned criminal as he hangs on the tree, and also of course with that little rough seed that he can kind of sit on, prolongs the act of dying. Death by crucifixion comes slowly. Do you see our Savior dying on an old, rugged cross? Crucifixion is reserved for the worst of enemies, the violent. They insult him. Here is the fulfillment of course as he hangs between two terrorists, two robbers.

Here is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in chapter 53 verse 12. He's numbered with the transgressors. He is of course completely innocent. I read through Luke's account of the trials, and look in Luke 23, I think there are six or seven times it's said by those who try to accuse him, I find no fault in this man. Not guilty, but he is innocent, but he's still crucified. The Jews say he's committed blasphemous for Pilate. He's trying to get him guilty of treason, but it is we who are blasphemous that we would crucify the Lord of glory, and it's we who have committed treason. Yes, you and I that we put ourselves as king of our lives. What utter blasphemy. What treason that you push aside the king of glory and put yourself at the center of your life. Isn't that an act of utter blasphemy and treason, but these are the accusations against our blessed Savior. And then there's these passerby's.

And did you know this? Matthew says the religious leaders are there, and they respond with unmitigated hatred. They pass by, they mock him, they ridicule him. You say you could, you're the one who came to save others, you can't even save yourself. I mean, you're the one that said you're the son of God.

I mean, if you were, you would come down. They see the Savior, and instead of responding with repentance, their hearts are hardened. Instead of worshipping the Savior, they mock him. Instead of humbly kneeling before him and saying he's the king of their lives, they ridicule and say, ah, you said you were the king of the Jews.

Is that what you are, practically speaking? Rejecting Christ, marginalizing, putting yourself at the center of your life. God's eternal purposes and the drama of salvation are being fulfilled. Here are two fulfilled prophecies. If you look at verse 35, it says, when they crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Psalm 22 is sometimes called the Psalm of the Cross. We're going to think about it next week as it begins, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But in Psalm 22 verse 16, David the Psalmist writes in prophecy, they pierced my hands and my feet. It's amazing to think, a thousand years before the birth of our Savior, there is the prophecy that he is not only going to die, he's going to be crucified, his hands and his feet pierced. And then Psalm 22 verse 18, they divide my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots. The Romans are so hardened, these soldiers, they've seen a lot. These are tough men, have marched across Europe for the honor of Rome and they're having a bit of fun throwing some dice at the foot of the cross, gambling over his clothes.

You remember we read the story, the beautiful story of the woman who for 12 years had had a terrible, humiliating disease. And she had just touched the hem of his clothes and was healed. And we read during the transfiguration that his clothes glisten in brilliant white.

Soldiers, they don't care, they take the garments, gamble for him. At the foot of the cross there's ignorance, there's hardness. And the soldiers miss the central event of all human history. Isn't it amazing that we who live in this country can live as if Jesus Christ never came. Their hearts can be hardened to the very reality of the depth of our sin. You see the cross shows, among other things, it shows the depth of human sin. There we graphically see our rebellion against God.

Now, don't say you are different, you're not different. We live in rebellion against God. And our Lord Jesus dies on an old rugged cross, a death of shame, a death of humiliation, a death of unspeakable horror and violence, death on a cross. You say, well, what's happening? I'm going to tell you what's happening. The sinless Christ is bearing our sins on the cross.

We need to grasp that. On the cross, Jesus bears our sins. He dies in my place. So Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 verse 3, Christ died for our sins. Peter writes, Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust. He is just, He's innocent, we're guilty, we're rebellious, but He dies for us. He dies in our place. The sinless Christ is dying for me.

He's dying for John Monroe. J. N. Oswald writes, God's power is at His greatest, not in the destruction of the wicked, but in His taking all of the wickedness of the earth into Himself and giving back love. You see, as we look at the cross, the Lord Jesus is completing everything that is necessary for the forgiveness of our sins, yes, for our sins. Isaiah 53 verse 3, He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised and we esteemed Him not. And then verse 4, surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

That's what's happening. He's bearing our griefs. He's carrying our sorrows. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. And then verse 5, He was pierced for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. He's pierced. He's wounded. There is a deliberate assault of man, the sinner, against the innocent Christ. What do we do to Christ? We pierce Him.

What's happening? He's being pierced for our transgressions. What's a transgression? A deliberate crossing of the line. Don't do this and you do it.

Don't do that and you choose to do it. That's a transgression. He's wounded for our transgression.

He's crushed for our iniquities. Our sins are so heavy, that's the picture, and it's our iniquities. What's an iniquity? Iniquity that which is crooked and mean within us. Sometimes we say that someone is as twisted as a corkscrew. They're a twisted person.

They're perverted. That's iniquity. And all of that is put on our Savior so He is crushed for that. Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace. We deserve that. He brings us peace.

With His wounds we are healed. Notice, our griefs, our sorrows, our transgressions, our iniquities. The penalty due for our sins is paid in full by our Lord Jesus Christ.

I love that. The demands of God against me because of my sin, the wages of sin is death. The demands have been met in full, paid in full by my Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, forgiveness is offered to you. We call this in theology substitutionary atonement. Paul says the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I praise God we had the testimonies of those being baptized. They're saying the Son of God loved them and gave Himself for them. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, as we're looking at the crucifixion, every single sin that I will ever commit, past, present and future has been put to His account. Peter says He Himself, I love this, bore our sins in His body on the tree. He uses the word tree.

He doesn't use the word cross. He bore our sins on a piece of wood, on a tree. He's pierced for me.

He's wounded for me. He bears all of our sins. But listen to Paul as he reflects on this. 2 Corinthians 5, 19. All of this is from God who through Christ reconciled us to Himself, gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Here it is, the world that in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. How is God, a holy God, a just God, not going to account my transgressions, my iniquities, my deliberate sins and my rebellions?

Paul is saying no, he's not going to put that to your account. See not only, this is the beauty of the Gospel. Not only in the Gospel are our sins forgiven, not only are our sins and our iniquities and our trespasses not counted against us, the record of death that did stand against us in the holiness and the justice of God has been put to death on the cross. Nailed to the cross is Paul's expression in Colossians. The debt of sin has been nailed to the cross. The debt has been discharged. All of my sin has gone.

It has been taken away. I am totally forgiven. The blood of Jesus, His Son cleanses us from all of our sin. The burden, the guilt, the shame of my sin has all gone and it will never, ever, ever be brought before me. In some churches they would say, Amen.

Never again will I face my sin. We were down at the beach recently, Curie Beach, right at the pier there, and you've got to pay to park your car. So I'm driving Goodney's car, put it into the parking meter, pay for it with my card and we wander around. We're driving back to our house and I see there's a piece of paper under my wiper.

What's that? And I get to the house, I do it, and it is a parking ticket. Parking violation.

Fortunately, it's Goodney's car. But it's got the right car, right number plate, fee, $35. Unpaid parking, $20. Total, $55. If paid after 10 days, it's $65. If paid after 20 days, it's $75. That is ridiculous.

I paid $75. So there's a number you call, customer service, which was a joke. Women said, we don't deal with that. I said, you've got your number, you're the customer service.

Sir, we don't deal with that. You need to go on our web. I said, I tried your web and your web isn't working.

And I said, there has been a miscarriage of justice here. So I finally go online and there's a form you fill. I have had to appeal against the parking violation.

I filled it in and took a few days. Finally, they said, we have decided in your case not to charge the parking violation. I paid and they're now coming against me to pay. There's a problem in the system. Just think of this.

I had paid, and now they are bringing the matter before me again. That never happens with God, does there? There's never a failure in the system. God is always just. If my Lord Jesus Christ, as He has, has paid the price for my sins, I am totally and eternally free.

But there is more. Not only are my sins forgiven, not only are all of my sins nailed to the cross and credited to my beautiful Lord Jesus Christ, transferred to His account, God does something more. This is His grace.

I want you to grasp this today. God transfers to my account the beauty and the righteousness and the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ. Putting it in theological terms, for some of you budding theologians, this imputed righteousness is the sole ground of my justification by faith. How is it I know that I will never ever face my sin again? Why am I so sure that my salvation is secure? Because I'm a pastor? No, absolutely not. Because I read the Bible? No. Because I'm sometimes kind to people?

Probably not. The basis of my salvation is this, that my Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I have accepted Him as my Savior. I've embraced the Savior. He's cleansed me totally and furthermore, my gracious God imputes to me, puts to my account the righteousness of my Lord Jesus Christ. So the verdict is perfect righteousness. He takes my sin, I receive His perfect righteousness. He pays what I owe and which I could never pay and freely gives me what He has done and what I could never in a million years do.

Free. Saved by grace. Religion tries to make you good. You try religion to change your behavior, to make you good. Religion tries to make you good. The gospel is Christ died for sinners.

That's incredible good news, isn't it? Because all of us have sinned. And some of you are still trying as it were to work out your salvation. Did you hear, I hope you followed a wonderful reading by Keith in the baptismal tank in Ephesians 2 verses 1 through 10. It is by grace, by grace that we're saved. Let me say this as we conclude. When Jesus dies, He dies between two thieves.

Matthew doesn't record it, but Luke does. Luke says that these robbers, yes they were reviling thieves, but then one looked at Jesus and said, no, no. We, we, we deserve what we're receiving.

We're, we're bad people. But this man has done nothing wrong. Lord, receive me when you come into your kingdom. And how wonderful he knew about the kingdom of heaven. What does Jesus say to this man, this wretched man, this robber?

Nasty character. If he came into Calvary Church, I'd be calling for security. Today, you'll be with me in paradise. Salvation at the cross.

Jesus is at the center. The robber who was saved reminds us that very bad people can be saved. And some of you are very, very bad. And those of you who don't think you're bad are even worse than those who acknowledge they're bad, because at least they know they're bad. He dies for very bad people because he comes for sinners.

A violent man with a hard heart transformed as he looks at Christ. And you may have committed some terrible sins and perhaps you think that this salvation is not for you. And you think, no, I, I, I will never be saved.

Don't think that. Look to the Savior. Do what the thief did. Look to Christ. Because there's always, always more grace in our Lord Jesus Christ than there is sin in you. When sin abounds, grace super abounds. Very bad people can be saved. Secondly, it's never too late to trust Christ. Now, I'm not saying leave it to your deathbed, because some of us are not going to have a deathbed. Yes, there are those who die from terminal illness, but others of us are going to die suddenly without any warning.

No. But it's never too late to trust Christ. Perhaps you've rejected Jesus for a long time. You sat in these pews. You've come because your husband or wife or your parents or your friend have asked you to come. And in some way you enjoy the service.

You think the music is wonderful. You think Monroe preaches far too long. But you keep coming. But you've never yet trusted Christ. Don't put it off. Get right with God today. Now, don't boast of tomorrow. Don't harden your heart.

Tomorrow you may die. Trust Jesus today. Third, salvation is found. Not in ordinances, not in the sacraments, not in good works. But simply looking to Jesus alone. That's the Gospel. Look and live. Jesus said, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.

That's it. You look to Christ. This thief couldn't do anything. He couldn't get baptized. He couldn't join the church.

He couldn't join a recovery group. He just looked to Christ. One of the girls getting baptized reminded us of the beauty and the simplicity of John 3.16.

That's it. That God so loved the world. We see the love of God at the cross that He gave His only Son, His unique Son, that whoever, that's you, that's me, that whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ who looks to Christ will not perish but have everlasting life. One thief looked to Christ. Today you'll be with me in paradise.

One thief continued in his hardness and was eternally lost. Look to Christ. And for those of you who are cold in heart, I trust as we've come to the cross that there's a transformation.

Stop putting yourself as king in your life. There at the cross, we see our Savior. We see our Lord. We see our King.

And we realize that this is the one that I'm going to follow. That I'm going to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to me. Help us to do that, our Father and our God.

How prone we are to put ourselves as king in our lives. Forgive us. I rejoice at the testimonies of those who are baptized. I pray for those who are not yet saved. May they look to Christ even now. Shine into their hearts Holy Spirit that they understand their sin and they can see the beauty of our matchless, glorious Lord Jesus Christ. His name, as we heard from the little boy, His name is called Jesus for He will save His people from their sins. Save some this morning. I pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 23:55:57 / 2023-03-26 00:07:29 / 12

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