The term cross-culture emerges from the social sciences and typically refers to interaction of one culture or language with another. But that's not how I'm using it today. I'm thinking of it in the biblical sense, the salvation sense. Jesus' whole life was immersed in the culture of the cross and He referred to His impending death on the cross as "His hour." Let's consider today the culture of the cross of Christ: what it meant to Jesus personally and the world ultimately.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Greek Terms: ταράσσω - tarasso: to agitate, stir up, trouble; κόσμος - Kosmos - the world system; thought and ideology controlled by the devil, poised against God
Figures Referenced: George McLeod
Publications Referenced: "Lift Jesus Higher"
Cross References: Numbers 21; Psalm 22; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 14; Isaiah 53:5; Ezekiel 28; Daniel 7; Zechariah 13,14; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Matthew 27:17; Matthew 27:46; Mark 14:34; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:44; John 3:14; John 5:4; John 12:28; Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 11:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 13:8
Keywords: cross, crucifixion
Let's pause and pray. Father we place our bodies before you as living sacrifices, that's what Paul told us to do. That's an ongoing process. We ask father that our minds, our thoughts that you would capture them and help us to focus upon what your word wants us to focus on, what you have declared in this book. We can easily get distracted or we can be tempted to say what we feel like saying but we're going to read what you have declared and at a very important point in Jesus' life, days before his death, what he is focusing on. And that is the cross, help us to understand a bit more, how important that event was and is for us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
I believe that the cross of Christ is greatly misunderstood. For some people, it was a tragic event, it was a -- it was something that was an unearthly sense, a tragedy, a murder took place, an unfortunate occurrence. Other people are repulsed by the whole idea of a man being celebrated who shed his blood in that public arena around Jerusalem. And that we would still be celebrating that, that repulses many people.
Most people see the cross as merely a religious symbol that may or may not have some power for their lives even today. I heard about an American soldier who during wartime, he was being shot at, he jumped into a foxhole and his immediate inclination was to use his hands and dig down into the dirt and get as deep as possible. While he was digging down for further protection he felt something metallic, he dug it out and was a cross, it was a crucifix, a silver crucifix.
A few moments later, in dropped another soldier into the foxhole and the first looked up and noticed it was the chaplain. And the first soldier said, "Boy, am I glad to see you!" and he held up the crucifix he goes, "How do you work one of these things anyway?" That's how a lot of people feel about the cross, it's simply a symbol that should be able to work, some kind of magic for those who wear it or hang it up in the house or sport it in some way.
If we go back 2000 years to Jerusalem, we discover that the people who were in Jerusalem, around Jesus Christ had by in large a conquest mentality. That is, they wanted their Messiah to come to rule and to reign to conquer their enemies. It was a conquest mentality so that when Jesus stopped in the temple and He said, as we discover last week around verse 23, He said, "The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified, their hope shots skyward." they thought this is it. He's going to establish the Kingdom. The disciples must have thought, "We're going to have position of authority in the Kingdom. He's going to be glorified." But what Jesus was speaking about was something different than what they were thinking.
They were thinking of the glory of conquest, a political deliverer, somebody who would give them material prosperity now. What Jesus was speaking about, was the glory of the cross, about his own death. I want to talk to you today about that kind of culture, the cross culture, the culture of the cross. The culture of the cross is something that not only motivated Jesus but it permeates the entire New Testament.
Galatians 2:20 Paul writes, "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I lived, but it's not I who lives its Christ who lives in me." Again Galatians 6:14, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of Christ." First Corinthians 2, "I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." So you see just by a sampling of verses, the entire church is to be a cross-culture, because even the rituals we performed as a church speak to that, baptism speaks about it. We take a person and we put them under the water and that is because Paul said "when you're baptized, you're baptized into the death and burial of Christ and then the resurrection." So that when a person is taken in place underneath the water, that's like dying and being buried, when they come back up it's a the symbol of resurrection.
Communion speaks of his death. Paul said, "When you take communion, you are proclaiming the Lord's what? You proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." So it's that constant proclamation of the sacrifice of his death on the cross, it is a cross culture. Unfortunately the last several years have seen a very interesting trend in many churches. I would say mostly in America but around the world. And that is the tendency to want deviate from the cross culture and to celebrated a different kind of a culture. So some churches will even tell their worship leaders to pull out some of the songs and hymns that speak about the blood of Christ, the cross of Christ. It's so bloody, it's so violent, let's not focus on that. Other churches want to be more hip and more relevant and they celebrate themes like personal satisfaction, your best life now or some kind of focus other than the New Testament focus.
George McCloud wrote these words, I'll share them with you this morning. "I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as steeple of the church, I'm recovering the claim that Jesus wasn't crucified in a Cathedral between two candles but on cross between two thieves on a town garbage heap, at the crossroads of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His name in Latin and Hebrew and in Greek, at the kind of place where cynics talked smut and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. That is where he died and that is what he died about. And that is where Christ's men ought to be and what church people ought to be about. In other words, Christians are to live in the cross culture. We glory in the cross of Christ because of what it means to us."
Well let's just retrace our steps and get setting here. Jesus has entered Jerusalem, it's days before the crucifixion itself. He's coming from the East, from the Mountain of Olives. As he was walking up to the peak to the Mount of Olives; the disciples got Him a young donkey, a colt. As he was leaving Bethany going towards Jerusalem, cresting the top of the mount of Olives, a crowd of people gathered around him and behind him and another crowd came out of the golden gate in Jerusalem, because they heard about Lazarus and they wanted to see Lazarus and the one who raised him from the dead.
As all this people gathered together, shouts of Hosanna went out from the crowd. "Hosanna, save now!" Jesus comes into the temple. As he is in the temple, a crowd of Greeks are there to have an interview with him, and Jesus speaks to perhaps the disciples and the Greeks behind him and the crowd who was gathered some words that indicate that he is going to die on the cross. They had high hopes, when he said "The hours come, the son of man is going to be glorified." They thought awesome! This is it. And then Jesus said to them "Unless a grain of wheat fall into the grown and dies it abides alone, if it dies it brings forth fruit." He was speaking about His death.
Now beginning in verse 27, Jesus gets more personal and talks about the cross culture in relationship to himself and that's what we want to look at, the cross culture in Christ, number one, the cross culture and the world, number two and the cross culture and this crowd, number three. Verse 27, he speaks of Himself. "Now, my soul is troubled and what shall I say father save me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour." And stop right there. Think of that first little phrase, "Now my soul is troubled." He just blurts that out. He's obviously dealing with something deep and emotional. And he's not afraid to tell everybody, "Now my soul is troubled."
Here's something interesting about the gospel of John. Mathew, Mark and Luke will give details about the suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. John keeps out most of those details but what John does is let's us in on the mental anguish that is going to the mind, the heart, the very core of Christ days before the Garden of Gethsemane, days before the trial, the arrest and the crucifixion, it begins here.
Now my soul is troubled, the word teraso means to shake or to stir up. If you recall in John chapter 5, remember when that man at the pool of the Bethesda was waiting by the waters and he said he was waiting for the stirring of the water, same word teraso, to be agitated or shaken up. When our Lord uses it of himself, he is speaking of a spiritual and emotional agitation. He's saying, "I'm distressed, I'm disturbed, I'm unsettled, I'm shaken up, I'm stirred up." Why? Why He's is so agitated? Short answer, the cross, the cross.
In a few days, he knows and by the way he knew this is entire life, he knows that in the few days, the Roman whip is going to lay open his back and his subcutaneous tissues will be exposed and the kind of pain that accompanies that. He knows the great spikes will be driven through his wrist. He knows that the crown of thorns will be on his head. He has predicted this. And by the way, they were thought that probably Jesus was mentally crucified thousands of times in his life, every time he'd look at his hands and feet, he knew what is going to happen to him.
But now those days approaching, as he comes into Jerusalem for the final time, he says "Now, my soul is troubled." But if we just think it's the physical anguish, we do him injustice. What really was troubling his soul is that he knew that on that cross, God the Father would dump all of the sin and all of the guilt of every single person, past, present and future in that moment upon Christ. And he would bear not only their sin but the guilt of their sin. I know people who go crazy with their own guilt. Imagine having all of the guilt of all of the sin on the sinless son of God. Paul said it this way in Corinthians, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us." Imagine that? Paul even said in Galatians, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of a law by becoming a curse for us." Just think of Jesus being a curse and that just simply meant that the all of the sin of mankind that curse of sin would fall upon him.
So here is Christ, emoting, telling us that he is walking right into the midst of this cross culture. Now my soul is troubled and this troubling, this agitation that he's expressing will continue and continue throughout his trial. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark says, "Jesus said, my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." In Luke's gospel chapter 22 says, "Jesus prayed more fervently and he was in such agony of spirit that sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood."
A scientist called this, doctors called this hematidrosis. It's a condition where the blood vessels the capillaries that sort of like a net around the sweat glands, constrict under deep emotion like a soldier going to a battlefield if he knows he's going to die or a person who knows he's going to be sentenced to death. There is this phenomena where that blood shoots into the sweat glands and a person actually sweats drops of blood, a deep anguish and emotion. Now, my soul is troubled.
But I got to tell you something, the real pain, the real trouble, the real anguish would be in that moment on the cross when because of the sin laid upon him and he would be separated from his father. He had never known that experience ever before, ever. And the anxiety of that is falling upon him. Jesus and the Father were one, they did everything together, every thought was processed with each other. There was always fellowship. Even in the garden, Jesus will cry out, "Abba" or dearest Father or even daddy, but on the cross he will say, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
So that is the cross culture and that's the pain of it. But notice what He say' as He goes on, now my soul is trouble and what shall I say, Father save me from this hour? Is that I'm going to say now? Is that I what I'm going to pray as I am facing the cross? Am I going to say, I can't do, get me out of this? You know he could have. In Matthew, Jesus said, "Don't you know Peter, that I could call on twelve legions of angles right now to deliver me?"
Now the question, Jesus asks here is meant to be rhetorical, what shall I say, Father save me from the hour -- this hour? The implied answer is no. And then he says, "But for this purpose, I came to this hour." Father glorify your name, and then a voice came from heaven saying, "I have both glorified and will glorify it again." Therefore, the people who stood by and heard it said that it thundered. Other said an angel has spoken to him. Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of me but for you." So here's Christ expressing the anguish of soul and he goes, "Look, I'm turning away from this thing. I'm not leaving the cross culture, I came for this very thing, I want to bring glory to my Father in heaven." This was his life's work.
You recall Revelation 13 describes Jesus as the lamb slain from the foundations of the world. That was all part of the plan. I've come for this. This is my hour that you might be glorified through my death. Father glorify yourself. That was his life's work. So, everything in Jesus life is focused on this cross culture, it's permeating his very thought process, he's dominated by it. And that's very important, I don't want you to miss this, I don't want you to think that the cross, oh yes, Jesus died on the cross, this is the very center of it all, the very center of the universe, the very center of God's plan, because if Jesus did not die, there would be no substitute for sin. If there were no substitute for sin, there would be no salvation from our sin, that there will no salvation from sin, there would be no hope. If there was no hope, there would be no future but hell. That's why our Lord said, "This is it, man this is why I've come." This is the center of it all.
So, he's expressing his anguish but he's also anticipating the glory, verse 28 that will come from this. What do you think drove Jesus forward? What was the deepest motivation? It's told right here, to glorify his Father. Did you know that Jesus was always motivated? They impetus of his life was to bring glory to the Father, in life and in death. Father Glorify your name. Knowing that, when Jesus would die, the Father would be able to invite people from all manner of life to come into heaven through believing in his son.
The rite of Hebrews put it this way, it's a beautiful verse, Hebrew 12:2, "Who for the joy, that was set before him, he endured the cross despising the shame." It was no cakewalk, he didn't enjoy it, he endured it, it was horrible. On a human level, on a spiritual level of separation, he endured it. But there was a joy mingled within and the joy was giving glory to the Father and the joy was seeing you, and you, and you, and you, the day you received Christ being able to go to heaven. I pushed them forward.
So there's the anxiety of it, but there's the anticipation of giving glory to the Father. Now, we read something and I just want you to get this that here is Jesus saying these words and he looks up, presume and he says "Father glorify your name" and then an audible voice from heaven comes, whoa!. So only the third that ever happened, three times in Jesus life in ministry an audible voice from the Father comes from heaven. Number one, it is baptism. He said, "This is my beloved son and whom I am well pleased." The second one was at the transfiguration, Matthew, Peter, James and John went up to a high mountain, Jesus was gloriously transfigured before them. Peter starts rambling on and on above building three condominiums and finally God interrupts him and said, "Uh-hmm, this is my beloved son, listen to him." The third time is here, one of three times.
You know, why God did that? You know why God spoke from heaven? To authenticate his son, because some people will say, "And I just wish God would just like speak from heaven and say Jesus is the one, got to follow Him." Well that's what he did. At his baptism, he made it unmistakable and the disciples were wondering, "Hmm, could this be the one?" "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased," the voice from heaven, to make it unmistakable that that was the one God was sending. And here at his death, an audible voice.
And notice what Jesus said, "This voice didn't come because of me but for your sake." You know what that means? In a few days, their spirits are going to be so crushed, they're going to be so doubting that this whole cross thing was even part of God's plan. God wants the disciples to know now, it's all part of the plan boy's, I'm in total control. This Jesus going to the cross bit was all part of my agenda from the beginning. That's was Jesus meant. It's for your sake. So you'd hear it with your own ears that the cross is what the focus of heaven and the focus of the savior was as well.
So, that's the cross culture and Christ. Now, let's think about the cross culture and the world. What does the cross mean to the world? It means three things according to Jesus, the cross has three effects, number one, the world is judged by it. Verse 31, Jesus continues, "Now is the judgment of this world." Stop, that's the first effect of the cross upon the world. The cross judges the world. Now you know what the world means in the bible sense, the word cosmos, world, typically means the system of thought and ideology controlled by the devil, involving millions people who are in rebellion against God. That system is called the cosmos or the world. It doesn't mean the earth or the creation, it means that, that ordered philosophical system poised against God. Jesus says, "Now is the judgment of this world." When the world put Jesus Christ on the cross, it was judging itself. You might say it was signing its own death warrant.
First Corinthians chapter 2:8, "The rulers of this world have not understood it, for if they have they would not have crucified our glorious Lord." So, they were saying, get rid of him, we don't want a spiritual kingdom, we want a physical kingdom and if it's not going to bring us that, the same crowd would say, "Crucify him." When the world put Jesus on the cross, he was being judged, because you see, the issue, the question for the world is always the same. What are you going to do with Jesus? What are you going to do about Jesus? What you say about Jesus? That's what Pilate was confronted with in that final tribunal, that courtroom scene when Pilate was face-to-face with Jesus and he knew that these were false charges he said, "What will I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?" What did he do? He effectively sentenced him to be crucified. And then he walks off the pages of history. But one day, Pilate and Jesus will meet again at another courtroom scene but the roles will be reversed, Jesus the judge and Pilate on trial. What will I do with Jesus who is called Christ? Well whatever you do will be your judgment. He will determine your destiny.
I heard about a young man who moved to a big city, it was the first time he had been in the city. He wasn't use to the traffic pattern, etc. He was about to cross the street not looking both ways, a truck was coming and he was about to walk into oncoming traffic when a hand reached out and grabbed him. There was a sweet old gentleman who pulled him back on to the sidewalk. Two weeks later, that same young man was in a courtroom. He was being indicted for theft charges, he had been stealing. As the young man looked up he noticed the judge seemed very familiar. He thought, that's the man who saved me two weeks ago, pulled me out of oncoming traffic. He even said to the judge, "You're the man who saved me, surely, you can do something now, pull a few strings." The elderly judge said, "Two weeks ago young man, I was your savior, today I must be your judge."
So that's the first effect that the cross has on the world. Number one, the world will be judged by it. Number two, the ruler of the world is cast out. Look what it says, "Now is the judgment of this world," verse 31, "And now, the ruler of this world will be cast out." Who is he speaking about? The ruler of this world. Satan the devil, the bible calls the devil, the prince of this world or the god of this world, this world system.
Well, this makes sense that the world is being judged, that the one who controls the world that is going to have some kind of ramification as well and that's Satan. He is going to be cast out. In other words, this is the beginning of the end for the devil, the grip that Satan has had upon humanity will be broken by the cross.
So now there's going to be other options for people. If they want to live forever, all they have to do is trust this one who died for them and they will live forever. So Satan's power effectively is being dismantled.
Now if I'm counting correctly, I discovered there are five casting outs of the devil in the Bible. Let me see if I can recall them. Number one is when he was cast out of heaven as a permanent resident. He was the anointed cherub who covers, he got really pride for God said you're out of here and he was -- he became the devil at that point. That's Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, that's number one.
Number two, the second casting out is here at the cross, the power of Satan was taken from him to destroy lives. So the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour at the cross he was defanged. Now he might try to gum you to death but Christian you're immune from him.
The third casting out will be during the great tribulation period when Satan is cast from heaven to the earth. You're going to -- wait a minute, I thought he was cast out from heaven from the beginning. Yeah he was, he's a permanent resident but do you know that the devil has access to heaven today? The bible says he's the accuser of the brethren who accuses the brethren before God day and night. Incessant, he still has access. He still can get an audience with God.
The fourth casting out will be at the end of the tribulation period. He is cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth and the fifth and final one is when he is cast after that into the lake of fire. So he's on his way down and this is the beginning of the end. That's the second effect. The third effect of the cross upon the world as mentioned in verse 32 and verse 33 and that is the world's people can be saved by it. The world is judged by it, the ruler of the world is cast out by it but the world's people can be saved by it, verse 32.
He says, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all peoples to myself." I don't know how many times that verse has been taken out of context because people will think, let's lift Jesus up, let's just lift Him up and worship because He said if I be lifted up I'll draw all people to myself.
There's a song put out some years ago called Lift Jesus higher. Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher, lift Him up for the world to see for he said if I be lifted I'll draw all men to me. I shutter every time I hear that song because obviously whoever wrote that song didn't read the next verse.
It says in verse 33, "This he said signifying by what death he would die." Did you get that? I'm speaking about the cross, the horrible, violent, ignominious method of crucifixion. He didn't mean lift Jesus higher and in some ethereal and femoral kind of worship way. He says if I be lifted up on a cross to suffer and die by that act of being a substitute, I will draw all men to myself.
Let me drag your memory. Go back a few verses in your mind to the little conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus. Remember what he said to Nicodemus? He said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so the son of man must be lifted up." Who is he talking about? He's talking about Numbers 21 to the fourth book in the Bible. The book of Numbers, the children of Israel were out in the wilderness and snakes came in to the camp and started biting them and they started dying. And the reason for that is they retreated to their number one favorite past time, complaining, whining, griping against God. God had enough evidence and said, "I'm sending snakes in to bite them, get rid of them." Well in the midst of that, our Lord said to Moses, "Moses, in order to save these people you take a brass serpent and you put on a pole and you wrap it around the pole and you hold it up and as men and women looked toward that you hold it up and say, hey look over here. If they look over there they'll stop dying, they'll be cured." You say, "What kind of a cure is that? What kind of medicine and science is behind that?" None, it's a miracle.
For people to look at that serpent they had to believe, they had to believe two things. They had to believe number one, that they were sinners because it was their sin that caused this so they're taking a look away from what caused this to a cure.
Number two, they had to simply believe that by looking, by faith as God said it's going to work and you know what happened? It worked. People started looking at that brass serpent and boom! They started being healed left and right. Well that's what Jesus means. If I'd be lifted up off the earth, on a cross like that brass serpent on a pole as the sin bearer for the sins of men and women throughout all the ages, whoever looks by faith to me will be saved.
I'll draw people, all kinds of people to myself. You know what draws people to Jesus? This, the cross draws people to Jesus. You say oh no, the cross is so repulsive it draws people away from Jesus, not it doesn't. People love to know they're forgiven. People love to know that they can have a do over, a fresh start, a fresh slate and that's what draws people to Jesus. Now granted it's not easy, well it is easy. I mean all we have to do is believe but you know for men and women it's not easy in this sense, it's much easier for people to believe that if they look to themselves to their own good works to their own religious affections. I work hard, I go to church I do good things, I'm earning a place in heaven.
It's much easier for people to think that way. It's much harder for people to admit I am a sinner, I have to look away from myself and I have to look to the one who paid the price for me. The pride of men causes them to walk away from the solution that God offers. I heard about an agnostic professor who went to Fiji Islands and he noticed that these Fijians lived in sort of a modern culture. They have been affected by Western Missionaries. There were churches and the agnostic professor said to the chief of the tribe, "You know I'm so sorry for you that you've been duped by those western missionaries who came years before. You've been taken by them. Nobody believes that stuff anymore. They don't believe the Bible anymore, we know better."
The professor said, "That old thread bear story of a man dying on the cross for the sins of the world, shutting his blood is so outmoded and so outdated I'm so sorry that you've been taken in by its fiction." The chief of the tribe smiled and said, "Come and follow me I want to show you something." He took him over to a rock, he said "You see that rock? This is where we used to bash in the heads of our victims before as cannibals when we ate them." Well he had the professor's attention. He said, you see that oven next to it? After we smash their heads and we put them in the oven and we roast and then we'd eat them. He said, "Let me tell you something sir, we're it not for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the death of Jesus on the cross that changed us from cannibals into Christians, you'd be our supper by now." I'll tell you right then and there that agnostic professor was very thankful that he was talking to a group of believers and not cannibals.
The gospel, the cross changes people not just cannibals but businessmen, housewives from all walks of life, I will draw all men to myself.
Let's finish up with the third, the cross culture and the crowd. Verse 34, the people that is the people in that crowd disciples, the Greeks, the people in the temple area who were around listening, the people answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever." Now watch this, why did they think this? We've heard that the Christ from the law, the Bible remains forever, how can you say the son of man must be lifted up? Who is this son of man? Now obviously this crowd is confused. They're confused because they have read the Bible, the have heard the rabbis give interpretations. They know what Daniel chapter 7 we quoted that last week says about the son of man. The son of man is the Messiah, Daniel saw a vision of him in chapter 7 being ushered before the ancient of days to the son of man was given a kingdom that will be an everlasting kingdom. They no doubt for the scriptures in the Bible like Isaiah chapter 9 unto us a child is born, unto us the son is given. His name will be called wonderful council or mighty God everlasting father prince of peace listen to this and at the increase of his government and peace there will be no and. That's what they were thinking.
That's what this means when they said, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever how can you say the son of men must be lifted up?" They missed something, they were thinking of all of those scriptures that speak of the glorious reign of the Messiah, that's what they were waiting for a political ruler which he will be he when he comes the second time by the way. But they neglected and think about all of those other text of scriptures from their law that speaks of the suffering Messiah, the dying Messiah like Isaiah 53, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities, the chest ties one of his piece was upon him. Neglected to read Psalm 22 which describes crucifixion hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented, scriptures like Zachariah chapter 13 and 14 they will look upon me whom they have fears and they will mourn for him as one who mourns for his only son.
Clearly the Bible spoke about both a suffering Messiah and a glorious reigning peaceful Messiah so clearly there must be two comings. They didn't see the gap between the first and the second coming, they were confused. Most people are confused about Jesus. Most people are confused about the cross. True story, a woman in Denver went into a jewelry store to buy a cross she said to the jeweler I want to buy a gold cross on a chain. Kid you not, the jeweler showcased all of the crosses and asked the woman, "Now do you want the plain one or do you want the one with a little man on it?" Isn't that tragic? The glorious sin bearer of the world Jesus Christ has now been regulated to a little ornamental cross as the one with the little man on it.
People are so confused about the cross. God doesn't want anybody here to be confused about it. God sent his son into this world to bear your sin and my sin. He lived in that cross culture because that's the only place where there's hope. I close with this this morning. A man fell into a pit and he couldn't get out. A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there on that pit." An objective person came along and said, it's logical that someone would fall into a pit. An adherent of Christian Science said, "You only think that you're in a pit." A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into pits." A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit, a news reported wanted the exclusive story on his pit, a legalistic Christian said, "You deserve your pit." Confucius said, "If you would have listened to me, you would have not been in that pit."
Buddha came along, saw the man and he said, "Your pit is only a state of mind." A realist comes along and says, "Yup that's a pit." A scientist calculated the pressure necessary pounds per square inch to get him out of the pit. A geologist told him that he should appreciate the rock strata that is in the pit. An evolutionist came along and said, "You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle." In other words, you're going to die in that pit so that you can't produce any pit falling offspring. The county inspector asked if he had a permit to dig a pit. A professor gave him a lecture on the elementary principles of the pit. A self-pitying, no pun intended, a self-pitying person said, "You haven't seen anything until you have seen my pit."
A charismatic from the faith movement came along and said, "Brother just confess that you're not in that pit." An optimist said, "Things could be worse." A pessimist said, "Things will get worse." Finally Jesus came along and seen the man took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit. Jesus stands alone in his ability to deliver people from the guilt of sin and drop people to himself in the midst of our culture stands the cross culture, the gospel.
Heavenly father, as we close this morning we are thinking of these words of our Lord Jesus that if I be lifted up, I will draw all men all kinds of people, all manner of persons to myself. That must have been the joy that was said before him to glorify you Father by enabling people like us to be called sons and daughters of the living God.
We've looked to you by faith, we believe that Jesus' death on the cross was enough, for that transaction for you to allow us to get into your heaven. I pray for anybody who is here today who hasn't made the decision to look to Jesus by faith. They're looking to themselves, their works, their religion, their belief, their intellect, all of those are not smart moves. Pride and some has weld up and refuses to look outside of themselves to the one who could make a difference, enable them Lord to look to Jesus Christ today, so in his name we pray, Amen.