Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Gilbert Khoo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 2 April 2017.
THE SUFFERING OF JESUS AT THE CROSS AND OUR RESPONSE
Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Let us take time to reflect on what Jesus went through for us. We are the reason that He gave up His life. Let us look at the following verses from Isaiah 53:4-5 -
… our griefs He Himself bore. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
From these verses, we know that a major exchange was taking place at the Cross. We received the blessings from God through Jesus as He went to the Cross. Though we receive salvation freely from God, we need to know that a heavy price was paid for it.
Many times, we keep holding on to our grief and sorrows until they become a burden to us. Jesus reminds us to cast all our cares and worries upon Him.
Jesus was crushed for our iniquities; He was separated from God the Father. The separation itself was already a crushing experience. God Himself died on our behalf to save each and every one of us. There is no way we can repay God for His sacrifice in order to give us eternal life.
Betrayed, being abandoned by His disciples, accused by false witnesses, stressed to the point of sweat drops of blood, beaten beyond recognition, carried the heavy cross, ridiculed, tortured, pierced, denied of water, and finally our Lord had to experience death upon the cross.
The Romans are well known for their cruelty – suffering on the cross was the heaviest punishment a human being could receive. The immense pain that our Lord had to experience was beyond our imagination. Jesus had to bear the weight of the cross, which according to historians was 136 kg, and also endure the intense torture He had to go through.
How did Jesus respond to God the Father?
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Peter 2:23)
Jesus humbled Himself to the cross, even though He was righteous and without sin. He did not fight back against those who reviled Him. Jesus came to serve and gave His life as a ransom to many. He demonstrated servant leadership and was willing even to wash the feet of His disciples. Are we tough or soft clay to mould? Live for Jesus, our Redeemer. We are reminded in Galatians 2:20, “we have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Are we humble enough to carry our cross and follow Jesus?
Jesus demonstrated total obedience to the will of God, to the point of death. Even though He had to suffer, He did not run away from the plan of God. Our purpose in life is to do the will of God. In order to know the will of God, we need to spend time with God through reading, meditating and abiding in His Word. The more we spend time reading the Word and in prayer, the closer we get to God and He will direct your path.
Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalms 119:133)
Jesus did not doubt the Father’s plan. Jesus had faith in God, and the Father’s great purpose to save mankind. Trust begins with a relationship. We trust God by walking faithfully with Him. We know what God is capable of. When God says something, He will make it happen. Jesus wants us to be faithful for us to receive the crown of eternal life (Revelations 2:10).
The moment we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, God transforms our lives. By the grace of God, lives were transformed when they experienced a personal encounter with God such as St Augustine of Hippo, CS Lewis, Manny Pacquiao, Gurmit Singh and many others. They in turn helped to win many others to Christ.
The way Jesus responded should be our response too in order for us to appreciate the grace of God for us. Jesus gave all He could give to show us the reason to live. Jesus is the reason we live. May our lives become a pleasing sacrifice that is holy and presentable to God.