Our Suffering Savior

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY MORNING, April 13,2014 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister TOPIC: Jesus, The Crucifixion, Easter Our Suffering Savior Luke 22:39-46 and Matthew 27:45-50 (NKJV) Please turn with me to our scripture text in Luke 22: Luke 22:39-46 (NKJV) 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation. 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation. P R A Y E R

2 I N T R O D U C T I O N This week, the thoughts of millions of Christians all around the world will be on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is only human nature for us to focus most of our attention on the physical sufferings of Jesus. We know what physical suffering is...we have all experienced physical pain to some degree or another. But as bad as the physical suffering was for Christ, His spiritual suffering was far greater! Noticeably absent in all four gospels are much of the details surrounding the physical suffering of Christ. Matthew simply says, Then they crucified Him. (27:35) Mark says, They led Him out to crucify Him. (15:15) Luke simply says, There they crucified Him. (23:33) And John says, They crucified Him, and two others with Him on either side, and Jesus in the center. Why such little detail about the physical sufferings of Jesus? Perhaps because most of the first century readers of these gospels had witnessed crucifixions and they knew the awful physical suffering it entailed. They knew crucifixion was the most painful...agonizing...torturous deaths anyone could die. But perhaps there is another reason the Gospel writers give us such few details about the physical suffering and that is because we might become so pre-occupied with the physical aspects of Christ's sufferings that we would overlook the spiritual suffering He endured. This morning for a few minutes let's shift our attention away from the nails and the crown of thorns and the spear in the side, and think about the spiritual suffering Christ endured.

3 First, let's think about... I. The Agony of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46) 1. The Passover Supper has been eaten. The Lord's Supper has been instituted. The betrayer has now been revealed. Jesus has concluded His Upper Room discourse which is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapters After He and His disciples sung a hymn, they leave the Upper Room and go to a very familiar place, the Mount of Olives. More specifically to the Garden of Gethsemane, which was located outside of Jerusalem, just a stone's throw from the Temple. 3. To get to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus and His disciples had to cross the Kidron Valley. There was a stream that ran through this valley called The Brook Kidron. Because this was the time of the Passover, the Brook Kidron would have been blood red from the blood of all the lambs that had been slain for the Passover meal. No doubt the bloody waters of the brook were a sobering reminder to Jesus that He was about to become the sacrificial Lamb, slain for the sins of the world.

4 4. You notice in verse 40 Luke says, When He came to the place... This tells us there was a specific spot in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus and His disciples were accustomed to going. It is very intresting that Jesus had been very secretive about the location where He and His disciples would observe the Passover, but now he was completely open and very predictable about the place where He would be. You see, Judas Iscariot would know exactly where to lead the arresting officers. 5. Well after arriving at the place Jesus instructs His disciples to pray that they might not give into temptation. Then Luke tells us in verse 41 that Jesus withdrew from His disciples about a stone's throw which is approximately feet, which tells us Jesus likely intended for His disciples to hear His agonizing prayers. 6. Matthew tells us Jesus had three separate sessions of prayer in the Garden that night. And while each session likely took up a fair amount of time, Jesus' prayers could basically be summed up in these words: Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours' be done. 7. What does Jesus mean by the cup? Is Jesus praying here at the very last moment to escape from His commitment to go to the cross? Is He trying to change His Father's mind? Is Jesus on the verge of backing out?

5 8. What is the cup? It is the cup of God's wrath that is poured out on sinners. II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) says, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 9. The Cup of God's Wrath is literally the equivalent of putting Jesus through the torment and suffering of hell itself. You see to have the cup of God's wrath put upon Him was far worse than any physical suffering that Jesus could have felt from a scourging on His back...or having nails driven through His hands and feet...or having a crown of thorns shoved forcefully on His head...or to have a spear run through His side. Jesus was about to suffer the agonizing torment every lost soul will experience when they go to hell. 10. How great was Jesus' agony in the Garden? There are two things that happened that gives us a pretty good idea. (a) First of all, Jesus's agony was so great, God sent an ANGEL to STRENGTHEN Jesus. (v.43) Matthew and Mark's gospels both tell us Jesus was so overcome by sorrow that night, He was sorrowful even unto death. That tells us Jesus was under so much stress, so much pressure He could have easily died in the Garden that night and never even made it to the cross. Did the angel provide Jesus with physical nourishment as in the wilderness after the temptations? Did the angel hold Jesus in his arms? Did He wipe the tears from His eyes and sweat from His brow? We aren't told any details other than the angel was sent to strengthen Jesus. He was sent to keep Him alive until He could fulfill His mission on the cross.

6 (b) If you will look at verse 44 you will see the second detail that tells us how much agony Jesus was in. v.44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. This is a rare medical phenomenon known as hemi-hydrosis or hemit-hydrosis. Around the sweat glands in our bodies there are multiple blood vessels. Under extreme emotional stress the blood vessels will restrict. When the anxiety reaches its maximum level the blood vessels will rupture causing blood to pour into the sweat glands and through the pores of the skin so that the sweat actually is a blood/sweat mixture. 11. One thing is for certain. You and I have never experienced the degree of agony Jesus experienced that night in the Garden. From THE AGONY OF GETHSEMANE let's now shift our attention to...

7 II. The Abandonment of Golgotha (Matthew 27:45-50) Let's turn over to The Gospel of Matthew, chapter twenty seven, and read VERSES Matthew 27:45-50 (NKJV) 45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, This Man is calling for Elijah! 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him. 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 1. There had been a flurry of activity in the nine hours or so that had passed from Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. Following His betrayal by Judas and His arrest, Jesus was passed back and forth all night long through the Jewish and Roman legal system: First He was brought before Annas the High Priest...then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin...then before the Sanhedrin by itself. Then Jesus was sent to Pontius Pilate...then to Herod...then back to Pontius Pilate. After failing to convince the Jewish mob that Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, Pilate washed his hands of Jesus.

8 2. After being turned over to the Roman soldiers, Jesus was beaten nearly to the point of death, spat upon, and crowned with the crown of thorns. 3. Following the beating, Jesus was taken into the streets of Jerusalem surrounded by Roman soldiers, with the crossbar or patibulum of the cross on His shoulders. It was approximately 650 yards from the Roman Praetorium to Golgotha. The route of the procession was deliberately planned to take Jesus down as many streets as possible so the greatest number of people could see Him. This was supposed to be a warning to anyone else who might try to subvert the Roman government. 4. When Jesus fell beneath the pound weight of the crossbar, Luke's gospel tells us the Roman soldiers forced a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross the rest of the way to Golgotha's hill. Golgotha means Place of the Skull. 5. Once nailed to the cross and hoisted up to the top of the stipe or upright portio of the cross, Jesus was left to spend His final hours in excrutiating pain. In fact, our English word excrutiating comes from a Latin term meaning, out of the cross. It describes the most intense physical pain one can suffer. 6. But let's look beyond the physical suffering for a moment and look at the far greater suffering Jesus had to endure, and that was THE SUFFERING OF ABANDONMENT.

9 7. Jesus had already agonized on the cross for three long hours from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, which is from 12:00 P.M. (NOON) until about 3:00 P.M. Around 3:00 that afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? 8. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He prayed FATHER. Now He prays My God. Jesus is now praying as A MAN to GOD...not as A SON to His Father. 9. All thirty three years of His earthly life Jesus had lived in continous fellowship with His Father. And now on the cross that fellowship is broken for the very first time. 10. Oh brothers and sisters, look at what your sins and my sins cost Jesus. He went from the highest, deepest and fullest level of fellowship with His heavenly Father to being forsaken and abandoned. You see, Christ became sin for our sakes, and God can have no fellowship with sin. There can be no communion between holiness and unholiness. There can be no communion between light and darkness. As horrific as all His physical suffering was, it pailed in comparison to being forsaken and abandoned by His Heavenly Father.

10 C O N C L U S I O N "The Cross Was His Own" They borrowed a bed to lay His head When Christ the LORD came down; They borrowed the donkey in the mountain pass For Him to ride to town; But the crown that He wore, And the cross that He bore... Were His own. He borrowed the bread when the crowd He fed On the grassy mountain side; He borrowed the dish of broken fish With which He satisfied; But the crown that He wore And the cross that He bore Were His own. He borrowed the ship in which to sit To teach the multitude; He borrowed the nest in which to rest, He had never a home so rude; But the crown that He wore And the cross that He bore Were His own. He borrowed a room on the way to the Tomb The Passover lamb to eat; They borrowed the cave; for Him a grave; They borrowed the winding sheet. But the crown that He wore And the cross that He bore Were His own. The thorns on His head were worn in my stead, For me the Saviour died. For guilt of my sin the nails drove in When Him they crucified; Though the crown that He wore And the cross that He bore Were His own-- They rightly were mine! (author unknown)

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