Tuesday, March 26, 2013

brimstone and fire

Almost 2,000 years ago, there was born a babe in a manger. He grew up among us; lived among us; He walked, laughed, wept, hurt, and died among us. He never did any evil to anyone. He never sought to hurt or harm anyone. He loved every person. He came to serve and not to be served. He was a King. He was God in the flesh. And His life was not without purpose. Isaiah prophesied of Him: Isaiah 53:2-12
          2     For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
                 And as a root out of dry ground.
                 He has no form or comeliness;
                 And when we see Him,
                 There is a beauty that we should desire Him.
          3     He is despised and rejected by men,
                 A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
                 And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
                 He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
          4    Surely He has borne our griefs
                And carried our sorrows;
                Yet we esteemed His stricken,
                Smitten by God, and afflicted.
          5     But he was wounded for our transgressions,
                He was bruised for our iniquities;
                The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
                And by his stripes we are healed.
          6     All we like sheep have gone astray;
                 We have turned, every one, to his own way;
                  And the LORD has laid him the iniquity of us all.

          7     He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
                 Yet He opened not His mouth;
                  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
                 And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
                 So He opened not His mouth.
          8     He was taken from prison and from judgement,
                 And who will declare His generation?
                 For He was cut off from the land of the living;
                 For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
          9     And they made His grave with the wicked-
                 But with the rich at His death,
                 Because He had done no violence,
                 Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

And they called Him Jesus because he came to save His people from their sins. He even came to save the very ones who beat him. 

Today we are going to look in John 19:25. Next Sunday we are going to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So today we are going to focus on his death. There would have been no resurrection without His death. Let's just take a movement to set the context for you from John's perspective.

John begins back in Chapter 13 setting the state for Christ's death on the cross. It starts with the Passover meal. During that meal, which we now celebrate as the Lord's Supper, he took a towel and a rag and washed his disciples feet. He sets an example for his disciples to follow showing that they were to serve one another. He takes time to comfort his disciples and answer their questions for concern. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me." He also said, " I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever." He said, "I will not leave you orphan, I will come to you." He goes on to encourage his disciples to remain faithful, love the Lord, love one another, and keep His commandments. And just before he is betrayed, he bows his head and prays. He prays for strength. He prays for his disciples. And he prays for all future believers; even you and I.

Then, Judas betrays him. He is arrested and put on trial. They accuse him of blasphemy and deceit. Yet, He did not lie, nor was any deceit found in Him. He was beaten. Beaten beyond what any human could handle. They placed a crown of thorns on His head. They mocked and cursed him. They threw a wooden cross on his back and forced him to carry it up a hill called Calvary. It was more than he could bear, so they had an onlooker help him. After climbing the hill, they laid him on the cross and drove nails in his hand and feet, nailing him to the cross. They stood the cross up in a hole so that he could hang there until he died, and all the while they continued to mock and laugh at him. 

Now look at John 19:28 and listen:

          28     Later, knowing that everything had now been finished,  and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
        29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in         it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 
         30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The Lord has sent me here this morning to declare to you,

excerpt from a sermon of Chris Bagley preached on March 24, 2013

Let me just say, Sunday's Sermon was one worthy of the old southerner saying of that, "Brimstone and Fire Preachin'." I was squirming in my seat and having to muffle my Amen's as to not frighten the people sitting around me. I wish I could have recorded it, but unfortunately we don't have the means to. Praying that the Lord will reach down and grab everyone's hearts this week and open our eyes to see the true meaning of Easter.

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