April 15, 2022

LUKE 18: 28-43
Jesus death was planned and it had a purpose.  That’s what made it different. We might make our own preparations. We might plan a service, pre-pay, pick out a casket and a headstone. The birthdate will be on the headstone but not the date of death.

Since it was an entrance with palms being laid down, we’re part of the history of the triumphant entrance of Jesus. The cross was a divine plan for the foundation of the world. Not only was he the lamb of God, but the lamb slain for the foundation of the world. The death of Jesus was voluntary. The cross was no accident.

Isaiah 53 is the classic prophecy known as the Suffering Servant which details the death of the Messiah for the sins of His people. More than 700 years before Jesus was even born, Isaiah provided details of His life and death. The Messiah will be rejected. He will be killed as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of His people. Isaiah 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Isaiah 53:5-6 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. “
He will be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”

Jesus was the leader, the master, and the only sinless person. He knew the job that God had given to him. He had to lay down his life so that we could be saved. This was God’s work of salvation. Jesus was obedient to God’s will. Are you obedient to God’s will in your life or do you feel unworthy of the love Jesus has for you? Why do I deserve salvation? How can he improve my life?

Do you have an “I’m not worthy” mindset and feel that the world is always against you? Believing in Jesus can change all of that for you. As you sit in this church, you sit among some of the most positive people in the world. They have church and faith in God in common. Jesus, this Palm Sunday, teaches us how not to be a victim. He faced the brutal cruelty of his crucifixion and emerged as a victor! His response to the state and religious leaders who had connived to execute him was found in Luke 24:32, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” Despite harming Jesus’ body, the perpetrators could not touch the moral make up of his soul. In the face of hatred, Jesus did not seek revenge, but demonstrated love. Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

We do not have to live fearful, stressed lives, falling apart under the burden of sin. Salvation is a free gift of God in Christ Jesus. We cannot earn it, nor do we deserve it. God in his gracious love comes down to our human level, takes us by the hand and raises us up to Himself. Jesus willingly died for our sins. On the third day, He bodily rose again from death. He overcame sin and death so that we can trust in him.

Jesus’ death was different because it had a PURPOSE. The cross was a place of sacrifice. His death was an offering for sin. No other death has this meaning or purpose. As a believer, your life has more purpose than if you were not a believer. You are offering your time and money to support the mission of Jesus. Christ’s mission was to redeem us all through his perfect life, his sacrifice of atonement, and his victorious resurrection by his blood. The greatest reason for Jesus’ death being different from all others in history is that it lasted only three days. All the others died and stayed dead. On Good Friday, they watched Him died on the cross. If we believe that we die with him then we will live with him when he rises on Easter. By believing we have a new life. You can be a new being in Jesus.

Jesus even saved criminals on the cross next to him. Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?” We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” If you believe, he has already done the same for you.