Palm Sunday – Jesus Died For Me

Sunday April 14, 2019   Phone: 570.829.5216
Pastor David Miklas e-mail pdmikBBM@aol.com
Message:  Palm Sunday – Jesus Died For Me – Text: Mat 27:33-54

Jesus Died for Me

 

INTRODUCTION: In Luke 23:32-33 we read,

           

 “And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. (33) And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”

 

It was at Calvary God so loved the world and turned His back on His only begotten Son.

It was at Calvary the National Anthem of Heaven, found in John 3:16, was played.

It was at Calvary that God, in chrisom garment dressed, courted and wooed us in His LOVE and MERCY.

It was at Calvary Christ cried "It Is Finished." Once and for all He completed eternally the payment for the penalty for sin by His shed blood.

 

Earth has no darker Sin than Calvary

History knows no blacker page this Calvary

Humanity has no fouler spot than the Saviour's crucifixion.

 

The saddest story of man began in EDEN. However the saddest story of God is CALVARY. A far cry it is from the Garden of Eden to CALVARY, but they have a very intimate relation.

 

The TRAGEDY of one is the reason for the TRAGEDY of the other. In Eden we see the beginning of the TRAGEDY which is to end on CALVARY.

 

And the agony of the atonement for sin which we see on CALVARY has to do with the TRAGEDY of sin, which we learn about in the Garden of Eden.

 

The cross of Christ is the emblem of Christianity which showed the measure of man's sinfulness and at the same time the measure of the matchless love of Jesus.

 

The reaches of the cross of Christ presents to the world the depth, the length and the height of man's sin, dramatically and effectually. It also shows the extremity of God's love.

 

Upward the cross of Jesus pointed to God who devised the plan of salvation and was willing to offer His only Son, "The Lamb" who would shed His blood for the sins of the world.

 

Outward the cross pointed to the far reaches of every corner of the earth where sinful man was found. It beckoned them to stand beneath the cross and look up to say, "God, be merciful to me and save me for Jesus’ sake."

 

Downward the cross pointed to a burning Hell, where the jaws of death and hell are broken, and the sentence of men to hell is canceled by the death of the Son of God upon the cross.

 

The cross of Christ was the measure of man's sin, but it was also the measure of God's love as we read in Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth (demonstrated) His LOVE toward us in that while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us."

 

Now turning in your Bible to Matthew 27, would you please follow as I read from verses 33-36.

 

“And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, (34) They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. (35) And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. Now from verse 36 we have our text "And sitting down they watched Him (Jesus) there."

 

This short verse has a far greater scope than appears on the surface. An entire volume could be written about "They" who watched as the Son of God died on the cross. Who were the "They"?

 

Some came to mock and scorn, some came out of curiosity to see and hear what this malefactor would do and say.

Some of the spectators were vile of lip.

Some looked up with revenge, in all probably, hardly able to keep their hands off the sufferer.

Some were in a frenzy of grief; others stood in silent horror, while others broke out into uncontrollable weeping.

 

The enemies of Christ were there along with the religious rulers.

The two malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left hand were there.

Several disciples were there with Jesus’ mother Mary as well as some of the women who followed the Lord.

So too were there the Roman soldiers who watched and gambled for His garments.

By the way, we too were there. Each and every one of us was there some 2000 years ago.

 

That's the collective group, EVERYBODY. In I John 2:2 we read, "And He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD." God loved the whole world collectively. Jesus died for the whole world collectively.

 

In Hebrews 2:4 we read "Christ tasted death for every man."

 

Jesus on the cross tasted death for you, so you were there.

Jesus on the cross tasted death for me, so I was there.

Jesus on the cross tasted death for every single lost sinner, so they were all there.

 

Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. Yet, the blessed truth is that He died on the cross for you and I individually.

 

Now our text in Matthew 27:36 tells us, '"And sitting down they watched Him (Jesus) there." I believe there was one man watching on Golgotha's hill during Christ’s crucifixion that day whom we speak very little about, yet he more than any other exemplifies the purpose of the cross of Christ.

 

You remember those last four words from Romans 5:8, "Christ died for us." The word "for" is the Greek word "huper" which means "in my place, or in my stead." Jesus on the cross literally exchanged places with me. He took my place.

 

Think about that as I relate to you the entire crucifixion story through the eyes of this individual who briefly appears in all four Gospel accounts of this event. His name…I'll let you keep guessing until the end.

 

 

His story as was possibly seen through his eyes was also written in a Gospel tract. One day in 1927 one of those Gospel tracts was handed out by a well-known religious book publisher to a burdened, spiritually agnostic young boy in the city of Baltimore. I'll tell you about that story later.

 

Here is the story written in the first person of the one whom we believe was there at the cross on that day.

 

“As tradition tells you, I was a son of a Rabbi. These events are very fresh in my mind. Daily I saw the Christ in the temple teaching, and daily I saw Him ministering to the crowds.

 

I watched as they welcomed Him into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, laying down palm leaves and crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord."

 

Several days have gone by and I understand He spent the last evening with His band of those who they call His disciples in some upper room. It was there He observed the Jewish Passover feast with them.

 

From there He walked across the Kidron valley with His disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed.

 

It was here that Judas, one of His disciples, betrayed Him with a kiss. Another disciple, Peter, got angry and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. Jesus quickly restored the servant’s ear and rebuked Peter.

 

I understand all His disciples fled the scene with the exception of Peter and John. But can you imagine a band of 600 soldiers coming to take Jesus bound to the house of Annas the father-in-law to the High Priest. Here begins the first of the 6 trials Jesus would go through.

 

The proceedings under Annas, Caiaphas the High Priest, and the Jewish Sanhedrin were illegal under Jewish law.

The proceedings under Pilate and Herod were under Roman law, where Pilate declared Jesus innocent. But he buckled under the pressure of the religious leaders and the crowd, and therefore released another prisoner instead, and did as they cried out to crucify Jesus.

 

I was there. I could hear what was going on, as Jesus was going from the house of Annas to Caiaphas then before the Jewish Sanhedrin on to Pilate and then to Herod and finally back to Pilate.

 

While all this was going on one of His disciples, Peter by name, stood out in the outer courtyard and three times denied he even knew him. How could he deny Jesus when he was just with Him?

 

Before Pilate again, he finally offers to chastise and release Jesus. He reminds the Jews that neither He nor Herod could find any fault in him.

 

However, the soldiers scourged Jesus 39 times with a whip. O, the blood thirsty cry of the crowd as they demanded that Pilate crucify Jesus. The soldiers gather around Jesus and

           

They stripped him and put on Him a purple robe.

They put a crown of thrones on his head.

They placed a reed in His right hand.

They ridiculed Him saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

They spit on Him and pulled His beard.

 

Finally, I saw them leading Him the 650 yards up to the place of the skull to be crucified with two other malefactors.

 

There they nailed Him to the center cross and placed over Him a sign written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek which read, "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

 

O, what a day! For 6 hours Jesus hung on that cross, the last three hours in darkness. I heard him speak:

 

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

To one of the malefactors He said, "Today shall thou be with me in Paradise."

He spoke to His mother saying, "Woman behold your Son." Then to John, one of His disciples, He says, "Behold your Mother."

Then in agony, He says, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Then he says, "I thirst." Afterward He said, "It is finished."

And finally, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit."

 

Now let me tell you about "Those who were there sitting down watching this Jesus die on the cross." There appears to be those who were for Him as well as those who were against Him sitting there watching Him die.

 

There were those who stood near the cross as was His mother and His beloved disciple, John. Oh, how I wish every believer could sing that today, "Near the cross, Near the cross, Jesus, keep me near the cross!"

 

There were others as you read in Matthew 27:55 who stood afar off, "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Jose, and the mother of Zebedee's children."

 

Where were His other disciples? Matthew 26:56 tells us that when Jesus was taken captive by the soldiers in the garden "Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." With the exception of John and possibly Peter, all the rest were a bunch of quitters.

 

There were those who appeared to be just passing by. Hear their mocking comments: "Aha! You who would destroy the Temple and build it in three days, save thyself." "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."

 

There were the religious rulers who came by and scorned Him saying, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save! Let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ, the Chosen of God."

 

There were the Roman Soldiers:

 

The first soldier won the lottery for His coat. He was more interested in material gain than in the one who was being crucified. He won a coat but lost the opportunity of wearing the robe of righteousness.

 

The second soldier came by and seeing that He was dead already, took his spear and thrust it into His side and out came blood and water. This soldier stained his spear with the blood that could have washed away all his sin.

 

The third soldier was the Roman Centurion, who having seen the events and heard Jesus say, "Father into Thy hands, I commend My Spirit" said, "Truly this man was the Son of God." Hallelujah for this Roman Centurion, who that day found His faith in the Christ of Calvary.

 

There were two thieves on the other crosses. They deserved to be there. The one railed at Jesus and said, "If you be the son of God, save thyself and us too." The other said "Lord, remember me when you come into Thy kingdom." To which Jesus replied, "Today shall thou be with me in Paradise."

 

What a picture of contrast, the one thief died in His sins eternally lost.

The other thief died with His sins forgiven and is eternally in Heaven with Jesus.

 

Stop and think about it for a moment. All classes of humanity were represented in the "THEY" at the cross.

 

There were the indifferent “people who stood beholding."

There were the religious rulers who derided Him.

There were the materialistic soldiers who parted His garments and cast lots for them.

There were the earnest seekers as this thief who cried out "Lord remember me."

 

So who am I? If you haven't figured out who I am, let me tell you. I am Barabbas. I was the prisoner who was released, when the crowd cried "give us Barabbas, crucify Christ." I was set free; Jesus died in my place.

 

In Matthew 17:16 you read of me, "And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas."

 

In Mark 15:7 you read of me, "And there was one named Barabbas, who lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder…"

 

In Luke 23:18-19 you read of me, "And they cried…saying, Away with this man (speaking of Jesus), and release unto us Barabbas, who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison."

 

In John 19:40 you read of me, "Then cried they…saying, Not this man (speaking of Jesus) but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber."

 

I was the one who deserved to die on that middle cross. I was guilty of crimes against Rome and crimes against the Jews. I deserved the middle cross.

 

But that day, having heard with my ears the sayings of the cross, and having seen with my eyes the events, I realized that Jesus truly was the perfect sinless Son of the Living God, who died in my place. I was the sinner whom God loved and for whom Christ died.

 

So looking up at the cross I cried out, "Sir I don't know all there is to know about you, but this one thing I know, you are the one who died in my place."

 

Out of all those who were watching Jesus die on Golgotha's hill, Barabbas was the one who exemplified the purpose of the cross.

 

"But God commendeth His LOVE toward us in that while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us."

 

Literally, Jesus exchanged places with Barabbas. The one thing we do know for sure is Jesus did die on the cross in his place.

 

Remember, I said this story was written in a gospel tract. Well, one of those tracts was handed to a young man in the city of Baltimore by a well-known religious publisher of his day, Mr. A. S. Loizeaux, founder of the Loizeaux Brothers Publishing House.

 

This young man was very troubled spiritually, even to the point of becoming a religious agnostic. As the story goes, after several meetings with Mr. Loizeaux, this tract was given to the young man, but was deposited in his jacket pocket and forgotten.

 

Months later, upon returning from work one evening, he reached into his pocket, found that little tract and began to read the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

 

The key portion of that tract was the section where Barabbas, upon gazing at Christ on the cross, could have said to Christ, “I don’t know who You are, but one thing I know, You are hanging there in my place.”

In this young man’s testimonial, he goes on to say that when he realized that, he immediately and instinctively reacted. He knew that what was true of Barabbas was true “for me.”

 

That evening he believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He received Him into his life and knew with absolute assurance that the Holy Spirit had used that incident to bring him “home” to his “Heavenly Father.”

 

That young man who read that tract and received Jesus as his Saviour some 90 years ago was my father. Issac Watts wrote

 

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

 

Let me ask you this Palm Sunday morning, where would you fit into those who were standing or sitting down to watch Jesus die on that Roman cross.

 

As Barabbas, do you need to look to the cross and realize it was Jesus who exchanged places with you? He, the sinless one took your sins upon Himself.

 

As you think about the decision Barabbas made that day 2000 years ago and the decision my Father made some 90 years ago as they looked at the Saviour who exchanged places with them, listen to the 2nd stanza of the hymn "Beneath the Cross of Jesus."

 

Upon that cross of Jesus Mine eyes at times can see

The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;

And from my smitten heart with tears, two wonders I confess,

The wonders of His glorious love and my own worthless-ness.

 

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If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Jesus Died fof Me" right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.

 

Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in

 

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”

 

If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pastormiklas@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.

 

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In His Amazing Grace,
Pastor David Miklas
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