Sunday, 18 March 2012

Jesus, the Cross and the Nails

To the cross: The nails

Listened to a really good talk tonight.

We don't like it when we feel that circumstances are out of our control.  There could be many causes for this and we can feel irritated, stressed, frustrated by not feeling we are in control.

How do we respond?

- wait until we are back in control
- fight until we can get life contained and back under control.

What sort of person was Jesus?

John 18:1-12 (NIV)
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. [2] Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. [3] So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. [4] Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?" [5] "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) [6] When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. [7] Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." [8] "I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." [9] This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me." [10] Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) [11] Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" [12] Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. 

Peter was obviously a fighter but what about Jesus? He put up no fight.

Was Jesus surrendering to the soldiers? No He had already done that earlier to his Father. He knew that the plans that the Father had were above all things that his own ambition would want.

John 19:14-16 (NIV)
It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. [15] But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. [16] Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.

John 20:24-29 (NIV)
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." [26] A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" [27] Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." [28] Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" [29] Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Think of some the things that Jesus did with his hands during his life. The ordinary, the extraordinary, the people he touched and healed, the miraculous. Think of the power behind those hands - they flung stars into space.

Think of those hands that had been pierced by the nails. The pain, picture the scene two thousand years ago.

Feel the nail and feel the pain and humiliation that Jesus faced on the cross.

See the marks on his wrists, the willingness with which He went to the cross for us.

It wasn't the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was the love of the Father for us, the love of the sun for the Father.

Could there have been another way?

No - there was no other way for our sin, our failure to respond to him appropriately.

We are deeply flawed people yet at the same time deeply loved by God.

How can we respond?

- surrender to God

- surrender of our past, present and future to God

- surrender of that desire that we are in control

In light of what He has done it would be appropriate to surrender all that we are to Him.

Will we metaphorically hold out our wrist to the nails?

But why did Jesus surrender so willingly? Why did He surrender to separation from His Father in Heaven?

It was a huge struggle for Him to say yes.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus eyes were not focused on the cross and the immediate circumstances but on where it was heading.

We can take confidence in this and if everything feels a failure now we can focus and lift our eyes on  Jesus.

The final victory will be His.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The same hands that were pierced by the nails are now the hands that won the final victory 

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