The World which God Loved
Today’s story begins at Jesus’ trial. And here, we see the world (the people) which God so loved.
God so loved the world which humiliated his Son.
God so loved the world which twisted together a crown of thorns.
God so loved the world which put his Son in a purple robe…And mocked, “Hail, the King”,
God so loved the world which slapped his Son’s face.
God so loved the world who had no charge, no evidence, no law, no reason—but yelled “Take him away! Crucify him!”
It’s confronting… This is the world which God so loved… It’s our world. It’s your world. It’s them. And it’s even us.
But it’s also comforting… This is the world, the people, which God loved, cared about, and desired to save. They are people who had no love for the Son, who had no fear of the Son, who had no care for the Son. God so loved—and still loves—our world of rebels, lawbreakers, evil-doers, of people living in darkness!
The Son God Gives
The story moves from Jesus’ trial to Jesus’ crucifixion. And here, we see the Son who God offers to the world. What sort of Son do we see? A Son who gives up everything…
The Son gives up his strength… as he carries his own cross.
The Son gives up his clothes… as they are stolen and divided.
The Son gives up his earthly family… as he says goodbye to both his Mother & the disciple he loved, his best friend.
And the Son will soon give up his very life and breath—he literally gives up everything!
The one who was with God, high and exalted, seated on a throne, surrounded by heavenly beings… here… is surrounded by dogs, a pack of villains, people who stare and gloat, who gamble for his clothes… who lay him naked in the dust of death… the Son of God gives up every ounce of dignity, glory, and honour… This is God’s love on display—live, up-close, in high definition. God gives up everything…
All so that you and I might joyfully proclaim “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
We’ve seen the world which God loves, and we’ve seen the Son whom God gives… but there is more to see… let’s keep listening.
According to Plan
Jesus’ time on the cross was not that long in the scheme of things. Some crucifixions went for days. Jesus’ about 3 hours.
However, one thing we see from this reading is that this was the end of a plan that had been in the making for a very long time.
v28-30 give that sense. … knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled
, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
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. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”
With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Out of all the status updates that he could have given why does the whipped, beaten, despised and humiliated Jesus choose, “I thirst”?
In Psalm 69:21 we read ‘they gave me vinegar for my thirst.’ In the context of the that Psalm the speaker of these words, “I thirst” has endured scorn and mockery for the sake of God. But the speakers hope is in the great salvation delivered by God to his people.
Once Jesus drinks the wine-vinegar he declares, “It is finished.” Not referring to his drink, not even his painful ordeal but that everything needed for God’s plan of salvation for his people to be fully enacted has been achieved.
God’s eternal plan of salvation, anticipated in the Psalm and indeed all of Scripture and which extended from before the creation of the world has been accomplished in full and so Jesus determines that he will now die,
v30b With that, he bowed his head and gave up his Spirit.
In the face of unbelief “it is finished” may have sounded like final defeat. But believing ears hear this as the sweetest note of triumph. It is finished, nothing left to do; reconciliation with God available to all who would simply believe.
Is that just wishful thinking? Well, Jesus is dead and the experts confirm it; no need to break his legs to end the ordeal of crucifixion, this one is dead. A spear to the side confirms it.
v36-37 These things happened so that the scripture written hundreds of years before-hand would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
God’s love is seen in Him fulfilling His plan to rescue His people through the death of His son. Just as the Scriptures foreshadowed and promised.
Will you believe?
Wages of Sin is Death
Jesus is buried. That’s what you do with dead people. There is no doubt that these guys are dealing with a corpse. Pilate on receiving the coroner’s report releases the body. According to Jewish burial rites (v40) two of Jesus’ followers wrap the body in linen and spices and hurriedly place it in a lonely tomb. They will come back after that first Easter long-weekend and finish the process. He won’t go anywhere.
There is not usually too much good you can say about a tomb. Maybe a clever inscription on the grave-stone will elicit a comment. Or maybe if it’s in a nice location.
But here is some good news about this tomb. God is a God of justice. He does not ignore sin and rebellion. He does not give injustice a free pass. Ever!
He is the final judge of all mankind, all people and every sin, no matter how minor we think it is, will be dealt with according to God’s law.
And this is what God’s law says, the wages of sin is death
. Not the wages of the big sins is death, all sin earns death. Not the wages of other people’s sin is death, but the wages of yours as well. Not the wages of sins that have come to light, but the hidden ones too.
But here is what is wonderful about this tomb. Jesus died and in His death paid the cost of sin, for those who believe in Him. God did not ignore your sin or any sin. He can’t otherwise he would not be a just God. But he did pay the cost of your sin, if you would only believe in Jesus.
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
The message I want you to hear, to know, to understand, to believe is this. Good Friday is only GOOD for those who Believe.
In his great love for you God has offered you life. This life comes through faith; belief in the work of Jesus, God the Son, as he bore your sin and died on the cross.
Can that be true? Well, join us Sunday 9:30am or 5pm
for more of this Good News.