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Sovereign King Church

Resurrection Sunday 2012 - God's voice of pardon and grace is greater than our voice that shouted "Crucify".

Big Idea:  God’s voice of pardon and grace is greater than our voice that shouted “Crucify”

Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed against him, saying, “Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  40 But the other rebuked him saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same condemnation?  41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due rewards of our deeds.”  42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

  • Why did the second criminal rebuke the first?
  • How did the second criminal ask for mercy and what did Jesus promise him?

 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”  48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breast.  49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

  • What impact did Jesus’ death have on the centurion?
  • Why do you think the Centurion felt that way?

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  6 He is not here, but has risen.  Remember, how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

  • What hope do the angels give the women visiting Jesus’ grave?
  • To what do they attached Jesus’ resurrection?
  • Why is that important?

Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  48 You are witnesses of these things.  49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.  But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

  • What does Jesus do here that is similar to what the angels did
  • Jesus’ resurrection means what to the nations?

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  52 And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

  • What effect did Jesus’ ascension have on His followers?
  • What effect does it have on you?

The story of Jesus and His mock trial and death would be very little to be inspired by.   In fact, without the celebration of this day, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, you might even look at the life of Jesus and say to God, “Why didn’t you speak up?  Why did you allow this?  What were you thinking?”  But on this side of the cross, in the reality of and in the shadow of the cross, we find great hope for celebration and truly the only thing by which we can cast our life and find peace.

However along the way, we find great heartbreak as our beautiful Savior suffers on our behalf.  I mean, listen to Luke 22:63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him.  64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?”  65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming.  As Jesus was being prepared for trial, the guards decided to loosen up a little. Punch Him.  Mock Him.  Even spit on Him.

The entire trial was such a sham that when Jesus came before Pilate, even he realized Jesus innocent.  Pilates says things like:  Luke 23:13 “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.  And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him.  And later on he says, “Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him.”  But oh now.  The crowd wanted Jesus to die.  They had bloodlust in their hearts and minds and they would not be satisfied until Jesus died.

Pilate had the freedom to release one prisoner per year and he appealed to the crowd to let Jesus go, but instead they wanted a guilty man named Barabbas released.  The just kept crying, “Crucify, crucify him!” Luke 23:23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified.  And their voices prevailed.

Notice that last phrase:  And their voices prevailed.  That is the theme and thought I want us to keep in our mind.  We are going to celebrate Jesus resurrection and it we are going to find true hope for our souls.  But first we need to understand that it was our voices that prevailed.  It was our voice, our sin that shouted “Crucify, crucify.”  And thankfully we are going to be met in response by a loving and gracious Savior.  Towards that end, let’s pursue this Big Idea:  God’s voice of pardon and grace is greater than our voice that shouted “Crucify”

So to help us walk through thought this week, we are going to examine the voices that surrounded the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Let’s start with all the voices heard while Jesus hung on the cross. Look at Luke 23:39

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed against him, saying, “Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  40 But the other rebuked him saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same condemnation?  41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due rewards of our deeds.”  42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Even at the moment of Jesus’ highest agony, as He suffered innocently and in great suffering, there are still voices railing against Him.  And who rails against Him?  Whose voice prevails?  A guilty criminal being rightfully punished.  But his cries of “Save yourself and us” are not just his.  This is the voice of any one of us who choses sin, death, and un-repentance instead of Jesus Christ.

When we hear the clear truths of our Holy God proclaimed and when we see our beautiful Savior dying on our behalf, yet we remain in our sin, our hearts echo this same mocking cry.  Save yourself Jesus.  But the other criminal is a voice of hope to us.  He says, “Hey, we are guilty.  We are receiving the just punishment of our sins.”  And that criminal doesn’t stop with a mere conviction of sin.  He cries out Jesus.  He says, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Our being drawn to Jesus is just this:  We rightfully see our sin.  We see our deserved punishment of death and hell.  And then we see Jesus as our hope in light of that sin and just punishment and we cry out for mercy.

And Jesus, ever the gracious Savior, even while in agony on the cross, speaks mercy.  He says that the rightfully punished and guilty sinner will enjoy heaven with him even on that very day.  Faith and repentance meet grace and mercy.  The voice of our sin is either going to lead us to mock and accuse Jesus or move us to cry out for mercy and forgiveness.  The scriptures show us next what happens and we hear another voice around Jesus.

Luke 23:44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”  48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breast.  49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

Jesus’ death is at hand.  His agony is complete.  He has drunk the cup of God’s wrath to its very dregs and finally He gives up His spirit.  Darkness covers the whole land when it should be bright.  The curtain in the temple that separated sinful men and women from a Holy God is ripped in two – there is now no barrier between sinful humanity and a perfect Holy God.

And in Jesus’ death, does He shout bitterness that He would die while innocent of sin?  Does He shout out in anger that the Father abandoned Him?  No, Jesus’ voice is the voice of trusting His father in what appears to be gross injustice.  He simply and beautifully says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  What a wonderful picture of trust.  What hope it should give us and what an empowering example.  None of us will experience any act of abuse like Jesus.  None of will suffer innocently as He did.  None of us will have as just cause to cry out in anger to God.

Oh, we’ll have pain, experience injustice, and hurt, but nothing like Jesus’.  And Jesus so trustingly says, “Your will is hard my Father, but here I am.”  You know the other day I had a chance to ponder this.  I was working through some anger and hurt.  I felt like someone I loved was being seen in a false light.  They were being diminished and put down and criticized for stupid self-righteous reasons.  I was angry.  I asked myself, “What is the Gospel answer to this anger because if I don’t find one, I’m going to verbally hurt this person and enjoy doing it?”

And I was reminded that Jesus was falsely accused for my sake.  In light of that I knew that the offense that bothered, what this other person had done, was nothing compared to what Jesus went through.  I knew the Gospel to comfort my heart and I had to pray, “God, I still don’t know how to do this.  Please help me.  This picture of Jesus is intended to give us hope for our sin and patience for others.

And that Gospel, that trust in God, is a testimony to the world.  Because when Jesus dies with such trust, faith, and dignity, it has an impression.  The Centurion who was tasked with making sure that Jesus died on that cross looked at Him as He died and said, “Surely this man is innocent.”  The Gospel, the trust in God that says you provide for me even in difficulty, the trust in God no matter what, makes impression in this world.  God uses it to soften the heart.  The voice of trust in God when everything around you tells you to trust yourself has a huge impact and testimony.  But this Easter where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Let’s look at the voices at that wonderful glorious moment.

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  6 He is not here, but has risen.  Remember, how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

The women who cared for Jesus go to His tomb to care for His body which was a common practice in that day.  When they get there, the stone has been rolled away.  They are confused.  Has His body been stolen?  Has been disgraced in some way?  What happens now?

But then a voice speaks comfort to them.  Two dazzling angels appear, and their appearance is so amazing that the ladies just fall to the ground as they recognize that they are in the presence of the heavenly.  And the angels offer a gentle but hopeful rebuke.  They ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  Jesus is not here.  He has risen.”

This is the voice that we must keep in our hearts today.  Jesus is not dead though He died.  Jesus is not humiliated though He was.  Jesus is risen.  His resurrection means hope, forgiveness, salvation, and glory for all who have faith in Him.

You know for silly slogans or reducing Christianity to buzzwords, but I will this would be helpful for us to get used to saying in some meaningful way.  And I’ll be careful not to over spiritualize this passage either.  But when we are discouraged or we don’t understand exactly what God is doing, when we are in similar confusing times like these ladies, we need to remind ourselves of this truth.  Ask your heart, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here.  He is risen.”

The resurrection of Jesus means that all injustice will one day be done away with.  Everything will be made right.  Jesus will be glorified.  His children will experience God the Father’s affection face to face with no fear.  All tears will be wiped away.  No hunger.  No pain.  No doubt.  So why seek the living among the dead?

But there is one voice that is even more comforting than the voice of an angel and that is of course the voice of Jesus.  Later on in Luke 24, Jesus appears to the tiny, faithful group of people who actually missed Him.  This is what He said to them.

Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  48 You are witnesses of these things.  49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.  But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Jesus’ words of comfort should settle into our hearts so we can remind ourselves of these truths over and over again.  Jesus shows up and says, “Listen Gang, the entire OT, the law of Moses, the Psalm, the Prophets, they all spoke of my life, death, and resurrection, and God has been faithful to bring all of those things to life.”  And then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.

Now before we go any further, let’s pray that.  Let’s make that true of us.  Dear God, open our minds to understand the scriptures.  Forgive for not even knowing where our Bible is have the time.  Make this wonderful gift that you have given us, have preserved over thousands of years, make those scriptures the very words of life and help us understand them.

And what does Jesus tell them?  Jesus had to suffer, die, and rise again on the third day, that day in which we celebrate right here in this moment.  And what should we do with this wonderful truth?  We should proclaim it to the nations.

We should proclaim that repentance (real change away from sin) is met with real forgiveness (the absolute restoration of your soul before God).   And Jesus told them, don’t worry, power from on High will enable you to proclaim this message.  The Holy Spirit, which fell on believers in Acts 2, is the power that God will use to make these truths real to our hearts and empower us to tell the nations.

The voice of the resurrected Jesus wanted them and you to know a few things.  All that Jesus did shows God’s faithfulness to His promises.  Jesus fully satisfies the payment of your sin.  His resurrection is the guarantee of all of God’s promises.  And as you proclaim repentance, God gives you that forgiveness.  Then you have to get off your butt about it.  That job is hard and scary but the Holy Spirit will enable you to do it.

Let me offer all of us a few encouragements from these promises.  Everything that Jesus did in His life, death, and resurrection gave God glory because they were a part of fulfilling God’s promises.  And everything that you will ever need to please God has been undertaken and accomplished in Jesus.  Our part to play in this is to cry out in faith in Jesus and repent of our sin.

Now, let me make a broader application.  Jesus appeared to this tiny group of people.  They hadn’t been incredibly faithful but now they faithfully waited; most of them abandoned Jesus in His moment on the cross.  But Jesus graciously appeared to them anyway.

We are much like they were.  We are not that big of a group, and we haven’t been incredibly faithful – at least not enough to pat ourselves on the back or anything.  We too like them have the hope that the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon us.  In fact, we sit on this side of the story enjoying the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

But we might fall short in obedience in the latter part of Jesus’ promises.  We run the risk of not proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins to the nations.  We run the risk of not proclaiming it to our city.  We run the risk of not proclaiming it to our neighborhood.  And some of us run the risk of not proclaiming it to our kids and ourselves.

But that is our call.  That is our commission and that is our job.  We proclaim Jesus to our hearts, our kids hearts, to each other, to this city, and to the world.  Sometimes the church takes on maybe one of those ideas to the exclusion of the others as if God can’t enable us to obey what He has commanded.

For example, some churches become slaves to merely becoming Godly children progenerators.  We so fear that are children are going to grow up and be ungodly that we become slaves to them fearing that if we miss a prayer or if we let someone other than ourselves have influence on them, then they are going to grow up and fall into sin.  We think we are in control instead of God.  And though we are commanded to raise Godly children, we can do that and proclaim Jesus to the nations.  God doesn’t give us an 18 year break from proclaiming Jesus to the nations so we can raise our kids – both can happen simultaneously.

Sometimes the church becomes obsessed with right theology.  We can quote dead theologians to no end, we can root out the heretics and insure ourselves of being theologically safe and astute, and not proclaim Jesus to the nations.  If you take more joy in the smell of an old book than you do the company of your neighbor or co-worker who needs Jesus, repent.  If you place yourself above others, even other Christians, because your theology is correct and theirs off, repent.  You can have correct theology and still proclaim Jesus to the nations.

I could use a myriad of other examples:  We become obsessed with our own perfection and become graceless to those who fall into sin.  We become obsessed with order and cleanliness or health and beauty, correct worship, and on and on.

But we are to do what Jesus commands here.  He is risen, all the scriptures assured it and He brought about our salvation.  So just as that tiny group heard Him, now this tiny group should hear Him.  You have the Holy Spirit.  He enables you, empowers you, and changes you.

We can do this here, we can grow in obedience, we can raise Godly kids, we can have good theology, and all of that.  But let’s get off of our butts and go tell the nations about Jesus.  As one good friend here at SK said, let’s not be as evangelical as mimes.  Open your mouth, say the name of Jesus to someone who desperately needs to know His grace.  And to guide us in that mission, let’s hear one last voice from Luke 24

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  52 And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Jesus lifted His hands up and blessed His children.  And while He did that, He was lifted up into heaven entering God’s presence as the victorious Son who obediently proclaimed the glory of God to sinful mean and women going so far as to win salvation for them.  I would love to know what words Jesus spoke here but He blessed them nonetheless.

And what did they do in response?   What is the proper response to being blessed by the resurrected Savior?  Worship.  They worshipped Him, return to Jerusalem with great joy and continually blessed God in the temple – the temple btw that no longer had a curtain separating them from God.  That is what we are called to do here.  We are called to worship and bless God in light of the resurrected Jesus.  Think of the voices that we have heard here and find yourself among them.

Are you the cynical voice that cries to Jesus, “You can’t save me; you couldn’t save yourself”?  If so, the gracious resurrected Jesus offers you grace and forgiveness.

Are you the faithful voice that cries to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your glory”?  If so, Jesus meets that cry of your heart with, “You will be with me in paradise.”
Are you totally confused, not understanding what God has done looking for the living among the dead?   If so, the angels cry to your heart that Jesus is risen and you can be forgiven and have great hope again.

Are you the few who need to be reminded of the church’s mission again?  Have you become distracted by singularly focusing on one good thing to the neglect of God’s command to tell the nations of Jesus?  If so, the voice of Jesus tells you that repentance and forgiveness are available for your sin and the Holy Spirit will enable you to do more than just one thing – you can raise Godly kids, have correct theology, AND tell the nations about Jesus.

But know, Jesus is risen and has ascended into Heaven and if you have faith in Him, He blesses you in this moment.  He will gift us faith and repentance, perhaps some of you for the very first time.  He will enable you to proclaim this wonderful message to the nations.  He will bless you.  Jesus will do these things for His glory and the glory of the Father.  Hear this wonderful voice:  John 10:10 I have come to give you life and that life will be more abundant than any other life you can imagine.”

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