Sacrifice and Glory

Posted on 03/31/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***


LORD I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH

Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad you're in my life
I'm so glad you came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
to show the way
From the earth to the cross
my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high!


BECAUSE HE IS RISEN

I live, I live, because he is risen
I live, I live, with power over sin
I live, I live, because he is risen
I live, I live, to worship him

Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!
Because you're alive,
because you're alive,
because you're alive, I live!


THE RESURRECTION SONG

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
said he has risen, just as he said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
that Jesus Christ is no longer dead!

Joy to the word,
He has risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, he will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us and
they are ministring Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
for this could be your glorious hour!



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Well, today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! And I'd like for us to start by reading the account from Scripture.

First, let's begin with the account of Jesus' death. As we mentioned last week, this was a time of death and humility, but at the very center of it was the glory of God. It was for this purpose that Jesus came, to lay down His life in our place, paying the price for our sins.

Luke 22 (NKJV)

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.
2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.
4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.
5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.
6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.

The Passover Meal

14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.
22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"

.......

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."

34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."

.......

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.
40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed,
42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.
46 Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation."

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.
48 But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered and said, "Permit even this." And He touched his ear and healed him.

.......

54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance.
55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him."
57 But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him."
58 And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"
59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean."
60 But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.
64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?"
65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying,
67 "If You are the Christ, tell us."
But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will by no means believe.
68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.
69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God."
70 Then they all said, "Are You then the Son of God?" So He said to them, "You rightly say that I am."
71 And they said, "What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth."



Luke 23 (NKJV)

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,
14 said to them, "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;
15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.
16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him"
17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).

18 And they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas,"
19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.

20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.
21 But they shouted, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"

22 Then he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go."

23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.
24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested.
25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

.......

32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.
33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."

.......

38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!"

48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.
49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

.......

55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.


Okay. We skipped over a few things because things aren't over yet and some of you probably have to go get the grill ready to barbeque some Easter Bunny.

One of the things we didn't see here was the fact that, while the other men crucified with Jesus had their legs broken, Jesus did not.

Breaking legs to finalize a crucifixion was a common practice. It kept the condemned person from being able to push themselves up to breath, and they would die from suffocation if they were not dead already.

But it was prophecied about the Messiah that not one bone in His body would be broken. As Psalm 34:20 says, "He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken." Obviously, righteous people sometimes get broken bones, so this was speaking of someone in particular.

This past week, I did a little bit of research into how the passover was observed. Everything had to be done a certain way, and we can be pretty certain that there was a reason for every single rule and regulation.

The passover lamb was not allowed to have any of its bones broken. Coincidence? Hardly. After all, who was Jesus? Well, John 1:29 says this:

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

Jesus was the Passover Lamb. He had to be perfect, spotless, which is symbolic of being without one single sin. And He could not have any bones broken.

Obviously, it wouldn't have worked for Jesus to come as an actual lamb. First of all, who would He save? Lambs don't need saving, regardless of what PETA might think. Besides that, it would be just plain weird for a sheep to go around healing people, preaching the Kingdom of God, and calling the religious leaders hypocrites.

But seriously, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He was both the Lion of Judah and the Passover Lamb. Both the humble servant and the conquering king. And both the final sacrifice for sins and the eternally glorified risen Lord of Glory.

And that's where we get to what happened next.


John 20 (NKJV)

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.
4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.
5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,
7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.
9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."

16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

.......

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"
27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.


So Mary went to the tomb first. Now, just imagine what you would do if you went to pay respects to a loved one who had just died, and their grave is empty. I don't know about you, but that would kind of freak me out. And she ran to tell someone, and bumped into Peter and John.

So the two of them run as fast as they can to the tomb. Maybe Peter was just a lot older, or maybe he still had his foot in his mouth, which was a common practice of his. But John got there first.

Now, keep in mind that Jesus was wrapped up like a mummy. And if it weren't for the really weird ideas television has put in our heads, we'd expect to see either a mummy lying there dead, or nothing at all. But there lay the wrappings. And this part is rather interesting. Verse seven says that the handkershief that had been around Jesus' head was folded up by itself.

In a mummy movie, the creature would have walked away with its wrappings. Which isn't as far fetched as you might imagine. Remember Lazarus, when he was raised from the dead, walked out of the tomb, and they had to remove the wrappings. But Jesus was no ordinary resurectee. And not only did He leave the wrappings behind, but He took the time to neatly fold his head wrapping and set it to the side.

And when John saw it, he believed.

Fast forward just a few days, and we get to Thomas, who, even though the other disciples had all seen Jesus in person and insisted that it really was Him, Thomas would not believe.

And that's pretty much the last we hear of Thomas, except in the first chapter of Acts, where we see that he was with the others in supplication and prayer. After that? Nothing. Now, some believe he wrote a Gnostic Gospel. But if he really did write that thing, that would be worse than if he did nothing at all. I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he continued walking with the Lord, just not in a role that was mentioned again in Scripture.

But in verse 29, Jesus says this to him: "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

And who would fit that description? Well, consider the skeptics of today. They say there's no real proof that Jesus rose from the dead. Some even say there's no real proof He ever existed at all. But concerning His rising from the dead, the written testimonies of the people who saw Him alive first hand aren't enough. Just like they weren't enough for Thomas.

And today's society has been being shaped into the image of Thomas for a really long time now. More and more people demand absolute proof for the things they don't want to believe, while they'll settle for lies to support what they want to be true.

And some day, they will see Jesus face to face. And the Bible says they will bow their knees and call Him Lord.

What did Thomas say? "My Lord and my God." But for Thomas, it was not too late. At least for a time, he stayed with the other believers and devoted himself to supplication and prayer. But the next time the doubters see Jesus face to face, they won't have that chance.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Thomas was some sort of dispicable, horrible man. There are things all of us have doubted at times, whether or not we knew we were doubting.

For example, we know what God says in His word about meeting all our needs. But how often have we been worried and afraid that some need wasn't going to be taken care of in time? And then when the provision comes, we might say, "My Lord and my God!"

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." That's not condemnation; instead, it's a challenge to take a look at our own doubting hearts, and to simply believe what God has told us.


And verses 30 and 31:

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer, ministry, and worship. You're all invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message one of us. And if you're listening outside of Second Life, just go to almcyberchurch.org, click either Pastors Offices or Prayer Room, and contact us there.

In a few minutes, we're going to meet in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're invited to make your way over there when you're finished in here.

Come, and let's meditate on, ponder, and thank God for His Sacrifice and Glory.


Lord God, we thank you so much for the price you paid for us, and for the resurrection power you demonstrated, proof positive that you cannot lie, and if you say it, even the grave cannot refuse your command.

I ask that no one would leave here today without having encountered you in whatever way you have in mind for them today.

And no matter what activities we might have planned for the rest of this day, I ask that you would keep us mindful of the amazing love and power you poured out upon us more than 2,000 years ago, that fountain, that flood, that is flowing freely to this very day.

Help us to let our sinful nature die with You on that cross, as we rise up and walk with you in newness of life.

And we ask these things in the name of the Risen Savior, Yeshua Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Amen.