Were you there when… Jesus died?
“At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.”
The 6th hour is noon. In vs 25 we have been told that Jesus was crucified at the third hour – ie 9am. 6 hours on the cross… for you, for me.
Were you there?
Are you there?
6 hours during which the devil is defeated with the very weapons he used to get victory over humans and over Jesus.
The devil conquered Adam by means of a tree. Christ conquered the devil by means of the tree of the Cross.
The tree sent Adam to hell. The tree of the cross brought him back from there.
The tree revealed Adam in his weakness, laying prostrate, naked and low. The tree of the cross manifested to all the world the Victorious Christ, naked and nailed on high.
Adam’s death sentence passed on to all who came after him. Christ’s death gives life to all His children.
Are you there… as Jesus dies.
“At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice… my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Are you there?
Are you there?
“with a loud cry, Jesus died”
Are you there?
“Some women were watching from a distance among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed Him and cared for all His needs. Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there."
So… Jesus was not alone… are you there?
There is a story that when these verses were related in an African village where people had never heard the gospel, the village chief interrupted the narrator when he come to the point where Jesus was unjustly hung on the cross to die. The chief shouted: “Take Him down! I belong there!”
HE got the message… that happens when suddenly you realize that: You are there.
Each of us must come to the point where we enter into the mystery and realize that Jesus took our place on that cross.
We were there… we were there… we were there.
We were in His mind as He somehow looked ahead and saw… us.
We were in His hands and feet as our sin of yesterday, today, and tomorrow was driven into Him becoming the only thing that held Him up.
We were in His heart as He willingly did this for us out of deep, deep love.
So it’s not really "were we there…" because, yes, we were!
More importantly it’s “are we there…” ...now....by faith. Is our religion present tense, is our faith present, is our belief present tense.
Reflect on that for a few moments.
The gospel must always have a personal affect on us and a social affect. There is no such thing as solitary religion. We've looked at the personal affect Good Friday should have on us. Let’s look at the women who were there and see what they can say to us about the social affect that Good Friday should have on us.
In there silence, they speak deeply into our beings. They could do nothing to stop what was happening to Jesus. All they could do was to stand helplessly by, looking on with broken hearts.
You and I know that feeling.
But was it all they did?
What did they do when they could do nothing?
For one thing they saw that this was a monstrous wrong and we know they didn't condone it.
They didn't say or feel: “we must adjust ourselves to this decision. Perhaps it is right.”...... “Perhaps the government does know what’s best. Perhaps our religious leaders do have our best interests at heart.”
This is often done in the presence of the apparent defeat of a good cause. Might is mistaken for right, and moral and spiritual judgment and wisdom become clouded.
It is a tremendous thing when even in helplessness people can say of triumphant evil: “This is utterly wrong, and no show of physical power can make it right.” Some of you are daily feeling helpless in the face of triumphant evil in your homes, workplaces, our nation. Even the Church of Jesus Christ, in her history has, and in her present, does... resort to evil, and we feel helpless as we watch.
Let us never stop saying: "This is utterly wrong and no show of physical power can make it right." Let us never ceasr to identify and name evil in our midst...never!
Going back to that group of women at the cross: the defeat of Calvary didn't shake their faith in Jesus or their devotion to Him. The overwhelming might of evil had no effect on their continuing loyalty. They didn't say “well this defeat settles it. We can’t go on believing as we did.”
They continued as an unshaken minority that became God’s instrument for the future. Let's learn from them.... Hang in there!
And this leads to the third thing these women teach us: Among this group who were helplessly watching were many who a little while later in the upper room in Jerusalem were launching a movement which would reverse the verdict that iron nails were the final power in the universe.
In these women who were there we see the role of the Christian who is by faith at Calvary today and always:
In the face of forces and events which we cannot overcome any more than the disciples at Calvary could restrain the Roman soldiers, we hold on to our belief that love is the ultimate force in the universe and we give ourselves in service to the tasks of that divine love in which we supremely believe.
Such people become the… lever... by which God tilts the world, our nation, Alberton, our church, our homes… the lever by which He tilts all these towards His kingdom.
Were you there… yes, you were.
Are you there…?