The Marvelous Mystery of the Cross – Why?

Title: The Marvelous Mystery of the Cross - Why?

Bible Book: Matthew 27 : 45-54

Author: Mike Stone

Subject: Cross; Salvation



Two thousand years after Jesus left this earth physically, the universal symbol of the movement that he began, is not a cradle, nor a crown, but a cross, the cruelest instrument of execution known to the ancient world.

The cross is God's flashing neon sign telling us that if you're to know the Lord Jesus, you must know Him in His death.

We don’t like to talk about death. I heard about a pastor of a country church. He went to the church one afternoon and he saw a man out in the church cemetery. The man was distraught as he sat on top of a grave weeping. He was crying out, “Why did you have to die?!?! Why did you have to die?!?!” The pastor asked him, “Sir, is this a family member of yours?” He said, “No. It’s my wife’s first husband.”

In tonight’s statement from the cross we have a simple, straightforward, succinct, and yet nearly exhaustive teaching on the death of Jesus Christ.

In the seven statements from the cross, we hear Jesus speaks to:

#1. His Father (Father forgive them…)

#2. His mother (woman behold your son)

#3. His disciple (Son behold your mother)

#4. His convert (Today, you will be with Me in Paradise)

In a mystery of mysteries, tonight we will hear Jesus Christ call on His God.

God Incarnate, The Image of the Invisible God, the Eternal God of all Ages, the One above whom there is no other…calls on His God.

I. Jesus Christ Died As A Sinner. (45-46)

Two great truths are clear in Scripture; 1. Christ lived a sinless life; 2. Christ died a sinner’s death.

A. The Darkness (45)

“Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in

When Christ the Mighty Maker died for man the creature’s sin.”

Darkness is a terrible thing. You can stumble in the darkness. Think about the time you stumped your toe on a piece of furniture. Darkness is representative of sin and a life without God. While light is a picture of a life filled with Godliness. As far back as Genesis 1:3 we see this picture.

Simeon said Jesus was “A light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel.” Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Light of the World.” He also said, “I have come as a Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” David said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Isaiah said of Him, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” John said, “In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The Light shone in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” What a mystery! One who shines bright enough that one day He will illuminate all of heaven…hangs in utter darkness on the Cross of Calvary!

B. The Declaration (46a)

For the first time in His life, Christ refers to the Father as “God.” He is quoting from Psalm 22:1. Note 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 2 Peter 2:24.

In this declaration, “My God, My God’ Jesus indicated that He had actually become as a sinner.

C. The Desertion (46b)

This was the greatest agony of the cross. It was not the spikes, the spears, or the stripes but the separation; it was not being abused by His foes or abandoned by His friends, but being alienated from His Father that was His greatest agony.

Habakuk 1:13, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil and You cannot look on wickedness with favor.”

In this most marvelous and mysterious of all acts, God places all of the sins of the world on Jesus. In so doing, He punishes sin and provides salvation.

It is said that Martin Luther went into seclusion for many days trying to understand this statement, only to emerge as confused as when he began. (I don’t understand it either!)

Herein lies the gospel:

God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ.

He lived sinlessly and yet was crucified for the sins of mankind.

At Calvary, it pleased God to crush His only Son under the full weight of His righteous anger against sin. He satisfies His holy wrath, appeases His own justice, and makes a way for a holy God to forgive wicked men and still be holy.

This pictures what happens when a person dies as a sinner.

They die…forsaken by God!

II. Jesus Christ Died As A Substitute. (47-50)

The fact that Jesus Christ died is a mystery in itself.

He did not have to die. Jesus died voluntarily…as a sacrifice…and as a substitute. Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Note 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, “For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.” Also read 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.” And note that great passage Isaiah 53:5-6, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

When I was a patient in the burn unit at age 6, Daddy wanted to take my place. Jesus did what Daddy could not do.

III. Jesus Christ Died As A Savior. (51-54)

By the time of Jesus’ death, the Romans had crucified at least 30,000 people in Palestine alone. History only records the name of one…because only one died as the Savior of the World.

A. Salvation Is Pictured With The Curtain (51a)

The word for “temple” is better rendered as “sanctuary.” It is a reference to the woven veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the temple. The high priest was only allowed to enter 1 day per year on the Day of Atonement.

1. It is a picture of Sovereignty (top to bottom)

There was no more need for the Holy of holies.

History tells us this veil in Herod’s temple 60 feet high, 20 feet wide and as thick as a man’s hand. Two Chevy trucks could not have ripped it in two. (2 Dodge trucks might have!)

2. It is a picture of availability

There was no more need for the Holy of holies because there was no more need for a priest

3. It is a picture of sufficiency

There was no more need for the Holy of holies because there was no more need for a priest. And there was no more need for a priest because there was no more need for a sacrifice.

Hebrews 10:11-12, “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices which can never take away sin (12) but He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time sat down at the right hand of God.”

B. Salvation Is Pictured At The Cemetery (51b-53)

1. This is a picture of redemption.

Death to life.

2. It is a picture of the resurrection.

Note 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

C. Salvation Is Pictured With The Centurion (54)

Can you imagine all the things they had seen? They were trained to have “No Fear!” Yet they were afraid! If saved, these are the first Gentile converts.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

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