A journey to the Cross
The last days on earth of our Saviour
With Peter Veysie
John 10: 1-18
George methodist Church
14th March 2021
8am and 10am
- I am not sure if you ever really thought carefully about the cross and what it means for you personally. A lot of people find great comfort in the cross and wearing a cross and I am also one who would do that. I do often think it would be strange though to walk around with a around your neck !!! We need to find time in this season of lent to really think and pray about our understanding of what the Lord Jesus did and why he did it. I want to focus on a very profound scripture today John 10:17 – 18 and then Isaiah 53 and then unpack some thoughts as we start the journey of the cross with the Lord. I was given a very special book to read by my dad called “The many sided cross of Jesus by Alan Walker. It’s an old book written when I was born in 1962 and so I don’t think you will find it easily.
- John 10: 1- 18 And so let’s get into the first thing and that is the context of our scripture for today. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about being a good shepherd and the sheep and the challenge around one who is a thief and a robber who climbs into the sheep pen by another way. He also describes how a good shepherd guided the sheep and that they are able to know the voice of the shepherd. They do not follow strangers. His I AM statement is also very profound as he declares that as the I AM He is the gate, and whoever enters through this relationship is saved. We then know this scripture so well – The thief comes to steal kill and destroy but I have come to bring live in all it’s fullness – abundance. The offer in this is a full beautiful life with good boundaries and a life of sacrificial living for others. He then says something which is the key to our journey with Him today. He has such a love for these sheep that He is prepared to lay down His life for them vs 17 – but then He says only to pick it up again. In this one small sentence Jesus declares his sacrificial heart but then also his power over death. 1 Cor 15 and 16 illus. He has authority to lay His life down and to lift it up again and this is key.
- A loving God who sacrifices a son???Many have had concerns around the Father sacrificing his Son and the thinking of a loving God who could do this. We see in the picture of Abraham and Isaac a scapegoat and one would have hoped for the same thing.Jesus is very real about the pain of the “cup” that he would have to bear and yet His desire is to do the will of the Father and irradicate sacrifice once and for all so that it would never happen again. I am always very concerned about the fact that so many support the rebuilding of the temple and forget that Jesus is the living temple and we are a part of it. If it’s built again then sacrifice becomes what we will do again and it is finished done once and for all.
- The suffering servant –We need to also understand that the suffering servant narrative is clearly in the mind of Christ – Isaiah 53 and as he decends onto earth as a child he is fully God and fully man. At age 12 when he is lost in the temple he is “about His Father’s business.” My dad walking into Knysna methodist church to address the ministers. However the context of John 10: 18 reminds us that even although he was doing the will of the Father as fully human and fully God He has the authority “of His own accord”. This is so profound because the Messiah chooses to be taken into the hnads of sinful humans and to be at the mercy of Pilate, Herod and others who he created and still chooses to lay down His life for you and me. It’s His choice and he does it for you and for me to bring us life and an abundance of it leading into eternity.
- It’s not just the cross but the whole story.We also need to understand very clearly that salvation comes from the whole story of the life of Christ and not just the cross. The message is clear that it is not just a ticket that we have to get us into heaven but rather a lifestyle that transforms and changes humankind. That takes very seriously Matthew 5 – 7 and also finds ourselves being in a position of willingness to lay our lives down for the sake of the Gospel – good news of salvation, knowing too that as we do this the Lord has overcome death and so that would always be the hope we hold onto the resurrection into eternal life. Whata hope this is !!!
- The cross brings a change to our lifestyle.This is connected to the previous comments but we must remember that the cross is not just there and given to get us into heaven but rather to change our entire moral and ethical behaviour. To give us values and a Way of living that brings us into the Galatians 5:1 freedom that Paul knew as well as Peter Cornelius Mary and many others that followed. I always love Mother Theresa’s statement of truly understanding this – “ When Jesus is all you’ve got then Jesus is all you need “
- The cross brings us into relationship with the Lord and others.Lastly friends the doctrine of the Cross is so not a statement of religious belief (although it is) as much as it is a cry from the Messiah into a deeper relationship with Him. I often wonder if many have a cooking clue as to who Jesus is and if they really knew him, whether they would honestly follow him. I would pray that our relationship with the Cross and the Lord would lead us into a deep vulnerability questioning our own faith walk with the Lord and asking him during this journey to take us deeper. Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.
Alan Walker in the little book shares a hymn written by Nicholas John Cocks who lived in North Sydney 1867 – 1925 Page 23.