Introduction: How many of you like being in the water? Whether it’s the ocean, lake, pond, stream, or pool? I think there are basically two kinds of people when it comes to getting into water for the first time:
PP: Here’s Kathy and Walt. They’re already in the water. Let me ask them… which one are you?
And, there is a similar phrase in the game of poker.
Certainly, among many other truths we can glean from our text this morning, we’ll see that Jesus held nothing back, that He was ‘all in’ while He hung on the cross… for you and for me.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 23:44.
1. Luke 23:44-45 The big picture of the cross
PP: It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
What we see here are two of the most important, spiritually significant truth of what happened when Jesus was on the cross.
A. Luke 23:44-45a God’sgreatest judgment
PP: It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed.
For the Jews, time started at 6am. So the 6th hour would have been Noon.
We’re told that it was dark from the 6th to the 9th hours… noon till 3pm… not usually dark that time of day. But there’s more about this darkness than it was just dark.
The sun’s light failed. PP:
Scholars tell us that darkness in Scripture is often linked to an eschatological event…
What eschatological event of great significance, does this darkness refer too?
God the Father was pouring out on Jesus, God the Son, His divine wrath for the sin of the world.
It’s the greatest judgment for sin for at least two reasons:
First, God’s wrath was poured out for every sin of every person who would one day come to a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus…
John MacArthur put it this way: PP: The darkness was not caused by the absence of God, but rather by His presence in full judgment, vengeance, and fury. Infinite wrath moved by infinite righteousness released infinite punishment on the Son. Because He is infinite, in just three hours He was able to absorb all the punishment of eternal hell for all who will ever believe.
I have no words… that is just HUGE! Just, thank You Jesus. And I don’t mean that in a trite way.
Second, God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus, God the Son, for every sin of every person who would one day come to a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus.
It’s understandable then that this darkness was more than just being dark, it was a supernatural event of immense proportion.
Not that Jesus responded to the darkness, to the Fathers judgment for sin, with words we find in Matthew 27:46b PP: My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
The darkness was so dark because the judgment for sin was so great… how great?
Yet, Jesus was ‘all in’.
Folks, we can’t wrap our hands around the fact that Jesus, on the cross, suffered the greatest judgment… for our sin.
Transition: But listen, w/o Jesus experiencing the greatest judgment, we could neverexperience the greatest blessing.
B. Luke 23:45b God’s greatest blessing
PP: And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Do you ever feel like there’s a huge wall between you and God? Do you ever feel that God is far away, not approachable? That’s how the OT people felt about God.
Nowhere is that best represented than in the tabernacle and temple.
In 2 Corinthians 4:6 the apostle Paul writes: PP: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Get this… everyone who repents of their sin and places their faith in Jesus as their Savior, have been taken from the darkness of God’s wrath and judgment into the light of God forgiveness and acceptance.
Let’s see how that happened:
It was at that time that Jesus said It is finished… (John 19:30b)
When He said that, the veil in the temple was torn in two. Let me briefly tell you why it’s perhaps the greatest blessing.
The tearing of the veil between the Holy Place and Most Holy Place in the temple meant that what had previously separated God’s people from their God… sin, has been forever removed…
And in its place, is JESUS!, Just and only Jesus.
That’s what the writer of the Book of Hebrews promisesconcerning God’s greatest judgment and God’s greatest blessing. PP: Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… (Hebrews 10:19–22a)
Christian… you are blessed beyond all measure!
2. Luke 23:46 Jesus gives up His life
PP: 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.
All the Gospel writers use an economy of words to tell of Jesus’ death. So, I too will be brief.
Jesus was weak, in excruciating pain, both physical and spiritual as we’ve just seen. Yet, He cries out with a loud voice; not a whimper of defeat, but a shout of triumph: Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.
Catch this; on the cross; beaten, physically weak, Jesus was ‘all in’… both His strengths and His weaknesses, given over to the Father to be used to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
Then, with sin judged, with God’s presence being opened to those who place their faith in Jesus, Jesus…dies.
Christian, God wants us to be ‘All in’ with Jesus. So that ourfamily, friends, neighbors, who don’t know Jesus, will see Him in us… even in our weakness, our struggling and ourbrokenness.
3. Luke 23:47 A Gentile’s declaration
PP: Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
Crucifixions were the preferred form of execution of the Romans. Being a part of the crucifixion detail, this Roman soldier would have witnessed many. BUT, the text implies that he had never seen anything like this.
Was this centurion saved? We can’t say for sure, but it certainly sounds like it.
4. Luke 23:48 The crowd leaves disturbed
PP: And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.
Crucifixions always drew spectators, curious people who wanted to know what was happening. Notice Dr. Luke even calls it a spectacle.
But in connection to Jesus, it’s a dog and pony show to ease the guilt and puff up the pride of the religious leaders.
Even though many in the crowd had called for Jesus’ death… it seems they left knowing something wasn’t right about what happened. Which is why Dr. Luke tells us they returned home beating their breasts which was a sign of remorse.
5. Luke 23:49 Family & friends watch
PP: And all His acquaintances and the women who had followed Him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking… they stood at a distance watching these things.
Remember, they were all in shock over Jesus’ crucifixion. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way.
But they had forgotten that all along Jesus had been warning them of this very thing. They just didn’t want to believe it.
Remember, the crowd was wild and worked up by the religious leaders.
One observation worth noting is that women were mentioned by Dr. Luke. Matthew and Mark superficially mention the names of some of the women who were present when Jesus was crucified.
Conclusion: PP: Next Slide
Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, once said:
In Luke 18 we learned about the rich young ruler who came to Jesus. Allow me to refresh your memory of what happened at their meeting:
Like the rich young ruler, we can hold on to what we have, or we can go ‘all in.’ turning our lives to follow Jesus.
I’m certain that every follower of Jesus here this morning has committed some of their life to Jesus.
And I’m certain that few, if any, have given ‘all’ to Jesus.
I wonder how often we hold back, just in case.
I’m also certain that every follower of Jesus has committed some of their life to Jesus. But, when storms come, when doubts and fear raise their ugly heads, we take back some of what we’ve given to Jesus… Just in case.
So let me challenge you with this:
Truth is, when it comes to going ‘all in’ for Jesus, we’re like the people who take their time going into the water, a little at a time.
BUT, let’s start thinking, praying for and having a heart, to want to just jump in… all at once.