The Messiah’s Ministry: A Personal Sacrifice

The Messiah’s Ministry: A Personal Sacrifice Sermon Audio Here

A curtain surrounds an altar, crucifix, and statues of Jesus and Mary at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, Michigan.


Matthew 27:32-44
If you were to look at Rembrandt’s painting of The Three Crosses, your attention would be drawn first to the center cross on which Jesus died. Then as you would look at the crowd gathered around the foot of that cross, you’d be impressed by the various facial expressions and actions of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of God. Finally, your eyes would drift to the edge of the painting and catch sight of another figure, almost hidden in the shadows. Art critics say this is a representation of Rembrandt himself, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus to the cross.

Everyone Responds to the Cross in Some Way

* The Reaction to the Cross is Revealing
Matthew emphasizes how other people experienced the crucifixion:
v32 Simon – compelled to carry the cross (outside forces)
v34/36 Soldiers – sour & bitter wine (compassion + convenience)
v39/40 Spectators – (clueless contempt)
v41/43 Sanhedrin – (cruel caricatures of compassion)
v44 Scoff-laws – they want Jesus to rescue them for the wrong reasons (conceited collusion)

* The Reason For The Cross Is Redemption
How do WE respond to Jesus’ Sacrifice?

Mt 27:44~ are we like the criminals, asking Jesus to save us for selfish reasons, wanting “salvation” so that we can continue our old life?
Mt 27:41-43~ are we like the Jewish leaders, pretending to be holy, all the while seeking to further our own agenda at the expense of grace?
Mt 27:39-40~ are we like the passers-by, who don’t really understand the work that Jesus has done for us, and treat it with contempt?
Mt 27:34-36~ are we like the soldiers, who exercise a combination of compassion for Jesus’ life, but ignore His higher call because of convenience?
Mt 27:32~ are we like Simon of Cyrene, compelled to take up the Cross of Christ, responding to the call of God in our lives?

How will you respond to the Cross?

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Pastor Ed Backell

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