READING: John I; 22-39.
Key Verse: no. 36.
Text; 1 John 3:1
(a) Many of the TV. advertisers tell us to 'STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!’ They demand our undivided attention.
(b) There are certain sections of the Word of God which command us to do exactly the same thing. These sections are often preceded by The prefix “BEHOLD "
( c )It means we must forget all else - put it out of our minds, and devote the whole of our attention to these sections of 'the Word, which are thus specified. THEY ARE OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE!
( d)As we now turn to look at some of the Scriptural statements which are given this important introduction, let us start with our text. I said text, but it's really more like a runway, because, although we take off there, we will be landing at other Scriptural destinations; so in a sense it is just the beginning of our whistle stop tour, with the common factor of the word BEHOLD!.
"'BEHOLD WHAT MANNER OF LOVE” ( I John 3: 1)
( a)As the Amplified Bible puts it, "See what an incredible quality of love"
(b) When we look at the fact, "God SO LOVED the world, that HE GAVE His only begotten Son."
We can simply say, "Never has love cost So much for those who were so undeserving.” The greatness of the love is shown in the fact that "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" . (Rom: 5:8)
There is no use us trying to kid ourselves that we have a certain amount of righteousness in ourselves.
( c ) God' s Word tells us that we have broken His commands in thought, word and deed. (James 2:10) Every one of us has sinned (Rom .3 :23) We are all as an unclean thing ( Isaiah 64.: 6) The Bible teaches that sin, to some degree, has entered every compartment of our lives.
( d ) But the wonder is found in the fact that guilty, blind, and wretched as we by nature are, Jesus came, bore our sin, and died in our place .
(e)As we indeed now "BEHOLD" this wonderful Love. As it now would take the whole of our attention: is there anything against which we can measure it? The songwriter says
"The Love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell, it goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell" . It is boundless, much more wonderful than we could ever comprehend.
THE BEST WE CAN DO TO BEHOLD THE LOVE OF GOD, IS TO BEHOLD JESUS AS HE DIES FOR US ON CALVARY!.
(A) It may seem strange -that such a man as Pilate Should ask us to "Behold" Jesus.
(b)What could have caused him to utter such words? Let us BEHOLD Jesus as He was when these words were spoken.
( c )He had been WHIPPED under the cruel hand of a Roman soldier using a metal tipped nine lashed whip. Sometimes men used to die through the agony of this ordeal in itself.
"'The ploughers ploughed upon my back: they made long their furrows".(Psalm 129:3)
(d)He was wearing a CROWN of large sharp Jerusalem thorns which bit deeply into His forehead.
( e )He was MOCKED and SPIT UPON.
(f) He was BATTERED BEATEN AND BRUISED by the soldiers. THE VERY HAIR WAS PULLED FROM HIS FACE. YES INDEED, BEHOLD THE MAN! Can we do that – remembering it was for us, or do we have to divert our gaze?
Now let us go that little bit further, and do as John the Baptist tells us, “BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD".
(a )After the ordeal Jesus had already had, is it any wonder that He collapsed under the burden of the cross,
(b) To save us Jesus had to go further.
He had to go the whole way!! Without His atoning death, mankind could never be saved. "He could have called ten thousand angles" says the songwriter, but thank God, He didn’t, He went meekly as a "Lamb to the slaughter"(Isaiah 53:7)
( c ) He does not have to be forced to lie down on the cross. But He lies down of His own accord.
(d) Can we not, almost hear the dull thud of the hammer, as the metal spikes are-hammered through each hand and then into the cross? Can we not see the whole body of Jesus go rigid with the pain. Now His Precious feet are pinned mercilessly to the tree .
( e ) The cross is lifted high, and plunged into the socket in the earth. Such is the force, that every bone in the body of Jesus is put out of joint! (Psalm 22:14)
(f) Can we even begin to imagine the pain and the agony of Jesus as He hangs upon the cross forsaken of friends and followers.
(g) i. Would not this in itself have been enough? But THE WORST WAS YET TO COME. Jerusalem was plunged into darkness, and in that darkness, the sin of the whole world- was placed upon Jesus:-sins if the past, sins of the present, sins of the future - all placed upon the One Who had known no sin Himself!! ( l Pt .2: 24}
ii. The sin was so great that God in all His Holiness could not look upon His Own Son; He had to turn His face away for that instant!
JESUS CRIED, "MY GOD ,MY GOD, why HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?" . (Mark 15; 34)
(h) Then Jesus died, and at that , moment, the veil of the Temple into the Holy of Holies was split down the middle, signifying that God was no longer aloof, and far off; but now all who wished could come into His presence through the greatest Sacrifice of all.
(i) The songwriter says, 'There is Power. . . . . WONDER WORKING POWER IN THE BLOOD" .
It' s true! No matter how great the sin, there is cleansing and forgiveness.
VISITS TO PETERHEAD PRISON – TO TELL PEOPLE WHO MADE MY SKIN CREEP, THAT THERE WAS FORGIVENESS – EVEN FOR THE CHILD MOLESTER AND MURDERER!
"THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, GOD' S SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN" (1 John 1:7)
(a) Well?? Have you "BEHELD” God' s wondrous Love, as you have "BEHELD" the Man, and “BEHELD” the Lamb of God??
(b) What; sort of INGRATITUDE is it that still rejects the Saviour, after "beholding" such a sight. FOR YOU!! IT WAS ALL FOR YOU!!
(c) Perhaps you’ve never looked at it in this light before. Perhaps you have never thought a PERSONAL acceptance necessary.
The Bible says, "To as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He the Power to become the Children of God" (John I: 12)
This is a personal thing between you and God.
It is YOUR SIN which must be forgiven!
(d) This same Jesus is here now, waiting to receive you.
( e) The message of His cross has Power only because He is no longer in the tomb, but has risen to save those who will come to Him.
WILL THAT INCLUDE YOU??
At this very moment, His Words to you are, "COME UNTO ME" (Matt. 11: 28)
“BEHOLD NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!”
(2 Corinthians 6:2)