Based on the Bible Reading from Matthew 26:59-68
[*] The news coming out of Bosnia, Serbia and other war-torn
countries in recent times, has made us sick to the heart, when we
have realised the horrific mass slaughter of men women and
children, and the hatred that has caused it!
(a) Over these past years, we have seen very graphically
portrayed on our television screens, the events in Northern
Ireland, showing the viciousness and evil that can come through
[b] We have all seen the so-called 'peace process' develop, and
endure it's ups and downs. We have seen that those who have lived
by violence, have absolutely no notion of giving up the weapons
of violence; weapons which obviously can be taken up again, if
they don't manipulate the 'peace process' for maximum concession
in their direction!
[c] I remember a Roman Catholic Priest in Belfast, said he saw a
parallel between the terrible hatred and violence of that time,
and the happenings in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion!
(d) In our Bible reading, we see the hatred of man being vented
on Jesus! Let me remind you of part of the reading, as translated
in the New International Version:
"`He is worthy of death' they answered. Then they spat in His
face and struck Him with their fists. Others slapped Him and
said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?'" (Matthew 26:66-68)
(c) It reminds me of one of the solos I have often sung, where it
says, "They spat upon the Saviour, so pure and free from sin,
they said, `Crucify Him, He's to blame'!"
The song goes on to say, "He could have called ten thousand
angels, to destroy the world, and set Him free!"
BUT HE DIDN'T - AND THE REASON HE DIDN'T, WAS
BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU AND ME.
(d) If He was to provide our Salvation, there was no
alternative! It had to be through suffering, and through
(e) I remember a few years ago, as I meditated upon the
sufferings of Christ, I was struck by the suffering caused by His
extreme loneliness, when all had forsaken Him - why even on the
Cross, He felt His Father God had forsaken Him!!
Some of the words of the song I wrote at that time entitled
'Lonely Calvary,' says,
"Of friends forsaken, that had been by His side, now some had
deserted, and some had denied...."
(a) Jesus Himself said, "Greater love hath no man than this, than
a man lay down his life for his friends."
Here we see the willingness of sacrificial love in Jesus giving
Himself for a world of lost sinners.
(b) In John 3:16, we find within the verse known as the "Gospel
in a Nutshell", these words, "God so loved the world that He
gave His Only Begotten Son!"
This shows us the loving willingness of God the Father, to give
as the New International Version puts it, "His One and Only
Little wonder, we read, "GOD IS LOVE" We spoke of this in
Our morning meeting when dealing with LOVE.
AS WE SEE THE EVENTS SURROUNDING CALVARY UNFOLD,
COULD WE EVER DOUBT THAT OUR GOD, IS IN VERY
ESSENCE - LOVE???
(c) Can we even begin to comprehend the magnitude of the fact
that, "God showed His Love towards us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us!"
(d) Have we heard parents say to children on occasions, "Don't do
that, Jesus doesn't love bad boys and girls." Oh IF THAT WERE
TRUE, WHAT A SORRY STATE MANKIND WOULD BE IN!!!
Thank God, HE LOVES US IN SPITE OF OUR SIN!!
"CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS",
SAID THE MAN WHO BELIEVED HIMSELF TO BE THE CHIEF
OF SINNERS – THE APOSTLE PAUL!
(e) The Baby born in Bethlehem's manger, WAS A LOVE CHILD!! -
GOD'S LOVE CHILD, to bring HIS LOVE in the form of SALVATION,
to a world of lost sinners!
(f) John Newton, who wrote many hymns including "Amazing
Grace", had been an evil slave-trading sea-captain, until, his ship was
caught in a terrible storm, and was badly holed in the side. He
feared he was going to meet his maker, and through this
experience became a Christian, and later entered the ministry.
He never ever lost his sense of wonder in how God could love such
as he, and even when an old man, his dying words, were words of
wonder as to how God could love HIM! He obviously felt along with
the Apostle Paul that he was the "CHIEF OF SINNERS".
(a) I wonder HOW PERSONAL you feel the sufferings of Jesus are to
(b) This is not just an event of history! We speak, in the words
of the Apostle Paul of "THE SON OF GOD, WHO LOVED ME
AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME."
(c) I trust you will feel the words echo in your heart,
"I LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED ME."
(Songs from Salvation Army Song Book)
Song 114 Jesus came down my Ransom to be (Tune 864)
Prayer Chorus - as song above
Song 49 O it's as high as the sky (Tune 609)
COLLECTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS
TESTIMONIES & CHORUSES
LIFE WAVES MIME AND DRAMA GROUP - 'Love in any language'
Song 44 Don't assume that God's dismissed you (Tune 668)