The Crucifixion - Dying Love - John 19:14-16  
April 4, 2022, 9:00 AM

14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.  “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.   15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.   16   Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 

The very purpose for Jesus’ first coming was the crucifixion.                  

From that early prophecy in Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.". This prophecy connects the birth of Jesus from a virgin to the crucifixion of Jesus, foretelling the demise of the offspring of the serpent, which is Satan and his demonic forces. The differences people have politically can bring wars for power and money, but the hatred that is motivated by Satan against Christ finds no rest when we know he has been defeated and wants to bring as many with him to hell.               

As Pilate is pressured to turn Jesus over to be killed, he washes his hands of the whole affair and turns an innocent person to the people. We have reminded ourselves of the hatred, but his Roman guards must carry out the work of the execution of the Son of God.        

This passage points out the deep love of God. We contrast the injustice of man with the justice of God in carrying out our sentence.                  

My father preached at the Detroit Gospel Mission every so often. I remember going with him on two occasions and helping lead a man to Christ who came forward one evening. My dad spoke on the cross. When the song leader asked for favorite hymns, “The Old Rugged Cross” was the most requested. Its truth hits home to the hearts of people all over.      

“The Old Rugged Cross” was written by George Bennard who said, “After composing the melody, the words were put into my heart in answer to my own need in a time of crisis. I had come to realize that the cross is more than just a religious symbol. Along with the resurrection, it is the very heart of the Gospel.”                  

It was sometime before Rev. Bennard could think of the words.  He knew what he wanted to say, but the words wouldn’t come to him until he held a series of evangelistic meetings. He preached on the redeeming grace of God through Jesus Christ. All barriers were broken down. It seemed as if God gave him the words that we know.     

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,  The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best,  For a world of lost sinners was slain    

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,  It's shame and reproach gladly bear
Then he'll call me some day to my home far away,  Where his glory forever I'll share.    

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross  Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross And exchange it some day for a crown”    

The crucifixion was an event of hate, but, by the grace of God, was turned into an act of love. The cross has never been looked upon in the same way.    

Application:  This week sing The Old Rugged Cross and others that bring your heart in line with the thought that the cross is the very heart of the gospel.   If you have media connections search for Good Friday hymns to worship and reflect on the reality of God's redeeming love for you.   

Prayer:   Father God, while the crucifixion displayed such hate from the people, You were displaying Your Sovereign Love.   You gave your Son, Your only Son, to be a payment for my sin.   May I never take this lightly, but rejoice and give thanks with a life devoted to You and Your will for the world.   Give me a boldness to share this redeeming truth with others who need to hear.