Holy Week Experience
Thus, THE DEATH OF JESUS SHOWS HIS PASSION.
You probably don’t remember the name Timothy McCarthy. He was the guy who jumped in front of Hinkley and took a bullet for President Reagan and saved his life. We think, “What a hero!” He took a bullet for the President from a would-be assassin.
Yet at Calvary, the President of the Universe took a bullet for us. He paid the price for us. He said, “I love you this much!” If you don’t think God loves you, take a long look at the cross. You’re blind if you don’t think God loves you. There will never be anyone in history who loves you more than God does.
“God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” You look at creation and see God’s hand but you look at the cross and you see God’s heart. This is why Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified. He didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve the penalty. What was He guilty of? He was guilty of love in the first degree.
It’s interesting that the religious leaders went to Pilate and said, “Jesus claimed that He was going to raise Himself from the dead in three days. We know that’s not going to happen. But, we would like for you to put an official Roman seal over that stone so it can’t be moved and we want you to post guards around it.”
In the history of the world, Jesus is the only person who they planted guards at His grave to keep Him from coming out. But this is what the essence of Christianity is. If there were no resurrection, we could just all go home.
A few years ago, the top historians around the world gathered together and made a list of what they considered to be the 100 most significant events in the history of the world. There were things like the discovery of America, the invention of the airplane, the invention of the printing press and other things. Number four on the list of most important events was the life of Jesus Christ. When I saw that, I was offended, that they hadn’t put it number one. They had forgotten the most important part anyway. They had put the Life of Jesus Christ.
If only Jesus had come and lived and then died like everybody else, that’s probably about the best you could say about Him – number four. Because there have been other good teachers, there have been other unselfish martyrs. But what makes Jesus different is He not only died a martyr’s death on the cross but He came back to life. And nobody else has ever done that and that’s what makes this the most significant event in history because it’s never been done.
Newsweek, which is not known as a Christian magazine, says, “The risen Christ is the center of the Christian faith. The mystery without which there would be no church, no hope of eternal life, no living Christ to encounter today. No other historical figure has ever made the claim that He was raised from the dead. It was this appearance of the resurrected Christ that lit the flame of the Christian faith.
We’ll conclude tomorrow.