Holy Week – don’t be playing games of gain, just keep giving your life.
They had tried death by spear, by boiling in oil, impalement, stoning, strangulation, drowning, burning – and all had been found to be too quick. They wanted a means of punishing criminals slowly and inexorably, so man devised the cross. It was almost ideal, because in its original form it was slow as it was painful … and the condemned at the same time were placed fairly before the gaze of the people.
A second consideration was nudity. This added to the shame of the evildoer and, at the same time, made him helpless before the thousands of insects in the air.
The Romans adopted the cross as a means of deterring crime and they had faith in it.
Something painful happens at the cross which might not have looked so to the onlooker.
We acknowledge the double-mindedness of the Palm Sunday crowd, the cowardice of Pilate, the vindictiveness of the Religious leaders, the anger and the insults, the spitting and the beating that Jesus received, the thorns and the nails. But something aggressive was taking place in a passive way. Yes, passive aggressive behaviour at the foot of the cross. Let’s read:
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. (John 19: 23-24).
It was a game of humiliation
The first Adam came into the world naked. But he turned his back on God and his sin brought humiliation and he sowed fig leaves together and made coverings.
The second and last Adam, Jesus, went to the cross, sinless and clothed. They stripped him of his dignity and he died naked.
As a shepherd was tending his sheep, two wolves attacked. One of the wolves killed the mother of one of the youngest lambs; the other wolf killed a small lamb as its mother looked on helplessly. The shepherd finally succeeded in driving the wolves away, but he was left with a dilemma. He had lost one mother and one small lamb. Now he was in danger of losing a second lamb because its mother had been killed and none of the other sheep would nurse the lamb since it was not their own. Then the shepherd came up with a plan.
He took the sin of the dead lamb and put it over the live lamb. In doing this, he caused the grieving mother to recognise the orphaned lamb as her own. So the mother accepted the little lamb, nursed it and it became her own.
When Jesus went to the cross He laid His coat of righteousness over our unrighteousness so that we are now clothed in Christ. We are accepted by God because His clothes of righteousness are on us.
No one likes being humiliated. To be made small, to flatten and to be weakened. Things may go wrong in your life. However no matter how you try and cover over, whether it be by clothes of education, success, popularity, wealth or religious duty, it is futile.
“Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13 v14
It was a game of gain.
Are we at the foot of the cross for what we can gain from it?
They gained from Jesus what He wasn’t giving. They took the clothing of Jesus, but from Jesus they took nothing. They left with his clothes but they walked away empty-handed.
Many deny the cross but take up the benefits of Christianity.
Gain is the most important part of their life
Some church noticeboards should read: PEACE AND PROSPERITY FREE FOR ALL; NEXT PERFORMANCE SUNDAY 11AM
Jesus noticeboard still says: SELL ALL YOU HAVE; GIVE YOUR MONEY TO THE POOR; THEN JOIN US!
There isn’t anything wrong in being rich as long as being rich is not the purpose of our being.
Churches are not car showrooms enticing people to buy their products. People still need to come the way of the old rugged cross.
It is a game which was foretold.
David prophesied it in Psalm 22 v18.
Just because God knew the bad thing was going to happen it doesn’t mean it isn’t bad. Putting Jesus on the cross was wicked and playing a game of dice for his coat in front of him was despicable. It was bad.
But it does mean the bad is held in the hand of good. It is Good Friday.
Everything that happens to us as God’s children is for good. It may be hell at the time, but it is for good. God is behind everything that happens to you as you follow Him. God can take the worst scenario that ever happened to a person and turn it into good so that it would appear to be the best thing that ever happened. Romans 8 v28.
Let’s not play any games but let us once again lay our life down at the foot of the cross.