Thursday, November 20, 2003
Actor Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion," has broken new ground for Hollywood - and triggered a firestorm of controversy. "The Passion" tells the story of the day of Jesus' death with an attempt at Biblical accuracy that is seemingly unprecedented in movie-making history. The dialog is even spoken in the languages spoken at that time. And the portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ is said to be intensely realistic, following as closely as possible the Bible's description of what happened that day on a place called Skull Hill. The controversy revolves around the portrayal of the role of the Jewish leaders on that day in conspiring to have Jesus crucified by the Romans and their statement inviting His blood to be "upon us and our children." So, for centuries, Jews have been wrongly persecuted as "Christ-killers," allegedly guilty of "deicide." What a tragic mistake! The truth of why Jesus died so brutally on that cross is far more shocking.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Shocking Truth About History's Ultimate Crime."
If there's one thing you want to be straight on, it's understanding the death of Jesus Christ. Because God says what we do with what His Son did there will decide where we spend eternity.
Were the Jews responsible for His death? The Romans? No more than I am. No more than you are. Because the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24, our word for today from the Word of God, "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree ... for you were like sheep going astray." What made it necessary for Jesus to go that cross was the sins of every one of us. Every selfish thing you've ever done, every angry thing you've ever done, every dirty thing, every dishonest thing, every hurting thing, every time you've ever done it your way instead of God's way. That's what He was taking on Himself that unthinkable day on Skull Hill. Or in the words of God's bottom line summary: "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3). So when Jesus cried out from that cross, "Father, forgive them," He was forgiving me. He was forgiving you.
But no one had the power to take the life of the Son of God. Jesus said of His life, "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord." His reason? He said, "I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:18; 10:15). Jesus gave His life. He sacrificed His life for you to absorb the awful death penalty for you and me running our own lives. Our sins made His death necessary. His love made it happen - a love that does not want to lose you.
So the biggest mistake a person can possibly make is to miss, ignore or walk by Jesus and His cross. If you think there is any other hope of your sins being forgiven, of you going to heaven, look at the cross. If anything you can do could have paid the bill for your sin, God's Son would never be there, crying out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" You know the answer? So He would never have to forsake you. Abandon all hope of your religion or your spirituality or your goodness ever removing the guilt of your sin and getting you into heaven. Only the horrific death of God's one and only Son can do that. And because He walked out of His grave three days later, He, and He alone, can give you life that lasts forever.
This can be your day to - in your heart - stand at the foot of Jesus' cross and say, "For me. What You're doing there, Jesus, is for me. And beginning right here and right now, I'm turning to You from a life of doing it my way. I am Yours." If you want to be sure you belong to Jesus for now and forever, then I'd like to send you my booklet about that called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it.
Don't walk away from that cross without taking for yourself what Jesus did there for you. He took your hell so you could have heaven. Don't miss Him.