March 28, 2021 – The Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus

Posted on March 29, 2021

Home Sermon March 28, 2021 – The Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus

March 28, 2021 – The Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus

 

Each year I find this Sunday to be one of the most moving and powerful Sundays in the entire church year.

There is a dramatic spiritual movement that happens during the service.

From the celebratory entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to his passion and death on the cross we experience both the joys and the suffering of this holy Sunday.

Today on this Palm and Passion of our Lord Sunday I invite us to reflect more deeply on the meaning of the cross.

Through the forty days of Lent we journey with Jesus to the cross.

All of the Sunday Scripture readings during Lent point to that journey.

And here we are on this last Sunday right before Easter Sunday where we hear of Jesus’ death and crucifixion.

Today a little earlier in Mark we recalled a very different scene.

Here the people are so excited about seeing Jesus.

Some put their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from trees.

They place these cloaks and branches right on the road as Jesus comes by as a way of honoring him.

But then just four chapters later in Mark we witness Jesus dying on the cross.

For Christians the cross changes everything.

On the cross we receive a new revelation.

This new insight reveals to us the very nature and character of God.

On the cross we come to see that God is present in suffering and that God is present even in death.

And although today is not Easter we always see and understand the cross in light of the resurrection and especially in light of the resurrection promise.

What are these promises?

Simply… that in suffering there is redemption.

That in suffering there in new life.

That in suffering Christ is present.

Jesus’ suffering and passion on the cross leads us to a deeper understanding of suffering.

The cross does not give us an answer to the question of why there is suffering in the world but the cross does lead us to a changed and renewed and transformed life.

Whenever we pick up our cross and follow after Jesus we do so knowing that the cross is ultimately the doorway to new life.

In the end the cross of Jesus is not about suffering and death although it is that for sure.

The cross must always be understood in the light of the resurrection.

The cross is ultimately about a love that holds no matter what.

It is about a relationship that holds no matter what.

It is about a bond that never breaks.

On the cross we come to see that love is stronger than death, that Jesus’s suffering and passion is more powerful than sin and evil, and that the evil one cannot cause Jesus to be broken or to cause Jesus to break his hold on us –for he will never let us go.

The evil one will not have the last word instead Jesus’ love will.

The resurrection promise that Jesus will overcome our suffering, deliver us from evil, invite us into the gift of new life, and stay with us forever is our hope on this passion of our Lord Sunday.

This is certainly the good news of the gospel on this day.

Jesus is indeed the true divine warrior king who did not come down from the cross but rather he stayed on the cross.

This is the true miracle.

For on the cross he gives his life for his own.

In his despair, anguish, and pain Jesus chose to stay on the cross.

He did this because he is faithful to you and to me.

He will even give his life for us in this awful way of the cross in order to stay in relationship with us.

The relationship holds.

All the forces of darkness and sin cannot severe our relationship with him.

Our bond to Christ remains.

Our lives are now caught up in his life and in death –when that day comes for each one of us we will enter into glory.

For because of the cross in death we will be with God and now in life, the life that we know and experience know, we will be with God.

It was a great suffering that Jesus endured but it is an even great redemption that he offers to us.

Today we place our faith in this truth.

Tomorrow begins the most sacred week of the entire year.

This coming Holy Week I invite you to ponder and to meditate on the meaning of this week.

Sometimes it can help to create a picture in your head of Jesus’ last days on earth leading up to the resurrection.

And so in additional to reading Scripture this week I encourage all of us to watch a film on the life of Jesus and the telling of his passion and death on the cross.

There are many good films out that on the life of Jesus.

I really like the movie Son of God that was made in 2014 with Christopher Spencer as the director of the film.

A member of the church that I was serving at the time gave me a copy of the movie and I watched it and found it to be a very good telling of the life of Jesus.

But there are many good movies about Jesus to watch this Holy Week.

I also invite you to come to our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services at the church.

This coming week has the potential to make a powerful impact on our faith lives when we intentionally chose to follow Jesus even to the foot of the cross.

Let us not be like the disciples who abandoned Jesus during his crucifixion only later to return to Jesus.

Let us stay with him and this week may we ponder the meaning of his passion and his suffering on the cross.

For his suffering leads to our redemption and to a new divine revelation on the meaning of suffering and death.

His despair in Gethsemane and his cry on the cross now opens the way to life and salvation – love wins on the cross.

Amen.

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