Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
The day started in agony. Jesus had already been ridiculed before Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate and Herod. He had already been beaten and bloodied. But now, the real journey began. The long road to Golgotha.
Mark 15:20 (NKJV) And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. 21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. 22 And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. 25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26 And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS 27 With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28 So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” 29 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him. 33 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. 38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
At the moment Jesus breathed His last, the one man commissioned to kill Jesus was the man who immediately recognized Him for who He was. What must have gone through his mind at that moment. He had been present for the trials, he was present when Jesus was mocked and beaten, present for the crown of thorns. And, most certainly, present and complicit in nailing Jesus to the cross, complicit in His death. And now, he sees that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
Many still mocked at this point, but this man knew Jesus was God. How many today know this same thing, yet ignore the truth?
Jesus was dead. His body removed from the tree and placed in a tomb. The tomb was sealed. The Sanhedrin were done with Him, putting this difficult moment in their past. There was no more worries about this man Jesus.
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
“You seek Jesus who was crucified, who was dead, but He is alive!”
Everything was different now. The soldiers feared for their lives, the disciples weren’t sure what to think, the women who were there…confused, frightened, unsure. Until one very important thing happened…they saw Him. And when they did, the fears were gone, confusion ended, uncertainty disappeared. Never again did they have to be encouraged to tell others, never again were they concerned about what others might think. Why? Because they had seen the risen Lord. Their words echoed the centurion who gazed upon the body of Jesus on the cross.
“Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
Two thousand years have come and gone since the events of those days. Two thousand years have passed since Malchus was healed in the garden, since Jesus spoke those supposedly blasphemous words to Caiaphas. Since Jesus uttered “It is as you say” to Pontius Pilate. Since the centurion uttered those amazing words…truly this man was the son of God.
And while the calendar has changed, the truth has not. The same Jesus who died, was buried and rose again is the one who today still lives. And loves. And loves you!
As you gaze into the face of Jesus today, what are your words? Confusion, complacency, not interested? Or are your words, truly this man IS the Son of God?
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.