The Road Home to You Podcast
Mini Episode: Lessons from the Road to Calvary
(Originally aired August 21, 2018)
Brandy: Hi. Welcome to The Road Home to You. I'm Brandy Goebel. Thank you for joining me for another episode from our Lessons from the Road summer mini-series. This is going to be my last installment. Last week was Matt's final installment.
But, have no fear. Next week we are going to be recording from a road trip. That's right, an actual, real life road trip. We're going to record while we're on the road. Because why not? So, that's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it. We will share with you some of the lessons we've learned along the way.
But today.... Today we're going to focus on the most important road trip that was ever made and that's the road to Calvary.
Probably this road trip started about the day Jesus was born, technically. But His final days of His life and His crucifixion are what we're going to be focusing in on today.
It's kind of a heavy topic, you guys. I mean, dude. It's a really heavy topic. Let's be real. I've got to tell you I've really been wrestling with this, preparing this week's lesson. Not because I'm not confident in what the message holds or anything like that, but I really want to get it right. I want to honor and glorify God in it.
So, I'm going to give it my best and trust that God will use this time to speak to your heart, to encourage you, to challenge you the way that it has done for me as well. So, without further ado, let's get started.
I wanted to start by reading a quote by the one, the only, Martin Luther. This comes from his 'Letters of Spiritual Counsel.' And he says:
"Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am your sin. You took on You what was
mine; yet set on me what was Yours. You became what You were not, that I might become what I was not. "
That is a heavy, heavy statement, you guys and I want to unpack it a little bit. What does that mean? What does it mean that Jesus took on himself what was for us and that He gave to us what is rightfully His?
In this quote, Luther says, "I am your sin."
If you know anything about scripture then you know that there was only one that was sinless and that was Jesus. And yet, Jesus was punished for sin that He never even committed; for sin that we committed and imputed to us His righteousness.
He gave us His righteousness. He said, "I'm going to take all your garbage, all your junk, all your sin, all your failings and weaknesses and I'm going to take that onto Me and nail that to a cross. I'm going to pay the ultimate sacrifice and in return I'm going to give to you, my cloak of righteousness. I'm going to pronounce you as holy and righteous, not because of what you have done, but because of what I have done, which is live a holy and righteous life and take on your sin and shame.
That is weighty.
So what did the road to Calvary look like for Jesus?
I would like to encourage you guys to read each of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and the time just prior to and just following. It's such an interesting thing to take four people's perspectives of the same event and line them up side-by-side and see how they relate to each other. There are some things in some gospels that aren't in others or perhaps one author will really focus in on this one detail. It's interesting to get that perspective.
It would be like if we were all at the same concert but sitting in different sections of the arena. We would all have a slightly different view of that event based on the people around us, the way the sound is hitting us, whether or not we're having to watch the screens or if we're up close actually getting sprayed by the sweat of the rock stars up front. We're all going to have a different take, but it's all the same event.
So I'd really encourage you guys to read each of the gospels. Do it at the same time. It's pretty entertaining. Not entertaining; it's informative. That's a better word.
So, if we look at Matthew 26, verse 1 - 2, it says that just before the Passover Jesus is telling His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion."
Jesus is already letting them know, "This is happening. We've talked about it a little bit; I don't know if you guys are really understanding, but this is coming up so prepare yourself. Be warned."
Then, on the first day of Unleavened Bread, which is part of the whole Passover Festival celebration. Passover was a time that spanned for about a week or so and in that there were a lot of little mini events, so to speak. So this is the first day of Unleavened Bread.
Let's just look at this, because in this day, here's what happened:
Jesus at Passover with His disciples, He then washed the Disciples' feet and there's that whole scene of service and sacrifice in that. He then identified Judas as His betrayer and then Judas, being uncomfortable with that revelation, got up and left. Jesus then instituted communion or the Lord's Supper. He spent probably several hours, giving some final teachings to His disciples and then He prayed for believers already living and those yet to come.
That is a particularly poignant part of scripture, in my estimation. It's in John 17. If you read that prayer where Jesus prays, where He's lifting up you and I, thousand of years down the road. He's praying for us. And it's so...it just give me goosebumps every single time.
So, following the prayer.
He takes His disciples and they go into the garden of Gethsemane. He asks the disciples, "Hey, I want you guys to keep watch. I'm going to go get alone, I'm going to pray. Because Jesus knows what's coming up. He knows what's happening. His time is almost up. And it's going to get really, really rough before it gets really, really good.
Sure enough, His disciples fall asleep. Because they're tired, they've had a long day. I get it and yet Jesus is like, "My dudes. You can't even stay awake and pray for me and keep guard for me while I'm off praying and baring my soul to the Father? You can't even stay awake for a hot minute? Come on!"
But, sure enough, they don't.
Meanwhile, Jesus is praying to God the Father and He's saying, "God if there is any way that this doesn't have to happen like this, please. But not My will, but God, Your will be done."
And He's in such great anguish about this; His feelings are so intense about this that scripture says that He sweated drops like blood. Now, that could be debated. It could be maybe it was just a lot of sweat, maybe it was actually little blood droplets, who knows? There's a lot of missives that don't actually have those particular verses in it so I don't think we need to highlight that particularly.
But I do think it really highlights the anguish that Jesus is feeling, knowing what is to come.
From there, all of a sudden, Judas shows up with the guards and they arrest Jesus and they lead Him away. At which point, the disciples, his besties - that's a terrible term for this - His...I mean, these are the dudes, right? These are the ones that have been with Him for three years.
They have seen miracles, they have seen incredible things happen. All of a sudden, they leave.
They see Jesus get carted away and they bail. All but Peter and one other disciple, who, I don't know if he's ever named, and they follow from a distance. When they get into town, Jesus is taken before Annas who then takes Jesus to Caiphas, which is the high priest.
The trial of a lifetime begins.
All these accusations are being brought against Jesus. He hasn't done anything wrong, right? He hasn't broken any laws, He hasn't tried to take over the government or step on anybody's political toes, He's simply proclaimed that He is the Christ. All of these false witnesses come forward and they start making accusations against Him as well and they testify against Him. Finally, He is found guilty of blasphemy. That's the best they can come up with.
Meanwhile, Peter is out in the courtyard and three times people approach him and say, "Hey, aren't you with Jesus? Yeah, you're one of His disciples, right?"
And Peter says, "No, I'm not. I'm not with Him." Second time, "No, I'm not with Him." The third time, "I'm NOT with Him!" He just freaks out and denies Jesus.
And the rooster crows, and Peter, having remembered Jesus' words just a few short hours before, where Jesus had prophesied, "Peter, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
This is the same guy, who during the garden of Gethsemane, when the guards came in, Peter was the first one to draw out his sword, strike at one of the guards and cut off his ear. Because Peter, God bless his soul, is so adamant, "Jesus, I would never deny You. I will do anything for you. I would never let anything bad happen to you."
And what do you know? When the rubber meets the road, Peter denies Him. Not once. Not twice. But three times.
And Peter is crushed. He is devastated by this. He runs out of the courtyard and weeps.
I can't help but picture Jesus also hearing that rooster crowing. I'm not sure that is mentioned in scripture. In my mind, that's exactly what happens. And I can just see Jesus hearing that rooster and hanging His head, knowing it happened. 'Peter denied Me. Just like I knew that he would.'
But wouldn't that hurt? Even if you know it's coming, betrayal hurts, right?
Eventually, Jesus is taken before Pilate. Pilate also can't figure out what in the world Jesus is on trial for. He can't find any reason that Jesus is guilty but there's clearly a lot of people who are really upset with Jesus and crying for His death. Pilate waffles back and forth and finally just says, "Alright, fine. Crucify Him, but His bloods on your hands, not on mine." Like that is somehow going to keep him from being culpable in the death of Jesus.
So Pilate hands Him over to the crowd and to the guards, where they strip Him of his clothing. They scourge Him. They beat Him bloody. They kick Him, they spit on Him. With the lashings that they give, it's leather straps that on it are tied shards of stone and pottery and whatever sharp things they can find. He's whipped within an inch of His life. Beaten and bruised and just a big, bloody mess.
Then they fashion a crown of thorns. And they don't just set it on His head, but they press that thing into his head. And He's got blood washing down His face and stinging His eyes. And they're mocking Him and they're jeering Him and they're saying, "You can save others but you can't save yourself. Look at this, the King of the Jews!" They put on Him purple robes and mock Him.
Finally, near death, He's made to carry His cross to a place called Golgotha, which in Aramaic and Greek means 'skull'. It comes from 'calva' in Latin which is where we get 'calvary' which also means 'skull'. So, it's The Place of the Skull.
As He's walking this road, bearing the cross beam of his cross, a man is brought into commission to help Jesus carry His cross.
And they finally get up there. They get to the place where the crucifixion is going to happen and there's two other guys up there being crucified that day.
They nail Jesus' wrists and ankles into the cross. When I think about that, I don't know about you, by man, that gives me the heebie-jeebies because wrists are so sensitive and delicate, you know? So to imagine a nail, a big, thick nail, driven through your wrists and your ankles, holding you onto this cross. Then you're placed into this upright position and the weight of your body begins to crush your internal organs.
This isn't a fast, easy death.
I'm not saying I want to get killed at any point in my life, but if I had to be, I think a gun to the head would be a quicker way.
But Jesus didn't have an easy out. He had the most painful, drawn out kind of death I can imagine. And there's a crowd watching. And in that crowd is His mom and some of the women that have been followers of His. But mostly, it's a crowd of people who are there just for the sport of it. They're there cat calling, name calling, throwing verbal abuse and slurs out left and right.
Meanwhile, Jesus is innocent.
I don't know how many of you guys listen to or follow any true crime stuff. I'm kind a true crime junkie. There are a lot of cases that you'll hear about where somebody has been wrongfully convicted and oftentimes, maybe they've been put to death or they've spent their entire lives in prison and that's horrible. It's terrible. It should never happen and it hurts my heart to think about and yet, while they may not be guilty of the particular crime that they've been convicted of, they're still guilty of sin. Right? They've done something wrong. It might not be worthy of death by our government standards or our lawful standards, but they've done something wrong.
But here we have a picture of Jesus who has literally done nothing wrong ever in His life. He is without sin. He is blameless. He is above reproach in every single way. And yet, He is taking on the punishment for things He never even did, for things He never even thought to do. He's being punished in the most brutal, horrific way possible.
Now if I were Jesus, I would be a little miffed by this. Right? I mean, I couldn't help but look out at this crowd of people and be like, "Do you even know? I'm doing this for you, you ungrateful turds." I wouldn't be gracious at all.
And yet, Jesus - because He's Jesus and I'm not - says, "Father, forgive them because they don't even know what they're doing. They don't get it, so would you forgive them?"
Man, that is heavy. That is such a big thing, you guys.
That we are loved so much by God that He said, "I cannot have a relationship with you because I am holy and you are very much not holy. You are dirty, sinful, arrogant, messed up, yucky pieces of flesh and I can't have a relationship with you because holiness and sin can't mix. So I'm going to provide a way because I love you and I want a relationship with you. And in order to do that, there has to be an atonement, there has to be a sacrifice. There has to be a way made for you to be able to become righteous, for you to become holy, so that you can enter into my presence."
And so, God sent His son to live a life on earth where he walked and talked and ate and drank and slept and interacted with people and built relationships and in all of that, He never sinned once. And yet, He was put on the cross. He was tortured. He bled, He died in order for you and for me to have the opportunity to stand face-to-face with the God of this universe, the creator of us.
The weight of that is so enormous to me. To consider what Jesus has done on my behalf so that I could enter into relationship with God the Father.
I don't know where you are in your spiritual journey. I don't know if you're a head-over-heels believer in love with Christ or if you're kind of on the outside looking in going, "Yeah, but man, those Christians are weird people." That's true. We are weird people; I'm not going to deny that. But we serve a good God. We serve a loving God.
You know, it's easy to look at the Old Testament and say, "Man, that is a weird God." But that Old Testament God is the same God in the New Testament. The Old Testament, we had Moses' law, right? That was a list of all these things you couldn't do. And then Jesus came along and He said, "You've heard it said, 'Thou shalt not murder,' but I say to you, if you even have hatred in your heart, you have committed murder. You've heard it said, 'Don't commit adultery,' I say, if you even lust, you've committed adultery."
Things didn't get easier when the Old Testament law was abolished. Jesus made the sacrifice so that we could live out a life full of grace. Truth is still truth. There is still right, there is still wrong. There is good, there is bad; there is evil there is righteousness. We should still strive to do good. But we are guaranteed, according to Jesus, that even if we're thinking about these things, we have sinned and we have fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, we cannot be face-to-face with God the Father. Because He is holy. We are not.
In the Old Testament, they sacrificed animals. Man, they had to sacrifice a lot of animals. Can you even imagine? That had to be a super, duper bloody time in life. Glad I wasn't living it. But Jesus came and made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave the final sacrifice so that we wouldn't have to keep sacrificing animals and trying to live up to this standard that is unattainable.
It is simply unattainable.
There is not one thing you can do to earn God's favor because you are not holy. I don't care how good a person you are; I don't care how many times you go to church, how much money you tithe, how much charity work you do - it doesn't matter. None of that counts. Because Jesus paid it all on the cross. Because His love is so great.
I want this so badly to penetrate your heart. I want you so badly to understand that God loves you. I want you to know the Father's love. I want you to understand that there is grace.
We serve a good God. We serve a God who calls us the apple of His eye. He says, "You are at the very center of everything I think and do; it's all about My love for you."
That's the God we serve. We serve a God who knows us so intimately, He knows the very number of hairs on our head. Who does that?
Even when my babies were little and only had like five hairs, it was too much for me to count. I didn't know. But God knew and God knows. And He cares.
He cares so passionately for each of us that He sent His only Son to die on our behalf.
If you're not sure of your eternity, if you're not sure what's going to happen when you die - if you're worried that you have to earn some kind of favor with God or that you somehow have to prove yourself worthy or if you have to work your way to the top - man, can I just ask you to reach out to me, to Matt, to a pastor in your local area of a Bible teaching church? Look for a church that says Bible Church. Those are good. Just reach out.
Because the striving that you're doing, you're just spinning your wheels. You're getting nowhere. Because you can't strive your way to God's presence. You will never earn it. It is a gift that has been freely given and all you have to do is accept it.
I'm going to close with a prayer, you guys.
Father God, I thank You so much for the time that we've had this summer to dig into some of these stories of the Bible, to look at them from a slightly different perspective and hopefully learn some lessons and apply them to our own lives.
God, I thank You for this final day that we've had to really dig into the sacrifice that You made by sending Jesus to die for our sin, for all the messed up junk in our lives, God. God, I thank You that Your love is so great and so immeasurable that You brought a way for our unrighteousness to be made righteous; that You took our sin and shame onto Yourself and then placed on us Your cloak of righteousness.
Father, I pray that if there are those in the listening audience that don't know God, I pray that they would see you face to face, God that You would penetrate their hearts, that these words would reach in and make sense. God, I know that Your love is great and beyond measure and I know that Your grace knows no bounds. And I know that there's not a thing we could do to ever earn Your grace. It all comes through faith.
God, I thank You. I thank You for our time together this morning. I thank You for our listeners. I pray that You would bless them abundantly. God, I pray that they would feel Your love wrapped around them so, so tightly today.
We give You the praise. We give You the honor. We give You the glory. In the high and holy name of Jesus, Amen.
Hey you guys, I just wanted to finish this episode out with a little song that my daddy wrote a while back and it's meant a lot to me through the years and I think it's fitting for this episode.
Thank you very much for listening. If you want any of our information, go to our website www.roadhometoyou.com.
In the meantime, y'all, love God. Love people. Pray hard. We'll see ya later. Bye.