This post is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, Cries from the Cross | Part 1, given on April 2, 2017.
As we prepare our hearts for Easter, we are setting aside two Sundays to direct our attention toward the cross. At Calvary, Jesus hung in agony as our substitutionary sacrifice. Scripture records the last seven cries of our Savior and in this sermon CJ explores the first four.
Ice-Breaker: How many of the 7 cries can you name?
Read Luke 23:26-34
Even as Jesus was experiencing the searing agony of the cross, His first thought was of forgiveness for His enemies. The very men who had nailed him to a tree were now standing at the foot of the cross mocking Him. Yet Jesus cries out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
- What does this cry teach us about the heart of Jesus towards his enemies? Towards us?
Charles Spurgeon said, “Now into the pronoun ‘them’ I feel that I can crawl. Can you get in there? Oh, by humble faith, appropriate the cross of Christ by trusting in it; and get into that big little word ‘them.’”
- Spurgeon saw that we should see this cry as one for US. What difference does it make for our souls and lives when we climb into, that big little word, ‘them’”?
Read Luke 23.42-43
One wonders if the first cry on the cross led to the conversion of this previously hostile criminal who was described initially mocking the Son of God. He abruptly ceases insulting Jesus and appeals for mercy. A dramatic change of heart has taken place.
- Jesus was alert to the cries of a thief, even as he suffered as our Substitute. How should this shape the way we think about bringing our burdens and sorrows to Jesus?
- If he’s eager to save the thief on the cross, he is certainly eager to rescue sinners like us. Is there any way you are currently struggling to believe his love or ability to save you?
Read Mark 15:33-34
Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” This cry reveals the incomprehensible depth and the most painful aspect of his suffering—being forsaken by God. On the cross, Jesus experienced hell for us, bearing God’s wrath and the punishment we deserved because of our sin.
- Have you ever felt forsaken or forgotten? How does Jesus cry and true experience of being forsaken transform your understanding of God’s love for you?
- CJ said, “He drained the cup of God’s wrath dry-leaving not a drop for us to drink. On the cross he exhausted in himself the wrath of God against our sin. And because he experienced hell for us, bearing God’s wrath and punishment, heaven awaits all who trust in him. Oh how he loves sinners like you and me.” Let’s take time to pray and give thanks for the mercy we have received through Jesus.