Calvary Road Baptist Church

“JOURNEY TO CALVARY” Part 2

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.   We began on Wednesday night. We started a journey that began in the counsel chambers of heaven and passed through the corridors of eternity to the beginning of time.

2.   We hesitated for a bit in the Garden of Eden and made mention of the prophets and the sign posts that pointed us along the way as we traveled through the Hebrew scriptures.

3.   All along the way we took note of the shadow of the cross that fell across places and events and men. Then we paused at Bethlehem, the cradle of Christ.

4.   Let me refresh your memory before our journey continues this morning:

Cradle of Christ

 

No cradle of pearl—no floor of gold—

No robe of splendor to enfold—

No tapestry—no palace walls,

When Jesus came from Heaven’s halls.

 

But in the cold of one bleak night,

Came Heaven’s Jewel—Brightest Light,

How far He came from God’s own Throne,

To call us—claim us as His own.

 

“Come back, come back”—the Angels cried,

But as he stepped through space so wide,

Each plea from them He now must spurn—

With nail scarred hands He would return.

 

‘Twas but a barn in Bethlehem—

And only oxen greeting Him—

His cradle a pallet made of straw—

What condescension Angels saw!

 

But Heaven’s Star of Stars did shine,

And guided Wise Men to His Shrine;

His birth the Angels did proclaim,

And shepherds joyfully called His Name.

 

That cradle held Eternity—

The “Rock of Ages cleft for me”;

That cradle held God’s only plan,

To rescue sinful, fallen man.

 

O Christ of Christmas, King of Kings,

My soul with holy joy now sings;

To think that cradle held for me

The Christ Child—Heaven’s only Key.

 

—Bernie Smith

 

 

4A.    HIS FORERUNNER, JOHN, THE BAPTIST

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”

“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” (John 1.6-8)

This was God’s man with God’s message in God’s own time. His spiritual vision caught a glimpse of Calvary. It was he who saw the Lamb that would be offered as the Perfect Sacrifice—and presented Him to a waiting world.

Twenty-first century Christians are the heroic successors of this hermit prophet, “whose dynamic preaching shook the Hebrew nation as never before in forty rolling centuries.” The impact he made for God can still be felt today.

He was peculiar in personage. His deportment, dress, and diet testify to that. “And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey,” Mark 1.6.

He was popular with the populace. Concern, conscience, and curiosity caused many to hear the rugged prophet. “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,” Matthew 3.5.

He was positive in his preaching. “. . . the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness,” Luke 3.2b. He was bold, intellectual, and practical as he cried, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

But repentance is of value only to those who regard sin as a burden. And John came forth denouncing the sins of the people—the down-and-outs and the up-and-outs.

John the Baptist was not a shadow-boxer. He met the devil head on—even though it would mean head off—for Herod later would cut off his head, but not the influence of his message.

From his mouth poured warnings of wrath like molten lava streaming from Mount Vesuvius!

This wilderness prophet’s body housed a rugged soul and a tender heart. “Make straight the way of the Lord,” he cried in John 1.23. “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose,” he said in John 1.27.

Then John spoke these words: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1.29.

Ah, we note the foregleams of Calvary in those words— The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!

Sacrifice is in that statement!

Calvary is in that cry!

Propitiation is in that proclamation!

Death is in that declaration!

Yes, this was Jesus—and sin would cry for His blood every step of His way.

This was Jesus—and He would make the cross become the badge of discipleship!

This was the Rose of Sharon that would be crushed—and rise to blossom again!

This was the bright and morning Star who would be covered by darkness on Calvary, and rise to shine again the third day!

This was Jesus, who knew better than we that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.

This was Jesus—the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for our redemption! Yes, this was “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” He had come to save to the uttermost!

The writer to the Hebrews declares that He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him. Hebrews 7.25 reads, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

John Bunyan said that he was quite worn with fear, and it was then that this word came to him: “He is able to save to the uttermost”—and because of Calvary our Christ can save to the uttermost!

 

Oh, this uttermost salvation,

‘Tis a fountain full and free;

Pure, exhaustless, ever flowing,

Wondrous grace, it reaches me!

 

Dean Alford said: “There is no word in the English language that can properly express the wealth of the meaning of that Greek word translated ‘uttermost.’ The best the translators could do, because of the poverty of our English, was to use a compound word made of two small but significant words— ‘utter’ and ‘most.’ UTTER: outward, extreme, absolute, entire. MOST: greatest in numbers or quantity; the greatest degree. But together they mean: exaggeration exaggerated above all exaggeration.”

Thanks be unto God for John the Baptist who now presents to us Messiah! Many shall be His miracles—tremendous shall be His teachings—marvelous shall be His mercy as He moves toward the climax of His ministry—the fulfillment of His mission: Calvary.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood

Shall never lose its power;

Till all the ransomed Church of God

Be saved to sin no more.

 

 

5A.    HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” Luke 9.51.

O Jerusalem—“City which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. . . .” (I Kings 14.21).

O Jerusalem—city which the psalmist did praise: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy,” Psalm 137.5-6.

O Jerusalem! City whose streets the prophets did trod as they proclaimed the word of God!

O Jerusalem—Jesus is coming to you—coming to die on a cross: “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished,” Luke 18.31.

Nearly one-third of the four Gospels is devoted to Calvary and the events that surround it. And the other two-thirds of the four Gospels are occupied with preparatory events along the road that led to Calvary.

Dr. Luke tells us that our blessed Savior set His face like a flint, determined not to move aside from God’s holy purpose. For this cause came He into the world. Calvary was His mission—and He set His face toward its fulfillment.

When the great missionary Livingstone was lost to the world, Stanley set his face toward Africa. He traveled through jungle and swamp, through fever and poison, but he did not turn aside from his purpose. Twenty-three times fever brought him down. Forty miles he walked through water. Danger haunted him and difficulty taunted him, but he found his man! He had set his face toward Livingstone.

But in a larger and holier sense, Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem and the cross. Every step of the journey to Jerusalem was a step in His journey to Calvary.

He had sought neither fame nor popularity—He sought only the Father’s Will. William Jennings Bryan once said, “Fame is a vapor; popularity is an accident; those who cheer you today may curse you tomorrow. Only one thing endures—Christian character.” My Lord Jesus Christ knew that.

Go to Jerusalem He must. The cross was a reality, and He must face it.

Longfellow, after the death of his wife, took a midnight stroll across a bridge that spanned a near-by river. As the moonlight played on the waters, he watched the seaweed coming in with the tide—and then he watched it moving out again. Tears came and his broken heart cried:

How often, oh, how often,

Have I wished that the ebbing tide

Would bear me away on its bosom,

O’er the ocean wild and wide.

 

His broken heart wanted to flee reality. But Jesus faced the reality of Jerusalem and Calvary.

Go to Jerusalem He must! Here His blood must be shed.

During the Middle Ages alchemists searched constantly in their quest for the elixir of life. Some dark pages of history tell us that the blood of an innocent victim was one of the necessary ingredients. What a vain search for immortality! Only the blood of the Lord Jesus can forgive and cleanse the soul and bring its attendant assurance of eternity with Christ!

Go to Jerusalem He must! The grave was a cave until Jesus conquered it there. “Firm as His Throne His promise stands”—and He had promised to rise the third day. “. . . and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” Luke 24.46-47.

Go to Jerusalem He must! For this was God’s great demonstration of mercy to those who deserved it not—to us.

There is an old legend that tells of angels being sent throughout the universe to find the end to the mercy of God. With angelic wings, they flew to the North, the South, the East and West, and out to worlds beyond as they continued their search. Finally they returned—weary and worn—back to the city called Heaven. There they bowed their heads in reverence before the Throne and declared in unison, “There is no end to the mercy of God.”

That story is only legend. But the journey to Jerusalem and Calvary is a true revelation of mercy.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy

Like the wideness of the sea;

There’s a kindness in His justice

Which is more than liberty.

 

O Jerusalem—Jerusalem. Jesus comes now unto you—He comes to die!

God could spare the Hebrew children—but He could not spare Jesus!

God could spare Daniel, but He could not spare Jesus!

God could spare Isaac on Abraham’s altar—but He could not spare Jesus!

Under certain conditions, God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah and ancient Nineveh—but under no condition could He spare Jesus!

Yes—feed your soul upon this amazing truth: God spared not His only begotten Son! “He . . . spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” Romans 8.32a.

O Jerusalem—Jesus is coming to you to be bruised for our iniquities.

O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem—the Captain of our salvation comes now to you to be wounded for our transgressions.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem—our great High Priest, even Jesus, comes now to you to bear our sins in His own body on the cross.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem—the King is coming to die for His enemies!

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem—Messiah is coming! Messiah is coming!

Ah, my beloved in Christ, He is going there for you and me!

My heart cries out in tears, “Oh, no, Jesus! I am unworthy—so unworthy!” But I watch Him move ahead with firmer tread toward Jerusalem—for me and you.

Was it for crimes that I have done,

He groaned upon the tree;

Amazing pity, grace unknown,

And love beyond degree.

 

 

6A.    THE FIRST PALM SUNDAY

“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem . . . ,” Mark 11.11a.

Neither David, bearing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, nor Solomon, his son, in procession to the completed Temple, witnessed such holy homage as Jesus received that first Palm Sunday.

Neither Caesar, returning from conquest, nor Pompey, returning from pillage, received the praises from the people such as Jesus heard that first Palm Sunday.

For when Jesus entered Jerusalem upon the borrowed colt—proceeding without pomp or pride—the multitudes spread their garments in the way—shouted their “Hosannas”—and paved His path with palms! “Ride on, King Jesus!”

“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!”

Most of their praises were from Psalm 118—the Messianic psalm which Chadwick called “that great song of triumph!”

It was a day of cheers for the multitudes. The Anointed One now comes to announce His Messiahship. In the shadow of the cross, He hears the praises of the Passover pilgrims. What a day of cheers!

It was a day of tears for Jesus. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,” Luke 19.41. Holy tears from holy eyes as He beheld the holy city!

My heart seems now to hear Him say, “O Jerusalem, you have stoned and killed my prophets. Through them I spake, and ye would not hear. O my beloved Jerusalem—O guilty Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered thee under my protective wings—even as a hen shields her chicks from the hawk, but you would not let Me. I called, and you did not answer—I beckoned, and you did not come. And soon your destruction cometh! O Jerusalem—I am the crying Christ—the sobbing Savior—crying and sobbing over you.”

What tears of eloquence—what tears of heartache. What a revelation that tears do not always mean weakness—tears often reveal strength.

What a day of tears for Jesus!

It was a day of fears for the Pharisees. “The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him,” John 12.19. Conspiring to kill Christ!

“And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,” Luke 19.47.

The Pharisees feared the shouting throng. The people seemed to be clay in His hands. And they were calling Him King! The action of the people brought the reaction of those fearful enemies of Jesus.

“And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them,” Luke 20.19.

Those plotting Pharisees!

Those sinful scribes!

Conspiring to kill the King of the cosmos on Calvary!

Oh, that first Palm Sunday!

Openly there were cheers.

Secretly there were jeers.

Openly there was praising.

Secretly there was plotting.

Openly there was a carpet for the King!

Secretly there was a cross for the Christ. For hellish hatred was in the hearts of His enemies.

Day is dying in the west, and tired pilgrims seek their rest. Palm Sunday is but a holy memory.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org