Thank you very much to the young people for that message in song. Matthew chapter 27 is our passage of Scripture this evening. Matthew's gospel and chapter 27, we're reading from verse 1, and we're jumping about a bit in the passage - so make sure you follow it with me. Verse 1 and verse 2 first of all: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor".
Verse 31: "And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him".
Verse 34: "They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God".
Let's come before the Lord and ask His help in a word of prayer. Let us pray: Our Father in heaven, we bow before Thee and, Lord, we can say - as we've just been reading Thy holy Word - that the place whereon we stand is holy ground. We say that we have entered the most holy place, the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him. We have seen the cross, our Father, but we want to see it again - and most of all we want to see the cross for the unbeliever tonight, that they may be given a vision of the Christ of Calvary, that they may be brought by faith, by the eye of faith, to the Mount of Golgotha, that they may see the crucified One dying for them, and that they may trust in Him this evening. Come and do this by Thy Spirit, we pray. Come and fill me now, I pray, oh God. In Jesus name, Amen.
I want us all this evening, by our spirits and by our minds, to travel with Matthew to the place called Calvary. It is nine o'clock in the morning, and between the hours of 9 and 12 noon some instances happen that we read about in the gospel. Simon helps Christ carry the cross. Some of the women who followed Christ are found to be wandering after Him, and weeping and crying over Jesus. Then He is taken and He is pushed, taken from the court, He has been whipped, He has been stripped, He has been mocked. Centurions, perhaps 600 of them, have taken their turn with the Lord Jesus Christ - and I say it reverently - as if He were a rag doll! They pull Him to shreds, and they beat His face to a pulp, they pull the hairs from His face, they hit Him over the head with a reed. They make a crown of thorns and they batter it into His brow until He is bleeding - what He suffers there!
They strap a beam to His back, they push Him down the Via Dolorosa to the cross. Because His arms outstretched, when He falls onto the ground as He does, He has no hands to save Himself and He lands flat on that scarred face again. A black man at the side of the road helps Him. They follow Him to that cross and there, between two thieves, they lay Him on the ground. They attach another beam to that beam on His back. With a 'crane' they lift Him up, but before they do that they take a hammer and rusty square long nails and beat them into His hands and into His feet. As they lift the cross up high, they drop it into its socket - and as that happens, perhaps, most of the bones in His body go out of joint.
The soldiers around the cross take His garment and they gamble for it, they cast lots. As the people walk by, the beggars, the poor, the criminals, they mock Him, they shout at Him, they spit at Him, they throw things at Him. The first words that He says are this: 'Father, forgive them, for they know what they do'. As He hangs there, He turns to the man beside Him who was a thief and a robber, perhaps a murderer, and he's been mocking Him - the Bible says that, that he was mocking Him, throwing the same things in Christ's teeth. 'You're the Saviour of the world, save Yourself!'. Jesus turns and says to him: 'Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with Me in paradise'.
He looks down to His mother, and He says to John: 'Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy mother'. It is three o'clock in the afternoon and all of a sudden there is a great cry, as the Christ lifts His head and looks to glory and says: 'My God, My God, why have You done this? Why is this happening? Why have You forsaken Me?'. He says: 'I thirst'. 'It is finished!'. 'Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit'. Then He bowed His head and gave up the ghost.
The Bible says that after that moment there was darkness over the whole area, and the veil of the temple that separated the Holy Place where God dwelt - where men were not allowed to go because they were so sinful - the word of God says that from the top, God's part, He ripped it right to the bottom. It says there was an earthquake, the tombs opened. The testimony of the Centurion, as he stood there witnessing it all, was: 'This must be, surely this man is the Son of God!'.
The confused crowd wander home wondering what has happened, perhaps wondering what they have done. A soldier, knowing that Christ has died, takes a spear and sticks it in His side to make sure that He's dead. Out of His side flows blood and water. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus come to the cross and lift down that body, take it to a tomb and bury the Lord Jesus Christ. They roll a stone over the door, and to all intents and purposes the Christ of God is dead.
Have you ever been there, my friend? Have you ever been to Calvary? Have you ever known what is to sit in a gospel meeting, and have the Holy Ghost of God do something - I think, perhaps, there is no holier thing in the whole universe than to be brought by your mind and your spirit to Golgotha's Hill? To see there the Son of God, God the Son, expiring in blood and agony, suffering there on the cross, taking the sinner's place - have you ever seen it? I think some of you have.
You know, the Lord was called the Man of Sorrows - because before even the cross came He was rejected by His own home folk. His family said He was mad, the people in His hometown said He was an illegitimate child. They said all manner of things about Him. He was misunderstood, He was persecuted, He was ridiculed, He was threatened constantly by Herod, by the kings, by the Jews, by the Pharisees, by His neighbours, by all people and even the very devil himself threatened Him! As Jesus went about the earth there was this cloud always above Him, He was betrayed by men - by the nearest and dearest. He was misunderstood. When He was being crucified the Bible says that He was forsaken by all His disciples - they all ran away and fled. He was misquoted, misrepresented. He was lied about, He was mis-tried in the courts of the land, and finally He was tortured and then He was crucified.
He was a Man of Sorrows alright. He went through all this - this is gentle Jesus meek and mild that you know about - but perhaps you don't realise, my friend, unsaved or backslidden, you've forgotten what it was that Christ went through. You've forgotten what it was for Him to say: 'My God, My God, why?'. What it was for the Son of God who did no wrong, for the Father to turn His face away from Him in those moments at the cross and leave Him! He says: 'Waves and billows come over my head. I am sinking into the deep mire where there is no standing. Dogs encompass me, they gape at me with their mouths, they're like ravaging lions ready to tear my flesh. All humanity is around me condemning me, wanting to rip me apart. Father, why are You letting this happen? What is going on?'.
You know what was going on, or you should know. The word of God says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. It says - praise the Lord - that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin. His blood had to be shed, because flowing through the veins of the Almighty Son of God there was a substance - there was never a substance like it in the whole universe - it was precious, it was priceless, it was an eternal thing, it was something so special it had so much power, it is the blood of Jesus Christ! It is the only thing in the universe that can take away a man's sin. It is the only thing in the universe that can save a never-dying soul, an eternal soul, from the fires of an eternal hell. It's the only thing! Prayers can't do it, candles can't do it, religiosity, denominational status can't do it, morals can't do it, politics can't do it, only the blood of Christ.
He suffered physically because His blood had to be shed, but He suffered spiritually there on the cross. You see, the Bible tells us that a darkness fell upon the cross, and indeed all the land around it. There is something that went on there, not just the physical and emotional sufferings of the Lord Jesus, but something that we can never understand, we can never plumb the depths or estimate the vast volume of what happened on the cross spiritually. We read in the book of Isaiah, listen, that God the Father laid on Him the iniquities of us all. Do you know that?
Now, let's get real tonight: your sin, your sin, not the boy beside you, your sin was upon Him 2000 years ago. The Bible even says that He was counted as your sin, God looked at Him and God said: 'Do you see that sin? That Person, My beloved Son, I'm going to look at Him for this time in earth's history, I'm going to look at Him as David Legge's sin. All David Legge's filth, all his filthy thoughts and filthy words, all his jealousy, all his anger, all his adulterous thoughts and murderous actions and motives, all he has ever done, all that he is doing, all that he will do', God says, 'Jesus, I'm going to count You as that'. He cursed Him, and He poured all His wrath upon Him.
Now can I say this: the word of God teaches us that God is all-powerful - that's why you call God the Almighty. That means that God can do anything for any length of time, but the word of God teaches this: that upon the cross at Calvary God exhausted His anger against the world's sin! Your sin my friend, like a sponge full of water, God took all the anger that He had against you - and let me tell you that He had a lot of anger against you - and He wrung it out upon His Son. Like a tap that dripped dry to the last dregs of every drop, He poured it all out, He exhausted it. He showed, and wanted to show, so much mercy to you that He was merciless towards His own Son. He gave Him everything, this is Almighty God we're talking about, He did everything He could do to Him - poured all the wrath and the anger and the righteous justice upon His own Son - and He exhausted it.
Jesus Christ - I want you to see this, if you see nothing else see this - like an electric pylon in the countryside, where all the electric lines converge their current onto, He was there - the pylon for my sin. God directed upon Him every sin of the world, from east and west, and north and south. Every language, every culture, every creed, every country, was directed to Him. He, standing there between heaven and hell, was the way, the bridge, an arrow pointing to God - if man was going to know God, have his sins forgiven, have a relationship restored that was broken way back in the Garden of Eden, he was going to have to come by the way of the cross.
That cross, just like it was made out of a tree, would be the tree of life to every sinner. He hung there, He suffered there. Let me say this: He saw, He suffered, the punishment of every conceivable sin that you could imagine. He saw there on the cross, He saw the murders of the terrorists, He saw the extortionists and He suffered for their sin. He suffered for the rapist, He suffered for the adulterer, He suffered for the self-righteous, He took the place of every person that has ever repented and come to Christ in the history of time. But the almighty thing, and the wondrous thing, and the astounding thing to me is this: when He was on the cross I was on His mind.
Do you know something? You might never have been told this, this may be a divine revelation to you this evening, but you were at the centre of His thoughts too. Oh, there are millions of people in this world and no-one loves them. There are street children in the streets of Brazil and nobody would touch them, and even the very police shoot them dead to get them out of the way. There are children across our land, and maybe you're one of them or were one of them in the past, and you feel no-one loves you - not a family. There are people like that - but no-one can really say that no-one loves them. I challenge you, you could be a father or a mother, you could be a son our daughter, a husband or a wife, and you think that the love that you have within that family relationship is something that can never be exceeded or outweighed or beaten - but I tell you that the love of Christ, the love that He had for you to suffer on the cruel tree, is more than tongue can tell. It's a greater love than you will ever know. It's the greatest love that any human being, or that the whole universe, will ever know. God says: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love'.
Do you know it? Have you ever considered Him? The book of Hebrews exhorts us to consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners. Maybe you're seeing Christ crucified for you this evening, and God by the Holy Spirit has given a vision to you of Calvary, and you're beginning to see it. You're like the man in the dream, who was dreaming that he saw Jesus being put on the cross, and the nails going into His hands, and the mockery and the scorn, and the whipping and everything happening - and he saw the soldier there nailing the nails. He ran to him in his dream, and he pulled his shoulder and turned him round to stop him - and when the face turned round it was himself!
Do you feel like that? Do you see the blood of the Saviour on your hands? I tell you that it is on your hands, because He was suffering for you, and He was suffering for me. There at Calvary, I'm telling you, can you see that it was you that put Him there? It was all your wrong, all the things that you've done in the secret places - you think you've forgotten, but sometimes they come out of your mind and out of the cupboard. The things that you wish you could bury but, like a seed when you put it under the ground, it just shoots out and sprouts out and bears fruit. You lie and lie again to try and forget about it, to try and cover it over, but it never goes away!
Would you not trust the Saviour? Will you not forsake your sin because it was laid upon Him? Can you not see that it's finished, it's done for, and all you need to do is forsake your sin and trust what He did for you at the cross? Can you not see that it's all over? You don't need to add anything to it! You don't have to clean yourself up, His blood cleans you up! Have you ever considered Him? It's the only way to be saved, my friend.
There was a man had a dream on one occasion that there was this ladder that went to heaven. You know, there are piles of people in our wee land and they're climbing this ladder - they think it leads to heaven. He had only three more rungs to get there, and each rung was a good work or a good deed, or giving to the poor or something like that. Lo and behold, one by one, he was getting those rungs put into place. Then, as sure as he had hoped, he reached the pearly gates - he couldn't believe it! He got there to the gate, and all of a sudden the gates opened and he saw the Lord Jesus Christ! But to his shock the Lord was pointing His finger in his face, and He was saying: 'I am the door, he that entereth not by the door but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber'.
Jesus said that! Do you know why? Listen: if God put His Son through such a thing for you, God made Him bleed and God made Him die, and God put Him through your hell so that you wouldn't have to, God did that to Him and forsook Him and turned His face away from Him - do you not think He should be angry with you if you think that you can get there by your good works? Do you think your good works were better than what Christ did for you at Calvary? Because if you do, all power to your elbow - you try, you try, just try and see if God will accept it. Nothing for sin can atone, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The word of God says that there is a day coming, and do you know what my greatest fear this evening is? That some of you folk that are unconverted in this meeting are going to walk out that door without Christ - because I believe some of you have seen Him tonight, but if you see Him tonight and you walk out unrepentant and unsaved, not born-again, lost - if you go away there's going to be a day, the word of God says, that'll you see Him crucified again. You find it in the book of Zechariah, it says that there is a day coming when you will look upon Him whom you have pierced - and then it will be too late.
There's a story told about a man who was out on the road, the highway. He was in trouble, and he was about to be killed by the bandits. A judge was coming along the road, and all of a sudden he got out of his cabin and he saved the man - and the man got away with his life, free. The next day that man that was saved was caught for a crime, and he was brought to the court. He was brought into the dock before the judge, and to his amazement and astonishment the judge that sat there in judgement of him was the man who had saved him the day before! He looked at him, and he thought: 'Great!'. He said to the judge: 'Sir, do you know who I am? You saved my life yesterday!'. The judge looked down at him, just as He will one day at you if you don't trust Christ, and he said: 'You know, yesterday I was your Saviour, but today I'm your judge'.
I ask you a question that is found in the word of God: is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Does it mean nothing to you what I am suffering, the sorrow which is done unto Me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger? Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God, is pleading with you this evening: 'Does it mean nothing to you that I died for you? Does it mean nothing that I did all this, that I went through hell, that I shed My blood, that I suffered as your sin and your filth - does it mean nothing to you?'.
You need saved my friend, and you need saved now. You need saved tonight. You need saved - and don't you fall into that trap, and I'm going to preach on this one night, of thinking that you can get saved when you want! You can't! You can only get saved when God is revealing the truth to you at this moment, when God is striving with you, you can only get saved then. If God is speaking to you don't shun it, because it could be the end, the last chance!
What are you going to do? There's a story that's told of the mission field, about the Boxer Rebellion in China, and the Communists turned against the word of God and the preaching of the word of God. There was a little missionary station there of God-fearing people, little boys and girls as well. The Red Army had come down to get people to deny their faith in Christ and rebuke Him as their Saviour. They came in with their guns, and they put a red cross at the door of little mission station - and if you wanted to get out with your life you had to spit on that cross on the way out, and you'll be free. One by one they spat on the cross - that's what you're doing tonight if you're rejecting Him, you're spitting on the cross. Then this little girl, six years of age, knelt down at that cross, pulled up her sleeve and wiped all the spittle away - and she was shot!
I heard a story of a man whose wife died. He'd loved her for years. On the day of the funeral, lo and behold the old prodigal son had come back - the son who had wandered away, not come near his mother when she was sick or when she was dying, and here he was. But the father was glad to see him. They got the funeral over, and the wake and everything - you know what it's like, some of you, at nighttime it's very lonely after all the people have gone. That was a wild son of his, and do you know something? He was determined to go out on a night like that. He wanted to go out and get full, get a few women - the father said to him: 'Son, of all nights, not tonight. Will you not stay at home? I'm lonely, your mother has just gone, it's the day of her funeral, would you not stay?'. He says: 'I'm going out!'. The father pleaded: 'Will you not stay?', the father said, 'Look, over my body you'll go out on the night of your mother's funeral' - and he lay across the floor in front of the door! That old rascal walked over him.
There are some of you tonight, and the crucified Christ is across that door, and He wants you to stay in here and get right with God, He wants you to get saved. You've heard about the blood of Christ, you've heard about the cross of Christ, you've heard about the cry of Christ to you to be saved tonight - and you'll walk out, and you'll walk over Him! God help you! Every soul that does that, and I say this, is worth the fires of hell for all eternity. You might have walked over your father's prayers, my boy, a mother's tears, the preaching of a pastor, or the testimony of a church - and you can walk over them, you can walk over my name tonight, I don't care - but woe betide any soul that walks on the blood of Christ! For hell will be ten hells for you!
What are you going to do? Now come on! What are you going to do? Are you going to add your slap to the Saviour's face tonight? Are you going to add your spittle to Him now? Or are you, with open arms, with tearful eyes, with a penitent heart, with a Spirit-warmed heart, are you going to accept Him? Are you going to believe Him? Are you going to trust Him? What will you do with Jesus that is called Christ?
Let's bow our heads. God the Holy Spirit is here, and He is speaking to your heart - are you going to listen? Are you going to trust the Saviour tonight? Are you going to listen to that voice that may never speak again? Are you going to look at that vision of Christ, and plead the blood of Christ, and trust the way of the cross that leads to Glory? Are you going to do that? Well, do it now. Say: 'Lord, I repent of my sin. I know that Jesus died for me. I turn away from my sin and I turn to Thee. I know that He died for me there, and I ask that you'll cleanse me in His precious blood. Save me, Lord, save me from hell, and make me live for Thee. Take my life and make me something Lord, I'm nothing, take me. Save my soul, in Jesus name, Amen'.
Now, if you've trusted the Lord tell us, tell us on the way out. If you want to trust the Lord, if you want to speak to me, if you want a piece of literature, please say something at the door, or sit where you are. But whatever you do, listen: I believe God is speaking to some of you - please listen to His voice and trust the Saviour this evening.
Our Father, we thank Thee for the crucified Saviour. We thank Thee that His blood is able to cleanse the deepest dyed sinner, and we thank Thee that He is a risen Saviour. He has risen from the dead to prove that the cross work of Christ is accepted in the throne of heaven. Lord, there are some here this evening and they have never known the reality of sins forgiven, they have never known what is to be washed in the blood of the Lamb - Lord, if we could wash them we'd wash them now, but we can't. Only You can do that, Lord, and we pray that You'll do it. We've done all we can by preaching Thy word, Lord it's time for You now to work, and for You to come in and save souls in this place and restore the backslider. We thank Thee for Thy presence, and we pray now that we may go in the blessing of the Lord, in Jesus name. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Kilkeel Baptist Church, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "The Place Called Calvary" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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