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Preparing For the Cross-The Road to Calvary


"When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion."

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people."


Good Morning my beloved,
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We're glad to have
you here with us today. We are tremendously blessed with the ever increasing number of people who have been reached by this ministry, over a six hundred percent increase in people responding to God's Word. It is my privilege to be able to work with some of them in establishing Bible believing, Christ centered ministries. I am always in amazed at some of the mighty things that God does, it has truly been magnificent experience. We are extremely blessed to be able to partner with Vanessa Taylor at Go Ye Kids children's ministry in providing printable biblical resources for children, many of them free.

Most of us will probably not receive worldwide recognition, or have our names in the history books, hopefully we will be remembered by those whose lives we’ve touched. Jesus Christ is the most unique, most compelling, most controversial, most revolutionary Person in all of history.  He unique in His utterly miraculous birth, which is celebrated all over the world. He is unique in His teachings. And, He unique in His death and resurrection. Though He never wrote a book, all of the libraries of the country could not hold the books that have been written about Him.

In Luke 21:33, Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." 

His Words hold a special place in history and human literature, and have continued to impact the lives of millions for more than two thousand years. There is no subject quite like Him, He is profoundly different than any other Person that has ever or will ever live. Jesus is the only Person in history to claim to be God and was able to back it up.   

From Genesis to Revelation, the pages of Scripture is all about Christ. He is the theme.

Even though He had told His disciples a number of times that His life would soon be taken from Him, they still did not understand. It would now be only a matter of hours until Jesus would be crucified. In Matthew chapters 26, 27, and 28 the focus is the cross of Jesus Christ. Everything up until this point has only been introduction, preparation, an advance warning that He is going to the Cross, and He will die.

The resurrection of Christ, an event prophesied a thousand years before His birth, is the most significant event in history!

In 1 Corinthians 2:2, the Apostle Paul said, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."

However, His death on the cross is meaningless if He does not possess authority over death and the grave. Therefore, it is not enough to acknowledge that He died on the cross for our sins; we must also believe He rose from the dead to obtain eternal life. Belief in the death and the literal bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone of Christianity. To believe in the resurrection, that God raised Christ from the dead, is not only to believe in the immense power of God, but belief in God Himself.

Though there’s actually far more reliable historical evidence for His death, and resurrection than for any other historical event, it is still the most contested event in history.

1 Corinthians 1:18, Paul says "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Lee Strobel was an award winning journalist for fourteen years at The Chicago Tribune. He was also an atheist. Today, he is a Christian and author of more than forty books and curricula, selling some fourteen million copies. What changed? After nearly two years of probing, sifting through the overwhelming evidence for Jesus, he found Him. Since that time, Lee has made a tremendous impact as one of the most popular and most influential apologists of our time. Subsequently, he became a teaching pastor at three of the largest churches in America. God, the Creator of the universe will make Himself known to those who will seek Him with all their heart. 

Some of the influential people in Christian history, were not great orators or biblical scholars, they were willing to be used by God.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Your Word. We pray that we might take it to heart, that it might profoundly change our lives and through us, the lives of those around us. We can learn so much from the experience of others, and may we willingly sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of others, trusting the Spirit work in their hearts. May we be a people who take no thought of what we stand to gain, but we can give in love and adoration of You. May we humbly understand our own weakness, not becoming overly confident in ourselves, but in Your work in and through us. All for Your glory.
We ask and pray this in Jesus’ Name

Today's Message: Preparing For the Cross-The Road to Calvary

The evidence concerning Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming! In fact, it nearly equals the combined total of passages that are specifically focused on his incarnation, crucifixion, and ascension. Why is it that so many churches neglect to talk about the glorious truths of the cross, when our Lord speaks of His crucifixion in very direct terms. Historically, when the Jews wanted to execute someone, they would throw them down, and then they would violently hurl large stones at them, but not so large to kill on impact, unto death. Stoning, also called lapidation, was torturous way to die.

There are a number of prophets in the Old Testament who speak about the death of Messiah. In John 12:32-33, Jesus said "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die." When someone was 'lifted up,' it was commonly understood, that was a crucifixion, because the Romans had done this so many times. There were about 30,000 people who were crucified around the era of the Lord Jesus Christ. I daresay there is only one of those whose name is still remembered today.

Jesus understood He was born to die, that's why He came, to give His life a ransom for many. The cross of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of the Christian gospel. But without resurrection, the amazement of the empty tomb, the fact that Jesus literally rose victoriously from the dead, and defeated sin and the power of death over humanity. If the tomb had not been empty, evidence that He passed from death to life, someone would have been able to produce Jesus' body and there would be no gospel. Without the cross of Jesus Christ, you cannot have Christianity. That's why we rejoice when we talk about the cross.

Open your Bibles to the twenty-sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 26:1-13. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses one through thirteen. Then, we will focus our study today on the first five verses. The preparation for the cross. So, let's open our hearts and our minds to see what the Spirit of God has to say us today. Matthew 26:1-13. 

"When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion."

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people."

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, "Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."

Let's look at the beginning of verse 1, "When Jesus had finished all these words," let's stop there. What things?  You remember that He just finished speaking on the Mount of Olives, so "all these words" is the Olivet Discourse in chapters 24 and 25. He had been speaking privately to His disciples about His second coming, after they has asked "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" 

Now, in verse 2, "He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion." That tells us it's still Wednesday, which began to unfold back in chapter 21. It's been a very long, very eventful an unbelievable week. And, we're only mid way through it. He’s told them several times He's going to die, they have not wanted to believe it. Now, He’s underscoring that truth with the reality of it; it’s time for the cross. Notice how specific He is, it will happen during the Passover. Friday when all the Jews would be celebrating their Passover, Jesus would be offered as the Lamb of God, the unchangeable plan of God, just as He planned.

John 1:29, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" There is a beautiful irony here, God is about to bring rescue from spiritual death and spiritual slavery through Him, the ultimate Passover Lamb. In two days it will come to pass. Everything is coming together in God's plan and at the right moment on God's divine timetable. There were many times they would have taken His life, they wanted was to find an excuse to kill Him. But because He was always in control, their attempts were always unsuccessful until God’s timetable set it right as determined before the foundation of the earth.

John 10:17-18, "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."

When we look at the cross, we see not just the will of His Father, but at the very same time, we see the wickedness of those who hated Jesus Christ. How tragic that the very people who are supposed to lead people to God, were those who plotted against the Son of God. They were angry He exposed their sin, their deceitful business of extorting people in the temple, who came wanting to worship God. They’ve had more of His holy perfection than they can stand, they were fed up Jesus making them look foolish. In order to justify themselves, they must get rid of this Jesus.

Verses 3-4, "Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him."

As Jesus was speaking these words to His disciples, the Sanhedrin called a special meeting with the chief priests, I imagine the scribes were there too. They were not about to convene a court of justice, though they are going to bring Jesus to a mock trial. There's no doubt they were all there, plotting actually His death, in cold-blooded murder, just as they had done several times before, the only difference is, this time it’s going to come to pass, not in the way they thought, but in spite of their plan. Caiaphas, or Joseph Caiaphas, as Josephus tells us, was a wretched, treacherous, wicked, vile and deceitful man, who had no concern for anybody but himself. He was married to the twelve year old daughter of Annas, his predecessor. Though Annas was the former high priest, he hated Jesus because he was connected to the businesses in the temple, lining their own pockets in the name of God, the very ones that Jesus had just thrown out back in chapter 21, when He cleansed the temple and said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den."

By the way of Jewish tradition, the office of high priest was someone in the Levitical line. Instead, Caiaphas married his way into the aristocracy and obviously politicized himself with the Roman government. High priests came and went all the time, which likely explains why he lasted 15 A.D. to 37 A.D. Since there was no king of Israel, because he married his way into the wealth, power and prestige, Caiaphas had a tremendous amount of power, in charge of just about everything, and he determined to use it to get rid of Jesus. 

That brings us to verse 5, "But they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people."

They intentionally planned not to arrest Jesus during the Passover festival because they didn’t want to cause too much commotion.They needed an in, a way to pull it off. Judas became the betrayer. The events will happen so quickly, so perfectly, that even the leaders themselves will be caught by surprise. I believe, the acceleration of events was contributed to by the betrayal of Judas, and in order for the Savior to be crucified, it had to be done by hating men. Jesus would not die after the Passover, as they had wanted, but on the Passover, exactly as God had planned. On Friday Jesus, the beloved Son of God, was about to experience the agony of the wrath of God being poured out upon Him, as our substitute. Although what actually happened on the cross is in so many ways a mystery to us.

Romans 5:8-10, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

Jesus knew that even while He was experiencing the agony of hell, beyond description on the cross, His Father would be glorified through it, for He had not hidden His face from Him but working together with the Father, Who was satisfied with what He did and was pleased with Him, just as Isaiah prophesied that He would be.  

Isaiah 53:11, "As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities."

And in Psalm 22:22-24, "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard."

We'll pick back up at verse 6 next time.

In Closing.. 

In Deuteronomy 32:39, God says "See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand." Yet, we have welcomed those who worship other gods, false gods and call it acceptance and multi-culturalism. We have stood in the pulpits endorsing every sexual perversion abhorrent to God and call it inclusiveness. God's Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that’s exactly what we have done. I want to stress that we should take sin lightly. Sin is a very serious issue with God. Obedience is the evidence of a changed heart, a transformed life, driven by God's grace. 

So, what is the meaning of the cross? First, we see the sacrificial death of God incarnate who gave up His life for those who don’t deserve it. Then, we see the agony of suffering of the One Who would be pierced after wrath of God that was poured out against sin. Then, we see the loving grace and mercy of God Who calls the sinner to Himself. And we see the promise of the coming kingdom, with all of its glory, its blessing and its joy, for those who would believe and acknowledge Christ, and trust Him as Savior and Lord. 

It's no wonder why we glory in the cross of Christ, the cross reaches back in history and forward in the eternal hope of the future to gather all who believe.  

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Copyright © 2019-2023 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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