24 Hours - Sermon

24 Hours

For some reason, we tend to have an opinion of Jesus that may not be justified. We tend to visualize Jesus as a mild mannered and weak man. Yet, when we read the Bible, we find that He was not always mild mannered. Think back to the time when Jesus took cords from the drapes and made them into whips as He drove the money changers from the temple. Jesus often stood at odds with the religious leaders of His day. He even called them vipers and a grave full of dead men’s bones.

I am not sure where the notion that Jesus was a weakling originated. He learned the trade of a carpenter. Picture a carpenter before the time of power tools. All of the cuts were made with hand powered tools. All of the fitting and chiseling done by hand. This is not the trade of a weakling.

This morning we have paused to remember the joyous entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. There are many books and articles written about the events of each day of this week. We call it Holy Week. In our bulletin, we show the scriptures for today’s message are taken from Luke 22:14 and continue into chapter 23:56. In my Bible, that covers three and a half pages. We will travel through this section of the Bible and pause to read only a few of those verses. I would encourage you to take some time to actually read the entire passage.

The four gospels cover roughly 33-1/2 years of the life of Jesus. Some events are recorded in one or two of the gospels and not others. There are gaps in time. I am reminded of an observation made by Max Lucado that the printed words on the pages of the gospels are like peep hole in a in a privacy fence. We can catch a glimpse of a few scenes. The more of the hole we look through the better our understanding of the image or event.

Well, today we have a lot of ink applied to many pages about the same 24-hour period of time. If I pick up my Bible and wonder what God wants me to see, this is an unmistakable flashing sign pointing to something that is important. The fact that one day period from the disciples celebrating the Passover feast until Jesus is laid in the tomb, has almost 14,000 words written by four different people should be an indicator that God wants us to remember and understand what is happening during that one day. For those who like percentages, this day is more than 7% of all the words in the New Testament or almost 2% of the entire Bible.

As we pause to look at this 24-hour period, consider the strength and endurance it took for Jesus to make it through this day. One of the first things we will note is the fact that Jesus celebrated the Passover Feast with His disciples. He took the two of the elements from this Passover Meal to serve as a reminder for His disciples.

When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:14-20 NASB)

The significance of this meal is emphasized by Jesus when He said that He earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. Perhaps you noticed something in this reading that you have missed before. There are two cups mentioned. In fact, during the Passover meal, there are four cups. Each has a specific meaning. The first is sanctification. This cup unifies those who drink into those who are set apart. The second cup is drunk during the meal. It is the cup of praise. The third cup is the one that come after the meal and is the one which was used by Jesus after the breaking of the bread. This third cup is the cup of redemption. The fourth cup is not mentioned during this final meal Jesus had before His crucifixion. It is the cup of acceptance and Mark’s account makes mention of this cup when he quotes Jesus saying: Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:25 NASB)

Jesus is watching His ministry come to the end. His mission calls for His death on the cross. He has spent a little over three years teaching and training disciples to take the next phase of His mission. They are still wrangling for leadership positions and Jesus is still trying to teach them humility and service. They leave the upper room to walk to the Garden of Gethsemane.

And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46 NASB)

Jesus is facing death. The death that is coming to Him is one of the most torturous deaths devised. His prayer is that His death might not happen. He is saying to God: “Isn’t there some other way?” “Can’t we avoid this?” Yet. Jesus is absolutely committed to doing God’s will regardless of the pain or suffering He must endure.

While Jesus prays, His disciples sleep. We do not know if Jesus had a nap on Thursday afternoon but, as we will see, He does not have any sleep Thursday night or Friday. During the time while the Jews were trying to assemble the court for their trial, Jesus was abused.

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming. (Luke 22:63-65 NASB)

The dawn arrives and Jesus is brough before the chief priest and other council members. It may be well to remember that the Jews could not execute anyone. The sentence of death could only be issued by Roman authority. This trial does not address any Roman law only Jewish law.

When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.” (Luke 22:66-71 NASB)

The whole trial comes down to one question and the simple answer from Jesus. “Are You the Son of God, then?” “Yes, I am.”

For the Jews gathered there sitting on the council, Jesus was guilty of speaking blasphemy. He claimed to be the son of God and thus should be put to death. Blasphemy is not legal ground for the Romans to execute Jesus so there must be another charge.

And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23:2 NASB)

We know this is a lie. Just a short time before this trial, the Pharisees and scribes had asked Jesus about paying tax and Jesus relied to give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:14-17).

There are two Roman trials Herod, the governor of Galilee and Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem. Both allowed their solders to beat and mistreat Jesus but found no crime worthy of the death penalty. Still the Jews cried out and Pilate acquiesced. Jesus had been beaten several times and his body was a bloody mess. The whips used to beat Jesus had bits of bone fragments embedded in them so each lash would cut the flesh.

Jesus is led away and Simon of Cyrene is forced to help Jesus bear the cross to the place just outside the city walls.

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Luke 23:33-38 NASB)

We can’t begin to appreciate the pain and suffering Jesus endured. On top of all of the physical abuse at the hands of soldiers and an angry mob, Jesus was nailed to a cross and suspended above the ground held on a wooden cross by three nails.

Darkness fell on the land from noon until three in the afternoon. Finally, And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46 NASB)

Jesus was placed in a tomb that belonged to someone else and we end this 24-hour period. The curtain drops on this carpenter who performed miracles and spoke of the kingdom of God. The last verse of this chapter seems appropriate: And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luke 23:56 NASB)

Next week we will pick up here and see that death is not always final.