Calvary Road
March 30, 2020

An Easter Journey
“Calvary Road”
Mark 14:1-15:27

{Audio: https://mega.nz/#!zZFiTS4a!_Oh32fxqoaDj87gEni6vkkfll2PEMzHWOEz12Z6pzBE}

Today we’re continuing on our Easter Journey. So far we’ve looked at the narrow path that Jesus told us to take for eternal life as opposed to the wide way that leads to destruction. Last week we looked at the road Jesus took as He entered into Jerusalem, or the Jerusalem Road. And on that road we saw that it was a road of humility, fulfillment, obedience, and a road that leads to our destiny.

It was this last aspect of the Jerusalem road that got me thinking about the next road Jesus took. It’s a road that continues from the Jerusalem road, and that is the road that leads to Calvary and the cross. And so today’s message is about this next road we find ourselves on, a road that leads to our own destinies, and that is “Calvary Road.”

After Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples they left Jerusalem to stay in a very familiar place, a place where they stayed many times before, the Garden of Gethsemane. And it was from the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus entered upon this road that would now lead Him to Calvary’s hill and the cross.

Today what I’d like to lay out before us is not only how Jesus entered onto this road, which is the way we need to enter it as well, but also what it means to travel upon this road, which is what every one of us will go through as believers in Jesus Christ.

Now, we cannot even think of entering this road unless we enter the way Jesus did.

Entrance Begins With Prayer

Once they arrived at Gethsemane, Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray as He went further in to pray. Jesus prayed that if it were possible that that which He was going to experience, the mocking, suffering, and the excruciating physical pain of the cross, coupled with the emotional and spiritual pain of being separated from the Father, Jesus prayed that it would pass Him by.

“He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’” (Mark 14:36 NKJV)

You see, Jesus knew what lay before Him long before He entered the Garden of Gethsemane that night. In John’s gospel it says that when they came to arrest Him, Jesus knew exactly why they were there, and what would take place. And while He asked who they were there to arrest, He already knew.

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’” (John 18:4 NKJV)

Knowing what lay before Him Jesus knew He had to pray in order to receive guidance from His heavenly Father. But it wasn’t one of those in and out prayers, you know, those quick prayers most of us are use to. Rather it was urgent and intense.

This is seen in that three times he prayed it. And in Luke’s account, it says that Jesus was praying so hard and was in such anguish and agony that His sweat became like great drops of blood, which is an actual medical condition that those in the medical field say may be related to a person’s fight or flight response to an extremely stressful and emotional situation.

And while Jesus’s prayer was for the Father to help Him find another way, hence, “If it at all possible,” this was also a prayer for the Father’s will to be accomplished through Him, hence, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

In similar manner we all know what lies in front of us, not specifically, but generally we know. And what lies in front of us, what our future holds are trials and tribulations. Jesus even said so. He said that while in Him we can have peace, in the world we’ll have tribulation, but we’re not to worry because He has overcome the world.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)

To face what lies before us in our own faith journeys, we need heavenly guidance like Jesus prayed for. And this guidance may come through God directly speaking to us in our times of prayer, but also from God’s word.

{My example in my journey of faith to take over the church in Mesquite.}

It says in Psalm 119:105 that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light unto our paths. And in Hebrews 4:12 it says that God’s word is living and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword piercing and dividing our soul and spirit.

But along with God’s word we need to pray, but not just a short “let me have this or that” prayer; rather we need to start getting serious with God and pray. Like Jesus, we need to go further in. And our prayers need to be consistent and fervent.

Why, it’s because the days are getting shorter as we are approaching the End of Days.

And finally our prayers need to be kingdom of God oriented, that is, we pray for God’s kingdom to come, God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

And so entrance upon this Calvary Road that we are called to take begins with concerted and heart felt prayer. We need to go further in with God.

Entrance Begins With Confession

I’m not talking about the confession of sin, yes we need to confess our sin and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. This is what gets us through the narrow gate and unto the narrow road, and that leads us to the Jerusalem road, and the road we’re now on.

The confession, however, that I’m referring to is the confession as to who we are in Jesus Christ.

Those coming to arrest Jesus asked if He was the one they were searching for. In fact, Jesus helped them in their search by asking the question for them and then giving them the answer.

“‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’” (John 18:4b-5a NKJV)

Further, it says that they knew exactly where Jesus would be. Listen to what it says; “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.” (John 18:2 NIV)

People need to know not only who we are, but also exactly what this identification with Jesus means.

It first begins with helping them ask the right question, and we do so by living our lives in such a way that makes them want to know more, which involves not only our actions, but also the words we speak. The Apostle Peter talked about being such examples.

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth;’ who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23 NKJV)

We are to be an example by the way we live our lives. And when people see and hear this coming from us as our confession of faith, then they’re going to start asking questions. Then we can give to them the gospel message, because they’ll be receptive to hear what we have to say.

But here’s the kicker, there was more than enough evidence that it was indeed Jesus. He was exactly where they were told He would be. Also, Jesus not only said that He was the one they were looking for, but you also have Judas’s kiss.

I guess my question is if there is enough evidence in our lives to convict us of being Christians. Do others see Jesus Christ in and through our lives, and do they know where to find us?

When attacks come against Christians in other countries they know where the Christians hang out, and that’s because these Christians are inviting others to join them at church or at a home bible study.

And so is there enough evidence to convict us, and do they know where to find us?

And so entrance upon this Calvary Road is through prayer and confession, but do we know what this road means, that is, what are we to expect when we take this road?

This Road Means Persecution

After His arrest Jesus was put on trial, not just once, but several times, including the religious high court, or the Sanhedrin, and then there was the trial in the secular or before the local authorities, which was presided over by King Harold Antipas, and finally there was the trial before the Roman government presided over by Pontius Pilate.

During and after these trials Jesus was mocked, beaten, and scourged, so much so that the prophet Isaiah, hundreds of years before this event, said that the Messiah would be unrecognizable.

“There were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14 NIV)

When we take this road we will also be judged, our faith will be put on trial and we’ll be mocked and persecuted.

In encouraging believers to remain true to the faith, and not to allow the trials to turn them back to their old way of life, the Apostle Paul made sure that those who believe in Jesus Christ knew what lay ahead.

He didn’t want to blow smoke and tell them that everything will be great and that they would be happy, healthy, and wealthy, instead he said that trials and persecution is what waits for those who believe.

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b NIV)

This is not what you would call great promotional material, but it’s the truth. Jesus not only said that in this world we’ll have tribulation, but He also said that if the world hated Him, then the world will hate us as well.

In some countries Christians are severally beaten, mutilated, put into jail, and are even put to death for their faith, and these are current headlines plucked right out of today’s media outlets.

This Road Means Death

After the brutal beat down Jesus received at the hands of the Jewish and Roman authorities, they laid the cross upon his shoulders. He now had to carry the very implement of His death to His own execution.

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” (John 19:17 NKJV)

What’s important to understand is that when people saw Jesus carrying the cross they knew He was headed toward His death.

Now on this road Jesus stumbled and fell. Carrying the cross wasn’t easy, especially with what Jesus just went through.

And it’s no different with us, because Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)

To take up our crosses doesn’t mean there’s going to be some inconveniences that we’re going to have to deal with, nor does it mean some burden we have to bear; rather it means death, and what this means for us is that we are expected to die to self so that we can live for God’s kingdom purposes, to live in the destiny He has for our lives.

God has a destiny for us, but that destiny is tied up in the cross where we die to our own wants and desires so we can live for the cause of Christ and His kingdom. This is all of our destinies.

You might say that our destiny is to live a cross life.

But dying to self isn’t easy, it’s hard and we’re going to stumble and fall under the weight of our crosses. But there’s something I want you to see.

“Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian … and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.” (Luke 23:26 NKJV)

As Jesus traveled down this road he continued to stumble and fall under the weight of the cross, the Romans called out Simon to come and help Jesus carry the cross, to help Jesus bear up under its weight.

God has others upon this Calvary Road that will help us carry and bear the weight of our crosses. But we also have the Holy Spirit, whose help is immeasurable and whose help we all need.

Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” (John 4:16-17a NKJV)

Conclusion

Now by this time you may be getting a little bit discouraged not wanting to travel down this road. But this road is not without hope, and it’s the same hope and assurance that Jesus had that gave Him the strength to endure it.

The writer of Hebrews said, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2b NKJV)

When this road to Calvary becomes difficult for us, we need to look to God knowing He never gives us more than what we can handle, but with the difficulty and hardship gives us a way of escape. Our problem is that we don’t like the way He has provided.

You see, more often than not, it’s not that He will take us out of the situation, but rather give us the strength to carry our crosses, to go through the hardships that come in life. And one of the ways God does so is by reminding us of His great and precious promises where He says that He will never leave us or forsake us, and then there is this verse that has been one of my life verses.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

And so this road that Jesus took is a road that we’ve been called to take as well. And as we saw, entrance on this road is through prayer and confession, and it’s a road that comes with trails and persecution, and eventually leads us to the cross.

But even with all of this, here’s the good news, and that is, on this road we’ll be kept by none other than the Lord God Himself who will not only guide us, but also He’ll help us along the way.

When I thought about that blessing, the words of the prophet Isaiah comes to mind who said in Isaiah 40:11

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.”

So let’s take up our crosses and follow Jesus, because eventually this road leads to our resurrections, that is, eternal life in Heaven, or the land of no mores, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more suffering, and no more pain.









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