The Joy Of The Cross

Series: Reflections On The Cross


Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / August 21, 2016

The cross was an extremely PAINFUL way to die.

The word excruciating derives from the word crux, which is the Latin word for cross.

The physical pain and suffering that is seen in the passion of the Christ is truly hard to fathom.

The cross was also a very SHAMEFUL way to die.

To be crucified was truly to be “put to shame”.

Our Lord Jesus, the only One who never sinned, was treated as a common criminal.

On the cross Jesus was made the object of unwarranted derision - - He was scorned, mocked and taunted.

Jesus was stripped, draped with a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns, then sarcastically hailed as “the KING of the Jews”.

Even more than the PAIN & SHAME - - the greatest agony of the cross was the GUILT that Jesus endured.

God’s perfect lamb, in Whom was no spot nor blemish (1Pet.1:19), was made by the Father

TO BE SIN ON OUR BEHALF so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Cor.5:21).

Jesus BORE OUR SINS in His body on the tree (1Pet.2:24).

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, HAVING BECOME A CURSE FOR US(Gal.3:13).


The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief if He would RENDER HIMSELF AS A GUILT OFFERING.

He was numbered with the criminals, but HE HIMSELF BORE THE SIN OF THE MANY. (Isa.53:6, 10 & 12)

The consequences of this day of reckoning are spelled in Scripture and in song.

  Isa. 59:2 states - - your iniquities have made a SEPARATION BETWEEN YOUR AND YOUR GOD,

And your sins HAVE HIDDEN HIS FACE from you, so that HE DOES NOT HEAR.

   Phillip Bliss captures the magnitude of the penalty of the cross in his majestic song, ¯ Hallelujah! What A Savior.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude … In my placed CONDEMNED He stood … Sealed my pardon with His blood.

These hard-to-grasp declarations become a stark reality for Jesus on the cross event.

We will never understand Mt.27:45-46 properly unless we read it alongside of Isa.59:2.

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour (i.e., from noon till 3pm).

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?

This was the ultimate agony of the cross - - this is that which evoked from Jesus that haunting cry of dereliction.

In becoming sin on our behalf, Jesus became so vile that God, by His very nature (being holy and just),

was driven to hide His face and cover His ears - - even to the loud crying and tears of His only begotten Son.

Heb.5:7a states:  In the days of His flesh, (Jesus) offered up both prayers and supplications

with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death...

This text continues by noting:  And He was heard because of His piety.  And then the next two verses (Heb.5:8-9) add:

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him, the source of eternal salvation.

This is how we can speak of the cross as “terribly wonderful” - - two words that don’t seem to rightly belong together.

In becoming a propitiation for our sins, Jesus was forsaken by God SO THAT WE MIGHT BE SAVED.

Let’s re-read this morning’s Scripture reading - - Heb.12:1-3 --

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance,

and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM,

endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself,

 so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

How could the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews speak of, the JOY set before Him ?

What JOY was there in the cross?  What JOY was to be gained by the cross of Christ?

While we are right to understand that Jesus was God in the flesh, sometimes we fail to emphasize His full humanity.

The humanity of Jesus is borne out in Jesus’ posture & prayer in the garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion.

Lk.22:41-44 reads as follows - -

He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying,

‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done’.

Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.   And being in agony He was

 praying very fervently; and His sweat become like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

Matthew’s gospel (Mt.26:38f) adds a few additional notes - -

Jesus told His disciples:   my soul is deeply grieved  (vs.38).

Jesus asked of His Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt (vs.39).

In vs.42, Jesus prayed again saying, My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.

Mark’s gospel (Mk.14:36) renders the words of the prayer of Jesus this way - -

Abba! Father!  All things are possible for Thee:  remove this cup from Me; Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.

Both Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus prayed this prayer - - not once, not twice, but three times.

Heb.5:7 tells us that He was heard because of His piety.

The Father heard the cries of His only begotten Son, yet the Father’s answer was …  to not remove “the cup”.

Both Scripture and history reveal that our heavenly Father chose not to save His only begotten Son from death.

Contrary to the cries of Jesus for deliverance, Isaiah (Isa.53:10) states quite plainly,

The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering.


Back to our previous questions:  What JOY was there in the cross? … What JOY was to be gained by the cross?

The Biblical explanations for the JOY of the cross are three-fold.

The same NT epistle that speaks of the joy of the cross, also provides the explanations for this joy.

(1) For Jesus and us, The JOY of the cross is that by means of His death many sons are brought to glory - - Heb.2:10-11

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things,

in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.  For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; For which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…

In other words, the JOY that sustained Jesus in dying for our sins was the procurement of salvation for US.

  Heb.5:9 / Having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation. 

  Heb.9:12 / through His own blood, He entered the holy place, once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

  2Cor.8:9 / For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich,

yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

  Gal.4:4-5 / But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,

in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Sonship means that we are made an heir through God (Gal.4:7b).

(2) For Jesus and for us, the Joy of the cross is that Jesus rendered Satan powerless - - Heb.2:14-17

Since then the children share in flesh and blood, (Jesus) Himself likewise also partook of the same, that

 through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil … Therefore,

He had to be made like His brethren in all things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

  The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. / 1Jn.3:8b

  Whatever powers we might assign to Satan today are nullified by the power of the cross.

  Paul declares in Rom.8:1 / there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

  William Cowper (1771) wrote a song titled, There Is A Fountain.  The first stanza of that song says this:

There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.

This act of atoning for the sins of mankind and thereby conquering the power of Satan

emboldened Jesus and instilled within Him thoughts of great joy in the midst of acute anguish.

(3) For Jesus and us, the JOY of the cross is that Jesus completed the work God sent Him to do - - Heb.12:2

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…

  In the opening chapter of the gospel according to Matthew (Mt.1:20-21), an angel tells Joseph - -

Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name JESUS, for it is He who will SAVE His people from their sins.

  Lk.2:11 records another angelic message to the shepherds tending their flocks - -

Today in the city of David there has been born for you a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord.

  Paul states in 1Tim.1:15 / Christ Jesus came into the word to save sinners

The reason Jesus came to earth was to die for our sins.  Our atonement was the ultimate aim of His incarnation.

 (Jesus) humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross / Philp.2:8

I know it’s a feeble comparison - - we have all been confronted with tasks that we dread, jobs or assignments that

are foreboding and something that we often tend to keep putting off with the hope that it might go just away.

But then - - when we stiffen our focus and bear up to endure and complete the task, what a sense of joy prevails.

If we could only multiple this idea times a million, we might begin to understand the JOY that Jesus sensed.

Jn.19:30 records the Jesus’ last spoke word from the cross - - It is finished (in the Greek text it is one word, tetelestai).

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