- Sermon Notes
Unashamed of Jesus
- The transformed life. How does a person truly change?
- Tonight, we will be introduced to two men who were transformed at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.
- They went from “secret disciples” of Jesus to men who were unashamed of Jesus.
- As we look at their lives, we will also discover that their story of transformation is the same story that God wants each of us to have; transformed to live boldly and unashamed of Jesus.
- During our last study in Matthew’s Gospel, we looked at the seven statements Jesus said while on the cross.
- Each statement is a revelation of God’s heart for us.
- At 9AM, Jesus was nailed to cross. From 9AM to noon, the Gospels record that Jesus spoke three times.
- Jesus spoke for the first time immediately after He was nailed to the cross; it was a prayer to Father God. He asked, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
- The second time Jesus spoke He shared words of comfort and hope to one of the robbers who had been crucified next to Him when He said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
- According to John 19:26-27, when Jesus spoke for the third time, He did so to ensure His mother, Mary, was cared for by the Apostle John after His departure. Jesus tenderly said, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”
- Matthew and the other Gospel writers record that from noon to 3PM, darkness fell upon all the land. (45)
- The three hours of darkness was supernatural not natural; the work of God’s hand to send a message that the wrath of God had been poured out on Jesus. Why?
- This was the reality of Jesus Christ taking our place, suffering instead of us. Darkness would have been the consequence that we would have suffered for our own sins if Jesus had not died for us. (Matthew 25:30)
- During those three hours of darkness on the cross, Jesus said nothing until the last hour.
- Then, around 3PM, Jesus cried out the famous words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
- For the first time, Jesus experienced a breaking of fellowship with Father God; a separation that our finite minds cannot completely comprehend. At that moment He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf “so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- Then Jesus said, “I thirst”, which is the reality of what sin does to the soul for it never satisfies. (John 19:28)
- Those words were followed by words of victory when Jesus declared in a loud voice, “Tetelestai,” meaning, “It is finished” or “Paid in full” because the penalty for our sin had been paid in full and God’s righteous justice had been completely satisfied.
- Only after our debt was paid in full, did Jesus yield up His spirit into the hands of the Father when He said, “Father, into Your hands, I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
- No one took Jesus’ life away. He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sin.
Transition – That day, at the foot of the cross, lives were transformed.
- Since that day, lives continue to be transformed.
- The question is, will your life truly be transformed?
- To be truly transformed, some obstacles that interfere with our transformation must be identified so that they may be overcome.
I. Weakness and Fear are Obstacles to Transformation
- First, it is important to step back and see the big picture of what God was doing here because it is pivotal to all of human history as well as to all eternity.
- We know that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. We know that He died in our place, instead of us.
- But how did this happen? Or how is Jesus Christ’s death applied to our lives?
- To answer those questions, let’s take a step even further back to Adam so that we may understand that we were all born into the weakness of Adam.
A. We inherited weakness from Adam
- In other words, we were in Adam when he sinned against God in the Garden. (Genesis 3:6)
- How? You might say that we were in his loins. By being in Adam when he sinned, his sins were attributed to us so that it is now part of our DNA; we have a sin nature.
Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men
APPL – The truth is, we don’t have to look very far to see the consequences of Adam’s sin in our own lives.
- The tendency toward sin is part of the condition we were all born into.
- And if we’re honest, that condition is something we’re all well aware of.
Romans 7:7-8, I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me
coveting of every kind
ILLUS – We see that very thing in young children. As soon as you tell a child not to touch something, that’s the very thing they want to touch.
Proverbs 9:17, Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
B. We also inherited fear from Adam
- The story of what happened to the body of Jesus would not be complete until we understand the background story of two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
- Both men were leaders in Israel, members of Israel’s ruling council called the Sanhedrin. And both of them were very wealthy. (57)
- Prior to Christ’s crucifixion, both men were overcome by fear. They were disciples of Jesus Christ but kept their faith a secret.
John 19:38, After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews
- We’re first introduced to Nicodemus in John 3 when he came to Jesus at night to talk with Him. Why did he come to Jesus at night? Fear.
- Later the Apostle John recorded that Nicodemus tried to stand up for Jesus but buckled under the pressure; afraid of what he might lose if he declared his allegiance to Jesus.
John 7:50-53, Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) said to them, “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” They answered him, “You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” Everyone went to his home.
- That day, he walked away defeated due to fear; not the fear of God, but the fear of man.
APPL – Can you relate?
- Have you ever been silent about your faith?
- Have you ever kept quiet about Jesus?
- God opened a door for you to stand up and declare who Jesus is and what He has done for your life.
- But instead of sharing Bible verses and a personal testimony, there was the sound of silence.
- And after the opportunity passed, you were left with a pit in your gut and remorse in your heart.
- Can you relate?
- But at the foot of the cross something shifted in those two men; something changed.
- There was a transformation that brought about a boldness where there had been fear; and strength where there had been weakness.
Transition – You see, we may have inherited weakness and fear from Adam but at the foot of the cross Jesus offers us a better inheritance, one that will change us from the inside-out.
II. Let Your Light Shine
- The moment Jesus said His last words and breathed His last breath God continued to testify about His Son and what He had done.
- The darkness broke because the Light of the World had defeated the darkness.
- “The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (51)
- The veil kept everyone separated from the holiest place in the Temple, the place where God’s glory dwelt.
- But the veil was torn in two, from the top to the bottom, signifying that it was God who tore the veil because Jesus’ death had made a way for us to have a relationship with God!
- The earth shook and the rocks were split in two, like the scene at Mount Sinai when God spoke to Moses and gave Israel the Ten Commandments.
- But at Calvary, the earth shook to signify that Jesus had perfectly satisfied the Law’s requirements in order to replace the Old Covenant with the New Covenant.
- Even a Roman soldier, who had witnessed many executions before, was terrified by what he saw and testified, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (54)
- And then there was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who risked their wealth, their reputation, their status as leaders; they risked it all to be identified with Jesus Christ’s death.
- Joseph went to Pontius Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus so that it would have a proper burial and not be discarded like others who had been crucified; a fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.
Isaiah 53:9, His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
- The two men took the body of Jesus off the cross in front of everyone, without shame or fear; Christ’s blood staining their robes. But it did not matter to them. They are in! No more secret loyalty to Jesus!
- They took and brought Jesus’ body to the tomb that Joseph owned and there washed His body and prepared it for burial according to Jewish burial customs, using 100 lbs. of myrrh and aloes.
- Can you imagine the task? What love and what honor they showed Jesus!
- By doing so, they risked defilement which meant they could not observe the Passover; but it did not matter to them.
- They had found the true Passover Lamb, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
- Actually, Jesus’ blood did not defile them for all are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb.
- What does all of this mean?
- In order for us to let our light shine, we must understand the powerful spiritual reality of Christ’s death and what it means to be identified with His death.
- We rightly celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, but we must not pass over the importance of His death because it has everything to do with being unashamed of Jesus.
A. Live the crucified life
- We were crucified with Christ.
- That is a remarkable statement and difficult for many to understand.
- But it has everything to do with our salvation and who we are in Christ.
- The Bible makes it clear that this is an important part of the life that we now have in Jesus.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- We often hear that Christ died instead of us, but this helps us understand how His death is applied to us. We were in Him when He died by faith.
- One of the best verses in the Bible that makes this point so clear is found in Romans 6.
Romans 6:2-4, How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in
newness of life.
APPL – We died in Christ!
- What a glorious declaration!
- My old life has died, and I am made new in Christ by the power of His resurrection.
ILLUS – Water Baptism
Romans 8:1-2, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life
in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
B. Live the resurrected life
- The wonderful truth is that Jesus Christ did not remain in the grave, even though the Jews secured it the best way they knew how, then sealed it, and stationed a guard. (62-66)
APPL – They tried to keep Jesus in the grave, but nothing in all of creation can keep our Savior in the grave. Our Savior lives and gives the gift of resurrection life to all who believe in Him!
- In fact, Matthew records that after Jesus rose from the dead, godly saints also rose from their graves and testified about Jesus! (52-53)
- Jesus then appeared to more than 500 at one time after He was resurrected. (1 Corinthians 15:6). I believe Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were part of the crowd.
APPL – Do you think that all of those Scriptures came to mind and suddenly made sense when they saw our resurrected Lord?
Isaiah 53:5, But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the
chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
APPL – Not only do we identify with Jesus’ death; we also identify with His resurrection life.
Romans 6:4-5, Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with
Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection
APPL – As I said earlier, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were very wealthy men.
- If they were around today, I am sure that they would be highly sought after to give seminars on how to get rich!
- But I believe that they would have no interest in giving conferences on how to get rich.
- They would want to tell people about the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to transform lives!
- They would agree with the Apostle Paul and say
Philippians 3:7-11, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
- They would also agree with Paul and add….
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Matthew 27:50-66 NASB
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the [a]veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the [b]saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was [c]the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while [d]ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.
62 Now on the next day, [e]the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64 Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.