Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
It is the ugliest and most beautiful story ever told.
The most horrible and wonderful.
The greatest tragedy and the highest glory.
In telling the story of Jesus we sink lower than ever mankind has sunk before and we soar higher than we could ever imagine.
It is awful, it is awe-inspiring.
It is the story of Satan’s greatest victory and his ultimate defeat, the story of a gruesome death that brought life and hope and healing to all who believe the story.
And so, today, we take an hour (or so) and we go back in time to a hill outside the city walls of Jerusalem on the north side of town, and just a little west. There a man is hanging on cross like a common criminal – battered, shamed, unrecognizable, brutalized, ridiculed. You want to look away. The sight is awful. Grotesque. But tonight I’m asking you to look. I want you to do the most important thing that anyone can do – to survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died. Look at it. Look at him. See him. See Jesus.
See Jesus on the cross. See him clearly. But see everything – the past, the present, the future.
Look to the past and see him born of a virgin and laid in a manger.
See him growing in the grace and knowledge of God and living a sinless life.
See him baptized in the Jordan, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead.
See him proclaiming truth to crowds even when they didn’t understand it and the Pharisees didn’t like it.
See him setting his face toward Jerusalem knowing what lay ahead, warning his friends of what would follow, determined to obey the Father’s plan regardless of the cost.
See him riding into Jerusalem with the throngs worshiping him, calling out hosanna and rejoicing that the Promised one had come at last.
See him cleansing the Temple, cursing the fig tree, confounding the Temple leaders, and proclaiming the coming Kingdom.
See him kneeling to wash his disciples feet even as they quarrel over who will be the greatest in the kingdom.
See him serving them the bread and wine, which we will commemorate in only a few moments.
See him agonizing in Gethsemane as the moment of doom approached, sweating drops of blood and surrendering to the Father’s plan.
See him kissing the betrayer and willingly giving himself to his fate.
Look to the events of that present day, the horrible day of the cross.
See him abandoned by his friends who ran away in fear.
See him arrested on false charges, tried and convicted by lying liars, beaten and brutalized, bloodied by a crown of thorns and a whip on his back.
See him bandied about as a pawn among political cowards, see cruel crowds call for his blood as they scream, “Crucify Him.” See the cowardly Pilate acquiesce to the public and its bloodlust.
See Jesus condemned to die.
See Jesus carrying his cross through Jerusalem’s streets, stumbling, needing assistance.
See him nailed to the cross, hands and feet. See him lifted up and the cross slamming into the ground with a thud.
See him hanging there for hours in agony, ridiculed by men who laughed and mocked his pain.
See him suffering the full fury of God’s wrath for all our sins and calling out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
See him exhausting that wrath and again calling out the most beautiful words ever uttered. “It is finished.”
See him slumping forward and saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
See him taken from the cross and laid in a tomb a short distance away.
See a stone rolled over the tomb and a guard of Roman soldiers set to prevent anything from happening.
See the utter failure of that guard to stop the power of God which brought Jesus back to life and burst him forth from the grave.
Because of that, we can look to the future as well.
We can see the Jesus of Revelation 1, glorious and unveiled, mighty and powerful.
See him ascended to heaven, seated at God’s right hand, ruling and reigning.
See him as Savior and Lord of All!
See him one day descending from heaven in glory with the armies of heaven trailing behind him. See the King of kings and Lord of lords riding down in power to establish his Kingdom once and for all, to judge the world and to be the one to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess.
Tonight, our sole purpose is that you would see Jesus. See Jesus. Look upon the Cross. Survey it for all of its wonder. Look upon him. See all of him – past, present and future.
Because all of him is all you need.