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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

The Cross: Death, Judgment, Exaltation & Drawing

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As we gather together today to remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, let us prepare our hearts by meditating on the very words of Christ by which He foretold concerning His death. We can never appreciate the death of Christ more accurately and profitably if we do not think of it as He has explained it.

Jesus said in John 12:31-33, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

His death was God’s foreordained plan, so he spoke about it before hand. His death was the main focus of those words - “This he said, signifying what death he should die.” He knew everything about His own impending death. Hence His death was not an accident. Though His enemies stealthily worked to arrest and crucify Him, it was all foreordained by God and fully known to Christ. He came to die this death. He not only spoke about His death, but even prepared Himself for it through earnest prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ’s death was not a mark of His weakness and defeat, but His power and conquest. Good Friday is all about the glory of Christ’s death.

By His death, He pronounced judgment upon the world and its prince, the devil – “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” As the world rejected the Lord and put Him to death, they were rejecting their only way of salvation. So when they passed judgment on Christ, their own judgment became more evident and real. The plot that Satan and his servants have executed was a writing of their own judgment. Their role in His death was the evidence of their own condemned state. The crucifixion of Christ exposed the wickedness of the unrepentant and unbelieving world that is under Satanic delusion. Nothing would be more revealing of their accursed state than their rejection and crucifixion of Christ. Moreover, His death also declares the undoing of Satan’s grip on many poor souls. By His death, Satan is “cast out”. By the power of His atoning death, the devil is driven out of the souls that once he subjugated and reigned over. When Christ is enthroned in the souls of the believers as their Saviour and Lord, the devil is dethroned and cast out of their souls. This truth is wondrously declared in Hebrews 2:14 - “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” When Christ arose from the dead, His victory over the devil was manifested with infinite power. The Apostle Paul says of Christ’s victory over Satan that He accomplished through His death and resurrection as “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Good Friday declares the judgment of the unbelieving world and the banishment of Satan.

In His death, Christ was exalted. He spoke of His death as “I be lifted up from the earth”. This is a reference to Christ being lifted on the cross. What the world had designed to be His ultimate humiliation was turned into the glorious display of God’s wisdom, love, grace, holiness and justice for the redemption of all His people. The cross where Jesus died is the stage of God’s glorious plan of redemption. It became the arena where all the Old Testament promises that God has made concerning the Redeemer fulfilled. It became the grand display of God’s faithfulness. When the world lifted Him up on the cross to pour contempt, God has lifted Him to be His blessed Saviour for our redemption. Who could have thought about such a magnificent story of redemption? It is the Lord’s doing, and it is so marvellous in our sight. We all can easily identify with the Apostle Paul who said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). Good Friday is a reminder of the worship and service that we must render to our Saviour.

By His death, Christ would draw men to Himself. He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Because of His death on the cross, He would draw “all men” unto Himself. The phrase “all men” does not mean that every single individual will be drawn to Him, but all those who would believe from all nations, races and languages. Without distinction, Jews and Greeks alike will be drawn to the Lord. Not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles would come. This understanding best fit the context of this passage. Jesus said those words immediately after certain Greeks expressed their desire to meet Him. He began His response by saying that He should die first before the time of the Gentiles’ salvation would come – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). The glory of the impending death of Christ was that people from every corner of the world would come to Him for salvation through Him. Good Friday is a promise of the effectiveness of the preaching of the Gospel of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy

Pastoral Exhortation