Man Of Sorrows

Psalm 22:7-8, Holman

Everyone who sees Me mocks Me; they sneer and shake their heads:
8 “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver Him, since He takes pleasure in him.”


By way of a reminder: [1] we are using Psalm 22 this year in our COMMUNION services and today we will be on verses 7-8. [2] I also want to remind you that Psalm 22 was written by David 1,000 years before Christ and 600 years before crucifixion became a form of capitol punishment. [3] I remind you also that Peter refers to David as a PROPHET in Acts 2:30. No one can explain how David described the crucifixion in detail when he had never seen or heard of such a death. There is only one answer: God inspired him.

Of the seven recorded sayings on the cross; the first three reveal that Jesus was concerned with others more than Himself–which to me is incredible. As a matter of fact, Luke records [23:28] Jesus saying to the women, as He was carrying His cross up to Golgotha,

“Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

Then after being brutally nailed to the cross; Jesus uttered this prayer…

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. [Luke 23:34]

Then He gave aid and comfort to the thief…Today you will be with Me in paradise.

Next He said to His Mother, “Woman, behold your Son,” speaking of John. He wanted to make sure His mother was provided for…Amazing.

Absolutely amazing…If I were dying such a death, I would be focused on my pain but even in the torment of a crucifixion, Jesus was thinking of others.

Isaiah said [53:3]…

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Look at Psalm 22:7-8 again…

Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.”

Compare this to Matthew’s account…

39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

Look at Luke’s account…

The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 

Your heart is probably registering a protest right this moment: I would never spit in Jesus face, beat him with whip, mock or make fun of Him or drive nails in his hands. I know what your heart is saying because mine says the same thing but indifference and apathy caused His death as much as anything. How do we fare when it comes to indifference?

I found this poem at the young age of 20 and I want to share it…

When Jesus Came To My Home Town

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to my home town, they simply passed Him by.
They would not think of hurting him, or causing Him to die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They simply passed Him by and left Him shivering in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do, ‘
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

G. A. Studdert-Kennedy

Ridicule can be brutal but so can indifference. Today as we observe communion, let us be reminded of how much He cared for us so that we may be challenged to care for others for He Himself said…

‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

I am currently reading the MESSAGE and yesterday I was reading Mark 4 where Mark tells us that JESUS WAS NEVER WITHOUT A STORY WHEN HE SPOKE.

Sometimes I tell too many but I’ve been convicted that I need at least one. This story comes from Max Lucado’s… A GENTLE THUNDER… Hearing God in the storm. A man was in Disney World in Orlando; he was standing outside of Cinderella’s Castle where the kids were waiting on Cinderella to come out and greet them. As he observed this rather large crowd of children and watched them move rapidly toward the beautiful Cinderella, he noticed two children who did not move, they stayed back. One was tall and the other short and he figured they must have been brothers. The little short fellow had a disfigured face. It looked like the scaring caused my some birth defect, surgery or maybe a burn. He knew in his heart why the little boy and his brother did not approach. The child was self-conscious about his appearance and he did not want the beautiful Cinderella to see his ugly face.

The man’s heart felt compassion for the little fellow. He thought to himself, “Wouldn’t it be great if Cinderella went over and spoke kindly to the little boy.” In just a little while Cinderella did look up and she saw the child; she began to move in his direction. He and his brother were entranced by her beauty: they were frozen in their tracks and could not move. Cinderella went up to the child, bent down and spoke kindly to him and then she put her beautiful lips on his disfigured face kissing him gently.

At this moment the man heard God’s gentle thunder. This is what Jesus did for us: He lift the glories of heaven, came to this sin cursed world and spoke kindly to us, then kissing us with the lips of his righteousness.

Of course, are the little lad with the disfigured face. Sin has messed up but Jesus came to heal us, to restore us and that process is in the works.

I put myself in that little fellows shoes for a moment: I am willing to bet that he was so captivated by Cinderella’s beauty that he forgot about his face.


What Should I do With Jesus?

Scripture: Matthew 27:11-26

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.” 12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise. 15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.” 20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!” 22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” 24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” 25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” 26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.


Recently a newsletter from one of America’s most prestigious universities has revived the accusation. Here’s what the “anonymous” author, reportedly a Jewish convert to Christianity, wrote in Ichthus the Harvard Christian undergraduate newsletter: “We, the Jews, collectively rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we deserved the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years.” This young man’s confession created an uproar. Personally, I see nothing wrong with what he said. It is a well documented fact that the Sanhedrin, the supreme ruling body of Judaism orchestrated the crucifixion of Jesus. This does not mean that the Jews alone are responsible for the death of Jesus but they were the impetus that lead to His crucifixion. It is also true that the Jews manipulated Pilate into carrying out the execution. He was pressured by the Jews but he did not have to yield to this pressure.

The question of the ages was presented by a pagan Roman governor, “What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” This is the most pertinent, the most important question that you must answer. In Matthew 27 we have several characters and groups and they all respond to Jesus in different ways but there is only one acceptable way to respond to Jesus Christ and that is to ask Him for forgiveness, confess Him as Lord and invite Him to become the center of your life.

Today, lets look at the characters in Matthew 27 and see how they respond to the question: What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”


[1] PILATE’S HISTORY: Pilate is the Roman Governor of Judea who was never popular with the Jews. The Romans believed in Pax Ramana which is means Roman peace. They believed with the proper organization, authority and administration, they could rule and society including the Jews. Pilate was not sent to Judea to incite a revolution but he came very close to doing just that: [1] He marched his troops from Caesarea to Jerusalem bearing the Roman eagle and the image of Tiberius on their banners. This infuriated the Jews who staged a massive demonstration. When Pilate threatened to execute the entire lot; they assured him they were ready to die for their cause. Pilate gave in. Pilate’s second offense was to take money from the Temple Treasury for a water works project. This did not end well either. Third, Pilate had special shields made with the Roman Emperor engraved on the front. The Jews protested to Tiberius and Emperor forced Pilate to change the shields. The Jews were hard to govern. The Jewish powers {High Priest and Sanhedrin} had gone over his head repeatedly and Pilate did not think he could afford another riot which Jews excel. They wrote the book on inciting riots.

[2] PILOT’S DILEMMA: Pilate has enough experience as a judge to know that Jesus is innocent and that the Jews are motivated by envy and hate. Pilate said repeatedly, “I find no fault in this man.” {Luke 23:13} “I have examined Him throughly on this point in your presence and I find Him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion.”

[3] PILOT’S WEAKNESS: Pilot’s gut feeling as a judge was that Jesus was innocent and there was no evidence to prove otherwise. In his conscience, Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent. Pilate’s wife believes that Jesus is innocent and begs her husband not to have any part in His death. So Pilate ignored all the warnings: his experience, his conscience and his wife’s advice.

Thus Pilate is representative of those who prefer to stay neutral. If Pilate could have had his wish, it would have been to evade the entire situation. Pilot asked the right question but he stands for the millions who refuse to do anything with Jesus. Pilate is symbolic of the indifferent. I’m not for Jesus and I’m not opposed to Jesus: I am neutral.


Pilate’s wife represents the superstitious. These are folks who weight heavy into dreams and visions. They are very religious but not committed to Christ. They to recognize right from wrong and they want nothing to do with the guilt associated with the execution of Jesus. They know that it happened but they have distanced themselves from it and have convinced themselves that they share no guilt in His torture and death.


The Sanhedrin illegally rendered a guilty verdict during the darkness of the night but to make everything appear legal, they reconvened at daylight, probably about 5:00 am in the morning. On an ordinary day, the streets are not crowded and Pilate is not holding court at 5:00 am. My theory is that they awoke Pilate and that they gathered the rabble, the street people, the beggars, pick pockets and those who had not yet gone to bed. The people making up the mob were the aristocrats and the rabble, the two extremes of Jewish society. The Jewish religious leaders prompted the rabble to call for the death of Jesus. These ignorant people had no idea what was going on. They represent the dupes in society. Those who do not think for themselves. Those who vote the way some lying politician or political party tell them. Ignorance is no excuse and since you are sitting under the sound of the gospel, you cannot claim ignorance.


I have intentionally saved the Jewish Religious leaders last because they represent those who are antichrist. These are people who hate Jesus and they hate anyone who follows Him. These are they who are driven by envy, greed, jealously and hate. You will note that they were garbed in religious garments: many were priest and all professing believers in YHWH. Oh my dear people, religion is not the answer, it is a major part of the problem.

I am thankful that we have some exceptions: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus did not take part in this diabolical deed of darkness.


I don’t know if you see yourself in any of these four groups: Pilate and the indifferent, Pilate wife and the superstitious, the fickle crowd lacking character and morality or the evil hate filled Jewish leaders but make no mistake you and I were there.

Note what Peter said at Pentecost“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know but God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.

Let me tell you what is wrong with that statement and why: we are all guilty of the death of Jesus. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, all the disciples abandon Him, the Jews accused Him and the Romans crucified Him. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus was born to die and He died for all because all have sinned. Had it not been for your sin and my sin, Jesus would not have had to suffer the most agonizing death in history. Peter was there: his sin, just like my sin crucified Jesus. No one is innocent of the blood of Christ. NO ONE!


Scripture Text: Matthew 26:36-46, NLT

36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”


garden-of-gethsemaneGethsemane is an olive orchard and is very much in existence today. Our guide told us during our tour of the garden that olive trees never die. Titus had all the trees in Gethsemane cut down but they did not destroy the roots and the trees came back from the roots. The word Gethsemane means “Oil press” so obviously, at one time, this was a center for pressing olives.

There are many kinds of presses but they all work on the same dynamic, you have to put your olive in a position to be crushed. I have a couple of pictures that illustrated the principle. Once the olive was under the intense pressure, the oil was extracted from the fruit. The picture below is an olive press made from granite.



Have you ever given thought to how many things have to be crushed before they become a blessing to us? The bread we eat was once grain, the grain was crushed into flour or meal and that is how we get bread. Bread is crushed grain. Wine is crushed grapes. Perfume is crushed flower pedals. Orange juice is crushed oranges. My bible is made from trees that were crushed, pulverized and made into paper. The most important thing we have, our GREAT SALVATION came from something crushed, Jesus said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”

Today, I want to talk to you for a few minutes about our LORD’s agony in the garden. Jesus was not exaggerating, the wait of our sin and guilt were crushing Him even in the Garden. Jesus was so traumatized by the agony He suffered that He literally sweated drops of blood. T.W. Hunt explains how and why Jesus was sweating blood.

It happens when a person is deeply traumatized. Now I understand what happened to the Tax Collector in Luke 18; at least two times in my life, I have been so traumatized that I had to beat on my chest to get my breath. Both times for me were due to feeling of grief. I have never been so traumatized that I sweated drops of blood but it does happen to mere humans. The medical term is hematohidrosis. It happened when a person is under great stress. Luke, the doctor, tells us in Luke 22:44, Jesus prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. I do not believe that any other human has suffered the agony that Jesus suffered. Think of what was at stake, the salvation of mankind depended on Jesus.


We may not like it: we may even protest the thought but we were there. The disciples our representative of the human family: they represent the best of us. Judas and the mod represent the worse of us but good or bad, we were there. Rarely did Jesus ask His disciples for a personal favor. He often commanded them to serve and help others but He seldom ask them to do something just for Him. It is amazing. I sit in my recliner and ask my wife for this or that–but Jesus never did those kinds of selfish things. No where in scripture does Jesus say, “Peter, would you bring me a glass of tea.”…John, since you are up, would you get me a cup of coffee.” BUT here in the GARDEN He has for a favor…”Would you sit here while I go over there and pray”…He takes Peter, James and John a little deeper into the garden and says…”My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

In His greatest hour of need, we failed Him. He ask for our sympathy and we gave Him our sleepy indifference. Everyone is like Peter, we all think we are the exception to the rule. “If I had been there,” you would have slept through the crisis just like you sleep through my sermons. Gethsemane is a testimony to human failure. How could they sleep on the eve of His crucifixion? How could they sleep with Him pleading for their prayers. How could they be so cruelly indifferent? We could not pray for one hour? Why couldn’t we enter into His agony? Why couldn’t we share some of the load?

We slept through the most critical hour of His life. Apathy, insensitivity, indifference, carelessness, laziness, selfishness: where do we put the blame? I don’t know but what I do know is not much has changed. Years ago I heard Dr. Steven Gaines tell this story that came from a gospel tract. It is a story of appalling indifference. The pamphlet is called “Sing A Little Louder.”

“I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

“Their screams tormented us . . . If some of their screams reached our ears we’d just sing a little louder.”

Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country – SILENCE!”

Have you ever wondered HOW people could have stood by and let the holocaust just happen? Do you wonder why the Christians in this story chose to just sing their praise to God a little louder to drown out the victim’s cries?

People around you need you. They are crying out for help and you are not helping. What do you do to drown out their haunting cry for help? Singing louder may help or better still, just stop up your ears and take a nap. You have a friend or a child that is crying out for your help: what are you going to do about it? Are you going to pretend its not happening or make your normal excuses, “Like, I don’t know what to do. Nothing I could do would help. How do you know? So you try and fail, it that not better than not trying at all.