This is the second sermon in my my Easter series, “Mighty to save.” This will be preached at the Good Friday Community service. All the Churches in the Hempstead Ministerial alliance are coming together for a Friday night service which I will be preaching. Here is the text of the sermon.

The Royal Chain Breaker
Mark 15:33-38.

Obviously this is the community Good Friday service, so most of you here tonight did not hear the first sermon in this series, entitled, “Mighty to save.” It dealt with Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem a week before He died. The crowds waved palm branches and shouted praise. The problem was, this same crowd that is shouting praise here, is the same crowd that shouts, “Crucify Him,” later. But a day earlier in John 12, we see true praise, when Mary comes and anoints His feet and begins to pour herself out for Him out of pure love and devotion. We learned that it is not the praise that is influenced by the crowds that brings our Lord true honor, but it is individual praise that comes from a heart that He has touched and changed that is pleasing to Him.

This evening we are going to look at the sacrifice of Jesus, and how it has broke the chains of sin over our lives.

Let us read from our text tonight.

Mark 15:33-38 ESV – And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (34) And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (35) And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” (36) And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” (37) And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. (38) And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

C. Truman Davis in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary discusses crucifixion. “What is crucifixion? A medical doctor provides a physical description: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain-the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of the feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over-the loss of tissue fluids reached a critical level-the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues-the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues…. Finally, he can allow his body to die. All this the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified him” (Mark 15:24).”

Tonight, I just want to look for a few moments what exactly the crucifixion of Jesus Christ ultimately means to us.

1. Let’s first look at the chain problem.

A. In order to understand the importance of the cross, we must first understand what we all have in common.

You see, we all may be from different backgrounds, cultures, races, economic levels, but we all have this is common – we were all bound in chains of sin. Here are a few Scriptures that bear this out.

Job 15:14 ESV – What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?

Psalm 14:3 ESV – They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one.

Romans 3:9b-12 ESV – For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

B. These chains we can’t take off ourselves.

Neither can religion, philosophy, psychology, or any other ideas and thought processes that come from the mind of man. You see, we don’t need a key to unlock these chains – we need these chains broken, so that they don’t bind us anymore.

And this is what we get from Jesus.

2. The chain breaker.

A. Jesus didn’t come to unlock the chains, but to break them once and for all.

B. Think of these 3 nails I’m holding in my hand for just a few moments.

Every pounding of the hammer on those nails, made the chains of our iniquities and sins weaker and weaker. Every time He lifted Himself up on those nails to breathe and speak, He was making those chains weaker and weaker. And then He finally broke those chains completely when He said, “It is finished!”

Notice what Scripture says about the reason Jesus came.

1 John 3:8b ESV – The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

You see, He wasn’t just satisfied with removing the chains of sin over us, He wanted them destroyed.

3. The chains are broken!

A. His death made it possible for us to be set free.

He delivered us out of darkness into His marvelous light through His sacrifice. He didn’t just set us free and destroy the chains, but He made all things new for us.

B. Notice in verse 38 the power of His death.

Mark 15:38 ESV – And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

When the curtain was torn in two, the separation between God and man, Jew and Gentile, was removed at the cross.

Ephesians 2:11-18 ESV – 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Not only was the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from us torn away and removed and our chains broken, but even nature and the death itself was affected by His death.

Matthew 27:50-54 ESV – 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

C. Because of Jesus, the chains are broken and new life has begun.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

This new life in Christ has these as its benefits – wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV – And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…

I could go on, but I’m going to stop right here.

Our royal sin breaker has come. He has proved He is mighty to save through His death on the cross. He died for you and me. And only through His death can you find favor with God. Religion will not save you; good works will not save you; think positively will not save you. Only turning from your sins and accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross can save you. Will you come to Him tonight?