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최중현 교수(롬한인장로교회) 영어설교- The Cross of the Lord

김영애 기자

The Cross of the Lord 

(Luke 23:26-43)

1. Today’s text is about the execution process of the Lord’s crucifixion.

(1) First, to understand the text, let’s look at the execution process of the crucifixion at the time. If you look at verse 16 of the text, it says that [they dragged the Lord away]. At that time, execution by crucifixion required carrying a wooden cross weighing as much as four sacks of rice from the pavilion to Golgotha, the execution site. Of course, the distance was 800 meters, but the road was so steep that it was called [Via Dolorosa], or [Road of Pain]. However, while carrying the prisoner to the execution site, what the torturers, or [lictors] at the time, did was beat the prisoner with a whip. According to the record of the historian Josephus, “At the time, a whip was made by attaching a leather strap to a club and driving the end of it into a sharp piece of iron, bone, or stone to hit the prisoner. When the whip was struck, the veins were exposed, the muscles and tendons burst, and the organs spilled out.” So, how difficult is the 30-minute road to Calvary, the skull of Golgotha? And when they got there, four executioners executed them by driving nails into their wrists. And if a cross is driven into the ground and a tree is raised, the weight of a person’s body will be torn apart. Then, the crucifixion involved piercing side of the body with the spear and causing intestines to spill out, leading to death.

(2) But the Lord suffered this pain Himself. So the prophet Isaiah predicted the Lord’s suffering like this 700 years ago: Isaiah 53:5. [He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…By his stripes we are healed.]

(3) Yes. The Lord suffered on the cross for all of us. So when we think of the cross of the Lord, we think of Calvary.

2. Then who was with the Lord when He carried this painful cross?

(1) First, verse 26 of the text shows that Simon Quirenius shared the suffering. At that time, the area called Cyrene was a Roman territory in North Africa bordering the west of Egypt, and is probably now part of Libya. However, if you look at the area at the time, you will see that the Israelites immigrated here after Israel was destroyed by Assyria in 722 BC. So, according to records, about 100,000 Jews lived in the Cyrene area. So, in today’s text, Simon was probably one of the pilgrims who came to participate in the Passover event. However, he was unexpectedly caught by a soldier and forced to bear the cross of the Lord. Everyone, think about it. How severe must the torture have been for the Lord to have fallen as many as 14 times without being able to carry the cross? So the executioner, who saw this, forced Simon to carry the cross for him.

(2) Second, in verse 27 of the text, there are women weeping mournfully over the suffering of the Lord. At that time, all the disciples except John ran away, but the women in the text followed the Lord until the end and cried. That’s right. If you look at the church, how loyal are the female believers?

(3) Thirdly, verse 32 of the text states that two evildoers were executed together with the Lord.

3. But what is surprising is that those who shared in the Lord’s suffering were blessed.

(1) Let’s first look at Simon, who was forced to bear the cross. Looking at the record about Simon, Mark introduces Simon of Cyrene as “the father of Alexander and Rufus” in Mark 15:21. Ladies and gentlemen, the fact that Mark introduced the father of Alexander and Rufus probably means that Alexander and Rufus were famous figures in the early church at the time. What does it mean? That’s how much God blessed Simon. So, Mark mentions Alexander and Rufus. Perhaps that is why, according to records, there is a theory that Alexander became the governor of the early church. Also, in Romans 16:13, Paul also praised this family, saying, “Greetings to Rufus, the chosen one in the Lord, and to his mother, for his mother is my mother (Romans 16:13).” Let’s believe that if we take up the cross and follow the Lord, even if it is difficult, we will also be blessed with such blessings.

(2) Second, verse 29 shows that the women who cried out in tears about the Lord’s suffering were informed of a future warning. Let’s look at verse 29. [Behold, the day is coming when people will say, ‘Blessed is the barren, the womb that never gave birth, and the breast that never gave feed.’] That’s right. The saying that [a woman who cannot conceive and give birth] is more blessed is a warning about how terrible war can be. So, while warning us to prepare for this day, he lamented in verse 31, “If they do this to green trees, what will happen to dry trees?” So, after His resurrection, He met them in person and gave them a mission. That’s right. The Lord gave comfort and hope to the women who would be loyal to the church in the future.

(3) But surprisingly, God blessed the thief. If you look at verse 42, you will see that someone was saved. This person is probably the luckiest and blessed person in Christian history. However, this blessing does not come suddenly. Verse 40 of the text shows that upon seeing the Lord’s suffering, he repented for his sins. And he prayed for his soul. And what was the blessing given to him? Let’s all look at verse 43. That’s right. He said that he was blessed with the blessing of going to heaven.

[Then what is the message the text is trying to convey?]

That is, there is salvation in the cross of the Lord. Everyone, think about it. How can a thief who cannot keep the law go to heaven? So, the author emphasized that the cross of the Lord is salvation because the wicked Barabbas received life and the thief also achieved salvation with the Lord who was bearing the cross for us. That’s right. That is why we must believe in the cross that the Lord bore.

I pray that you will be blessed like Simon and that, like the thief, you will believe that sinners can reach salvation and that you will take up the cross that was given to you and follow the Lord today.

 

  

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취재: 김영애 기자    기사입력 : 24-05-10 23:43

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