The Sense of Touch

Note: This is the 3rd of a 4 week series.

1. Introduction

(Note: Prior to the Communion message, we will listen to a hymn and pass around several instruments surrounding the cross)

Matthew 13:16-17 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

The last few weeks we have been examining the 5 senses of the cross.  In the first week we discussed the Sense of Hearing.  We closed out eyes and listened to the sounds leading up to the crucifixion.

Blessed are YOUR EARS – for you heard the Gospel and God granted you the humility to respond with repentance.

In the second week, we look at the Sense of Sight. We examined several works of Art by Van Gogh that helped clarify the tortured agony Christ felt in Gethsemane

Blessed are YOUR EYES – for you looked at the cross and you were unable to look away.  The cross confounded you, gripped you, and changed your life.

No matter the stress in your life – YOU ARE BLESSED.
For hundreds, thousands of years, spiritual men were hopeful.
They were longing for the messiah.
They had no idea what he would look like, or how he would save.

The Bible says that RIGHTEOUS MEN, even PROPHETS LONGED, YEARNED to see the Kingdom of God.
Yet YOU see it.
YOU are blessed!

In the 4th week of this series we will explore the sense of Taste and Smell as we study the Seder Feast that Christ experienced.

Today we use our Sense of Touch to examine the Instruments of the Cross.

There are many physical instruments surrounding the Cross of our Lord.  And I believe that God placed symbolic meaning into just about all of them – for us to learn from.  We are now going to pass a few instruments around – during this brief song

-The chains that bound the arrested Jesus

-The nails that held him to the cross

-The thorns that crowned his sacred head

-The dice that were cast

-The raw lumber that Jesus was fastened to

2. Song during passing of instruments

Suggestion: Instrumental solo version of “The Old Rugged Cross” (e.g  Piano, Violin, Guitar)

During this song, these instruments will be passed around so that everyone can touch them.
Take your time though. No rush.
Feel the  texture, the size, the weight.

3. Communion Message

Matthew 27:27-31 
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

As we consider the sense of Touch, today we examine 2 specific “Instruments of the Passion”

Point #1

The first instrument is one that we all know well.

You have it with you at all times.
It is in your mouth
It is your saliva

This may sound gross – but do me a favor and swish it around in your mouth.
Swish around enough now in order to spit
See, this was one of the most powerful instruments at the Cross.

This was one of the most powerful weapons used against Christ.
God gave us spit to help us chew and digest.
It was meant to be kept internally
It was never meant to be used as a weapon of humiliation.
Think about that! Man has taken a good thing and done something with it that god never intended or envisioned.

What does spitting on someone really do?
It cannot hurt the body, nor is it even intended to.
As one author writes, “Spitting is intended to degrade the soul, and it does.”

So what do we learn here?

First, we learn what we are capable of in our sinful nature.
“But I would never spit on someone…”
Maybe, but have you ever felt big by making someone else feel small? I have!
Have you ever made someone else feel bad so that you could feel good? I have!

Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, “When you did it to one of the least of my brothers, then you were doing it to me.”

Second, we learn that Christ is ultimately humble.

Isaiah 50:6-7 prophetically states, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Your Lord is willing to undergo not just physical pain for you, but even emotional degradation and humiliation

Third, your saliva is a promise of God’s persisting love!
If you wonder how much God loves you, you simply need to swoosh around some saliva in your mouth and remember that you cannot antagonize God enough to give up on you!

Point #2

The second instrument is the Crown of Thorns

This is one that we are all fairly familiar with
But these thorns were 1-2 inches long, different from our rose bush thorns.

Again here we see the amazing creativity of our sinful nature.
A very nimble fingered soldier goes out to pick thorns.
He then weaves them into a crown – almost a piece of Art!
How proud he must have been of his creation
Even the size is perfectly prepared for Christ’s head. A perfect fit!

But what do thorns represent in the scriptures?
They point not to our sin but to the results and fruit of our sin
In Genesis 3:17-18, they represent the results of leaving the garden
In Numbers 33:55, they represent trouble brought on by disobedience
And Jesus often spoke of the devastation caused by thorns and thorn bushes.

Thorns are the results of our sin.
See Christ doesn’t just forgive your SIN

In the symbolism of Christ wearing the thorny crown, we see that our Lord is also bearing the results and fruit of our sin.
He bears the consequences of your explosive temper
He wears the shame of your addictions
He carries the weight of your paralyzing shame
He shares the disgrace, anxiety and discouragement of your selfishness, cowardice and envy.
He bears your guilt, your guiltiness, your scars.
Again, this crown of thorns is a promise from God

If you think, “Sure, he’ll forgive my sins, but what about my hurts, memories, failings and shame” – then go out and find some thorns and weave a crown.
And be reminded of the fact that God not only forgives your sin but wants to bear their consequences – so that you can have a fresh start each day!

4. Prayer for Bread and Wine

Much thanks to Max Lucado’s “He Chose The Nails” for much inspiration in this message

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