Victory Through Sorrow: Easter Message, Part 1 :: By Ron Ferguson

Victory Through Sorrow: Easter Message, Part 1 :: By Ron Ferguson

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected



The following poem is one of mine I did for Easter 2022, but each stanza comes from one of the following sources:

Psalm 22
Psalm 69
Isaiah 52 and 53
The Gospel accounts of the betrayal night and the crucifixion.

This is how I did it, the method I followed for the message/sermon when it was delivered in 2022, but just briefly as one message. A stanza was read, and then I spoke on the facts contained in that stanza. What I will do here is expand it and write some comments for each stanza, and thus we work through. Let us begin.

“Father, let this cup pass from Me;
Nevertheless Your will be done.”
His soul that night was in agony,
And human comforters were none.

The dread of the cross was such that the Lord prayed earnestly in the Garden of Gethsemane that a way might be found for the cup to pass. The “cup” was the cross and the deep unfathomable depths it would mean, and the Lord knew it would result in such a horrible judgment on sin, that is, on Himself. Men’s sins are so horrible that the wrath against them must also be horrible. Sin is always matched with consequence, the “few stripes and the many stripes” of Luke 12:47-59.

All through His earthly witness, the Lord did the Father’s will – Hebrews 10:9 “then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will.’ He takes away the first in order to establish the second.”

Complete surrender to the Father’s will meant total obedience, the natural comment of the Lord’s, “Not My will but Thine be done.” What an example that is! Totally surrendered to God is something very, very few of us know about.

The agony in the Garden was so great that He sweat as it were great drops of blood. The prospect of the cross was too awful to contemplate, for Jesus knew the Messianic Psalms 22 and 69 about the dread that lay ahead. In all that, there was not one comforter. The disciples were asleep. Only an angel from heaven strengthened Him (Luke 22:43).

“I find this One to be innocent.”
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The chief priests wanted no adjournment;
Their hatred overflowed the brim.

Pilate declared Christ’s innocence. Gutless Pilate had no moral conscience but pandered to his own popularity and ego. He took the easy road that slid through the slime, but it was to be the slimy road to hell. At least, may God have been merciful and saved Pilate’s wife. Apocryphal records identify her as Claudia Procula.

There are many people in the trial and crucifixion who must bear considerable guilt. Apart from Judas, the most culpable were the chief priests and Pharisees and Sadducees. Their guilt has gone before, and in blazoned wrath, it will descend on their heads at the great white throne.

“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” cried the people led on by their religious leaders. So many persons were swept along, deluded by evil. That criminal Pilate, who hypocritically condemned criminals himself, thought he’d solve his dilemma this way – Matthew 27:24 “When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his HANDS in front of the multitude saying, ‘I am innocent of this Man’s blood. See to that yourselves.’” Not all the perfumes of Arabia could ever cleanse those guilty hands.

Gutless Pilate with a conscience foul,
Sent the Son of God to the cross.
He called for water and a towel
“You are not Caesar’s friend. Count the loss!”

The callousness of the human heart knows how to tweak a manipulated person. The Jews were great manipulators, probably helped along by their rulers, and this now is what they used as deadly arrows aimed at Pilate’s mind – John 19:12 “As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “IF YOU RELEASE THIS MAN, you are no friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” Being a friend of Caesar in this life had greater usefulness for this corrupt leader of men.

What sort of conscience did Pilate have? Certainly, it was not unlike this one that is described – 1Timothy 4:2 “by means of the HYPOCRISY of liars SEARED in their own CONSCIENCE as with a branding iron.”

Water and a towel may have washed clean grubby hands, but they cannot in any way cleanse the guilty grubby soul. As one glorious hymn says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The thing with the unconverted man is that he has no real conscience about his sin and wickedness. It is like water off a duck’s back. When a Christian sins, his conscience lets him know about it promptly.

“Here stands the Man! Jews, behold your king!”
“Except Caesar, no king have we!
Crucify Him! To Caesar we cling!
Put Him to death. No further plea.”

What is the greatest hypocrisy than to claim as yours what you do not believe? The Jews were always a rebellious people and conveniently yelled out, “We have no king but Caesar.” Now in the passage, John tells us it was actually the chief priests who were shouting this out at the top of their voices, which makes the hypocrisy extreme because they were the greatest opponents of the Romans. For the case of expediency, they placed themselves in the hands of the Romans, and in turn, the Romans exacted a terrible price in A.D. 70.

One of the most famous sayings in this series of events is in Latin “Ecce Homo,” which means, “Behold the man.” That expression is used by John – John 19:5 “Jesus therefore came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe and Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the Man!’”

Vacillating Pilate also tried again to get the Jews to release Jesus, whether through desperation or mockery, and this is recorded – John 19:14 “Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover. It was about the sixth hour and he said to the Jews, ‘Behold, your King!’” And the reaction to that – CRUCIFY HIM!

There is yet one more consideration too complex to do in this message, but woven through all this was the plan and will of God.

I will leave you with this verse – Acts 2:23 “this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

Hark! The cries ring loud – “Crucify Him!”
Incited by the priests, they bawled.
“Away with Him! Tear Him limb from limb.”
And it was hateful spite that called.

We have a word in English – “incitement,” and another one – “agitation.” There is also a well-known phenomenon known as “crowd mentality.” When vile men want to achieve their wicked design, there is no better way than to agitate a crowd to incite them to perform the way wicked men cunningly devise. Once the crowd mentality has taken over, then the plan will be in place. This crowd was incited into a desire for death, and I suppose most of the Jews there had no idea what was happening. They were but pawns in a deceitfully devised plot by the chief priests.

John puts it this way – John 19:15-16 “They therefore cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him.

Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar,’ so he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.”

The incitement to hate is a simple progression for sinful, depraved men. All are depraved, all who are born into this world in sin, and hate is one of the fruits of the old fallen nature.

The sad irony of all this is when the people bawled out, “Away with Him, away with Him,” they were actually demonstrating a cameo of their own future. This is their future – Matthew 8:12 “but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” AND THIS, Matthew 7:23 “Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

That farce of a trial then concluded.
He was taken without delay.
Almost all Jewry was deluded;
To Calvary, they made their way.

Do you hate injustice? I hate it with a vengeance. That trial in Pilate’s hands was a total miscarriage of justice, and in the end, all Pilate wanted to do was to wash his hands of the whole affair. Legal systems all over the world see so much injustice that it is a disgrace, and nothing will be correct until the Lord returns at the Second Coming. As for Pilate, today he is gnashing his teeth in darkness.

Jesus was taken without delay to Golgotha, led out of Jerusalem to the great delight of the chief priests. There were so many emotions that day – consider how it was for Mary and the disciples, and the faithful ones who had come to accept Jesus as the King of the Jews and waited for the setting up of the Kingdom, but now he was to be executed.

I know Catholicism accepts the so-called stations of the cross, but I reject that because it is not biblical, only from distorted tradition. What we do know is that the journey to the place of execution was exhausting – Luke 23:26 “When they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and PLACED ON HIM THE CROSS to carry behind Jesus.” They would not have coerced a stranger unless the Lord was not capable in human strength of carrying the cross. Remember, Jesus was perfect God and perfect Man, but He knew the frailties of the human body, and He had been beaten and abused.

I inferred that the Jews had been deluded. Delusion is serious, and Satan is the master of delusion. The world today is deluded over a number of things, and climate is chief among them.

More than others, see that body marred.
Behold Him on that cross of grief.
Hung there; from the human race debarred.
See for Him, there was no relief.

Have you ever thought about this verse – Isaiah 52:14 “Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance WAS MARRED MORE THAN ANY MAN, and His form more than the sons of men.” What this verse says is that my Lord was so cruelly treated and bodily marred that there was scarcely any resemblance to a human being. His face was unrecognizable.

Commentator Delitzsch said, “The prophet, Isaiah, sits at the foot of the cross on Calvary, and sees the Redeemer as he hung upon the accursed tree after he had been buffeted, and crowned with thorns, and smitten, and scourged, and crucified, when his face was covered with bruises and with gore, and his frame and features distorted with agony.”

Isaiah also says, “He was despised and forsaken of men” [my expression, “from the human race debarred”]. He was rejected by men, “but as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God.” The evil of men is so great that the innocent are abused and tortured, but the sins of this world are being stored up for the wrath of the Tribulation.

On the cross, the Lord had no comforters, no relief. Before Him, generally, there was a hostile crowd, and He was numbered with the transgressors. Why did He do it? He did it for YOU, for ME.

The Lord crushed Him, putting Him to grief;
But in His mouth was no deceit;
And on either side they nailed a thief,
But one of them was made complete.

Isaiah takes up the sufferings of the Lord more than any other prophet. Isaiah 53:10 “The LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.” If we did not know this verse already, it would appear most strange when first it is read, for it was Jehovah who was PLEASED to crush Him [Jesus] and put Him to grief. We are on very sacred ground here, for the whole Trinity was connected with Calvary and our subsequent salvation. We may never fully understand why the LORD crushed Him, but remember, our sins were laid on Him, and it was the Father who did that. Such was the love of God. There was no other way.

Why was the LORD pleased to inflict such hurt on the Son? It was because there was no other way. Without Calvary, we all would have been lost in sin and off to eternal damnation. Why did the Lord crush Him, and why did Jesus “go through with it”? There is one verse that answers that – Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That joy was the great harvest of souls redeemed through the sufferings of the cross. The Father is pleased with all who come to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is Isaiah again who informs us that there was no deceit in His mouth, and He had done no violence. He was the spotless, innocent Lamb of God.

What a joy it was for one thief to repent and have his sins washed away by the very sacrifice he shared in, in one sense. “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

King He was, but in appearance not.
Those who gazed saw no attraction,
And His stately form you would not spot.
Sinners wanted no transaction.

Pilate, whether in mockery or in some twisted understanding, nailed to the cross, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” He had no concept of that, and neither did most of the nation, but KING OF THE JEWS He truly is. He came as King; He suffered as King; He was crucified as King; and He will return as King. There are two wonderful verses that apply because of His sufferings:

(a). When Jesus returns at the Second Coming – Revelation 19:16 “On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

(b). When Jesus shall reign in the Millennium over the nation that rejected Him– Zechariah 14:9 “And the LORD will be KING OVER ALL THE EARTH. In that day the LORD will be the only One, and His name the only One.”

When He was on earth, the Lord did not stand out as some film star falsity but was just like any ordinary man. In fact, He may not even have been “handsome” as the world knows it, and wrongly portrayed by artists, sometimes as an effeminate looking individual. NO. That is wrong. Jesus was a hard-working carpenter, a rugged Man. This is how Isaiah puts it – Isaiah 53:2 “He grew up before Him like a tender shoot and like a root out of parched ground. He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.”

Jesus is now the Man in glory, His brow bearing the marks of Calvary, and His wonderful divine form is SO attractive to those who are His followers. Yes, we love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.

“Commit Yourself to the Lord, You there.
See if He will deliver You.”
And sneering, they all stand there and stare.
“He delights in You. Isn’t that true?”

Scorners or mockers are the lowest of the low, especially at the cross. They think they are really something, smart alecks, but in reality, they pursue the Devil’s desires. In the past, we spoke on scorners when we did Psalm 1. Scorners were the end of the progression downwards – wicked sinners, scorners. They thought they had a field day at the cross, but let us see how much scorning they will do at the great white throne.

Messianic Psalm 22 contains the prophecy for the viper’s nest of scorners – Psalm 22:7-8 “All who see me sneer at me. They separate with the lip, they wag the head saying, ‘Commit yourself to the LORD. Let Him deliver him. Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.’”

There is a prophecy we’ll consider at another time, but Psalm 22:12, “Many bulls have surrounded me,” and later on, Psalm 22:16, “Dogs have surrounded me,” show the torment of the cross. I think these “bulls” and “dogs” were also among the contingent of the mockers. The world today is full of mockers against Christians and the Lord, as demonstrated in the filthy, satanic Mardi-Gras for homosexuals, but they will meet the same fate as these before the cross when their scorning falls on their own heads.

The scorning was prolonged as it began in the Roman Praetorium and continued. Matthew 27:29-30 “and after weaving a crown of thorns they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand, and they kneeled down before Him and MOCKED Him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.”

“I am not a man, but just a worm;
Reproached and despised by all men.”
The sneering lips and their hearts confirm,
And wagging heads condemn Him then.

The quote in the first line of that stanza comes from the Psalms, as do the third and fourth lines.

We have read some of that earlier, but in full, here it is – Psalm 22:6-8 “But I AM A WORM and not a man, a REPROACH of men, and DESPISED by the people. All who see me sneer at me. They separate with the lip, they wag the head saying, ‘Commit yourself to the LORD. Let Him deliver him. Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

This is the first time in the poem I have used a quote from Jesus on the cross (the first two lines) not audible, though. Isn’t it a mark of inspiration that God could insert into His word such prophetic accuracy 1,000 years before it happened? Those three major passages we are drawing from in Isaiah 52/53 and Psalms 22 and 69 all applied to the cross and express the emotional and physical torments of the Son of God, along with His prayers from the cross, that which we do not get in the New Testament except for this one in Gethsemane – Mark 14:34 “He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch.”

In Hebrews, Paul (I believe Paul wrote Hebrews) wrote this – Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made PURIFICATION of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Purification of sins is the cleansing of sins through sacrifice, and for the Lord, that meant going through sorrow’s deep sea.

He was a worm. Why a worm? A worm is the lowest of the low, groveling around under the ground. The Lord was crushed under our sins, forced lower and lower. “I am a worm and NOT a man,” Jesus said. That meant passing through conditions no man would experience. We will never know what the Lord suffered for us.

But what was before Him at Calvary? Sneering lips, head wagging, mockery, and reproach.


The post Victory Through Sorrow: Easter Message, Part 1 :: By Ron Ferguson appeared first on Rapture Ready.

Be first to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.