Service of Praise and Remembrance: Christ’s suffering
April 2nd, 1972 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-2-72 7:30 p.m.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band . . .
And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe.
And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they placed it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.
And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. . .
And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a Place of a Skull,
They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched Him there;
And set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads,
And saying, Thou that desroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said,
He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
He trusted in God; let God deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.
The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This Man calleth for Elijah.
And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink.
And the rest said, Let be, let Him alone, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.
Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly, truly, truly, this was the Son of God.
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread:
And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.
After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.
For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come, till He come.
[1 Corinthians 11:23-26]
“And when He had given thanks, He brake the bread,” and they all shared it together [1 Corinthians 11:24].
Now may all of us stand up together? I’m going to pray again. And when I kneel, you men here at the front, there’ll be a place here at the altar rail for you to kneel. And all of you, either in the aisle or between the pew, holding this symbol of our Lord’s sacrifice, if you’re able, let’s all kneel.
Our Lord, the haunting melody of that song, so oft times stays in our hearts when we observe this memorial. “Let us break bread together on our knees, on our knees.” This is where we belong, Lord, down on our knees, on our faces, looking up to Thee. Thou art so great and we’re so small. Thou art so holy and pure, and we are so sinful. So lovely Thou art, and we so unlovely.
O Lord, the sacrifice of Christ humbles us; that God should have thus so loved us [John 3:16]. Master, in our little way we might bring back to Thee somewhat the love and the devotion owed to Thee. Thou hast bought us with Thine own blood [1 Peter 1:18-19], purchased us with Thine own life [Acts 20:28], and we love Thee for it.
Now, holding the bread in your hand, “This is My body, which is broken for you; take, eat, in remembrance of Me” [1 Corinthians 11:24]. Let us eat it together. In Thy blessing, Lord, and in Thy dear name, amen; now we’ll be seated.
“After the same manner also, He took the cup when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me” [1Corinthians 11:25]. And He took the cup, and blessed it.
Our Lord, is the crushed fruit of the vine more crimson than the ground on which fell the blood that poured out from Thy face, Thy hands, Thy feet, and Thy side, when the thirsty earth drank up the crimson of God? [John 19:34]. O Lord Jesus, in our tears and in our sadness for sin, there is yet within our souls the welling up of holy words of praise and glory, that thus did God make provision, that we might be forgiven, restored, returned to the family of God, that some day faultless and pure we shall see Thy face and live [Exodus 33:20].
And in Thy debt of gratitude, Lord, this memorial is shared by the sweet fellow members of this dear church, as each one of us drinks from the cup, the symbol, the sign, the very color of the blood of Christ poured out for us. In the Savior’s name, Lord, make it preciously meaningful, and accept our gratitude and praise, in Thy dear name, amen.
“This cup is the new promise, the new hope, the new covenant, the new contract in My blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me” [1 Corinthians 11:25].
There’s no sweeter thing that we do in this church than after our Lord’s Supper, we join hands and sing “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.” Let’s join hands across these aisles, all the way around.