The Death of the Son of God
Sermon Summary
This message is the first in a three part series on the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. There are always questions surrounding death, and it is no different when we look back at the death of Jesus. Especially when we look at the injustice of Jesus’ death sentence and the horrific way it was carried out! Why did Jesus have to die? Why did it have to be so cruel? Why did He allow it to happen? He knew the religious leaders wanted Him dead, so He could have just avoided Jerusalem, but He didn’t. This study examines the series of events preceding His arrest and looks at the people who were the motivation for His willingness to make such a sacrifice. Jesus died because He had come to seek and to save that which was lost. John 3:16-17 states it beautifully when it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Community Group Discussion Guide

Ice Breaker: Jesus could have set up a carpenter’s shop in a remote village and just lived the simple life, surrounded by family and friends. The human side of Jesus must have struggled with the task He had been given. Have you ever thought about the many opportunities Jesus must have had to walk away from Jerusalem, step out of the spotlight, and avoid the wrath of the religious leaders? Discuss.

1. Can you imagine giving your life for a friend or a family member? Can you imagine yourself giving your life for an enemy? Jesus died for His friends, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, but He also died for His enemies. Discuss your thoughts.

Rom 5:6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
Rom 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2. Isn’t it amazing how utterly cruel the world can be? The mean things that were said to Mary after her beautiful act of kindness towards Jesus are just one example. Another example would be the way the ruling authorities sought to murder Lazarus just because He had been raised from the dead. Now, here’s a tough question...Has there ever been a time when you’ve allowed self to cause you to act or speak in a way that hurt others? Yep, Jesus died for that too!!

Eph 2:3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Eph 2:4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
Eph 2:5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

3. The world looked at Jesus’ death as a great defeat! However, we know Jesus won the epic spiritual battle for all ages when He died, was buried and then Resurrected! Discuss how Jesus’ death was a strategic and brilliant strategy to win the war between God and Satan for human souls. The following verses will help guide your discussion.

Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Heb 2:10  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Heb 2:11  Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
Heb 2:12  He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."
Heb 2:13  And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me."
Heb 2:14  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--
Heb 2:15  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Full Sermon Notes
Today we begin a three part series of messages based on a season special to Christians all over the world. Many Christians officially observe Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday and last approximately six weeks before Easter. We should ask ourselves why this time of year is so special to the Christian Church and whether or not it is a special time for us personally. If it is only a special time for the leaders of the church, but no so much for the members, the church is in a sad state of affairs!
Over the next three weeks we're going to look closely at the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Today's message is titled "The Death of the Son of God."
Any time someone dies, we usually ask why? Why did it have to happen? Why did it happen that way? Why did it happen when it did? For most of these questions we'll have to wait until heaven to get an answer. However, when we ask why Jesus had to die and why He had to die the way He died, why He died when He died, and why it had to be Him, we have been granted amazing insight! This morning I'm going to read you the story surrounding our text John 12:24.

24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Jesus was talking about Himself. He knew if He died it would allow many others to live. If He died He could destroy death. If He died His Blood could wash away the horrible stain of sin. However, He also knew His death would be horrible. He would carry the weight of the sin of the world. Let's open our Bibles to John 11:32 and we're going to pray God will use the details of this story to show us why Jesus, The Son of God,  had to die!

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus had to die so He could save His friend Lazarus!

Some believe, one of the reasons Jesus wept was because He knew Lazarus would have to someday face death all over again. Jesus had to die so He could defeat death once and for all!

Romans 6:10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Okay, back to our story...

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!
50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

Jesus had to die so He could save the nation of Israel and the scattered Children of God!

Jesus loved the nation of Israel. One time He stood over Jerusalem and said this...
Mat 23:37  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Only by Christ death could their be hope of salvation for the Nation of Israel and her scattered people. They couldn't keep the law. They couldn't stay faithful to God. They could not purify themselves no matter how many animal sacrifices they made. They needed the Lamb of God, the Promised Messiah to make a way for them to come back to God! Paul would later put it this way in the book of Romans...

Romans 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Back to our story John 11:55…

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.
56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?”
57 But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.

John 12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Jesus had to die so He could save the Mary's of the world!

Not just Lazarus and Martha's sister Mary, who was a respected and reputable Jewish women, but also Mary Magdalene who Jesus had cast out seven demons out of. And yes, Jesus had to die for His own mother Mary.  Although Mary was a highly favored of God, she would need a Savior like the rest of us! And then there was the nameless woman of terrible reputation in Luke's gospel who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair before anointing Him with an alabaster jar of perfume. Talk about upsetting the Pharisee's. Here's what one of them said...

Luke 7:39...“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

And here's what was said about Mary in our story...

John 12:4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ’”

6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “└It was intended┘ that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,
11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

How about that for justice. Lazarus had been sentenced to death simply for being alive! Boy, when sin, pride, and greed for power get ahold of someone, there's no limits to the lows they'll go in order to get what they want. And yes, Jesus died for these people to, but much of the time their pride keeps them from admitting their need for Jesus. So sad!! Back to our story...

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ’” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.
19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

Jesus had to die so He could save the Gentiles of the world!

Jesus had come to the Jews first, but His love and offer of forgiveness extended way beyond the bloodline of the Hebrew people. Paul would later put it this way in the book of Romans...

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Listen to what Jesus said to Andrew and Philip when they told Him the gentiles wanted to see Him...

John 12:23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

What did He mean by this. Let's look again to the book of Romans. Amazing truth...

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

The first born among many brothers! Jesus died so the family of God could grow! That's right. Through Jesus we've been adopted into the family and grafted into the tree that  receives life from the root source which is God!
Jesus went on to say to Andrew and Phillip…

25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

Jesus had to die so He could save the Crowd!

Yes Jesus cares about the crowd. You might remember this statement from Jesus at another time in His ministry...
Mat 9:36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus cares about the crowds because He knows every individual in the crowd. There's a lot of us in this room today. You may feel anonymous, but let me assure you Jesus knows your name and He knows your needs. He knows your story. He knows your dark secrets. That's why He had to die! He loves you and has already paid for your sins, but you have to choose to receive all that God has already chosen to give you! Sadly, many members of the crowd refuse God's offer of forgiveness, but those who accept find life eternal.
Here's the way Paul stated it in Romans...

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Jesus had to die so He could defeat Satan!

John 12:31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Jesus wasn't throwing out a threat to those who were against Him, He was prophesying that Satan, the prince of this world was going to be defeated shortly! Jesus knew He was going to defeat death and the grave! And He knew if He was the seed to die and be buried, He would also be the seed to spread life to many!! Jesus did not die because He had lost the fight, He died to win the epic spiritual war that had raged for centuries! He knew His death would breed life. He put it this way...

John 12:32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

And the best summary ever written of the reason Jesus died...

John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.