It's Time | Easter Service

How Did Jesus Make His Death And Resurrection Beautiful?

James Greer
Apr 9, 2023    29m
Join us this Easter Sunday as Pastor James explains how Jesus made His death and resurrection beautiful in its time. The Crucifixion of Jesus was brutal, but it holds immense purpose. Without Jesus' sacrifice, we would not be saved. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] The base text was in Ecclesiastes 3:11 and it says this. He, God, made everything beautiful in its time. Guess what everything is? Some of the people here say, man, it's not beautiful in my life right now. And we're going to look at some people in the Bible that definitely it wasn't beautiful in their life. Not only Jesus, Can you imagine? He was crucified. That didn't look very beautiful. You're looking at two criminals, one on each side of Him that were being crucified with Him. That wasn't very beautiful at that time. But Jesus says, if you become a Christian, if you accept the price that He paid, if you understand how brutally beaten He was, that He can take the most brutal things in the world, and in His time, He can still make them beautiful. Now, the reason you got to read the whole verse because he said, I also put eternity in their hearts. In other words, God put the eternity in everybody's heart. Except that no one can find out the works that God does from the beginning to end. Now what He is saying is, God wants you to know that no matter what you're going through right now, because not everybody is so excited and a lot of people are going through, I almost said hell, but I didn't.

James Greer: [00:01:17] A lot of people are not really living the abundant life right now. But God wants you to know that if you accept Christ in His time, He'll make it beautiful. He says, I know that there's nothing better for the Christian for them to rejoice and to do good in their life. So God says, Listen, if you're a Christian, I want you to rejoice and do good in your life. Amen. And that's what we want for you here at Journey Church. We want you to learn to live a life that you can rejoice and have a good life. He said, And also that every man, woman, boy, and girl should eat and drink and enjoy the goods of their labor. It's a gift of God. In other words, God said, Listen, I want you to enjoy life. But first of all, you got to settle that you have eternity, that you're going to Heaven. Then I want you to know, I want you to rejoice. And then I want you to know you can even enjoy your job. That's some [inaudible]. Amen. But you know something?

James Greer: [00:02:16] Leading up to all this abundant life, was there some brutal life? And we're going to talk about it starting in Matthew in a minute. And that Jesus can make what looks like even the most brutal and hurting things and situations in your life beautiful. But we're going to pick up where Jesus came before the governor Pilate. They had lied about him and had him arrested. And there were two people that they had arrested. They had arrested Jesus who was really innocent, and they had arrested Barabbas that was a known criminal. And so they brought Jesus before Pilate. And he says, I have Barabbas and I have Jesus. Which do you want me to set free for you? And the people answered and said, Barabbas. Now, how in the world could something beautiful come out of saying, Hey, I want you to set Barabbas free? And Pilate said he asked the question, So what should I do with Jesus? Let me ask you something. Did you know everybody here is going to have to answer this question? What are you going to do with Jesus? Are you going to put Him on the back burner? Are you going to invite Him in your heart? Are you going to just forget Him altogether? One day, you won't forget Him. But what are you going to do with Jesus? Is He going to be the Savior? Is He going to help you have the abundant life? But every one of us will have to come to the point, that same question that Pilate asked all the people.

James Greer: [00:03:41] They said, What do you want me to do with this person you call the Christ? And they all answered and said, Crucify Him. Now, see, I don't think that Pilate really believed that that's what they were going to say. If you picked it up in Luke, it picks up a different story. It says, But the people shouted. They started shouting together. And in Luke 23:18, it said, Take this man away. Let Barabbas go free. And what I want to tell you in a minute, how in the world could something like this be good? Barabbas was a man who was in prison part of the time for a riot in the city. And he was not only that, he was a murderer. And so it was part of the way that was leading up to the resurrection. But we couldn't be free if this wouldn't have happened. So how can you get beauty from Barabbas? I can tell you. What could be beautiful about releasing Barabbas over Jesus? Barabbas was a known sinner, a murderer, and rebellious. How could that, how could it happen? Well, the Bible makes it clear that Barabbas was chosen to be set free, why Jesus was chosen to be beaten and go to the cross. So what's beautiful about Barabbas? Are y'all ready? Some of you are visiting. Every time I say, Are you all ready? It's the same answer.

James Greer: [00:05:09] Are you all ready? The truth is me and you are a type of Barabbas. Me and you are a type of Barabbas because the Bible says we've all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Now you say, Well, you might not have murdered. That's true. You might not live a rebellious life. That's true. But we have all sinned. And the Bible says the wages of sin is death. The gift is free. Gift of God is eternal life. But it's only through Jesus Christ our Lord. So because we've all sinned, there had to be a price paid and that price had to be through a sinless life. So the price to be paid for my sin and your sin couldn't be Barabbas. So the beauty of Barabbas was he was set free only because Jesus was put on the cross and he had never sinned. Amen. So if me and you are a type of Barabbas, and we are, thank goodness they let him go free. Jesus paying the price for our sins, forgiveness of our sins where we can have no more guilt makes it beautiful. Matt of fact, John 8:32 says, You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. So there's unbelievable about Barabbas. I never thought of us as being a type of him, but we were. Pilate, then he saw that he could do nothing with this crowd and he was afraid they were going to have a riot.

James Greer: [00:06:29] And he took some water and he washed his hands in front of the whole crowd. And by the way, you can't believe that the majority is always right. Many times they're wrong. Then he said, I'm not going to be guilty of this man's death. So you are the ones who are causing it. And then he goes, this. All the people answered and said, We and our children will be responsible for his death. Well, what they didn't know is they're true. Not only their children were responsible, I was responsible and you were responsible because we never could live a sinless life. So the truth was they let Barabbas go and put Jesus on the cross because He took the place of me and you. And so they set Barabbas free. Then they took Jesus and they spit on Him. They took sticks and beat His head. And after they finished, the soldiers took off His robe, put on the clothes again, and they led Him away to be crucified. Jesus was brutally nailed to the cross, but so were our sins. He was nailed to the cross, and then He was buried in the grave. It was a type of this. Jesus was sinless and everybody that confesses their sins to Jesus, everybody that asks Him to forgive them, your sins will be a picture of being nailed to the cross and then buried in the grave.

James Greer: [00:07:52] So why do you resurrect them? I see people all the time that have asked God to forgive them, forgive them. Then they come back and say, Man, you just can't believe what I did. I can't live with my past. That's what Jesus went to the cross for. Why do you resurrect your sins? We want Jesus as one that resurrected, not you, not your sins. He paid the price for your sins. The only reason you should keep bringing up your past if you've decided not to give them to Jesus. Amen. The cross was brutal and so was the crucifixion It tells us about it in Luke 23:32. There was also two others criminals. Now this is where it comes to every one of us. Every one of us are a type of the two criminals. They were led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Now, this is what happens. When we start talking about Jesus being crucified, many times we don't even stop and look at it. You don't see what's happening. I couldn't explain what the crucifixion is. It's beyond my imagination and yours. But we have gotten so used to saying Jesus was beaten that He was nailed to the cross and that He's crucified, that He did that. We really forget sometimes what He's done.

James Greer: [00:09:19] We talk about how our salvation was free. It's free to me and you. But there is a great price that was paid. I can't describe it. The clip can't describe it. But I can tell you it was very brutal. When I say that He can take the most brutal things in the world and make them beautiful in His time. The most brutal beating and crucifixion was Jesus Christ. And it came out to be the most beautiful thing that ever happened for me and you. Because what He did, He took our sins. And because death and the devil couldn't hold Him, He raised. He was risen on the third day and He lives. And so can we. Amen. He was crucified on Friday. But guess what was coming? Amen. And so when Jesus takes the most brutal, hurtful thing, He makes something beautiful out of it. He can too. This is what I want you to know. You might be here today and you might be hurting. That might be Friday. If you're here hurting, I want to tell you if He's going to make it beautiful, think of this. Today is Friday, but Sunday's coming. You say, well, I'm not in that type, but I seem like I'm in a real dark place in my life. You know what that reminds me of? Saturday. So for some of you are in Friday. But guess what? Sunday's. Some of y'all are Saturday and you're saying, Oh man, it's so dark in my life, I'll never, ever going to be better.

James Greer: [00:10:44] I've been there before. When you get discouraged and depressed, you think it's never going to get better. That's Saturday. But guess what? Sunday is coming. And then I hope some of y'all are on Sunday. Brand new life, a fresh start. And some of you today need to get that fresh start. You can put everything in the past and say, Hey, Sunday's a type of brand new beginnings in your life and that you have a life that's unbelievable and can start again. See, the beautiful thing about the crucifixion also is Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And divided. Do you understand that Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do? Let me give you some important insight. Number one, Jesus forgave them before they asked. And what he did by doing that, we need to forgive before the person that hurt us asks. Not only we need to forgive them before they ask, if you want to have healthy relationships, whether it's you, your kids, your mate, anywhere on your job, the first thing you need, You need to learn to forgive quickly and before somebody asks. So what do you want to do? If you're in a relationship, learn to forgive quickly and before they ask or it'll build up and before long, your heart will start to get hard. So number one, He forgave them before they asked.

James Greer: [00:11:58] Then He said, forgive them, for they know not what they do because He forgave them, did that caused them to automatically be saved and go to Heaven? No. But it gave them and opened the door for them when the opportunity came for them to ask Jesus to forgive them. Not only did He forgive them before they asked, it freed Jesus from having any hard feelings or sin against them. Because even on the cross, even while He's being nailed to the cross, even while He has been beaten, listen, He still did not sin. How do you forgive somebody that really hurts you? In light of what Jesus did for me and you. So what you need to do when you forgive somebody that hurts you, you're the one that's set free and they're responsible to Jesus Christ. See, the first thing beautiful about the crucifixion is Jesus was willing to forgive even the people that brutally beat Him. That's also a picture of there's absolutely nothing that Jesus will not forgive me and you of. It's a reminder of there might be somebody that God lays upon your heart tonight that you might need to forgive. It says, And then the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying He saved others. Let Him save Himself. Is he the Christ, the chosen one? I mean, my goodness gracious. See, if He'd have saved Himself, we wouldn't have been saved.

James Greer: [00:13:23] He chose not to save Himself so we could be saved. And then the soldiers, they mocked Him. And they come in to offend Him with sour wine and saying, Listen, if you're the king of the Jews, save yourself. Now see what happened, Jesus continued to be tempted. They were saying you're here, you're being suffering. Why don't you just save yourself? See, He was tempted. He had the power to save. They did not take Jesus' life. He gave His life. And so that's what happened. And the inscription also was written over the letter says, hey, this is the king of the Jews. So this is what's going to happen. They went from mocking to being shocked. Because one of the criminals who was hanging blasphemed Jesus, saying if you're the Christ, save yourself and us. Now, this happens to me all the time in the ministry, and I want you to listen what He was doing. He was trying to put conditions upon Jesus. Jesus, if you're the Christ, you do this and I'm going to believe in you. Jesus, if you are the Christ. Are you ready? I'm glad you're here. Are you ready? Jesus, if you're the Christ, why did you allow this to happen? I think we've all done that at some time or another. We've said, Hey, God, you were in charge. Why did you allow this to happen? You got to be careful about putting conditions on what you're going to believe about Christ, because what happens, you're going to find out, the one that put the conditions about if he's going to believe on Christ, he missed out on Heaven.

James Greer: [00:15:07] See, there's two criminals. One of them, that day was the worst day of his life because the minute he died, he went to Heaven. The other one, the other one with all the suffering he went through, that was still the best day of his life because his life would never get any better. But the other one answered, and he rebuked him, saying, Do you not even fear God seeing you're under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive due reward of our deeds. None of us want what we deserve. Amen. But this man has done nothing wrong. This man found Christ during the crisis of life. Everybody here is going to have crisis. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but you're going to have crisis in your life. And remember this and I pray the Holy Spirit impresses you if you're a Christian. Next time you have a crisis, a crisis in your life, go to Christ. See, this guy, the greatest crisis he had ever faced. He was on the cross, being beaten, being tortured. Here was Christ, and he found Christ during the crisis. Without the crisis, he may not have found Christ. And some of y'all go through crisis and God's trying to find you during the crisis. That's good, Brother James.

James Greer: [00:16:30] And then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. God, remember me when you overcome this Christ. I found you during the crisis. God, I want to go to Heaven because I know you're the ultimate one. And Jesus said, Surely, I say to you today, you'll be with me in paradise. See, Jesus will forgive us and make sure that we go to Heaven. But by faith, we still have to ask Him. I don't know what crisis you're going through, but I can tell you one thing There's no crisis too big that you can't find Christ. Amen. The first thing that was beautiful about the crucifixion is it proves to you there's no sin, too big or too bad, that Jesus won't forgive. The second thing beautiful about the crucifixion is it's never too late to accept Christ. It's never too late. I mean, do you understand this guy that was on the cross, he had never been to church. He'd never been baptized. He'd never read the Bible. But here he was at the end of his life on the cross, and he accepted Jesus Christ. And because he did that, he said, Remember me. He said, I believe who you are. And then he said, Today you'll be with me in paradise. People ask me all the time, Do you believe people get saved at their deathbed? Absolutely, I do. There's an example of that. We had somebody pass away in our church today, and I had the wonderful opportunity of just about a year or two.

James Greer: [00:17:42] I was sitting right there and he got up in the middle of the service and walked over there and said, Hey, I want to accept Christ and be baptized. And just here he is now 85 years old, I think. And now here today was his last day. Thank God, late in life, he still decided to accept Christ. And now his last breath, he's not here. He's in Heaven. Amen. So, yeah, he can make it beautiful. See, the criminal that went to Heaven. And I said, Jesus still makes it beautiful in His time, right? The criminal, for him, God didn't remove the hurt here on earth. But he still made it beautiful because at his last breath, he was in Heaven. At his last breath, he was healthier and happier than he'd ever been here. The other criminal was worse off than he'd ever been in his life. So it does matter that Jesus can make everything beautiful in His time. So sometimes it's not here. Sometimes we have to wait till we get Heaven. See, many people during tragedies, we really ask God, what are you doing? What are you doing? Why are you allowing that? And God often reminds me, listen, many things you're not going to know and I'm not going to know until we get to Heaven. But God is still in charge no matter what's going on. Look for Christ during the crisis. As we get ready to close, I want you to know that beautiful thing that happened was the resurrection.

James Greer: [00:19:04] Mary was there and she stood outside the tomb and she was weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down and she looked into the tomb. And guess what? She saw two angels of white sitting there. One was at his head, the others at his feet where the body of Jesus had laid. In other words, Jesus is gone. Jesus is not dead. Jesus is alive. And when they said to her, woman, Why are you weeping? Some of y'all are here today. And you're going through a real crisis, real hurting. You don't really understand. And Jesus is saying, man, he's almost saying, why are you weeping when I told you I can take care of you? Why are you weeping when I told you I'm not dead, but I'm alive? Why are you weeping? He said, I'm the comforter that can comfort you. And Jesus said them because they have taken away my Lord. And I don't know where they've laid him. See, you know, you know that He's not dead, but He's alive. Now, when she had said this, she turned around and she saw Jesus standing there. Didn't even know it was Jesus. Some of y'all are here today not by accident, but by divine appointment. And you don't even know where Jesus is. Can I tell you? Jesus is in the house. You might not see Him physically, but I can tell you spiritually, He's here. And Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you weeping?

James Greer: [00:20:28] See, Jesus doesn't want you to go home the same way that you came. He doesn't want you to go home discouraged and defeated. He said, Who are you seeking? That's the same question that Jesus is asking you. Who are you really seeking? She supposing him to be the gardener? She told him. She said this. Sir, if you've carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him and I'll go take Him away. Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned to Him and said, Teacher. And all of a sudden, things changed. Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not ascended to my Father. But go and tell your brothers and say to them, I'm ascending to my Father. Now it's your Father. I'm going to my God. And now it's your God. Do you understand at the moment that Jesus was resurrected, the moment that He died, God looked down and said, Hey, you can go tell them now, My God is their God, My Father is now their Father? Now you can have direct access to Him. And it changed everything in their life. Everything became beautiful. That was the time that we can all start having a life that's abundant. That's when we're going to have, The Bible says the thief came to steal, kill, and destroy. But he said, I've come that you can have life and you can have it more abundantly. Jesus wants to make everything beautiful in His time, even in your life. Amen.

James Greer: [00:22:03] But to do that, first of all, you got to make sure Jesus is in your life. See, that's what Mary was doing. She was upset and she didn't recognize Jesus. But Jesus, she was seeking Him. And I hope you came seeking Jesus tonight. I hope that you brought every problem that you have. See, I think that you can find Christ in a crisis. I hear people tell me all the time. I think the reason they turn to Christ because of all the problems. That's okay. That's what the thief on the cross did because of all the crisis. But wouldn't it be terrible to come to church tonight and go home the same way that you came? So first of all, you have to have Christ. Second of all, even the greatest crisis in your life, like the criminal, you might be saved. And going through a crisis, you still, he doesn't remove it. The criminal on the cross that got saved, he still died. But he went to Heaven.

James Greer: [00:23:02] You might be going in a crisis and God's here telling you, listen, you can find Christ no matter what's going on in your life. And you can come in just a minute. You can have people pray with you and people pray for you. And as a matter of fact, the Bible encourages, it says, call upon me in the day of trouble and I'll deliver you. He says, Give me your burdens and I will actually take care of you. So you're to a point that where Jesus is saying to you, Do you want to invite me into your heart? Do you want to make sure that you're going to Heaven when something happens? Maybe you want to rededicate your life. Maybe you want to join this church. Maybe you want to be baptized. I'll have to say, did you all know the thief on the cross that got saved didn't get baptized? You know what I say about it? If he had the opportunity, he would have. And I got baptized late in life after I was saved. But God just impressed upon me to dot the I's and cross the T's. And even after I was preaching to this church, God said, Hey, you know, you need to be baptized. So some of you need to say tonight, I need to make sure that I have Jesus Christ in my heart. Not that I came to church, not that I've been baptized, not that my parents go to church, but just for me. And I want to settle it tonight. Some of you need to rededicate your life. And when Pilate said, What do you want to do with this Jesus? And Jesus is here tonight. And he's asking you, what are you going to do with Him? Are you going to make Him the Lord of your life? Are you going to put Him on the side table or are you going to rededicate Him?

James Greer: [00:24:31] You say, hey, said, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and I'll take care of everything else. So he said, You put me first and let me take care of everything else in your life. So whatever that is, if you stand right now and just stand up and bow your head and close your eyes for a moment, I'm going to ask you something. If you're here tonight, upstairs, downstairs and you want to make sure that you have Jesus Christ as your savior, you want to rededicate your life, you want to follow through in baptism, if you want to do one of those things right now, when I count to three, just raise your hand and we're going to pray with you and pray for you. One, two, three. Just put your hand way up. Keep them up real high. Keep them up. And if you would, keep them up till somebody gets to you upstairs and downstairs. Just keep them up high. You're making the most important decision of your life. Keep them up. They're going to give you a piece of paper. And when they do, as you make the most important decisions of your life upstairs, too, as you do, they're going to fill that out and they're going to ask you to give the cover back to them. Just raise your hand up high till you get a piece of paper. They're going to give you a handout, something to help you to grow with, Help you to grow with. I'm going to ask you one more time. So many of you did.

James Greer: [00:25:48] So I'm going to ask you right now one more time, if you didn't get, if you hadn't received a package and you want to make sure that you go to Heaven one day, maybe it's just a time to rededicate your life. Maybe you want to just say, hey, it's time for me to follow through in baptism. Maybe I've been visiting this church and now I know this is where I want to be. Just raise your hand up real high. If you didn't get a package yet, just raise it up and they'll give you one. Raise your hand up real high and they'll get you a package. Okay. Raise your hand up. All right. Thank you so much. What I'd like to do with you, first of all, the ones that raised your hands, I'd like for us all to do something together, and then we're going to pray together. If everybody would look up here for a minute. Let's pray out loud together. Amen. Say, Father, I know I've sinned. Forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart. Be the Lord of my life. I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day. In Jesus' name. And everybody said Amen. Let's give a hand to all those people who you made the most important decision in life.

James Greer: [00:27:00] The Bible says whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. And that's why I ask people to pray out loud, because he says, Call upon the name of the Lord. And that's simply what you did so you can be sure of your salvation. Now, what I want to do, I know there's a lot of people you're just going through crisis right now. You're just going through hard times right now. I don't ever want to be a preacher that acts like I have it all together because I don't. As a matter of fact, that's why our motto is I mess up, you mess up. We all mess up. If you come to this church and you're not messed up, it probably you probably won't fit. But God is also the God of comfort. And once you are saved, you got the Holy Spirit living in you. And you can find Christ right now in the midst of your crisis. And so heads bowed one more time. I just want to pray for you. If you're going through a crisis or you need comfort right now, just raise your hand. Amen. And we'll just pray for you. Amen. Nobody's going to come to you. Anything. We're just going to pray with you and pray for you. Thank you.

James Greer: [00:27:59] Amen. Amen. Father, right now, we just thank you that God, you're the God of all comfort. God, we pray for those that need your comfort right now. You're the God of comfort. You're the God of all peace. I pray that they can supernaturally feel your presence right now because, God, we know that you're here. God, you said when 2 or 3 are gathered together, you're here. God, we have hundreds. So God just supernaturally give them a peace. God, you didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. Give them that sound mind. Now, God, still, for those that need somebody to pray with them, to pray for them, we've got counselors up front. Man, they would love to pray with you. They'd love to pray for you. One of the things God does when we have problems, He gives us promises. When we meet the conditions of the promise, He gives us the provision. So maybe you need somebody just to pray with you and pray for you. God says all that labor and are heavy laden, come unto me and I'll give you rest. So if that's you, let God have His will and let Him have His way. In the precious name of Jesus. And everybody said, Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360