Who Looked At Calvary

Bible Book: Matthew  26 : 56-58
Subject: Easter; Cross; Calvary; Fpllowers of Jesus
Introduction

The Easter season is a very special time in the Christian's life. Christ's triumphant entry is a day of celebration. But let's stop a moment before we throw our hats in the air and raise our cheer. Let's move ahead three days and see the diminished crowd. There are throngs of people hailing the Healer, the Provider of nourishment, the Miracle worker. It's much like today's Christian community. But as we glance ahead, whom do we see? Let's look at three types of followers of Jesus.

I. The Followers That Left Before Him, Vs. 56

A. Their Mental Reaction, Vs. 56
...all the disciples forsook him... vs. 56.

The word forsook is an interesting word. It describes the mental reaction of so many today. It means to be insensitive or numb towards. In other words they were suddenly able to act as if they had never met or known Jesus. Don't say it doesn't happen. I know people, and so do you, who follow Jesus in the good times but when bad times come they want nothing more to do with Him.

I heard a man whose parents and siblings were the first victims of BTK (BTK stands from “blind, torture, kill” and was the moniker of Dennis Rader, who was a notorious serial killer in America from 1974 to 1991) say at that moment he gave up his belief in God and if there was one ... he hated Him.

It didn't seem to be a good idea for these followers to get close to Calvary at all. Their thoughts were, "I really don't want to get involved!"

When things get rough, when the miracles are over, when the sick don't get well, when the cup isn't running over, our minds are able to convince us that we'd better find someone else to follow.

Notice not only their mental reaction, but also their physical response.

B. Their Physical Response, Vs. 56
...and fled., vs. 56.

This wasn't a process. It was an act! Let's scoot before we get involved. Let's get out of here before we have to see something we don't want to see. Let's disappear before we have to answer some questions we don't want to answer. To describe this crowd is to say they loved their sin more than they loved Jesus. Just as long as He was feeding them, healing them, raising their dead they were there. But now that it’s time to account for their sin and get close to Jesus it just didn't seem like a good idea!

Not only do we see the followers that left before Him, but also the followers that lagged behind Him.

II. The Followers That Lagged Behind Him, Vs. 58

A. Peter's Resistance to Follow Jesus, Vs. 58
But Peter followed him afar off... vs. 58.

Why was this resistance demonstrated on behalf of Peter? For the same reason we resist today. Peter was afraid if He got too close it might cost more than he was willing to pay! We serve this same fear. If we get too close we might have to attend more services. We might have to give more money. Maybe we'll be asked to go on visitation or yield to the ministry. They might want us to join the choir. We'll be expected to attend Sunday school.

Peter just wasn't ready to commit a deeper life to Christ at this juncture so he just lagged behind. Oh, he wasn't a quitter. He didn't want to be totally uninvolved. He just wasn't ready to commit. Right now he just wanted to look religious.

We not only see Peter's resistance to follow Jesus, but also Peter's reason for not following Jesus.

B. Peter's Reason For Not Following Jesus, Vs. 58
... to see the end., vs. 58.

Peter needed to see the end of the trial first. He needed to know how it would all turn out before he'd follow Jesus. Peter was like so many of us today. We watch in silence.

A man was dying, perhaps a friend or a coworker and the Bible declares Peter sat and watched! The problem with this kind of theology is that what we often think is the end is only the beginning! What started as twelve followers of Christ, one dead, ten in hiding and one watching from afar have turned into millions who follow Jesus today! I believe if Peter could have seen the future he'd have been preaching in that hall that night. But he was afraid, he was unsure of the outcome so he stayed back. He became useless and hopeless.

If Peter could have only heard Christ saying “... because I live ye shall live also.” John 14:19

Or, if he could have heard Jesus say, “…am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore...” Revelation 1:18.

No one can be a spectator after hearing statements like that!

Not only do we see the followers that left Him and the followers that lagged behind, but also the followers that died beside Him.

III. The Followers That Died Beside Him, Luke 23:41-43

A. The Recognition of His Sin, Vs. 41

...we receive the due reward of our deeds... vs. 41.

Some people follow Jesus in this life. Some people follow Jesus in His death. This man's life was a waste. There was no account of any accomplishment in the dying man’s life, but here he recognizes he's a sinner in need of a Savior!

Not only do we see the recognition of his sin, we also see the reward of his Savior.

B. The Reward of His Savior, Vs. 42-43
...Lord, remember me... vs. 42. ...thou be with me... vs. 43.

In vs. 41 he admits his sin.

In vs. 42 he calls upon the name of the Lord.

 In vs. 43 he's saved.

It wasn't "Get me off the cross!" It was “remember me” as we die together!

In the Baptist hymnal, page 107, "There Is a Fountain" verse 2 we see the words:

"The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away."

That's the follower Jesus is looking for!