Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship, by the word, to the world.
I want to share with you a little scripture out of the Gospel of Luke Chapter 23. You probably know by now, after seeing your bulletin that you have the songs on, that the theme of this Good Friday, we're calling it dead air. I see some of the programs even now. Dead air.
Dead air is a radio broadcast term, that if, on the radio if there is silence for a period of time and there is no song or disk jockey, that's called dead air. And it is what people in the broadcasting industry fear the most, because it could mean a loss of their revenue. It could mean people will tune out.
So dead air is that period of silence in radio or television broadcasts where the signal is interrupted, where there is no transmission of a message at all.
What is dead air the result of? Either technical difficulties or operator error. Sometimes on our radio stations here-- we have one on the Crest and one out on the west side-- if you get lots of wind, you can blow out that tower or you can have dead air for a long period of time. Or if lightning strikes the tower, there can be that period of dead air.
Well, throughout history God has broadcast his message to human beings. The writer of Hebrews said, God at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets. Loose paraphrase, God has been in the broadcasting business for a long time. He has broadcast messages of truth throughout human history.
And how does he do that? Well, there were two main sources of God broadcasting his message of truth. Number m through his world, and number two, through his word. Through his world and through his word, God has broadcast truth to human beings for thousands of years.
Those two sources are what David referred to in Psalm 19. First of all he said, the heavens declare the glory of God. The earth shows his handiwork. Day unto day they utter their speech. Night after night they reveal knowledge. There is no voice or language where that speech is not heard. God speaks to people through his creation.
You look around and you see the marvelous intricacies of God's created order, and it forces the logical person to say, with such design, there has to be a designer. It speaks to me when I go camping. It speaks to me when I take a vacation and see the vistas and the trees, the mountains, the ocean. God is speaking through his world.
But the second source is God is speaking through his word. In that very same psalm where David said, the heavens declare the glory of God, he said this: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimonies of the Lord are sure.
So God speaks through his world generally, but God speaks through his word specifically. So God has been in the broadcasting business. And when you pick up your Bibles, you discover that for 15 long centuries, God has spoken. God has broadcast truth to people on this earth for 15 centuries.
Throughout the Old Testament, God was speaking. And during that time, during those 15 centuries-- then something happened. Suddenly there was a period of dead air where God wasn't speaking any longer. He stopped broadcasting.
You know, if you open your-- you don't have to do it now, but if you were to look at all 39 books of the Old Testament-- you know, your Bible has 66 books, 39 in the Old and 27 in the New. When you open your Bible and you look at Malachi the last of the 39 books of the Old Testament, if you just turn the page, you have Matthew.
So it kind of looks like this continuous revelation. But do you know that between Malachi and Matthew were 400 years. Theologians call these the silent years. There was no revelation for 400 years. God wasn't broadcasting for 400 years. God wasn't giving any message for 400 years. There was dead air for 400 years. There was dead air.
And then suddenly, one night, the silence was broken. Outside the city of Bethlehem, out in the fields, there was a UFO. Well, it must have felt that way to the shepherds. It says that an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. And after 400 years of dead air, the first message was, don't be afraid, for there is born to you this day in the City of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.
And then an anthem of praise went up. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men. Suddenly, after 400 years of dead air, God was back in the broadcasting business. You could tune in to KNGL, K-Angel, right there in Bethlehem, and you could get God's message from heaven.
What was the message? Simple. The long-awaited Messiah is here. Emmanuel, which is God with us, has been born in Bethlehem.
And that little boy grew up. And when he grew up, he spoke. And he spoke incredible words. It was the voice of God through a human body. It was so powerful that one of the apostles, John, writing about the events years later, said this. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which our eyes have seen, which we have gazed upon and our hands have handled, concerning the word of life. We saw him, we heard him, we watched him intently. This was God's message, his word, the word of life.
And that is why the writer of Hebrews begins his book, God who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to our fathers, by the prophets-- listen to what he continues to say-- has in these last days spoken to us by his son.
And what an incredible voice that was. What incredible messages they were. When the temple officials came to arrest Jesus in John Chapter 10, and they came back empty handed, and the Pharisees said, why didn't you arrest him? All they could say is, nobody ever spoke like this guy. His words were amazing.
When Jesus showed up in Nazareth, it says, they all marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And then on one very particular confrontational day in John Chapter 10, when it says scores of people decided to turn back and not follow Jesus any longer because his sayings were so difficult, they were so hard to hear. Jesus turned to his apostles and said, will you also go away? And Peter said, where else are we going to go? You alone have the words of everlasting life.
Think of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Think of the words of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. Think of the words of Jesus and all the parables that he gave that so many, to this day, still recall.
A few years ago The Atlantic magazine, hardly a conservative magazine, if you know, The Atlantic magazine asked an agnostic writer named Robert Schlesinger, in your opinion, sir, what is the greatest speech ever given in history? He said, unquestionably it's the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ.
God was in the broadcasting business and he was speaking truth through his son Jesus. But then one day, one Friday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, suddenly there was dead air once again as Jesus was taken and put on a cross and executed outside the city of Jerusalem.
The event I want to look at is from Luke's perspective in Luke Chapter 23, beginning in Verse 44. Now it was about the sixth hour, and that's 12:00 noon in the Jewish reckoning. And there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. That's 3 o'clock in the afternoon. And then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he breathed his last.
Now we just read the last of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. The last of the broadcast of God through his son Jesus were the words, into your hands I commit my spirit. Jesus said seven sayings all together while he hung on that cross for six hours. You might think of it this way. While Jesus was doing his greatest work, he was uttering his greatest words. And Luke records that Jesus said, into your hands I commit my spirit. Just before this he said, it is finished.
A couple of things to note at the crucifixion of Jesus. We're told that darkness covered the land. For three hours there was darkness. Now today were enjoying sunshine. But there was a darkness that was written about even in Roman history books and known about for years after this event, three hours of darkness at his death.
Now go back 33 years at his birth. It was exactly the opposite. There was light that shone in the skies around Bethlehem. His birth was accompanied by light because the light of the world had come into the world. But now there is darkness at midday because the light had been extinguished by the world. The light had gone out. There was now dead air. This man on the cross had died, actually. He was not speaking any words.
Do you know that in the Jewish writings, the Babylonian Talmud, they make a very interesting remark that God will reserve wickedness-- or reserve, excuse me, darkness to judge people for extreme wickedness. And they point back to the Ninth Plague in Egypt when darkness covered the land as part of the 10 plagues.
Of course, we also know in the Book of Revelation, the fifth bowl that will be poured out on the earth on the kingdom of the antichrist will be darkness that is accompanied by pain. So there is darkness over all the land at the time of his death. Then Luke tells us that the veil in the temple was torn in two. The veil was 60 feet high from the ground to the ceiling in that temple. It. Separated the holy place from the holy of holies in Herod's temple it was several inches thick. And what is noteworthy is Matthew's account says that the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top. It wasn't like a group of guys grabbed it and wrestled it and tore it. It was torn from the top to the bottom.
God tore the veil. God ripped that several inch-thick curtain that separated people from the very holy place of God's presence. What God was doing is giving a message. Even as there was dead air on the cross, God was giving a message saying, no more sacrifices are needed. You don't have to be distant any longer. We can have fellowship together. Because of this death, there can be access between you and me. We can have fellowship together. In that, God was giving a message. The veil was torn.
I read an interesting account, however, that days and weeks after this event-- and it is written about, by the way, even in Jewish history, the veil being torn-- that they decided to sew it back up. Now think about that. God tore it open. They decided, sew it back up. And it remained stitched up until the final destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
Isn't that just like mankind? God rips the veil. Man sews it back up. God simplifies it, man complicates it. God says, come on in and have fellowship with me. Man says, no thanks, I'd rather stick with my religious activities. But the veil was torn after there was darkness on the land.
What's remarkable are the words of Jesus. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Having said this, he breathed his last. Now listen to the language. He says into your hands, I commit my spirit. Jesus was in total control of his death while on the cross. Remember, he said, no man takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. Yes, on the one hand, it was a human execution. But on the other hand, it was divine intervention. God was giving his son for the sin of the world.
Usually people last, during crucifixion, for days, days, on a cross. It's a long, excruciating death. But after six hours, Jesus said, it's finished. And he yielded up his spirit. He gave his spirit he was in absolute and total control. And as he gave his last breath, the final broadcast was over, it would seem, and he exhaled.
He quoted out of Psalm 31, which says, into your hands I commit my spirit. And then once again, there was dead air. Just like there had been dead air for 400 years, there was now dead air. God wasn't speaking any longer. The God who spoke for 15 centuries, and then stopped speaking for 400 years, and then spoke again with the birth and the life and the ministry of Jesus Christ was not speaking any longer. There was dead air.
And what happened? Well, the women wept at the dead air. The disciples ran away at the dead air. And all the demons in hell probably rejoiced at the dead air. Finally, they thought, it's over. We got him. He's dead.
But God was not done speaking. God had much more to say than that. And what he would say is that death is not the final word. Jesus Christ is the final word. And three days later, not 400 years later, three days later, victorious from that grave Jesus would rise from the dead, conquering death itself. So the dead air was shattered by a living Savior. And he spoke again.
And what did he speak? According to the Scriptures, the very first word he spoke after the three days of dead air was to a woman in a garden. Her name, Mary Magdalene. The Bible describes her as a very great sinner. Sounds a lot like us. A very great sinner, Mary Magdalene. The first words out of Jesus' mouth after three days of dead air were, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?
I love the fact that his first words were to this woman in a garden. You know, Satan's first words were to a woman in a garden. His first words were to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and his words brought death. Jesus' first words, after the dead air of his death on the cross, after his Resurrection, his first words were to a woman in a garden. But they didn't bring death. They proved life. They proved he was m that he had risen from the dead, that he had conquered death.
Why are you weeping? And to me, I go forward all the way past our own time zone, our own history, and I go all the way to the future, when the Bible says, one day God will wipe away every tear. And there will be no sorrow. There will be no pain, and that will be a reality for us all.
But there was dead air. And the dead air was shattered by a living Savior. Now as we're about to take the Lord's supper and celebrate that Jesus just didn't do it, but he did it for me-- and you can take these elements, if you truly, totally believe Jesus did it for you, you're personalizing it when you take Communion.
Here's what you need to know. There needed to be dead air. There needed to be this dead air. Without the dead air, there couldn't be a living hope. Jesus actually had to die, because if Jesus didn't die, there would be no atonement. Without a death there would be no resurrection. And without a resurrection there would be no hope. So you need a death for atonement and resurrection and hope.
That's Paul's whole point in 1 Corinthians 15. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then your faith is in vain. You are still in your sins, and you are, of all men and women, most miserable. But the resurrection proves that the death was sufficient. The resurrection proves that the death of Jesus Christ, the blood shed, the sacrifice given, was enough to buy people into heaven, that God was satisfied with it, and the resurrection is the proof.
The writer of Hebrews-- I've been quoting that now twice. This is the third time I'm quoting Chapter One of Hebrews. It says, after Jesus by himself paid for our sins and redeemed us, he then sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. A priest never sat down because a priest was never done. But this priest did, because what he did was enough. It was finished. Nothing else had to be done. And the proof that he gave a sufficient sacrifice was seen in his resurrection, his ascension, and then he sat down at the right hand of God.
Before he ascended into heaven he was with his disciples. Do you remember how many days after his resurrection, anyone? After Jesus rose from the dead, before he ascended into heaven, he was with his disciples 40 days. 40 days. He spoke for 40 days. He spoke, once again, words of life. He spoke messages to them for 40 days. But then he left. Then he left. I
Have a question for you. Does that mean there's dead air right now? Is God not speaking because that voice embodied in the person of Jesus Christ has left? No. I hope not, because before he left, he gave you a commandment. He said, go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
You know what that says to me? It's your turn. It's your turn. It's your turn now. Every generation, it's your turn. Once you come to the knowledge of salvation and your sins are forgiven, now you take that message of the word of God, of God's truth, embodied in the simple gospel that anybody can memorize and anybody can speak, and you go into all the world and you preach the gospel.
Back in 1936 an interesting thing happened in New York City. There was a broadcast of the King of England to the United States of America going all the way from London to New York City. It was going to be broadcast on WJZ, it was called then, New York City, now known as WABC in New York. It was King Edward VIII. He had his message all prepared. He was going to speak words to the people of the United States of America.
But something happened right before the broadcast. Somebody in the studio at WJZ in New York tripped over one of the wires, a very thin little wire, a very low voltage but very necessary transmission cable, and severed the link, severed the transmission from England to America.
People in the studio were in panic mode. The engineers didn't know what to do. Oh no, the voice will not be heard. The speech will not go through. A very quick-thinking and clever apprentice engineer, just seconds before King Edward VIII was to speak, grabbed both wires with his hands. And he became the link. He became the bridge from England through his body to the United States of America. It worked. And for that speech, through the body of a human being, the signal was transmitted.
Now that's what Jesus did 2000 years ago. He came and was, as the Son of God, the link between heaven and earth broadcasting the message. But you know what? It's our turn to grab the wires. It's our turn to take the message and to speak it to people. Jesus died on a cross to purchase us as souls for God, men and women who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. It's our turn to grab the wire and get the message out.
So as we take communion, we're grateful, we're thankful, we're humbled because of what he did for us. But we're hopeful of what he's going to do through us. Thank you, Father.
Lord, as we are about to receive these elements, I pray as we take them, one speaking of the shattered, broken body of Jesus, one speaking of his life blood pumped through his veins and arteries, the blood of God, the blood of the precious son of God shed for us, a willing sacrifice, that when he died, he really died. And there was dead air. But the dead air was shattered by a living Savior alive from the tomb.
And now today, Lord, the message has come to us in this part of the world, far away from the Middle East, far away from Israel, far away from Jerusalem, to us in Albuquerque or wherever we may be watching this broadcast. But Lord, you've given us a commission, a commandment to go into all the world and to proclaim that message to hold the wires and get the message through us.
I pray, Lord, that in our thankfulness and in our hopefulness, we would be that conduit that is faithful. In his name we pray. Amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying His word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, stakes visit calvaryabq.org.