Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Crucifixion – Part 2

John 19 – continued from last week

31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.

[The Jews were ok with condemning the innocent, but they didn't want anyone to be killed or buried on the Sabbath. Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23, "You tithe of your tiniest herbs, but you ignore the weightier matters of the law like justice and mercy. But when they came to quicken their deaths by breaking their legs, Jesus was already dead.]


33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not
of His bones shall be broken."
37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."

[Multiple prophecies of Jesus as the Lamb of God where fulfilled in this passage. One from Psalm 34:20 about his bones not being broken, and another from Zechariah 12:10 about his being pierced.

1 Peter 2:24 - "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness]

Luke 23

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."


[Isaiah 53 8-9 … For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
       9 And they made His grave with the wicked…

So here we see Jesus and the criminals crucified with him. One mocks him saying "if you are the Christ, save yourself and us". I don't know how much these thieves knew about Jesus. Had they heard the accusations of the Council "he made himself the Son of God", or was he just responding to the sign Jesus-the-King. But all he sees is someone admired by the people, receiving the same punishment as a common criminal, so he mocks.

The second thief has a different response. In Jesus he sees hope. Jesus a just man wrongly condemned. So he says to Jesus "Lord, remember me". In that moment he saw the conclusion of his own life had no virtue, but he trusted one with a very different life, could change his outcome. So he confessed his faith in Jesus, and received a precious promise. This man had no time for penitent works, no pilgrimage, no almsgiving, nothing to recommend him for heaven, but he trusted in Jesus. And Jesus response was clear "today you will be with me in paradise". What further evidence do you need to see that salvation is by faith alone in the merciful grace of God.]

Jesus Dies on the Cross

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

[The sixth hour was 6 hours after sunrise, which is mid-day or noon. So from mid-day to mid-afternoon, it became like night. Not just locally, but over all the earth. As the Light of the World died, the world was covered in darkness. Then the veil that separated the inner most part of the temple, from the rest of the world, was torn in two. Matthew 27 says it was torn from the top to the bottom. The symbolism of that is clear, a man could not reach the top of the veil but God could. Prior to this, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, just once a year, and not without the blood of the sacrifice. But Jesus the eternal high priest, offered his own blood once and for all, so the veil of separation, was not longer necessary. From that point on any one could come into the presence of God to obtain mercy, through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.]

46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!"
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.

[Jesus was actually quoting Psalm 31:5 which many Jews would say at night as a prayer. We said last week that the sign on Jesus' cross written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic announced Jesus as King to the gentile world. Here we see a Roman Centurion testify of the righteousness of Christ. Matthew 27 records more supernatural events including earthquake, rocks splitting open, along with the darkness we saw earlier. It was as though creation herself was mourning the suffering of her creator. All this groaning of nature was startling to those who saw it. The beating of the chest was a sign of mourning of and repentance.]

49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.   
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

[Near the time of Jesus death more of his followers drew close enough to see him die. But the one who went to Pilate was not his disciples or the women who cared for him. It was Joseph, a member of the Council who had not consented to the charges against Jesus, a man of great reputation and also apparently a secret follower of Christ. He boldly goes to Pilate and asks permission o bury Jesus. Due to the late hour and the ending Sabbath, there is not enough time to properly prepare the body. So Joseph hastily wraps his body in linen, and lays it in his own tomb before nightfall.]
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

[So the women that followed Jesus, observed what Joseph had done. Though certainly appreciative of Joseph's compassion for the Lord, they knew Jesus body was not properly prepared, so they went home and began to gather the balms and spices necessary for burial. And they intended to return on Sunday and redo the reparation of the body, the way that felt it should be done.]

The Crucifixion – Part 1

John 19

[Substitutionary atonement is unique to the Christian faith. Most religion is centered on the idea of doing things to make man acceptable to God. Their belief is that it is possible for a man to do enough good, and avoid enough bad, to gain favor with God. But in Christ was have a unique approach. Jesus the God-man offered himself as the substitute, to die, in our place. Whereas the law requires the shedding of blood to atone for sin, the blood of Christ allows him to exchange our sinfulness for his righteousness.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

For the next two weeks we will look at the Crucifixion of Jesus, as a demonstration of God's love for us.

After Jesus was taken by the mob in the garden, They first took him to Annas. Now Ciaaphas was the high-priest that year, but Annas his father-in-law ran the priesthood like an organized crime family. No matter which priest had the title, it was Annas who held the power. So after he was accused by the Sanhedrin council they sent him to Pilate, because they needed Roman authority to crucify him.]

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

 1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.
2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands.

[Pilate who seems most concerned with avoiding an uprising, tried to do just enough to satisfy the Jewish leaders. He was aware of Christ's innocence, and did not want him crucified. So he had the soldiers scourge or beat him. As Jesus was passed around that night from the council, to Pilate, to Herod, and back to Pilate, each group that held him also mocked and beat him.]

4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him."

5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!"
6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him."

[Unsatisfied by the beatings, the Jewish leaders still called for Jesus crucifixion. Pilate announced Jesus innocence because he found no evidence of a crime against Rome. He also seemed to be mocking the Jews when he said "you crucify him" because Rome had taken that authority away from them.]


7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."
8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.

10 Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?"
11 Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."

[If you remember when we read Isaiah 53 last week it said in verse 7 that "he opened not his mouth". You see here and other times that night Jesus did not answer his accusers. He did not intend to defend himself, but to be condemned for us. Matthew 27 says that Pilate had been warned by his wife who had a dream, not to condemn this innocent man. So now hearing that Jesus is the Son-of-God, really makes Pilate fearful. Though Jesus would not defend himself to Pilate he forcefully testifies of the power and sovereignty of the Father, reminding Pilate that he only had power because God allowed it. He also makes it clear that God would one day judge his accusers.]

12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"

[Again Pilate tries to release him, and again the Jewish leaders resist. Do you see the hypocrisy in their words? They hated Roman occupation, yet they corner Pilate, by feigning loyalty to Caesar, saying anyone claiming to be a King, was an enemy of Caesar.]

15 But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!"
Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

[Here you see the danger of a mob mentality. Neither Herod not Pilate found him guilty of any crime, but fearing an uprising, Pilate finally relents, and send Jesus away to be crucified.]

17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:



[After enduring several beatings, a weakened Jesus struggled to carry his cross up the hill through the crowds. Matthew Mark and Luke all record that Simon of Cyrene was compelled to finish the journey, carrying the cross for Jesus. Some secular histories of the age say the Romans would hang a sign around the neck of the condemned, with their name and their crime written on it. The crowds could read the sign and mock the prisoners as they walked up the hill. What a unique sign the people saw that day, "Jesus the King". I wonder if the people used to seeing signs that read, thief, or murderer, questioned "what was the crime of this man they called the King".]

 20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"
22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

[How strange that Pilate allowed himself to be bullied into crucifying Jesus, but he would not back down when they challenged his sign. Though he didn't realize it at the time, this sign written in 3 languages announced Jesus to the gentiles. In John 12 Jesus said "when I am lifted up I will draw all men to me".]

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. 24 They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

      " They divided My garments among them,
      And for My clothing they cast lots."

   Therefore the soldiers did these things.

[The soldiers would strip the executed men before nailing them to the cross. When they cast lots for his seamless tunic they fulfilled another prophecy from Psalm 22.]

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

[Apparently Joseph had died before Jesus, so he wanted to see that his mother Mary was cared for. He entrusted her care to the Apostle John.]


It Is Finished

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

[If you read all the gospel accounts of Jesus death, you find the final statements that he made:

  • My God, My God why have you forsaken me
  • Father into your hands I commend my Spirit
  • It is finished

Here we see the anguish of his suffering. At the moment of death God the Father heaped upon him the sin guilt of all of humanity, and there Jesus felt the despair of sin. Finally he yielded up his spirit, and died on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.]


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Judas Betrays Jesus

John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

To outline this verse I would do something like this:

  • God loved                    GRACE
  • God gave
  • We trust                    FAITH
  • We receive

I used the word trust instead of believe to emphasize the meaning of the original language. In common usage "believe" has come to mean "I think", and that is not the faith that saves. Trust includes conviction "I am a sinner", repentance "Lord free me from sin". Trusting Christ for salvation eliminates trusting in anything else, it is exclusive. We come to God empty handed. Ephesians 2:8 says by Grace are ye saved through faith. Titus 2: 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men .

This is the part that is hard for us to understand, though God's grace had "appeared" to all men, not all will repent, and believe. Today we will study a man who stared into the very face of Grace and turned to Satan instead of God.

What do all these names have in common?

  • Marcus Brutus (Roman senator who plotted to kill Julius Caesar, his uncle)
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (sold nuclear secrets to the USSR)
  • Benedict Arnold (American general who tried to give Fort West Point to England)
  • Aldrich Ames (CIA agent who sold agent lists to the USSR)
  • Judas Iscariot

Matthew 26 (Also Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18)

Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

[For all his infamy relatively little is known of Judas Iscariot. Judas is the Greek form of Jude or Judah. Most believe Iscariot identifies Judas as being from a city in Judah called Kerioth. So unlike the other disciples Judas was not from Galilee. We learned from the anointing at Bethany that Judas was the treasurer for Jesus disciples, and that he stole from the bag that he was keeping for Jesus. Luke 22 tells us that after the anointing at Bethany that "Satan entered Judas" then he made his conspiracy to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The price of a common slave was given to Judas, who then promised to betray Jesus, when he was away from the crowds, because the priests fear an uprising of the people. Then after the Lords supper, while Jesus went to pray in the garden, Judas went to his co-conspirators to tell them this was the time to take Jesus. In fact during his prayer in John 17:12 Jesus called Judas the "son of Perdition", which means destruction or damnation.]

48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.

[Mark tells is Judas came with a great multitude carrying swords and clubs. Judas gives the signal, the kiss and greeting of respect, became a sign of betrayal. Isaiah 29:13 says these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me]

50 But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

[Kind of strange that Jesus, knowing the betrayal of Judas, still called him friend. Maybe even at this late hour Jesus wanted to redeem him, perhaps get him to think about what he had done. But the signal had already been given, so they took Jesus.]

51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

[Luke tells us one of his disciples asked if they should fight back with swords, but John tells us Peter struck before Jesus answered. How often we forget the power of God and try to face problems in our own strength. But the heavily armed mob would easily overcome the few disciples with swords.]
52 But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

[As usual Peter did not understand. First Jesus had another purpose for Peters life, not to die with a sword in his hand, but to preach with love in his heart, to be a fisher of men, skillfully wielding the gospel of peace. Secondly Jesus had a much greater army available, the angels of heaven who were just a prayer away of Jesus had asked for them. But the third reason is most important; Jesus was fulfilling his purpose and fulfilling scripture:

Isaiah 53

3 He is despised and rejected by men,
      A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
      And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
      He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
       4 Surely He has borne our griefs
      And carried our sorrows;
      Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
      Smitten by God, and afflicted.
       5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.
       6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
      We have turned, every one, to his own way;
      And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
       7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
      Yet He opened not His mouth;
      He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
      And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
      So He opened not His mouth.
       8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
      And who will declare His generation?
      For He was cut off from the land of the living;
      For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
       9 And they[a] made His grave with the wicked—
      But with the rich at His death,
      Because He had done no violence,
      Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
       10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
      He has put Him to grief.
      When You make His soul an offering for sin,
      He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
      And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. ]

55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

[Even though Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, he still judged the actions and motives of those who conspired against him. He rebuked them for treating him like a robber, and for their cowardice of taking him at night, when he taught openly each day. Zechariah 13:7 says "strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered", and we see that here. Once Jesus was taken, all his disciples ran away. Jesus would face alone, the judgment for our sin.]