[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:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
[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.]