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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
July 28, 2019
We come today to one of the most heart-rending sections of Scripture – the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be easy to play this up and have everyone here weeping except perhaps the most hardened sinner. I will not be doing that. Instead, I am going to concentrate on the theological aspects of what occurred. Why? Simply because God’s purpose in the Scriptures is to change your life, and true change comes by clear thinking and understanding, not by emotional experiences. We are to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2) and not the “wiping of the eyes.” I am not saying in anyway that it is wrong to be emotionally touched and to display those emotions. I am sure that you may find yourself crying or at least be tearful this morning – I may be that way myself. But I am saying that when you leave here today I want the Holy Spirit to have touched your mind as well as your heart.
It is still common today to find people who are emotionally touched by Jesus’ death, but their minds remain blinded by Satan. They are emotionally moved because they see a wonderful teacher who is a loving and innocent man caught up in a great tragedy and murdered due to a jealous conspiracy. They neither understand nor are moved by any aspect of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for sinful man. So I begin our study this morning with the powerful theological statement that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not a tragedy and He was not a victim.
Throughout our multi-year study of the Life of Christ we have seen that the purpose of Jesus coming was to “save His people from their sins” just as the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21. He is the eternal Word, the life and light of the world, that became flesh so that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:1-14). We have also seen God’s sovereign hand throughout His life ensuring that this purpose would be fulfilled. No attempts to kill Jesus before His hour had come could succeed whether it was Herod murdering the babies in the area of Bethlehem, the people of Nazareth trying to throw Him off a cliff, or the various attempts to stone Him. Jesus had warned His disciples multiple times that after He arrived in Jerusalem He would “suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” The chief priests and other religious leaders are now joyful because they have succeeded in getting Pilate to acquiesce to execute Jesus, but this is in God’s timing, not theirs.
Let me emphasize that Jesus is not a victim of a tragedy. The events that are now taking place are not in the control of men. It is being done, as Peter says in Acts 2:43, by the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Jesus Himself had said in John 10:18 that no one could take His life from Him, but that He would lay it down on His own initiative. It was now the day of Passover and Jesus would die as the Passover lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin.
Jesus’s trial before Pilate, the Roman Governor, was a travesty of justice. Pilate pronounced Jesus to be innocent of the charges and to have no guilt worthy of death at least four times, yet Pilate feared the Jews and their threats so much that he would not free Jesus unless he found a way to also appease them. He could not achieve that even after horribly abusing Jesus in an effort to gain sympathy for him. Pilate failed in every respect for he lacked the character to carry out true justice. He tried to wash his hands of the matter and proclaim himself innocent, but water cannot wash away sin. The mob cried out “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” And it would be. Luke 23:25 notes that Pilate “delivered Jesus to their will.” John 19:16 states, “So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.” Pilate is now without compassion and turns Jesus over to go through all the normal events related to crucifixion. (See: Jesus on Trial – The Roman Phases)
Matthew 27:26-31 and the parallel in Mark 15:15-20 describe what happens next. Mark 15:15 states Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. Matthew 27:27-31 continues with slightly more detail. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole [Roman] cohort around Him. 28 And they stripped Him, and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spat on Him, and took the reed and [began] to beat Him on the head. 31 And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify [Him.]
Jesus is scourged again, this time apparently in front of the mob. Jesus is then taken into Praetorium once again where the whole cohort of soldiers is called out to participate. I mentioned last week that a scourge had a short wooden handle to which was attached multiple leather thongs which had bits of sharp metal and bone. The victim was then usually tied up and lashed on the back. Since this is the second scourging, there is no doubt Jesus’ back would have been torn and shredded and bleeding profusely. The soldiers once again take up the theme that Jesus is a king to mock Him. They strip Him and dress Him in a scarlet robe made even more crimson from the blood flowing from His back. They weave another crown of thorns to crown Him. They give Him mock homage while spitting upon Him and beating Him. After they had their fill of their contemptible amusement, they dress Him again in His own clothes and began the procession to Golgotha, the place of the skull, where Jesus would be crucified.
John 19:7 states that Jesus “went out, bearing His own cross.” Matthew 27:32 states, “And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.” It was normal for a man condemned to be crucified to carry his own cross – or at least the cross beam – to the place of crucifixion. After all Jesus had gone through the previous 24 hours including the two scourgings, He was apparently unable to continue. Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention that Simon of Cyrene, a passer-by who had come in from the country, was seized and pressed into service to bear the cross for Jesus.
It should be noted that Mark 15:21 also mentions that this Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. In a non-biblical letter, Mark mentions that this same Simon is a Christian, and in Romans 16:13, Paul sends greetings to “Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother . . .” Simon’s forced service on the Lord’s behalf apparently led to his salvation.
Luke 23:27-32 continues the narrative. 27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 “Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘cover us.’ 31 “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.
Neither the crowd nor the women are specifically identified. It would have been a mix of people including those who had been at the Pretorium shouting for Jesus to be crucified, those that happened to be along the way and saw the procession, and those who had heard something was going on. There will be some specific women mentioned being at Golgotha at a later time, but it is not clear if they were present yet.
The women would have been lamenting how horribly Jesus had been abused and mourning His coming death by crucifixion. Jesus did not need their sympathy since He knew exactly why He was allowing Himself to be abused in such ways. As Jesus told Peter at His arrest, He could call on twelve legions of angels to protect Him if He wanted to do so (Matthew 26:53). Jesus was not a victim for He was on His way to lay down His life by His own initiative just as He had said He would do in John 10:18.
The reference of the warning Jesus gives is Hosea 10:8 which is part of a prophecy of God’s judgment upon Israel for her sin. Jesus has already suffered terribly and is physically weak, yet He is still thoughtful of others to warn what is to come. His warning is that they and their children would suffer worse things in the future at the hands of the Romans due to the actions of their religious leaders, and indeed they did when Roman General Titus destroyed Rome in A.D. 70 in response to the Jewish rebellion. The spiritual condition of Israel would get much worse in the future and it would suffer accordingly.
All four gospels state that they arrived at a location “called the Place of a Skull,” Which John 19:17 states “which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.” There is a lot of spilt ink trying to figure out exactly what this meant and its exact location. We get the word “Calvary” from the Latin “Calvaria” which also means “skull.” Was it because the place resembled a skull? Or perhaps because it was a place of execution? Or a place where many skulls could be found? There is even a fanciful legend that the skull of Adam had been found there. (MAP) The Biblical record is that the location was outside the gate of the city (John 19:17-18), but near to the city wall (19:20), near a highway (Matt. 27:39) and that there was a garden with tombs in the immediate vicinity (John 19:41).
Let me quickly comment that the historical and archeological evidence is that Golgatha was on the west side adjacent to what was then the second wall which was Herodian. (Picture) But that site and the tomb have had the rock around them cut away and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built over them so it is hard to imagine what it looked like. (Pictures) Gordon’s Calvary, located about 250 yards north of the Damascus Gate, is probably not the location, but it is a much better site to visit and contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
The Cross. The Romans used several types of crosses to crucify people. There was the giant “X,” another that looked like a capital “T,” and another like a lower case “t” as was used for Jesus. Pilate posted a title sign “above” Jesus head, so it could not have been either an “X” or a “T” shaped cross. The cross only had to be high enough to keep feet of the condemned off the ground.
The Wine & Gall. Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23 state that “they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.” Gall was a term used for things that were bitter. In this case it was wine mixed with myrrh – sour wine. The myrrh was added as an intoxicant. Proverbs 31:6 states, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.” Extra-biblical sources speak of some wealthy Jewish women who would, in keeping with this Proverb, give wine mixed with myrrh to those being crucified to ease their pain. When this was offered to Jesus it fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, but Jesus was unwilling to drink. Jesus had already prepared Himself for this. (See: In The Garden of Gethsemane) He did not need or want anything that would stupefy Him to ease the pain. He would go through this with His faculties fully intact. He would be fully aware of all that occurred to Him and around Him.
The soldiers did not care how much pain the condemned felt, but they allowed the wine and myrrh to be given because it would inebriate the prisoner and make them easier to attach to the cross. The condemned would be stripped, laid on top of the cross while it was on the ground. Then they would be either tied or nailed to the cross. It is only from Thomas’ remarks after the resurrection that we know that Jesus was nailed to the cross. Jesus willingly laid down on top of the cross and held out his arms and feet while the spikes were driven through them nailing Him to the cross. The cross would then be lifted up and slid into a post hole dug to receive it. It would settle in with a thud, the shock from that would tear even more at the flesh around the spikes, and then the long process of death by crucifixion would begin.
Death by Crucifixion. Crucifixion was designed to prolong and increase the agony of death. The Romans generally reserved this for slaves, non Roman citizens and those convicted of the grossest crimes. Among the agonies of crucifixion were: severe inflammation, the swelling of wounds where the nails had been driven through, the pain of torn tendons, muscles strained from the contorted position of the body and the effort to lift one’s self to breathe, a throbbing headache, burning thirst, and the constant feeling of suffocation. Suffocation is what eventually causes death. In order to breath, the victim would have to lift himself by his outstretched arms and push down on his feet shattered by the spikes. Eventually, the victim could no longer lift himself to draw in any air. As horrible as the physical torture of the cross would be, that is not the emphasis here for none of the gospel writers describe any of this physical suffering other than thirst. They only state that Jesus was crucified.
As the long process of crucifixion begins, Luke 23:34 states, But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Here again is the character of Jesus shining forth as a light to the world. Our Creator is forgiving and even then He was paying the price necessary for that forgiveness to be granted to men.
Gambling for Jesus’ Clothes. Matthew 27:35-36; Mark 15:24-25; Luke 23:34; John 19:23-25. All four gospels next mention that the soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothing with John 19:23-25 giving the most detail. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “they divided my outer garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.
This was just another routine crucifixion for the soldiers and they carry out their normal activities including dividing up the clothing of those being crucified. Yet, God’s hand is at work for by this the soldiers fulfilled the prophecy made over 1,000 years earlier by David in Psalm 22. John 19:23 indicates there would have been four soldiers assigned to this detail. They divide among themselves the clothing of those being crucified – head gear, sandals, belts, and outer garments, but they did not want to tear Jesus’ seamless tunic so they cast lots for it. Possibly throwing dice of some sort. After doing this, “sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there” (Matthew 27:36). Mark 15:25 then comments that “It was the third hour when they crucified Him,” so it is about 9 a.m.
Pilate’s Sign. Matthew 27:37; Mark 15: 26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19-22. All four gospels also mention the inscription of charges posted by Pilate with John 19:19-22 giving the most detail. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.
It was common practice for a sign of some sort to be posted above the person being crucified to let anyone passing by know what crime had been done. This served as a warning to others about committing such a crime for fear of being crucified too. The sign was posted in the local language (Hebrew), the official language of Rome (Latin), and what had become the international trade language (Greek). This would enable everyone that might see it to know what the sign said. What Pilate wrote about Jesus did not include any accusation of a crime. It only stated Pilate’s conclusion about Jesus’ identity.
The Jews wanted Jesus crucified in part to destroy His popularity. Pilate’s sign did not fit that purpose for it stated Jesus’ identity as King of the Jews as a fact which infuriated them. From Pilate’s standpoint this was an insult to the Jews. It is the sense of, “Rome is superior, for here is your king, tortured and crucified.” The Jews wanted this changed, 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’ “ Pilate had been defeated in his effort to release Jesus and appease the Jews at the same time resulting in him condemning an innocent man to death. He would not give in any further. 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
Again we find that man is not in control. This was God’s doing. What Pilate wrote was God’s proclamation to all men and everyone could read it. They did not understand it at the time, but after Jesus resurrection, many would know that Jesus is the Messiah and He was fulfilling the prophecies of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 on the cross with the cross being the necessary way for Jesus to die. God is in complete control of what is happening.
Remember, I have previously pointed out that the Jews were not against murder by mob action, but previous efforts to do this to Jesus failed. They wanted Jesus to be crucified so that Rome would take the blame and they could destroy Jesus’ reputation by showing He was cursed by God according to Deuteronomy 21:23. Yet, that was exactly why Jesus did have to die on the cross. Jesus Himself said in John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus, who was without sin, would become sin for us and bear its curse that we might be saved (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).
Robbers & Mockers. Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27-28 both specifically point out “At that time two robbers ^were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left” with Mark continuing on to point out 28 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.” Again, this was not by chance but according to the sovereign will of God to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12.
Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32 and Luke 23:35-43 then continue the narrative describing the mocking of various people as Jesus is being crucified with Matthew giving the most detail. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”
How fickle people can be. Less than a week earlier some of these same people would have been those who had joined the crowds in proclaiming “Hosanna” to Jesus. Now they mocked Him. They repeat the slander used against Jesus during His trial and accept it as truth. Jesus never said He would destroy the temple. He said they would and was referring to them killing Him, which they were in fact now doing.
There is no reason to think that the chief priests, scribes and elders would have believed Jesus even if He had come down off the cross. They did not believe Jesus despite all the miracles and teaching that He had done in front of them. The natural man does not understand spiritual things because he is dead in trespasses and sin and Satan has blinded him to the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 4:4). God was taking pleasure in Jesus’ His son, but it was now according to Isaiah 53:10, “But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting [Him] to grief; If He would render Himself [as] a guilt offering . . .”
The soldiers join in according to Luke 23:36, The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” And the robbers joined in as well as recorded in Matthew 27:44, The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.” Jesus was attacked from all sides, yet He remained silent to them and did not revile back. Peter comments on this in 1 Peter 2:23-24 saying, “and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
Luke 23:39-43 records that one of the robbers had a change of heart. As he watched Jesus’ reaction to all that was going on he came to believe that Jesus was who the people were mocking Him to be. 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” Jesus had not responded to those who mocked Him, but He responded to this man’s faith with a promise, 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus continued to bring comfort to people even as He was dying on the cross. This simple statement based on this man’s expression of simple faith is that they would both be in Paradise, that section of Sheol (Hades in the NT) reserved for the righteous. God reckons faith as righteousness to the criminal just as He did to Abraham (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3-6).
The Women and Care for Mary. John 19:25-27 mentions some of those present at Jesus’ crucifixion and Jesus entrusting the care of His mother to John. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
A comparison of this list with the ones in Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 leads to these reasonable conclusions about the identity of these women. There is Mary, the mother of Jesus. There is also Mary Magdalene, a woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons (Mark 16:9). Mary, the wife of Clopas is also the mother of James the Less and Joses. “His mother’s sister” is Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee who are James and John which makes them Jesus’ first cousins.
If these identities are correct, Jesus entrusts the care of His mother to her nephew, John, Jesus’ disciple. Why did Jesus do that? First, it indicates Joseph is dead otherwise there would be no need for this action. Second, Jesus’ brothers are not present and we know from John 7:5 and Galatians 1:19 that none of them believed until after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus took care of even the small details then and He still does. We can cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
I also want to quickly point out that Jesus calls Mary, “woman.” This was not rude or disrespectful to her, but it is an emphasis on the different relationship that she must have with Him. He was on the cross dying for her sins too. She needed to recognize Him for His true identity as her savior and Lord. This is an exposure of the foolishness of Maryolotry practiced by Roman Catholics and others. She is not “co-redemptrix” with Jesus. He is her Creator, Lord and Savior.
Darkness. Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33 and Luke 23:44 all point out that “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour” with Luke 23:45 remarking it was “because the sun was obscured.” Please do not confuse the sixth hour in these passages with the mention of it in John 19:14 when Pilate brought Jesus out after questioning Him. John was using Roman time and that was about 6 am. Matthew, Mark and Luke are using a Jewish time reference to it being six hours after sunrise, so about noon.
What caused the darkness? It could not have been a solar eclipse because it lasted at least three hours. A local cloud cover would not have been notable, and a desert Sirocco (dust storm) would not have been extensive enough. There are extra-biblical sources such as Origen and Tertullian that indicate that the darkness was beyond just Palestine and encompassed at least the Mediterranean region. God caused the darkness. How He did it is up to Him. He did it in His past judgments upon Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23), and He will do it again in the future in judgment of evil men (Revelation 6:12).
What a contrast this is to all the light given on the night Jesus was born! Darkness is consistently used in the Scriptures as a symbol of God’s judgment on sin. So it is fitting that as Jesus bore the sins of the world there would be a symbol of God’s judgment upon that sin. About three in the afternoon, Jesus felt the full weight of the sins of mankind. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus’ Last Words. Matthew 27:46-50; Mark 15:34-37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30. Matthew 27:46 and the parallel in Luke 23:34 state, 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
What Jesus says here is a quote from Psalm 22:1, the prophetic Psalm concerning the crucifixion of the Messiah. What exactly happened at this moment has been debated by theologians for centuries. In some sense Jesus was forsaken by the Father, but in exactly what sense is not known. There was no breakup of the trinity. There was no separation of Jesus’ humanity from His deity. The separation could not have been one of nature, essence or substance. Yet, in some way the Father separated Himself from the Son at the point in time when the iniquity of us all was laid on Him (Isaiah 53:5). The agony of this loss of fellowship with the Father was greater than all the physical suffering Jesus had already experienced.
Matthew 27:47 continues, And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Perhaps there were those who misunderstood “Eli” to be some shortened form of “Elijah” said by a man who had lost his mind.
John 19:28 records that immediately after this that “Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. His purpose in becoming a man was nearly complete. Jesus was now the sin bearer.
Again we find that Jesus is in control and fulfilling all the prophecies concerning Him including the details of His own crucifixion. The prophecies referenced are in Psalm 22:15 and 69:21. The jar of sour wine would have been there as a drink for the soldiers. Giving Jesus some of this on a sponge was not necessarily an act of compassion, for the design of crucifixion was to prolong the agony as much as possible, and lapsing into unconsciousness would end the agony. Hyssop was common to the area and the stick or reed from it with the sponge attached to it would only have to be about two feet long for the soldier to reach Jesus’ mouth with it.
Jesus is in agony, but the mocking does not stop. Matthew 27:49, But the rest [of them] said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” The Jews standing around had been taunting Him throughout the crucifixion to call on God to save Him. Now they were supposing Jesus was calling on Elijah to do so.
Jesus’ death came suddenly and quickly. John 19:30 states, Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” Matthew, Mark and Luke all state that Jesus cried out with a loud voice with Luke 23:46 stating Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. John 19:30 states, “And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Jesus last words indicate that He was in complete control of even His death for He “gave up” His spirit. It was not taken from Him.
The Centurion’s Conclusion – Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47 all comment about the Centurion’s response. Matthew 27: 54 states, Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Mark comments that the Centurion was standing right in front of Jesus and saw the way He breathed His last. Luke comments that he then began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” The Centurion saw the evidence and came to his conclusion. I think we will meet him in heaven.
Matthew 27:51-56 record several amazing things that happened immediately upon Jesus’ death including the veil of the Temple being torn in two, a great earthquake and the resurrection of some saints in Jerusalem, but I will cover those next week.
I want to conclude today’s sermon by emphasizing first that Jesus was not a victim. He was crucified according to the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:43). Even while on the cross, Jesus was in control and caused the fulfillment of even the detailed prophecies concerning His death.
Jesus’ statement that “It is finished” is a proclamation that all the prophecies of redemption were fulfilled and the ones remaining such as the resurrection were so sure to be fulfilled that Jesus could speak of them as being done. “It is finished” is the hope of the gospel message of Jesus Christ and what makes true Christianity different from every religion, for they always have additional work that must still be done to obtain salvation, whatever their concept of that may be. Only in Biblical Christianity is the work of redemption finished so there is nothing else that I can do to gain God’s forgiveness or His favor. Salvation is granted to me by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. My good works are only a response of love to Him because of His love for me (1 John 4:19).
What is your hope based in? If it is not in Jesus alone, then your hope will prove to be false in the end. Today is the day of repentance. Turn from your sin and pride to Jesus Christ alone for salvation from your sin and its penalty. Jesus laid down His own life as the price for your redemption, and He offers you forgiveness based on it. The Centurion saw the evidence and reached his conclusion – Jesus is the Son of God and He was innocent. What is your conclusion? Why would you continue to reject Jesus and what He has done for you? Take heed of the warnings in Scripture including Hebrews 10:29. What punishment do you think is deserved by those who trample underfoot the Son of God by rejecting the blood of His covenant and insulting the Spirit of grace? Will you spend eternity with Pilate, the hypocritical religious leaders and the fickle people of the crowd? Or will you spend it with Jesus and those who believe and follow Him?
If your hope is Jesus alone, then rejoice regardless of whatever circumstances you may find yourself. Jesus has paid for your sins so that you are redeemed, forgiven, and adopted into His family. Heaven is your destination. Follow Jesus’ example. Trust and obey the Lord and see His glory shine through you to everyone who comes in contact to you.
We are to be transformed by the “renewing of our ________” (Romans 12:2) and not the wiping of the eyes
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not a tragedy and He was not a _____________.
Jesus’ crucifixion was part of predetermined ________and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:43) to save people
Pilate pronounced Jesus to be innocent, but out of fear he delivered Jesus to the will of the _________
After being scourged a second time, the whole cohort of ___________ mocked Jesus again as a king
Jesus was apparently too weak to carry His own cross, and ________of Cyrene was pressed to do it for Him
A large __________ crowd followed Jesus including women lamenting and mourning over Jesus
Jesus did not want their sympathy because He knew He was fulfilling ______________ and not a victim
Jesus warns them from ______________ that worse things would happen to them in the future
Place of the Skull = Golgatha (Hebrew) = Calvaria (Latin) = ____________ (transliteration)
The Cross. Types of Roman crosses include “X,” “T” and ” ” – Jesus’ cross was a __________
Wine mixed with myrrh to lessen the pain as an intoxicant – which Jesus __________
Jesus willingly ___________and did not have to be forced to lie down to be nailed to the cross and lifted up
Death by Crucifixion was designed to prolong and increase the __________ of death
It causes great suffering, but death eventually comes due to slow _____________
Luke 23:34 – As the crucifixion begins, Jesus asks the Father to _________them – that is the nature of God
This was a routine crucifixion for the soldiers, but God had them fulfill the ___________ of Psalm 22
A sign posted above the head of the one being crucified __________others about doing the same crime
Pilate wrote his conclusion about Jesus’ identity ____________ any accusation of a crime
The Jews wanted this changed to being only a claim – but Pilate __________ to be pushed any farther
The sign above Jesus was __________ proclamation to everyone about Jesus’ identity
Fickle people who shouted “hosanna” to Jesus earlier that week were now mocking Him repeating _______
The chief priests, scribes and elders _________have believed Jesus even if He had come down off the cross
The soldiers and the robber also join in the mocking, but Jesus did not ________in return – 1 Peter 2:23-24
One robber had a change of heart, rebuked the other, & asked Jesus to remember him – and he was _______
The four women can be identified by comparing the lists.
Salome is Mary’s sister, Jesus’ ______, wife of Zebedee and mother of James & John, first cousins of Jesus
Jesus calls Mary, “___________.” There is a necessary changed relationship for He is her savior and Lord
Jesus was before Pilate at 6 a.m. The crucifixion began at 9 a.m. Darkness from ______until death at 3 p.m.
The darkness was caused by _______(see Exod 10:21-23 & Rev. 6:12), not an eclipse, clouds or dust storm
Jesus’ birth brought light & His _________ darkness – a fitting symbol of God’s judgment on sin
Jesus’ words fulfill the _______of Psalm 22:1 – but we do not fully understand the Father forsaking the Son
The ___________ Jews present continue to mock and taunt Jesus until His death
Jesus’ death came suddenly when He committed His spirit to the Father & _____________- it was not taken
The Centurion considered the evidence and concluded Jesus is the __________________and was innocent
Jesus was not a victim. He remained in control fulfilling the __________even while being crucified & dying
“It is finished” prophecies of redemption were and will be ___________
“It is finished” is the __________ of the gospel making Biblical Christianity different from every religion
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your childre Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times crucifixion is mentioned 2) Talk with your parents about Jesus death and what it means to them and to you.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How does God change us? What had Jesus already suffered? Why did Jesus have to die on a cross? Was Jesus a victim? Why or why not? What happened while Jesus was on His way to Golgotha? What does Golgotha mean and where is it located? Describe death by crucifixion. Why did the soldiers gamble for Jesus cloths an Why did the Jews object to the sign Pilate posted above Jesus’ head? How did being crucified between two criminals fulfill prophecy? Why did the various people mock Jesus? How did the one robber demonstrate his faith in Jesus? What did Jesus mean they would be in Paradise together? Who was present at Jesus’ crucifixion? How did Jesus arrange for the care of Mary? Why is Maryolotry both foolish and sinful? What was the cause of the darkness and what did it signify? When did Jesus fulfill Psalm 22:1? What prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus being given sour wine? What did Jesus mean by saying “it is finished”? Who was in control of Jesus’ death? Explain. What was the conclusion of the Centurion? What is the difference between Biblical Christianity and all religions? What is necessary for salvation from sin? Are you going to heaven? Why or why not? Do you trust Jesus?
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