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|Posted on August 9, 2016 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Jesus on the Cross
John 19:23 (ESV) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
The outer garments, shoes, belt, etc. plus an outer robe or coat were divvied up among the executioners who chose to cut the coat into four pieces. However, they did not want to cut up the tunic which was woven without any seams. The tunic was like a gown worn close to the body and dress length or longer. This must have been the truly sought after garment because they chose to cast lots to determine who would own it. This was in fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy in Psalm 22:18. The tunic was like the man’s underwear, so removing it left Jesus humiliatingly naked and exposed. He would have been vulnerable to the elements and the ridicule of onlookers. A former student of mine was witnessing to his mother. She said, “Thinking of an all-seeing, all-knowing God makes me feel naked; and I don’t like that feeling.” Her fourth-grader son replied, “Mom, Jesus was naked for you on the cross, so I think you could feel naked for Him.” We are completely exposed to our Lord which should give us pause when we contemplate sinful actions.
Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus was able to bear the pain and humiliation by anticipating the joy that was His in bringing more brothers and sisters into His forever family and in returning to His rightful place at God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God declares those who trust Him to be His precious jewels, His treasure (Malachi 3:17a) So Jesus was bringing jewels into the treasury through His death, burial, and resurrection.
John 19:24b So the soldiers did these things,
John 19:25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
The key women in Jesus’ life stood bravely nearby as He was raised up on the cross. Imagine the sorrow and grief His mother and those dearest friends must have felt. Imagine the humiliation for Jesus in His humanity to be naked before these ladies.
John 19:26 When Jesus 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!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus spoke from the cross, in essence giving the care of His mother over to the apostle John. Why not to one of His half-brothers, James or Jude? God the Father had sped up the relationship between Jesus and John as they walked closely together over the span of Jesus’ earthly ministry, about three and a half years. Jesus knew within His sovereignty that He would be going away and leaving His mother behind. Perhaps He had groomed John for this very purpose. Jesus knew that John would take care of Mary just as He would if He were still present on the earth. James and Jude did not even become believers until after the resurrection. John was one of the closest to Jesus as evidenced by the fact that he consistently refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” or the “Beloved Disciple.”
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”
Jesus made seven statements from the cross:
Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
John 19:28: I thirst.
John 19:30: It is finished. (From the Greek "Tetelestai" which is also translated "It is accomplished.")
Luke 23:46: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
John does not record all of them. He did not write about the extreme, although temporary, feeling of separation Jesus felt as the magnitude of our sin bore down upon Him and the Father could not look upon that sin. At that moment He asked, “Why have You forsaken me?” But John does record His thirst.
John 19:29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
Even the simple true statement that Jesus was thirsty was a fulfillment of Old Testament scripture. God is in control of even the smallest details!
Psalm 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
The soldiers intended the sour wine (vinegar) to prolong life and, therefore, agony for their victim. However, it opened up Jesus’ airways and lubricated His vocal cords so that He could sing declarative praises to the Father. He could cry out in a loud voice, “It is finished!” meaning paid in full or completed. Jesus had paid the debt for our sin and had fulfilled the Father’s plan. Or as Julius Caesar is quoted as saying, “Veni, Vidi, Vici!” which translated is “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Only Jesus truly did conquer death once and for all!
John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Other translations make it clear that Jesus willingly gave up His spirit. In Luke 23:46, Jesus entrusts His spirit to the Father. In these last two “words” from the cross, Jesus was “singing” praise to the Father. By Jesus’ willing obedience even to death on the cross, he declared victory over sin. He praised God for fulfilling His plan of salvation through Him and for receiving Him back into His rightful place at the throne.
Q – Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” He had completed the work necessary for our salvation. There is nothing we can do or need to do except receive the “free” gift for which Jesus gave His life. It is free to us but was costly to Him. It is not a cheap gift. It cost our Savior much agony and even His life to purchase our salvation. It cost the Lord everything He had. It cost the Father His most precious gift - Jesus. Praise the Lord, He lives again; but that does not negate the price He paid. Do you treat this gift as the most valued treasure in your life? Do your words and actions daily show your gratitude to the Lord? Think about His agony. Maybe watch Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ.” Allow yourself to feel the intense pain of our Lord. Then you may not be tempted to treat His gracious gift lightly.
|Posted on August 8, 2016 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
Prophecy Fulfilled – He was Pierced
John 19:31(ESV) Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would 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.
Jesus was dying on the cross at the same time the Passover lambs would be sacrificed and prepared for the Passover Feast on Friday evening. Jesus and His disciples had celebrated Passover the night before (Thursday) due to two ways of reckoning days by Jews from different areas (MacArthur Bible Commentary). This allowed for the lambs to be sacrificed over four hours instead of two since each family brought a lamb for sacrifice. So the final, perfect Lamb was slain at Passover which celebrated the angel of death passing over the houses of the Jews in Egypt who had the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorposts. How fitting that Jesus conquered sin and death on the day of celebrating deliverance from death! Jesus’ blood was not painted on the door posts of the homes. It was poured out on the cross creating a doorway to heaven, the way for those dead in their sins to be made alive in Him.
The Romans usually left the person on the cross until he/she died naturally of suffocation due to no longer having the strength to push with their legs to rise up and breathe. Then they left the corpse on the cross for the birds to feast on. However, this was not permitted by Jewish law, so the Jewish leaders asked that those on the cross have their legs broken rather than be hanging there on the Passover Sabbath.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (NASB) If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Jesus was cursed on our behalf as He bore all of our sin on the cross.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Even the manner of death Jesus suffered fulfilled prophecy and had been planned from the foundation of the world.
John 19:32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.
Jesus was a polarizing agent even until His last breath. One thief recognized and received Him as the Son of God and was re-united with Him in Paradise. The other rejected Him and was separated from Him for all eternity. The breaking of their legs was actually seen as a merciful act as it shortened the duration of their excruciating suffering. With broken legs, they could no longer rise up to breathe and would die quickly.
John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
When it was Jesus’ turn to have His legs broken, it was a moot point because He had already released His spirit into the Father’s arms. Since Jesus was the Father’s paschal offering that would end the sacrificial system, according to God’s instructions His legs were not to be broken. The Passover Lamb was to have no broken bones, and Jesus was the Passover Lamb.
Exodus 12:46 (NIV) It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.
Num. 9:12 (NIV) They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations.
However, even though they did not break Jesus’ legs, one soldier decided to thrust his spear in Jesus’ side to make sure He was truly dead.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
It was as if the soldier viewed Jesus as an animal he was gutting. John puts in this detail as proof that Jesus was definitely, irrefutably dead, beyond all questioning or doubt.
John 19:35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.
John is here referring to himself as an eyewitness of the crucifixion. Imagine John seeing his very own Lord, the Messiah he trusted, his best friend and confidant, expiring in such a gruesome way. His heart was surely wrenching with anguish, sorrow, and pain. He had entrusted His life to Jesus as being equal with God and had placed all his hope in Him. Now Hope was dead, hanging on a cross! John now had not only the responsibility to follow in His ways by teaching what He taught but, also, the responsibility of looking after Jesus’ mother as Jesus would if He were there. Much later John wrote these painful memories in his Gospel that others would believe his testimony and trust in Jesus.
John 19:36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
Even the brutal piercing of Jesus’ side was a fulfillment of prophecy:
Zechariah 12:10 (MSG) “Next I’ll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem. I’ll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them. They’ll then be able to recognize me as the One they so grievously wounded—that piercing spear-thrust! And they’ll weep—oh, how they’ll weep! Deep mourning as of a parent grieving the loss of the firstborn child.
Jesus went through a multiplicity of afflictions in order to be our Redeemer, our substitute, our perfect sacrificial Lamb.
Q – Have you ever taken a lengthy period of time to just meditate on Jesus, the Suffering Servant? Have you thought about all the prophecies He fulfilled even in His last days on earth? The only word that truly describes it all is amazing. Amazing Love, Amazing Sacrifice, Amazing Grace. We frivolously use the words awesome and amazing to describe worldly, comparatively small accomplishments. Meditate today with amazement at all our awesome Lord has done for us!
|Posted on August 7, 2016 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
John 19:16b (ESV) So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.
Jesus began the trek up to Golgotha carrying the cross Himself, but apparently in His weakened condition, He could not continue:
Mark 15:21 (NASB) They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.
So the soldiers forced a bystander to carry it for Him. His name was Simon, and he was from Cyrene, a city in present day Libya. Jesus told His disciples that anyone who wanted to be his disciple needed to take up his cross and follow Him. In this instance, Simon did even more than that because he literally carried the cross of Jesus. His service is a picture of true discipleship. Simon’s sons were their witnessing these things. They probably had a lot of questions for their father as they traveled home, asking him to explain what they had just seen. Ray Boltz imagined the scene in his song “Watch the Lamb.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNT1AThOgME" target="_blank">http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNT1AThOgME
Most biblical scholars agree that the Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13 was the son of Simon of Cyrene.
John 19:18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
We are told by Matthew and Mark that the other two men were robbers. Luke describes the repentance and belief of one of the thieves in Luke 23:41-43. Even in the last moments of Jesus’ life, He was a polarizing force. He was sandwiched between one who called Him Lord and trusted that Jesus would live beyond His death on the cross and the other screaming obscenities at him. Jesus told the thief on one side, the believing one, that they would be together in Paradise that very day. The other had made his choice by rejecting Christ, a choice of forever separation from God, a choice of Hell.
John 19:19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.
Usually, the criminal’s crime was written on a plaque. Pilate wrote that Jesus was the King of the Jews. Pilate did not want anyone to miss the inscription, so it was written in the three most common languages of the area. This could have been a final dig at the Jewish religious leaders. Pilate saw that the Jewish leaders were being osmium heads (dense) in their insistence that he sentence this innocent man to death. If Pilate was beginning to see the possibility of the reality that Jesus could be who He said He was, then he may have been thinking, “How could these teachers of the Jewish Law, students of God’s word, not see that Jesus was their Messiah?”
John 19:21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”
The Jewish leaders wanted to make clear that they did not recognize Jesus as King of the Jews but that He was being crucified for the crime of blasphemy, claiming to be their King and their God. They tried to order Pilate what to write, but he would not have it.
John 19:22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
Pilate would not be moved. The inscription remained as he had ordered it written.
Q – Which side of Jesus are you on? Are you with the believing thief who was saved and carried to Heaven? Or do you stand with the one rejecting his last chance for redemption? There is no in between. You are either for Jesus or against Him. You either trust Him or reject Him. Where do you stand today? And remember, you are not guaranteed tomorrow!
|Posted on May 29, 2016 at 7:15 PM||comments (0)|
The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up
John 12:27 (ESV) “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
Jesus realized “His time” was just around the corner. It was almost upon Him. In His humanity, He was anguished at the enormity of what fulfilling His purpose would require. Obedience to the Father would mean facing not only excruciating death on the cross but bearing the weight of the sins of the world in His perfect person as the final sacrificial Lamb slain once for all.
Revelation 13:8b (KJV) … the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus asked rhetorically whether or not He should beg God to let Him bypass “this hour.” He answered His own question by stating it was for this purpose that He came. Incarnation, Jesus’ birth as the God-man, was always about His ultimate sacrifice in the place of those who would believe in Him. This was God’s eternal “end-game.” Jesus came in order to increase the eternal family from three (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to include many adopted sons and daughters who He would redeem by paying the price of their sin on the cross.
John 12:28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Jesus was submitting to the Father by accepting the painfulness of the trial He faced in order to bring ultimate glory to God. The Father spoke audibly from Heaven to assure Jesus the Son that He had already received glory from His ministry and would glorify His name again through Jesus’ obedience. Of course, Jesus would have already known this since He and the Father are One.
John 12:29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
God’s voice sounded like thunder to some in the crowd, but others thought it was the voice of an angel talking to Jesus. The difference in interpretation of the sound may have something to do with whether the person was inclined to believe Jesus was the Messiah or not.
John 12:30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
The voice from Heaven was for the benefit of the people gathered around Jesus because we know Jesus could hear the Father without audible words. Jesus spoke of the judgment of the world and the ruler of the world being cast out. Satan may have appeared to have a victory when Jesus died on the cross, but it was His death as the Lamb of God that caused Satan’s defeat.
Hebrews 2:14-15 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Satan is still active in the world, but he knows his time is limited and he is ultimately defeated. Jesus lived a sinless life as a man, died in our place on the cross, and rose from the dead showing that Satan and death have no power over Him.
John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
The picture of Jesus dying in MY place on the cross proves to me that He loves me as no one else ever has or ever could. It is sad that many “churches” have negated the cross in their décor and even in their sermons as this is God’s highest “drawing card.” Whose house is it after all?! The cross was the turning point of history, and the cross was the turning point of His story. It is also the realization that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died in my place and rose from the dead, that makes all the difference in my story.
John 12:34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
The crowd understood that Jesus was speaking of crucifixion when He said He must be lifted up. They were thinking His death would be permanent. They did not realize He would rise from the dead victorious forever.
John 12:35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
Jesus did not really answer their question but went on to present an invitation to believe and trust in Him. One of Jesus’ “I AM” statements was “I am the Light of the world.” Jesus would not be there to guide them and instruct them in the ways of God much longer. He admonished them to listen attentively while He was in their presence in the flesh. He explained they needed to trust in Him so they could be adopted into God’s forever family.
Matthew 5:14 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
When we trust in The Light, Jesus puts His light in us to make us lanterns to guide others to Him and ultimately toward our eternal home.
Q – Have you ever thought of the image of Jesus on the cross drawing people to Him? It is the ultimate expression of love – dying for someone else. Do you believe Jesus did this for YOU? Have you trusted Him to take you to Heaven? Have you come to that turning point in YOUR story. If you are already a believer, a Christian, are you being the lantern God intends for you to be; or have you let your light become so dim that people have a difficult time seeing it, let alone following it to The Light? Add some oil to that lamp and let it shine!