As we have been walking with through Holy Week with Jesus, we have been able to see the highs and lows He endured on His way to the cross.
Everything so far has led us to the day that changed history: The Crucifixion.
After Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the garden, they led Him away to a circuit of leaders for trial. Sad to say, but the religious Jews violated their own law by not only holding a trial at night. They also plotted His death. First, they took Jesus to Annas, the ex-high priest (John 18:13), then to Caiaphas who was the high-priest (Matthew 26:57), and then before the Sanhedrin who began to plot His death, (Matthew 26:59; 27:1). As morning dawned, the leaders bound Him and sent Him to Pilate, the governor.
At this point, Judas, His betrayer, realized what he had done.
He was overcome with sorrow that it caused him to throw down the silver he earned for his betrayal. After Judas did this, he went out and hung himself.
Remorse without repentance is deadly!
Pilate wanted to release Jesus during the feast, but the leaders stirred up the crowd and he released a “notorious” thief, Barabbas, instead. Pilate confessed that he was innocent of Jesus’ blood and the people answered, “His blood be upon us and on our children.”
Can you believe what hatred will do?
It caused the frenzied crowd, which included the religious leaders, to call down a curse on themselves and their heirs. Be careful not to do so! They got what they said! According to Finis Dake, they were “visited with the same kind of punishment and worse, for the Romans crucified them in such numbers that there were no more crosses or places for them” (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible notes on Matthew 27:25). My friend, that is a sad commentary.
Next, Jesus was sent to Herod, then back to Pilate.
Each time and place the people would:
- Whipped; or
- Scourged Jesus.
In the movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, Jesus was shown to have been beaten so severely, His flesh resembled something similar to ground meat with blood splattered everywhere. Then, they led Him away to Golgotha and nailed Him with spikes to a wooden cross.
Matthew recorded how nature responded–there was darkness, probably a solar eclipse, lasting from noon until 3PM.
There on a hill, nailed on a cross between two thieves, Jesus died around 3PM. Ironically, this was the same time that the sacrificial lamb was being slaughtered in the temple. David Jeremiah stated that “Between two thieves hung the One prophesied.” Jesus was:
- The Seed of the woman;
- The Seed of Abraham;
- From the tribe of Judah;
- The Son of David;
- Born of a virgin;
- Born in Bethlehem; and
- The Suffering Servant who would cleanse people of their sins.
All these prophecies were now accomplished in Jesus’ life and death (notes on John 19:30).
The earth groaned with seismic activity over Jesus’ death. Matthew said there was an earthquake, rocks that split, graves that opened, and the thick veil in the temple which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place tore from top to bottom. This veil was as thick as a fist and since it was torn from the top down indicated it was an act of God, not of man. Yes, the earth or nature can be affected by spiritual things. Paul said to the Roman church that, “up to the present, we know the whole created universe groans in all its parts as if in the pangs of childbirth” to be delivered from the bondage of corruption (8:22 NEB).
That dark, dismal, and seemingly God-forsaken day with all the seismic activity was when God Himself was killed as He submitted Himself into the hands of His own creatures.
The disciples were heartbroken because they did not understand what happened to Jesus or why it had to happen. In their estimation, He was supposed to establish His kingdom on earth. They wondered about all the miracles they had seen Jesus perform. They questioned the purpose of the miracles that they had even done. Now Jesus was dead, and they feared a retaliation from the Jewish leaders. In utter despair and disappointment, they left. Luke stated that the crowd that watched Jesus die on that cross, beat their breasts and went home (23:48).
What seemed like a very dark day in Christian history was, in reality, the day that Jesus suffered it all, paid for all, died for all, but WON IT ALL!
The cross was a predetermined plan of the Father to redeem humanity. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Back in the Garden of Eden, God had said that He would put enmity between the serpent and the woman and her Seed, but that He (Jesus) would bruise the serpent’s (Satan’s) head.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself and no longer counting the people’s sin against them.
The writer of the Hebrews stated, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted (and tested), He is able to AID those who are being tempted (tested)” (2:9, 10, 18, emphasis mine).
The word AID in the Greek is the word botheo which is a picture word from a nautical perspective.
The idea is that during a storm, sailors would wrap new, green ropes around the ship’s hull to keep it from coming apart. Just as we have storm indicators like EF2 or EF5, they measured the severity of a storm by how many ropes they used – a two-rope storm or a five-rope storm. There is a reference to this when Paul had appealed to stand before Caesar and on his voyage, the ship encountered a severe storm. Luke in Acts 27:17 said that the crew used cables or ropes to undergird the ship.
My friend, are you encountering a severe storm in your life?
Then stand on the Hebrews scripture that will give you hope. Since Jesus suffered it all, then He is able, well able, to aid you in your storm. He can wrap ropes of peace, assurance, faith, hope, and even joy to not only keep you together, but also to see you through the storm. Praise the living God!
The Word encourages us saying, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward, for you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35, 36).
God’s promises are sure, and they are steadfast!!!
His promises are always yes and amen.
After Jesus died, was all hope gone and the future dark and bleak forever? Although Jesus was dead, there was unseen activity occurring. My next and last post will be on the Resurrection. As I said before, the best is yet to come!
Have you ever been in a season where all hope seemed lost? What are some of the words you stood on to remind you that the best is yet to come?