Posted by: excharisma | April 8, 2009

The Crucifixion Of Christ

The Crucifixion Of Christ (Matt. 27:26b-37) 

We often are thankful for Good Friday to be off from work but are we thankful for the meaning of Good Friday? The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and we must be worshipful to remember the great work of salvation achieved only by the person and work of Christ not just on Good Friday and Easter but everyday of our lives. It shows the great love, grace, and mercy God has shown to us through Christ. The horror, the suffering, the blood shed, the cruelty, and death Christ endured to cleanse us from sin shows the great depravity that man had to be saved from. For all of us that have received Christ by faith as Lord, we must remember it was for us He died and rose again. Let’s look with fresh eyes again at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. Before the Crucifixion

A. The Garden (Matt. 26:36-46)– we see here in passage in Mt. 26 that Jesus has come to the Garden of Gethsemane (means ‘Olive Press’) with the disciples. He has come to pray and enters further in the garden with Peter, James, and John. This passage mentions in verse 37 that Jesus is ‘sorrowful and very heavy’, this means that he is grieved and distressed and even verbalizes that fact to these three. He is feeling the immense stress and when He prays, He asks the Father, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt’ and later prays in v. 42, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done’. Jesus is not fearing death, the cup is not the cup of death but it represents the wrath of God against sin. In that moment, the sin of the world was being ‘poured’ on Jesus. He was going to bear our sins on that cross and die for our sins in our place; He took the punishment and penalty for our sin for us. 2 Co. 5:21 says that, ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us’, Jesus took our place and took the wrath of God for us.

The taking on of the overwhelming weight of the sin of the world was a great stress on our Lord because we see that in Luke 22:34 it tells us that, ‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’; now this is actually a known medical condition called hematidrosis. It is caused by great psychological stress which causes a release of chemicals that breaks down the capillaries in sweat glands which results in a small amount of bleeding in the glands and when sweat is released it is tinged with blood. We see our sinless Lamb taking our sins on Himself and the great weight causes our Lord great stress. He was the only One who could do it.

B. The betrayal and arrest (vv.47-68)– we all know the Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and they came and arrested Jesus and took to the High Priest Caiaphas. The disciples had fled away into the night and Jesus was before the Sanhedrin council and they charged Him with blasphemy for they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They also pronounced a death sentence, beat, and mocked Him.

C. Before Pilate, the crowd, and the scourging (Mt. 27:11-31)– in chapter 27:11, we see Jesus has now been brought to Pilate. He is questioned by Pilate and Pilate says in the passage from John that he could find no fault in Him. When the crowd was given a choice to release a prisoner by Pilate, he gave them a choice between Jesus and a criminal named Barabbas. The crowd there cried out they wanted Barabbas and when Pilate asked what they wanted to do with Jesus and the crowd cried out ‘crucify him!’. This was probably a lot of the same crowd that had cried out only days before ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord’ when Christ rode in on that donkey when He entered Jerusalem. When Pilate expressed that he felt Jesus was innocent it says in v. 23 that the crowd cried out even more, ‘Let Him be crucified’. Pilate washes his hands before them and says that he is innocent of this man’s blood and the crowd answers and says, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children’; the fact of the matter is that we are all guilty of the death of Jesus Christ and none of us are innocent of His shed blood, it is because of our sins that He came, suffered, and died on that cross. Barabbas is released and Jesus is then scourged and delivered over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Scourging was a practice used by the Romans that involved a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls and sharp pieces of bone woven into them. It was usually consisted of 39 lashes but depending upon the mood of the soldier chosen to give the lashes it most likely was more. Needless to say the flogging would be from the shoulders down the back and buttocks to the back of the legs. It would rip and tear skin and muscle down to even exposure of the spine and bowel. It was a horrible thing to be scourged and many would die just from being scourged and the loss of blood. Then the soldiers mocked him, spit on him, and drove a crown of thorns upon His head.

II. Crucifixion (vv.32-44)

We now come to the place of the crucifixion; as horrible as the scourging was crucifixion was even more horrible. When one was crucified, they had to carry the cross beam part of the cross called the patibulum to the place where the execution was to be carried out. When they would arrive the vertical part of the cross would already be placed in the ground. They would take the condemned and nail him to part he carried. The 5-7 inch spikes and nailed him to through the wrists. Note that the wrist was considered part of the hand in the language of the day. If it was through the palms, the skin would have torn and would have fallen off the cross; the spike through the wrists lock the hands in place and was a solid place to secure the condemned. Part of the torture involved in nailing through the wrists is that the nail would go through the place where the median nerve runs to the hand. It would crush the nerve and cause intense pain; it like the feeling of hitting your funny bone but this pain is constant and it would be like taking a pair of pliers and squeezing and crushing that nerve. The pain would be unbearable and Jesus was feeling that pain. The pain was literally beyond words to describe; in fact they invented a new word for it and that word: excruciating. Excruciating means ‘out of the cross’. They had to make a new word for that intense anguish and suffering felt on the cross.

The cross beam was raised and attached to the vertical beam and then a spike was driven through the feet also hitting a nerve with a similar intense pain as the others. Upon being raised on the cross the arms would be stretched at least 6 inches and the shoulders would become dislocated. Once hanging in that vertical position, crucifixion was a slow painful death caused by asphyxiation. Because of the position of crucifixion, Christ had to push Himself up by His feet to exhale and relax back down to inhale. Eventually a person would die do to being to exhausted to push themselves up to keep breathing. This is the great physical pain and agony endured by Christ out of His love for lost and sinful mankind. And we see in the Garden and at the cross the great psychological and physical suffering Jesus faced for our sins.

III. His Death (vv.45-53)

It talks in v.45 that there was a great darkness over all the land. This was not an eclipse, because they knew what an eclipse was and there is no record of any eclipse at this time period. This was a supernatural occurrence performed by God the Father. But what was the reason? At His death there is darkness from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. The Jews begin to measure their day from 6 A.M., the sixth hour is noon. From noon to three it was dark. Mark 15:25 says, “He was crucified at the third hour,” 9 A.M. So the first three hours He was hanging there visible, naked before the watching people in the light. Those three hours passed. Soldiers had nailed Him there. They had placed the sign over His head. He is suspended there in the horrific indignity as the passers-by, the soldiers, the curious, the religious leaders watched and mocked and insulted Him. During that three hours He only broke the silence three times. Once He said to the soldiers, of the soldiers to the Father, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The second time He spoke to a penitent thief at His side and said, “Verily, this day you will be with Me in paradise.” Once more He broke the three-hour silence looking down at Mary and John, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son,” pointing to John. And to John, “Behold your mother,” thus giving her into the care of John. In the light He said three things. All three of them were demonstrations of mercy, mercy toward the soldiers, mercy toward the thief, mercy toward Mary. Each was a revelation of the light of His grace, the shining beauty of His compassion. Darkness in the Scripture is a symbol of judgment; God’s salvation is always seen as light. God’s judgment is always seen as darkness and God was saying by the darkness that the cross was a place of judgment. This is not an indication of a judgment to come in the future, this is a judgment in itself right then and there. And God only judges one thing, what is it? Sin. God turned out the lights because this was a judgment on sin. And yet, the One receiving the judgment was sinless, a Lamb without blemish and without spot, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, Hebrews 7:26 says. “In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”. Second Corinthians 5, “Him who knew no sin.” What is happening there then is a judgment on sin being borne by an innocent sacrifice. Isaiah 53 verse 4, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore and our sorrows He carried, yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well being fell on Him and by His scourging we are healed. The Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” It further says, “The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief, rendering Him a guilt offering He will bear their iniquities and justify many.” Paul put it this way. Romans 4:25, “He was delivered for our offenses.” First Corinthians 15:3, “He died for our sins.” First Peter 2:24, “Who in His own self bore our sins in His body on the tree.” First Peter 3:18, “He died the just for the unjust.” First John 4:10, “God sent His Son to be the atonement for our sins.” Galatians 3, “He was made a curse for us.” And in Matthew 20:28 it says, “He came to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mt. 25:46, “And about the ninth hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’” As the darkness came to an end, as the darkness reached three o’clock from noon, the life of Jesus is almost at an end. The fury of God is almost spent. Judgment is almost over. But Jesus can contain the pain no longer and it’s not the pain of nails and it’s not the pain of a crown, and it’s not the pain of wounds of scourges rubbing against a ragged wooden beam, it is the pain of separation from the Father. And with great strength, He cries out where the real agony comes from, and it doesn’t come from the physical pain, the real agony comes from His soul, the realization, the reality, the agony that He is separated from His Father. I don’t think Jesus in the garden was agonizing over the physical pain that He was about to suffer, He was agonizing over the reality of the sin-bearing and feeling the wrath of God because Christ came to be “a ransom for many” which means He had to come and die in our place, and He knew He would feel the fury of God’s wrath. This is a supernatural separation, impossible and yet it happened. And while Jesus was not separated from the Father by nature, He was separated from the Father by fellowship. As a sinful child does not cease to be the essence of his father, but by his sin loses the intimate fellowship with his father, so Christ did not cease to be God but lost the intimacy of fellowship with His Father which He had eternally known. He had never been anything but loved by His Father. In fact, it was His Father’s perfect love for Him that caused the Father to put the whole redemptive plan in motion and to redeem lost humanity. It was the Father’s perfect love for the Son that made it all happen. And now, having been loved by His Father perfectly for all eternity, He is treated as if His Father hates Him and His Father turns His back on Him. Why does He do that? Because “He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon iniquity”, Hab. 1:12, 13. 2 Co. 5:21 says it in a nutshell, ‘21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’.

He took upon Himself the penalty for my sins and your sins and suffered and died in our place. What great love and mercy that He has shown to us the undeserving. As we read that He cried out, like it says in John 19:30, ‘it is finished’, He said that not because He was dying but because the work of salvation was finished and complete. Heb 10:10, ‘…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’. The salvation of our souls that we receive through faith in Christ is an eternal salvation because Jesus gives us a complete work of salvation that was accomplished by the suffering and death on the cross for those who are the sons and daughters of God, once for all. There is nothing else to do, no good works, no religious effort on our part because it is only through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus on the cross.

Because of the suffering and death on the cross by our sinless Lord Jesus, we are now partakers of His salvation. It is only through Jesus we have salvation, the forgiveness of all our sins. Let us, this week especially remember and give God thanks for the awesome work of redemption by King Jesus.


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