The Crucifixion of Jesus

I asked Jesus how much He loved me

He answered "this much"

Then He stretched out His arms and died for me

Think of how Jesus must have felt dying on the cross. All of the love in the world did not bring Him down until He had undergone the pain and punishment that He was born for. He had not deserved it and in the end, it was only the Father's love that resurrected Him. He had to go, He had to suffer the insults and disrespect and taunts. He was spit at and reviled, people hit Him and made false accusations against Him, turned their backs on Him and called Him names. As He hung there on the cross, His final thoughts were of others, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

When Jesus at the cross said "it is finished," there is a certain finality in that, it is the reconciliation with God and man that was lost when Adam sinned; through grace and forgiveness, we have regained the innocence that we had from the beginning. We still have the Adamic nature within us in the flesh but the penalty is gone and the seed of death is transformed to life. Jesus came to give us that life and it starts the very day that we accept Him and become partakers of the promise of eternal life. To be like Christ is to take upon ourselves a spiritual nature. When Adam sinned, did he die that very day? It was not physical death that day, Adam lived for over 900 years, it was spiritual death. The serpent told Eve "Ye shall not surely die." Satan lied, and he has been lying to mankind ever since. Our eternal nature has been restored to us when Jesus came to be our sacrifice and fulfil the law.

I believe that Jesus voluntarily gave His life for us, completely. At the same time that He was divine, He was also human with human emotions. Jesus was a man but was obedient. When He cried, I am sure that it was real tears, even though He knew that everything would come out right. Jesus was willing but like ourselves is not a robot that does God's will without trepidation. If He were, it would not be out of compassion, with feeling and love but out of blind unemotional allegiance. Jesus died for us as much as He was sent from the Father to die. He died for the whole world, most of which would reject Him. When we take up that divine nature that is obedient even unto death for our friends as well as enemies, we turn away from the human nature that would feel that God has abandoned us. I believe that this is real faith.

The crucifixion occured on Friday before the Passover in early spring. John - About the sixth hour - Behold your King... Mark - And it was about the third hour and they crucified him. The crucifixion was given the final order and the execution followed immediately after the judgment. This took place before the Sabbath, that is on Friday. Because the Sabbath began at sundown, and also because dead criminals had to be buried before nightfall, speed was required in disposing of Jesus' body. Black clouds of an impending storm cover the sky. Simon the Cyrenean helped carry the cross. The daughters of Jerusalem were weeping and lamenting.

When the Jews had shouted to Pilate, Crucify Him, they had asked for a punishment not Jewish, but Roman. The ordinary Jewish penalty for blasphemy was stoning. The Romans had a terror for crucifixion. Crucifixion in the time of Jesus, was the most cruel and disgraceful method of killing that human skill knew how to devise, and the cross itself was associated with all that was vile and unholy. The common way of crucifying was by fastening the criminal with nails, one through each hand, and one through both his feet, or through each foot. Sometimes they were bound with cords, less pain but languish longer. A stupefying draught was sometimes administered, in order to render him less sensible to pain, drugged wine from sisters of mercy, an eleviation which our Savior did not accept. The meaning of the crown of thorns was to insult him under the character of the king of Jews, crowned in mockery. Instead of being moved to compassion by Christ's physical torment, as the weight of his body pulled against the open wounds of the nails, the people who came to watch the spectacle rejoiced in his agony and ridiculed him.

Pilate- Go, soldier, get ready the cross. Roman soldiers in cardinal tunics would use their curved shields to push the crowd back. The place of the crucifixion was outside the city. Upon arriving there, the condemned became stripped of his clothes, which became the prerequisite of the soldiers. In most cases the body was suffered to rot on the cross by the action of the sun and rain to be devoured by birds and beasts, but because of Deuteronomy 21, an express national exception was made in favor of the Jews.

The crucifixion was put through by the spokesman and official representatives of as high a religion as the world has thus far seen and by a magistrate of a government which was as good as any which man has produced. Yet in blindness, selfish fear, and stupid anger they had done to death the rarest spirit ever born of a woman. Pilate - do it in threes, nice company for each other. They dragged the crosses which were heavy along a long winding route. Today the cross is cherished wherever it goes.

They put above His head the charge against which read "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." Jesus' tablet was inscribed in three languages, Aramaic, Greek and Latin. The Latin was "I miles, expedi crucem," Between two thieves, Jesus was dying on the cross. The penitent robber appears in the calendar as St. Bonus Latro.

Jesus literally died of a broken heart. He was punished in Gehinnom (The valley of Hinnom), which runs SW of Jerusalem and was used as a place for dumping refuse by means of boiling filth. This could recall the historical detail of his having been crucified on a hill that overlooked the upper part of this very valley. If there is one thing certain in the history of religion, it is that the death of Jesus put an end to all blood sacrifices.

Apart from anything else, the crucifixion is the greatest crime in history. It shows supremely what sin can do, that sin can take the loveliest life the world has ever seen and seek to break it on a cross. To the Jew the idea of a crucified Christ was incredible. "And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and you hang him on a tree. His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that your land be not defiled." To the orthodox Jew the Cross was the one fact which made it completely impossible that Jesus could be the Messiah. The early preachers answered, if you would only read your scriptures you would see that all was foretold.

There are several prophecies in the Old Testament that speak of the crucifixion. Isaiah: "Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he opens not His mouth."
David: "You have known my reproach and my shame and my dishonor, my adversaries are all before you. Reproach has broken my heart and I am full of heaviness and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me and from the words of my roaring?...I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels...They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture." Echoing the song of David, "Into thy hands, I commit my spirit."

Eli, Eli, and as if in answer there has come a momentous burst of sun, irradiating the figure of the redeemer until all the light in the picture seems to proceed from him, thus typifying the light and truth of Christianity. Original Aramaic "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani. Eli, Eli - My God, my god, why have you forsaken me. Learned scribes knew the quotation from David, others thought He was calling for Elijah.

According to legend Jesus was crucified on a cross made of wood from the terebinth. The tension of His muscles show extreme physical suffering and imposed the most terrible strain on the chest, His head, His hands, His feet. Once their legs were broken they soon expired. But when they came to Jesus, the soldiers found He was dead already, so they did not break his legs. One of them simply stuck a spear into the side of Jesus and pierced his heart. Had Jesus still been alive, bright arterial blood would have come out of the wound but out came blood and water. He was dead all right. Sorrow and love flow mingled down; "Did e're such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown." Isaac Watts, 1707.

The immediate effect of Jesus' crucifixion, was the dispersion of the disciples. In spite of the fact that he endeavored so to prepare them for his approaching death that they should not be thrown into confusion but immediately take up the work. When his death came it found them unprepared, and it left them completely demoralized, distressed and bewildered. But his reappearance had revived all their old hopes in an unchanged form, and they expected now the immediate accomplishment of that for which they had so long been looking.

The Samaritan historian Thallus, who wrote in Rome about 52, regarded the Crucifixion of Jesus so significant that he included it in his history of the world and wanted to explain the darkness that fell when Jesus died as an eclipse of the sun.

That victorious cry was "Tetelestai". Those are the exact words that a Roman judge would write across a released criminals Certificate of Debt to show that all his penalty had been paid on full and he was free at last. The word used in this way means "paid in full" and is translated in many bibles as 'it is finished'.

A Love Story

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah! ... the beauty of God's creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord's presence with me. He asked me, "Do you love me?" I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Saviour!"

Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?"

I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn't be able to do and thought about the things that I take for granted. I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?"

How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. So I answered, "It's hard to think of it, but I would still love you."

The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?"

How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God's Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."

The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?"

How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me, God wants us to sing from our very hearts and souls. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name."

And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?"

With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!"

I thought I had answered well, but God asked, "Then why do you sin?"

I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect."

"Then why in times of peace do you stray the furthest? Why only in times of trouble do you pray the earnest?"

I had no answers ... only tears.

The Lord continued. "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?" The tears continued to roll down my cheeks. "Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"

"You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all. Do you truly love me?

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, "Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child."

The Lord answered, "That is My Grace, My child."

I asked, "Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?"

The Lord answered, " Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you until the end of days, and I will love you forever."

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, "How much do You love me?"

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Saviour. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

~ Author Unknown ~

[309, 319, 322, 324, 316, 326, 334, 340, 12, 343, 345, 347, 351, 23, 371, 373, 15, 283, 380, BD, Deuteronomy, Isaiah 53, Psalms 22, 31, 69, Luke 23.]

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