April 3, 1994
All the gospels give an account
of what took place at the crucifixion, and Matthew gives it all
in one chapter, 27. But we will follow John's account.
Let's pick up Jesus in John 13 and just hit some high points through the resurrection. We pick up the story at the last supper with His disciples.
13:1, Jesus knew that the time of His arrest and crucifixion had come, so He presents a couple last messages to His disciples.
Vv. 2-17, records Christ washing the feet of His disciples. This is the last great sermon of Christ to His disciples before His death. We have looked at this passage before, so we will not again at this time. We will simply say that this was the greatest lesson in humility and service ever preached to mankind. God incarnate in the flesh washes His disciples feet.
13:27, Satan enters into Judas, and Judas proceeds to betray Christ.
13:34. As I considered where to start the crucifixion story, this verse caught my eye. Its importance is seen in the fact that it is the last command Christ gave to His disciples after He knew his hour had come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father...
He says, A new commandment...
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
Christ simply restated the OT law. So how is His commandment new?
1. a new commandment... The standard of love is new: as I have loved you. How has He loved us?
1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
Easter: one of the two high holy days of the Christian calendar. Today we celebrate the Love of Christ for fallen man: He became the propitiation for our sins. His payment on the cross appeased the wrath of the Holy Heavenly Father against sinful man. The propitiation is applied to the sinner by the grace of God through faith in the finished work of Christ.
2. a new commandment... The neighbour is new! In the OT, the neighbour was considered restricted to fellow members of the Hebrew nation. Under the new covenant, the neighbour is the whole world.
John 14 through chapter 17 is the final sermon to His disciples before He turns Himself over to wicked men. We pick the account up in chapter 18. Again, we will only take some high points of the account of Christ's arrest, crucifixion and resurrection:
1) Jn 18:27:
Matthew 26:73 And after a while came unto [him] they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art [one] of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
This experience was devastating for Peter. He had been so sure of himself, and now he finds himself denying Christ. Though the experience was extremely painful, it was the turning point for Peter. His pride was destroyed, and he became the chief preacher of the NT church until Paul was brought into the faith.
The painfully embarrassing experiences we come into contact with are for a purpose: to mold us into a fit vessel for Christ's service.
2) John 18:28-40. Christ is brought to the civil ruler by the religious rulers. They could not put Him to death without Rome's permission, so they pressed Pilate for that permission.
There was far less wickedness in this pagan civil magistrate than what was in the princes of God's people. Pilate did not want to put Christ to death, but because it was politically expedient, he yielded to the pressure of those who hated Christ.
There is a great amount of discussion over v. 36, but we will simply point this out: Though Christ confessed Himself a king, Pilate saw no threat to Rome's authority from the Kingdom of Christ.
Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release [him]. 17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) 18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this [man], and release unto us Barabbas: 19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify [him], crucify him. 22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let [him] go. 23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. (The chief priests moved the mob to cry for Christ's death.) 24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. Jn 19:4, Pilate again protests the murder of Christ.
Jn 18:37, tells us that only those with faith in Christ can see, hear and understand the truth of what Christ presented.
3) 19:6, Pilate tries to take a natural approach to Christ. Such an approach is impossible. Pilate proves our Lord's words:
Lu 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
4) John 19:11, this verse shows us that Christ is in total control of all things, for Pilate himself could do nothing apart from what God the Father permitted.
5) John 19:15, is a sad commentary: no king but Caesar. We would expect this kind of a response from those who make no profession of God, but this confession came from those who professed to be God's people and who professed to love God.
Look at what is said:
The religious leaders professed to love the One and Only True God. They were determined to put Christ to death because He claimed to be God's Son. Now they say that they do not recognize God as their King. And their statement is consistent with their lives. When Christ explained and applied the Word of God for these leaders, they became extremely hostile because He destroyed their authority.
They refused to recognize God as their King, but they would recognize Caesar as their king.
WHY? I believe that because Caesar would allow them to worship God after the desires of their own hearts, in a manner that retained their hold over people. Christ, as He properly represented the God of their fathers, would not permit them to worship God after the desires of their own hearts, and He broke their hold over the people. Therefore, they chose to be under Caesar. It was far more profitable to be under Caesar than under the Lord God.
Caesar did not care if they oppressed the people and kept them in bondage to their religion as long as Caesar got what he demanded: taxes and peace in his realm. Christ, as He represented the Holy Heavenly Father, would not permit them to retain their usurped power over the people. The choice, therefore, was clear to the leaders if they wanted to retain their hold: NO KING BUT CAESAR.
6) John 19:19. Christ is now on His earthly throne, the cross. Upon this throne, Christ completes His earthly work. Pilate placed over His throne this saying, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. The Jews protested, but the Pilate refused to change the writing.
7) John 19:28-30, tell us that Christ was crucified, but He was not killed. V. 30, He give up the ghost, but not until all the punishment and suffering for our sins was complete.
Isa 53:4, We did esteem him stricken... Fallen man feels that Christ was smitten of God for His own sins, but Christ bore the punishment due to our sins. Christ satisfied the Heavenly Father with His suffering for our sins, then he gave up the ghost.
Friday, Paul Harvey told of the multitudes of Roman Catholic people in Mexico who had themselves literally nailed to crosses. There was a far greater number who beat themselves to bloody messes with whips. They did all of this seeking to atone for their sins. We know that all such effort is less than useless.
Isa 53:12 The price has been paid by Christ on the cross.
Peter says it like this:
1 Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Now, let's skip to Jn 20. Christ's resurrection proved that the price for sin was completely paid. Jn 20:12, the law was fulfilled to the very end: two witnesses to the resurrection.
Let me conclude with Peter's sermon about the resurrection: Acts 3:12-19
The ones Peter preached to were the very ones who cried for Christ's death before Pilate. Remember, Peter's sermon here is less than 2 months after the death of Christ. Peter laid the blame for Christ's death squarely at the feet of the Hebrew Nation, even the ones listening to the sermon. They accepted the blame, and 5,000 men were saved, 4:4.
Repent, Peter said, And be converted. This message went to the very ones who cried for Christ's death. This message is for every sinner today.
Psalms 49:6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None [of them] can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8 (For the redemption of their soul [is] precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) 9 That he should still live for ever, [and] not see corruption.
Psalms 89:46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? 48 What man [is he that] liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah. 49 Lord, where [are] thy former lovingkindnesses, [which] thou swarest unto David in thy truth? 50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; [how] I do bear in my bosom [the reproach of] all the mighty people; 51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed. 52 Blessed [be] the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.
No person will avoid the grave, nor can any make atonement for his own soul. Only Christ can make that payment for our sins. Have you trusted in His finished work for your sins?
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