Friday, April 6, 2012

The Crucifixion of Christ
Matthew 27:27-37
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.  And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.  And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.  And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.  And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The story of the crucifixion of Christ, is the pinnacle of redemptive history and the center of God's purpose for salvation. This is where the Lord bears the sins of the world and therefore provides salvation to all who believe in Him. The cross is the highest point of the plan of God and it demonstrates the grace, mercy, goodness and love of God like no other event in history can. 
Matthew 27:27 says, Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall (praetorium, judgment hall), and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.  Pilate has already sinned against his conscience, justice and against truth. He has sold his soul for popularity and security. He is a miserable man. He is cornered by the Jewish population and threatened as to the security of his position. He is forced to do things to Jesus that he knows justice does not require.
Rather than releasing Jesus whom he has pronounced repeatedly as innocent, he desires to try to satisfy the Jews by scourging and mocking Him, then bringing Jesus back out and showing Him to the Jews as a helpless, pitiful individual who is no threat to Rome or Israel. He hopes that will satisfy them and they will stop trying to force him to execute an innocent man.
Jesus endures the scourging. He is tied to a post by His hands, His feet suspended off the ground so that His body, is tight. Two Roman soldiers, on each side, have wooden handles in their hand  to which are attached leather straps, at the end of the straps are bits of rock and bone and metal filed down to a sharp edge. These soldiers proceed to lacerate the body of Jesus Christ extensively until He is bleeding out all over His body and His inner parts are made visible. 
With His body in agony and every nerve made alive in tortuous pain, He becomes the object of the soldiers ridicule as they all gather around Him and begin their little game. They strip Him. In Pilate's Praetorium, there is most likely a discarded scarlet robe, one the soldier's would wear as an outer garment, a rough cloth, used to keep him warm. This robe is meant to mock Christ as if He were a king.
Jesus endures everything––– saying nothing–––– offering no resistance. 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 her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth (Isaiah 53:7). He is willing to suffer for sinners, to suffer not only the death on the cross but everything that came along with it. Jesus, carrying His own cross is paraded before the city so that everyone is warned about how it is to violate Roman law and to be brought to execution by the Romans and yet, has committed no crime. The agony is beyond belief. He has had no rest, no sleep, but, He endures the trials, injustices, beatings and scourgings. It has taken all of His strength.  As he begins to walk up the hill through the city, He falls beneath the load of the heavy cross, they find a man from Cyrene, Simon by name, and urge him to carry the cross.
Death by crucifixion includes all that pain and death can hold: dizziness, cramping, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus (a bacterial disease marked by rigidity and spasms) shame, the horror of anticipation, all intensified just up to the point of unconsciousness. The unnatural position of crucifixion makes every movement painful. The wounds inflamed by exposure gradually become infected. The arteries, especially at the head and stomach, became swollen with additional blood while the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst add to the agony. Read Isaiah 53:3-7. 
Thought: Don’t ever pass over the meaning of the death of Christ on the cross on the way to celebrating His Resurrection (which of course is worthy of our celebrating). It is the cross that gives meaning to the resurrected Christ and why “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2) is so very important and remains to be the very essence of the gospel message.  The yearning of every believer should be, as stated by the apostle Paul; That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:10-11). If you don't know the Savior, if you've not come to Him for forgiveness, embraced Him as Lord, today is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) As He has been lifted up before you today, see Him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world who died for your sins, accept Him by faith and trust Him as your Savior today.

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