The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (4) - Friday, March 30th

The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (4) - Friday, March 30th

Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. It was the third hour when they crucified Him. The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”] Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him. When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem. When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid. Mark 15:22-47

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Letting the reality of “what” Jesus went through on the cross wash over us is very important. To experience this more fully go ahead and read today’s passage again. What follows now will give us the “why” of what Jesus experienced on the cross as well as some more of the “what.” It is a bit of a theology of the cross that includes a lot of additional Scripture.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. Romans 5:12

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:2

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

The Scriptures above deal with the subject of death. The word “separation” gives us a great way to understand death. The Bible says that God formed Adam’s body from the dust of the ground and then breathed into him the breath of life and he became a living being. So Adam and everyone since are body and spirit. Physical death, therefore, is the “separation” of the spirit from the body. God warned Adam that death would be the consequence for disobedience to his command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Later on Adam and Eve disobeyed but they did not instantly die physically. They were changed so that their bodies became subject to death which both of them eventually experienced. The consequence of disobedience to God’s command included another form of death as well which was experienced immediately. We are talking about spiritual death which is the “separation” of the spirit from God. Because physical and spiritual death have taken hold of mankind and because of the reality that spiritual death is permanent if the physical death of a person takes place before spiritual death is reversed, God sent His Son Jesus to make the difference between life and death through the events of that first Easter weekend.

John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:26-29

And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” …. Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:35-37; 45-46

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:28-30

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Mark 15:37-39

Who is Jesus? He is our substitute who on the cross experienced both spiritual and physical death for us. When Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have You forsake Me?”, He was experiencing separation from God the Father. John said that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. As the Lamb of God who was being sacrificed on the cross, Jesus had the sins of the world laid on Him. As a result He experienced spiritual death for us. Since death is separation of the spirit from the body and spiritual death is separation of the spirit from God, Jesus experienced the greatest agony of all His suffering when the sin of the world separated Him from the Father. He paid the required price in a few short hours for all of mankind which would take each of us on our own all eternity to pay. When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He was telling us that the work of conquering spiritual death was now complete. Then Jesus gave up His spirit and entered into physical death as well.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, just saying thank you for being my substitute seems so in adequate and yet I am so very, very grateful. Really grasping what you went through and why I needed you to go through it, isn’t something that happens easily. I do think I am getting there. Thank you for speaking to my heart today. Please keep speaking and cause the reality of the cross to change me more than ever before. You are my redeemer and I am redeemed. Amen!

Remember, the Devotionals for this week conclude tomorrow with the Resurrection.

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