Posts Tagged ‘Crucifixion


God’s Will To Suffer?

This is going to sound strange, but have you ever thought that suffering could be part of God’s will for your life? Peter did. In fact, he points to Jesus as an example. He writes:

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)

God would rather you suffer persecution because you’re doing the right things instead of doing the wrong things. Jesus suffered through the cross because He did the right things. He lived a holy and righteous life and His own people killed Him for it. They put Him to death on a cross, but God had the final say. God raised Him back to life on the 3rd day just as He said He would. It was God’s will for this to happen because all of humanity could be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Do the right things, even if it brings persecution knowing that God’s will is best.

No One Else Like Jesus

Jesus suffered and died on the cross. Why? Why would He endure such a thing as the excruciating pain of crucifixion. The word “excruciating” literally means “out of the cross.” It was a word invented to describe the pain of crucifixion. Why would the perfect Son of God willingly go through the cross? Peter writes:

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:24-25 (NIV)

Through the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, we are set free from the power of sin. We are healed by His wounds. We are able to return to a right relationship with God. We no longer live for sin, but we live for Jesus. We find rest and hope and joy and peace through Him. We find our true home in Him. We can live the life we long to live through Jesus. No one else is like Him.

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

It is Good Friday. Luke wrote in his Gospel:

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)

I wonder if Jesus still asks the Father to forgive us because we don’t know what we’re doing. When we hurt those whom we love, do we know what we’re doing? When we complain to God about our situations and circumstances, do we know what we’re doing? When we sin against God, do we know what we’re doing? Yet God, in His goodness and grace, continues to forgive us even though we have no idea what we’re doing. Jesus was beaten, tortured and crucified because we don’t know what we’re doing. Remember His sacrifice today for by it you have been saved, forgiven and set free. Even though we don’t know what we’re doing, God knows what He’s doing. He’s loving, forgiving and transforming each of us by His love.

Hanging On His Words

Luke 22:47-48 (NIV)
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
I wonder how they did it.  Luke makes it clear that the chief priests, teachers of the law and religious leaders in Jerusalem were looking for a way to kill Jesus during the week of Passover, but they could not do it.  Why?  Because the people “hung on His words” (Luke 22:48, NIV).  They were captivated by Jesus.  He did not teach like the teachers of the law, but instead taught as One with authority (Matthew 7:29).  His words were filled with grace and truth.  His words were filled with compassion and mercy.  His words were challenging and powerful.  The crowds of people could not get enough of Him.
So how did the religious leaders of Israel convince these same crowds to cry out, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”?  This was a punishment reserved for the worst of criminals and now the people were demanding it for Jesus.  How could this be possible?  What did He do?  What crime did He commit?  He did not lead an invasion against the Romans.  He led an invasion into the hearts of people.
He is still leading this invasion to this day as people all across the globe discover that Jesus holds the words of life (John 6:68).  We trust in His words to give us hope and eternal life.  We still hang on His words.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank Your merciful plan of salvation.  It cost Jesus His life in exchange for mine.  Thank You for the words of eternal life that Jesus spoke.  Help me to hang on His every word that I may have hope in Him.  Amen.

Surrendering To The Spirit

The proof of our inability to be saved through the law of Moses is this: Jesus had to die.  Paul tells the Galatian believers that Jesus “was clearly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1, NIV).  If we were even remotely capable of keeping the law (and being saved by it), Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.  The curse of the law is that it condemns us.  The law shows us that we are sinners, but does nothing to release us from that condemnation.  We are cursed and condemned if we try to follow the law in order to be saved!  Jesus took that curse upon Himself on the cross and suffered our condemnation.  We must simply accept His loving gift of grace by putting our faith and trust in Him for salvation.  We do this by believing that He is the Son of God, our Savior; repentance from sin; public confession of our faith and being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Our sins are then forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, dwelling inside of us, transforms us from the inside out.  The job of sanctification is the job of the Holy Spirit.  If you showed up at my church this Sunday and I walked up to you and asked you if you were ready to preach the sermon, you might look at me as if I had a third eye growing out of my forehead.  You might say something like, “No!  It’s not my job!”  I would say, “You’re right.  It’s my job.  I’ll do it.”  When we try to sanctify ourselves by trying to be good enough or following the rules, we are trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit.  Rather than trying to keep the law and thereby keep ourselves saved, we need to surrender daily to the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Quit trying to do the Spirit’s job!  Submit to what the Spirit is doing in your life.  Trust God’s Spirit to transform you instead of trying to do the work of transformation in your life.  Do not resist the Spirit, but surrender to His leading instead.
Galatians 3:1-14 (NIV)

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.


The Forgiving Heart Of Jesus

Jesus’ heart is a heart that beats with compassionate forgiveness for people.  There are three evidences of this in Luke 23:32-42.
First, the fact that Jesus was hanging on the cross was evidence of His desire to bring forgiveness to people.  The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22, NIV).  Jesus shed His blood on the cross as the perfect human sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.
Second, as He hung on the cross, He prayed for forgiveness for His executioners.  As Jesus was writhing in agony, He prayed:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. – Luke 23:34 (NIV)

He knew that these people who were mocking Him and killing Him did not understand the role that they were playing.  By crucifying Jesus, they were ushering in a new age and a new covenant (Hebrews 8:8-12).  Jesus knew what they were doing.  They would not have been allowed to do it unless it was the Father’s will.
Third, Jesus forgives the sins of the criminal on the cross next to Him.  By a simple confession of faith, this criminal was pardoned at the last possible moment!  Jesus, the One who has the authority to forgive sins, forgives this vile offender who truly believed.  When this sinner took his last breath on earth, his next one was taken in paradise with Jesus.
Nearly 2000 years later, Jesus’ heart still beats for forgiveness.  Those who put their faith and trust in Christ are pardoned by God’s grace.  He laid down His life and He still asks the Father to forgive us for we are like helpless sheep who don’t know what we’re doing.  We’re like the criminal on the cross who proclaim our faith by repentance, confession and baptism.  We’re all guilty and we know it.  We’re all sinners and we know it.  We all deserve death and destruction, but instead we get forgiveness and freedom.  It’s all by His grace and mercy.  We cannot earn it or buy it.  We cannot be good enough for it.  It’s a gift and we must merely accept it.  It costs us nothing, but it cost Jesus everything.  And He was willing to pay the price for our salvation.  Hallelujah!  Praise His name!

Luke 23:32-43 (NIV)

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


Succumbing To The Pressure

Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate.  So the chief priests and teachers of the Law are 0 for 2.  They tried to get Pilate to condemn Jesus and he could find no reason to sentence Jesus to death.  They took Him to Herod to see if Herod would capitulate to their demands.  He would not.  So Pilate, probably growing weary of the Jews’ incessant demands to execute Jesus, calls the Jewish leaders together to tell them that he will not give in to their demands.
We read in verse 20 that Pilate wanted to release Jesus.  Ah, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.  Pilate went to the crowd which had gathered and asked them what Jesus had done to deserve crucifixion.  They only cried louder with every passing moment as they shouted, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21, NIV).
So Pilate gives in to the crowd.  Why?  What had him so afraid?  Was it the fear of an uprising?  Surely Pilate had enough soldiers at his command to squelch any kind of riot.  Was it just weariness with the Jews?  He did not have to give in to them!  He was the governor!  He could have said, “No!  We crucify criminals and Jesus is not a criminal!”
The inner conflict Pilate may have felt was nothing compared to the cosmic battle raging between good and evil.  It was the demonic forces of evil who were inciting the crowd.  Things were going down the way that both God the Father and Satan wanted them to.  The only difference is the desired outcome.  Satan wanted Jesus crucified to get rid of Him in an apparent victory.  God wanted Jesus crucified (see Isaiah 53:10) so that forgiveness could be made possible.  Jesus was more than just a good Man or a good teacher or a Prophet.  He was the Lamb of God who, by His atoning death on the cross, brought salvation to all who will trust Him for it.  God sent His Son to die for our sins.  Jesus was born to die and that’s what He did.  Jesus knew His purpose in life was to bring reconciliation between God and humanity.  He fulfilled it perfectly.
Luke 23:13-25 (NIV)

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

%d bloggers like this: