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Behold the Man!

Behold the Man!

By Jon Peasey

 

Published by Peasey Publications

at Shakespir

 

Copyright 2015 Jon Peasey

ISBN: 9780994150837

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

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[Crucifixion graphic on front cover courtesy of pixabay.com ]

 

 

[All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James version (NKJV); unless otherwise noted. Words enclosed in [ ] are inserted for clarity. Words in bold type emphasise a point. You may notice some verses are quoted with at the beginning, ending or elsewhere in a verse. Only the relevant part or parts of the verse that relate directly to the current subject matter is quoted.]

 

[An Alphabetical List of Contents is located at the end of the eBook; to access it click on the link below in the Table of Contents. This will redirect you to the Alphabetical List where you can peruse and select the subjects in their alphabetical order. To return to the Alphabetical List click on any actual chapter heading; this will redirect you to The Table of Contents where you can again select the Alphabetical List from the link below.]

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Alphabetical List of Table of Contents

Preamble

Chapter One: His virgin birth

Chapter Two: His perfect life

Chapter Three: His obedience to the Father

Chapter Four: His power over Nature

Chapter Five: His power over disease and afflictions

Chapter Six: His power over demons

Chapter Seven: His power over death

Chapter Eight: Jesus the Messiah – the Christ

Chapter Nine: Jesus – the Son of God

Chapter Ten: His rejection by the Jews

Chapter Eleven: Gethsemane

Chapter Twelve: Gabbatha

Chapter Thirteen: Golgotha

Chapter Fourteen: The Suffering Servant

Chapter Fifteen: Golgotha through the eyes of Jesus

Chapter Sixteen: Resurrection and Ascension

Chapter Seventeen: Jesus – Kinsman Redeemer

Reflections

About the Author

Ebooks by Jon Peasey

 

 

 

Preamble

These three words “Behold the Man!” are relevant in our day and age: yet these words were spoken 2,000 or so years ago; when the Roman armies ruled the world and Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire.

 

God wants us to consider and evaluate His Son, Jesus of Nazareth who is the Saviour of mankind. It is my earnest desire to share with you my thoughts via this ebook of the majesty and perfections of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures reveal much about this Man. Let us be like the Psalmist of old. “My heart is inditing [overflowing with] a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45:1 KJV).

 

John 19:5 “…And Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the Man!’.” This will be the constant theme throughout this ebook.

 

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Chapter One: His virgin birth

This is a subject that causes much incredulity and scorn. Yet His birth was prophesied in the Holy Scriptures centuries before Jesus of Nazareth was born. Let’s look at Isaiah 7:13, 14,

“(13) Then he said, ‘Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? (14) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel!’ “. Immanuel means literally ‘God with us’.

 

Let’s also look at Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” These two prophecies were proclaimed about 740 BC. The ancient Israelites understood that these prophecies related to their coming Messiah.

 

Now let’s come forward in time to the New Testament, in Luke 1:26-35:

“(26) Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

(27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

(28) And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’

(29) But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

(30) Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.

(31) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

(32) He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

(33) And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’

(34) Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?

(35) And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’.”

 

Mary questioned the angel as to how it was possible for her to conceive as she had not known any man (in a sexual relationship). She was betrothed to Joseph but had not had sexual relations with him. She was a virgin. The answer was that God Himself would through the power of the Holy Spirit bring about the conception in her womb. This would be the fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6. No man had anything to do with it – God brought it to fruition.

 

Let’s move on to Luke 2:1-7:

“(1) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

(2) This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

(3) So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

(4) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

(5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

(6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

(7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

 

Now I want to point out a very important fact; Jesus of Nazareth was born sinless! He was not born with a sinful nature like you and me! Human beings are born with a sinful nature which is passed on through the males of our species. In Psalm 51:5 the Psalmist makes this declaration, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” The Psalmist was not saying his conception and birth was a sinful act. What he is conveying to us is the fact that his mother had a sinful nature and that his father had a sinful nature; this meant that via the act of conception the Psalmist was going to be born with a sinful nature.

Hebrews 13:4, informs us that, “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” God honours marriage between a man and a woman; therefore sexual relations between the married couple is undefiled in God’s eyes. However, the undefiled bed does not mean that the sinful nature is not passed on to our offspring, whether male or female.

 

When God created the first man Adam, He put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and to keep it (Genesis 2:15). Then God gave Adam a commandment:

Genesis 2:16, 17, “(16) And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’.” The commandment was given to Adam before Eve his wife was created!

 

So when Adam and Eve sinned by eating from “…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” sin entered our world and they both became sinners in the sight of God. As the original commandment was given to Adam his sinful nature has been passed on to all his offspring – right down to our day.

 

Because no male was involved with Mary’s miraculous conception her child was not born with a sinful nature handed down via Adam. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” It is important to establish the truth as to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ. He was not born with a sinful nature. Therefore He was incapable of sinning!

 

Chapter Two: His perfect life

In 1 Peter 2:21, 22 we read these words, “(21) …Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (22) ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’.” Again in 1 John 3:5 we read, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” Also in 2 Corinthians 5:21 these words, “For He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

 

Let’s sum up our findings in these verses.

(a) He committed no sin.

(b) In Him is no sin.

© He knew no sin.

 

In the Gospel of John the Jews in chapter 8 contended with Jesus. Let’s look at John 8:44-47:

“(44) You [the Jews] are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

(45) But because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me.

(46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?

(47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

 

His sinlessness becomes the basis for Jesus Christ to become our substitute on the cross at Calvary. He knew no sin; He had no sin in Him and therefore He committed no sin. He led a perfect, holy life on Earth. The only perfect, sinless man! Don’t believe the Devil’s lie that Jesus could have sinned. He was, and is, incapable of sinning!

 

It is an amazing fact that Jesus of Nazareth was in daily contact with all kinds of sinners and was not defiled by this contact. He always did the right thing because He knew the right thing to do in every situation in life. He never had to retract a word or deed due to sin. Not like you and me! He was guileless and transparent. He always spoke the truth. Indeed as John 14:6 reveals He is truth personified in a living person. “Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 

The apostle Peter speaking in Acts 10:38 said, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” This man Jesus “went about doing good” His ministry to his fellow men was ‘doing good’. His doing good encompasses all His marvellous works and miracles.

 

The apostle John could say about Him in John 21:25, “and there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” Now there is a staggering thought, that the world itself could not contain the books that could be written about Jesus the Son of God.

 

In Acts 10:38 please note that “…God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power.” Here is the key to His ministry and works among the Jewish nation. All His actions and deeds were Divinely inspired and carried out. There was never any sin to mar His walk with God the Father. He walked in perfect harmony and communion with the Father.

 

It is difficult for you and me to grasp the holiness and sinlessness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here is a man who never sinned! Our very nature finds it hard to accept this fact. Why? Because we are all born with a sinful nature and our thoughts and actions are often governed by our sinful nature. Yet Jesus of Nazareth is, and was, incapable of a sinful thought. His very sinlessness thrusts His holiness into prominence. He was not a ‘goody goody’ or a ‘do gooder’. He was in fact a truly good person.

 

I wrote in an earlier paragraph, “His sinlessness becomes the basis for Jesus Christ to become our Substitute on the cross at Calvary.” As sinners we are all bankrupt before God. Indeed Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Only one man is the exception – Jesus of Nazareth! He has not fallen short of the glory of God because He has never sinned.

 

There is a barrier of sin between us and God. Romans 6:23 tells us in very clear terms that, “…the wages of sin is death…” No one can refute the evidence that people of all ages, gender, nationalities, creeds and religious bias – all die! Death is a fact of life! Here is the reason; the penalty for sinning is death.

 

If that’s where the story ends then we have no hope. However, the remainder of Romans 6:23 informs us, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So what then is the basis for this gift of God? How is it possible that God can give me a sinner the gift of eternal life?

 

Hebrews 9:27 states, “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.” If you die as a sinner still in your sins you will be judged for your wicked, ungodly life. So how do I a sinner make the transition from death and judgement to eternal life? Millions have found the answer. God has provided the answer; “…in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now it is rather obvious that there is nothing I as a sinner can do to rectify the charges against me for, “…the wages of sin is death.”

 

The apostle Peter informs us in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” What is that name? Acts 4:10 tells us that it is “…Jesus Christ of Nazareth…”

 

We need Jesus Christ of Nazareth to clear our debt of sin. That is the only way we can obtain the gift of eternal life. We will look further into this in later chapters.

 

Chapter Three: His obedience to the Father

One of the outstanding attributes of the man Jesus of Nazareth was His perfect obedience to God the Father. We have a lovely picture of Him as a lad of 12 years of age in Luke chapter 2.

 

Luke 2:40-52:

“(40) And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him

(41) His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover.

(42) And when He was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

(43) When they had finished the days, as they returned the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it,

(44) but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

(45) So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking Him.

(46) Now it was so that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking questions.

(47) And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

(48) So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Look your father and I have sought You anxiously.’

(49) And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’

(50) But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

(51) Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

(52) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

 

At 12 years of age Jesus was already aware of His need to do God the Father’s will in His life. When the feast days were over He stayed back in Jerusalem and went to the Temple; where the Teachers taught and expounded on the Law, given via Moses to the nation of Israel. He knew that this was His Heavenly Father’s will for him. The people in the temple were amazed at His understanding of the Law.

 

However, Joseph and Mary had a very anxious time trying to find Him. It is a dreadful feeling for a parent if a child appears to be lost. Anxiety and even panic can set in. When they caught up with Him, Mary admonished Him for His behaviour. His reply assumes that Joseph and Mary should have understood that He was doing the Father’s will, not His own will. However in obedience to them as His human parents He takes His place as a dutiful child and returns with them to Nazareth. The Scriptures are silent on his growing up years. We don’t learn anything more about Him until He has reached manhood.

 

The four Gospels in the New Testament have distinctive characteristics. Matthew is the Gospel of the King. Mark is the Gospel of the Servant. Luke is the Gospel of the Son of Man. John is the Gospel of the Son of God. When we look at Jesus of Nazareth in His obedience to the Father we see Him in His role as a Servant. This of course aligns with the Gospel of Mark.

 

The one outstanding characteristic of a servant is a listening ear. Servants should ever be listening and be prepared to immediately carry out their Master’s commands. When you have the time look through the Gospel of Mark and notice how many times the word immediately comes up in both the NKJV and the KJV versions; also in the KJV version the word straightway. An important trait of an obedient servant is to carry out their master’s commands immediately.

 

His Father’s business was ever before Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s look at John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Here we see His Deity revealed as Son of God – yet it is the perfect man Jesus speaking to the Jews; “…not to do My own will…”

 

John 4:34 tells us, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’.” Jesus considered the will of the Father as food for His soul. John 5:30 informs us, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear I judge; and My judgement is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” His dependence and obedience to the Father mark Him out as the perfect Servant. That obedience led Him to Calvary – for that was the Father’s will for Him.

 

Let’s look now at Hebrews 5:7-9:

“(7) [Christ] who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,

(8) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

(9) And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

 

Here is a remarkable fact; Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God learned obedience as a Man through the things which He suffered. As God the Son in His essential Deity He had nothing to learn for He is omniscient. However, as a real flesh and blood man, His pathway down here led Him inexorably to a Roman cross at Calvary. His obedience to the Father meant he had to suffer for your sake and mine.

 

These sufferings were very real. His prayers and supplications were with vehement cries and tears. Those cries went up to the Father who alone was able to save Him out of death. Please note, Jesus was sinless there was no penalty of death for Himself. He voluntarily went into death to pay the penalty due to you and me. “…the wages of sin is death…” Our debt of sin could only be cleared by Him paying that penalty!

 

Hebrews 2:9, 10 states, “(9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. (10) For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

 

The Lord Jesus Himself brings His sufferings to the fore in Luke 24:25-27. He has risen from the dead and is walking with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. They are unaware that it is Jesus accompanying them.

 

Luke 24:25-27:

“(25) Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

(26) Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’

(10) And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

 

Hebrews 12:2 reveals, “…Jesus…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He could see beyond the cross and the tomb, He could look right on to His ascension and His glorification as a perfect Man. He could look right on to all His redeemed people being with Him in heaven for eternity. The outcome of His perfect obedience to the Father means that the likes of you and I will spend eternity with Him in the heavenly places.

 

The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 16 has this message for us. Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

 

Chapter Four: His power over Nature

When we consider the marvellous works of Jesus of Nazareth; His power over Nature is in the words of today’s young people ‘awesome’. His power over the realm of Nature is absolutely astounding! No mere man has this sort of power and authority. In fact it is the complete opposite. All the works, plans and schemes of mankind are swept away by the power and the fury of weather conditions.

 

Let’s look at an incident in Matthew 8:23-27:

“(23) Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.

(24) And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.

(25) Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’

(26) But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

(27) So the men marvelled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ “

 

I find in this miracle a wonderful display of Jesus’ power as Son of God. The winds and the sea did not just die down or slowly abate. Immediately there was a great calm! No wonder His disciples in the boat marvelled; from howling winds and waves swamping their boat – then in the next instance there was a great calm.

 

In Matthew 14:22-33 we find another incident recorded.

(22) Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

(23) And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

(24) But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

(25) Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

(26) And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

(27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

(28) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

(29) So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

(30) But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

(31) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

(32) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

(33) Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

 

On this particular occasion it is night time. His disciples see Him walking on the water and are terrified that He is a ghost. He calms His disciples down and Peter boldly asks to walk on the water to meet Him. Jesus agrees, Peter starts his walk and then takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses instead on the boisterous wind. He becomes afraid and begins to sink. When He cries out to Jesus to save Him; Jesus catches him and they both walk on the water to the boat. The disciples then worship Him and acknowledge Him as the Son of God.

 

As soon as they get into the boat the wind ceases! Here again Jesus demonstrates His power over the wind. He also shows His power to walk on the sea and not sink. That power also enabled Peter to walk on the sea however it was only as good as Peter’s faith in Jesus.

 

In Matthew chapter 14 we read about Jesus feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children in a deserted place, probably a wilderness zone. Jesus demonstrates His power by constantly dividing up fives loaves of bread and two fish. Let’s look at Matthew 14:20, 21, “(20) So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets of fragments that remained. (21) Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” His disciples could not satisfy their hunger, but Jesus could and did!

 

In John chapter 2 we have recorded Jesus’ first miracle. Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was also there. When they ran out of wine at the feast Jesus’ mother told Him about the problem. Jesus was apparently not ready to show His power at that time. However, He responded to His mother’s concern and the obvious need for more wine.

 

John 2:7-11:

(7) Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

(8) And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.

(9) When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

(10) And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

(11) This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

 

We learn from verse 6 that six large, stone water pots that could hold 20 or 30 gallons each were used. Even at 20 gallons each that would be a minimum of 120 gallons of wine; not just any wine but top quality wine. There was no ‘hocus pocus’ involved. Jesus simply transformed the water into top quality wine by His power over Nature.

 

On a slightly different note let’s look at Matthew 21:17-19:

(17) Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.

(18) Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.

(20) And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.”

 

Jesus just spoke to the fig tree and it withered and died. He showed He had power over the physical elements such as wind and waves. He had power to multiply a small amount of food into enormous quantities. He had power to transform water into top quality wine in large quantities. And now we see that He had power to kill off an unproductive fig tree; a tree that should have produced fruit, but did not.

 

The miracle of Jesus walking on the sea often causes a huge amount of incredulity in people’s minds. People know that it is impossible for any normal man or woman to walk on water. Try walking off the end of a swimming pool and you immediately sink! If you walk off a beach and try to walk on the water you can’t do it – not without some sort of flotation device attached to your feet; and that is not a miracle!

 

 

Chapter Five: His power over disease and afflictions

The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John give us many occasions of Jesus of Nazareth healing people of their diseases.

 

Matthew 4:23-25:

“(23) And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

(24) Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

(25) Great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”

 

From the commencement of His public ministry in the land of Israel, Jesus went about healing the sick. There are numerous references in the Gospels to His healing power. In Matthew chapter 8 we have recorded for us His dealings with a leper, a Roman Centurion and Simon Peter’s mother-in-law.

 

Matthew 8:1-4:

(1) When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.

(2) And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

(3) Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

(4) And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

 

Leprosy was virtually an incurable disease in New Testament times The disease was so infectious and contagious that lepers had to go about saying, “Unclean, unclean!” so that others would keep away from them. The risk of catching leprosy was so great! Lepers were ostracised and shunned by all.

 

Note the compassion and pity shown by Jesus. The leper first worships Him and then says, “Lord if you are willing, You can make me clean.” It is a plea for help. Jesus does the unexpected and touches the leper and is not defiled. He simply says, “I am willing, be cleansed.” The result is immediate – his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus tells him to go and show himself to the priest who would closely examine him for any signs of leprosy. Then the cleansed leper would offer via a priest two living and clean birds as a sacrifice to God. After that the priest pronounced him clean and he was allowed to rejoin the congregation of Israel after seven days.

 

The second incident is in Matthew 8:5-10, 13:

“(5) Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,

(6) saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, dreadfully tormented.”

(7) And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

(8) The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

(9) For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

(10) When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”…

(13) Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.”

 

The outstanding thing in this incident is the Centurion’s faith. He recognised in Jesus of Nazareth a man who had power and authority over all manner of diseases. A power that no other human being possessed! As a leader and commander of soldiers, he realised that here was One indeed who was supreme in authority and that is why he addresses Him as Lord. He also realised that Jesus did not need to be present to heal his servant. “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” This is real faith in action! And he was rewarded for his faith. His servant was healed that same hour.

 

The third incident is in Matthew 8:14-17:

“(14) Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.

(15) So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.

(16) When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,

(17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:“He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” [Isaiah 53:4].

 

Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. She was obviously bed bound with her illness. Jesus in His compassion touches her hand and she is immediately well again. So Peter’s mother-in-law then gets up and serves them. Illness and disease could not be in the presence of Jesus. He had to do something about it. Multitudes were healed by Him during His public ministry years. Those multitudes were composed of individuals who needed the only One who could heal them – Jesus!

 

In Matthew chapter 9 we have recorded Jesus’ dealings with a paralysed man, a woman who had a blood disease and two blind men.

 

Matthew 9:1-8:

“(1) So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.

(2) Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

(3) And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

(4) But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

(5) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?

(6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

(7) And he arose and departed to his house.

(8) Now when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.”

 

OK, let’s take a closer look at this situation. We already know that Jesus has power to heal. However, when the paralysed man is brought to Jesus He does not react as usual. Instead Jesus tells him to cheer up and then tells him his sins are forgiven! Some of the scribes [the learned men] considered this blasphemy; for they did not recognise Jesus as their Messiah.

 

Now note this, Jesus knew their thoughts! How often do we wish we could read people’s minds? Jesus knew what was on their minds and knew what they were thinking! And He said to them, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” Then to show that He had power to forgive sins as well as heal physical ailments and diseases He tells the paralysed man to get up, take up his bed with him and go to his house. Isn’t it a marvellous thing to consider; that the One who died for me at Calvary is the One who forgives me of my sins? The act of healing and forgiving the paralysed man’s sins brought much glory to our God.

 

In Matthew 9:18-22 we read the account of a woman who had a blood disease being healed.

“(18) While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshipped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.”

(19) So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.

(20) And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.

(21) For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

(22) But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.”

 

Here we see yet again faith exercised by the recipient of the healing. This woman decided that if she could only just touch the hem of His garment she would be healed. She apparently had a haemorrhaging blood condition. We learn from the other Gospel accounts that she had spent all her money on Physicians; but to no avail. They could not cure her! This woman was desperate to be rid of her debilitating blood disease. Jesus was her salvation!

 

In Matthew 9:27-30 we have the account of two blind men given their sight.

“(27) When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

(28) And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’

(29) Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’

(30) And their eyes were opened…”

 

When we examine this incident a couple of things stand out. Firstly they could not see His miracles; but had to go on hearsay. Secondly they had great faith that Jesus could do this because they believed He was the Messiah! The very fact that they called Him, “Son of David” revealed that belief. Acting on that faith they followed Him anxious to have their sight restored. Jesus responds to their faith. “According to your faith let it be unto you.” The result is they regained their sight.

 

Perhaps you are wondering what happened with the ruler’s dead daughter. Let’s have a look at Matthew 9:23-26:

“(23) When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing,

(24) He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him.

(25) But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

(26) And the report of this went out into all that land.”

 

Power over death! Not only could Jesus heal but He could revive a dead person! This occurred in response to the ruler’s implacable faith. His daughter had just died; yet he firmly believed in his heart that Jesus of Nazareth could and would bring her back from the dead. His faith was vindicated; his daughter was restored alive to Him.

 

Matthew 15:29-31 sums all this up beautifully.

“(29) Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.

(30) Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.

(31) So the multitude marvelled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”

 

In Matthew chapter 11 we hear Jesus’ own words in relation to this matter.

“(2) And when John [the Baptist] had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples

(3) and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’

(4) Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:

(5) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

(6) And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me’.”

 

Chapter Six: His power over demons

Demon-possession seems to have been wide spread in New Testament times in Israel. Demon-possession is not unknown in our day and age. I often wonder if some of the mentally ill in our society are in fact demon-possessed. People who play around with hypnosis, psychic phenomena and the spirit world leave themselves vulnerable to demon-possession.

 

Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated His power to cast out demons, time and time again.

 

Matthew 9:32, 33:

“(32) As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed.

(33) And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marvelled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel’!” When the demon was cast out of the man – he was able to speak. While he was demon-possessed he was unable to speak.

 

Matthew 4:24 informs us, “Then His fame went throughout Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”

 

How did Jesus heal those who were demon-possessed? He healed them by casting out the demons from people thus afflicted. In the scene above we are not told how many demon-possessed people were healed. However, from the context of the verse it would appear to be many such people.

 

Matthew chapter 8 provides us with a very dramatic incident of demon-possession.

 

Matthew 8:28-34:

“(28) When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.

(29) And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’

(30) Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding.

(31) So the demons begged Him, saying, ‘If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.’

(32) And He said to them, ‘Go.’ So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.

(33) Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.

(34) And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.”

 

What a soul-subduing, awe-inspiring scene! Two demon-possessed men so fierce that no one went anywhere near them; they see Jesus of Nazareth coming and go to meet Him. Look carefully at what they say to Jesus. This is actually the demons voicing their concerns through the two men. Note, that they immediately recognise who Jesus of Nazareth really is, “…You Jesus, You Son of God…” These demons are aware that there is a coming time of judgement upon them and they are worried that Jesus will torment them before the appointed time.

 

The demons are granted their request to enter the herd of swine. In one of the other Gospels we learn there were about 2,000 swine involved. The demons leave the two men who are healed. The effect of the demons entering the swine is immediate! “…And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.” The reaction from those who looked after the swine was fear! Terrified they fled into the city to tell their story.

 

The inhabitants of the city all came out to meet Jesus and begged Him to go away. They had lost a whole herd of swine. They were not interested in the two former demon-possessed men. They were concerned about their financial loss. Never mind that the two men were now healed! So many lost opportunities for Jesus to heal people in their region would be missed out on. They sent Him away!

 

In Luke 4:33-37 we have another account of a demon being cast out.

“(33) Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,

(34) saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!’

(35) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.

(36) Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’

(37) And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.”

 

Again the demon recognises who Jesus is – “The Holy One of God” Jesus tells the demon to be quiet and come out of the man. The demon has to obey because it cannot withstand Jesus’ authority as Son of God.

 

In Luke chapter 8 we read of another incident; in verses 1-3.

“(1) Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,

(2) and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities – Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,

(3) and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.”

 

Here we are introduced to Mary Magdalene who had been tormented by seven demons. Is it any wonder this saved woman became His devoted follower?

 

James in his epistle in chapter 2:19 makes this observation.” You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!” The demons and the Devil all know there is a coming judgement by God upon each of them. It is an eternal judgement!

 

Chapter Seven: His power over death

If there is one thing that you could point out about Jesus of Nazareth that is unique – it is surely His power over death. There are three distinct occasions where Jesus raised dead people and brought them back to life.

 

The people involved on each occasion are:

(a) Jairus’ daughter

(b) The widow of Nain’s son

© Lazarus of Bethany.

 

Jairus’ daughter

We have already read about this occasion in Matthew 9:23-25. The ruler mentioned in Matthew’s gospel is the ruler Jairus mentioned in Mark chapter 5. We will have a look at the account in Mark as it gives us more detail.

 

Mark 5:21-24:

“(21) Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea.

(22) And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet

(23) and begged Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.’

(24) So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.”

 

Jesus responds to Jairus’ plea for help. Jairus’ daughter was dying and at the point of death. As they walk to Jairus’ house the incident where the woman with the blood disease takes place and she is healed. We then take up the rest of Jairus’ story.

 

Mark 5:35-43:

“(35) While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’

(36) As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’

(37) And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.

(38) Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.

(39) When He came in, He said to them, ‘Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.’

(40) And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.

(41) Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’

(42) Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.

(43) But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.”

 

Those that ridiculed Jesus and were scornful were all put outside due to their unbelief in Jesus and His power. Only the father, mother, Peter, James and John were permitted to witness the great miracle of Jairus’ daughter being brought back from the dead. “She… arose and walked.” Power over death! Man’s greatest fear is death! Jesus had demonstrated His power over death.

 

The widow of Nain’s son

Luke chapter 7 records the occasion of Jesus restoring the widow of Nain’s son back to life.

 

Luke 7:11-17:

“(11) Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd.

(12) And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.

(13) When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’

(14) Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’

(15) So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

(16) Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen up among us’; and, God has visited His people.’

(17) And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.”

 

From the context of Luke chapter 7 we learn that this incident took place after Jesus had healed the Centurion’s servant at Capernaum. Jesus is now on His way to Nain. He has a large crowd following Him. As He approaches the gate (entrance) of the city of Nain a funeral procession is in progress, coming out of the city. This is also a large crowd. Two large crowds are about to see a tremendous miracle.

 

A widow from Nain is about to bury her only son. Jesus who knows all things has compassion on her. He tells the weeping mother, “Do not weep.” He touches the open coffin – the pall bearers stop – and He says to the dead man, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” The son who had been dead sits up and begins to speak! Jesus presents the young man alive to his mother!

 

Note the reaction of the two crowds. “Then fear came upon all…” At first they are fearful but that turns to awe as they glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us…God has visited His people.” They were correct on both points. Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Prophet greater than Moses! The Son of God had indeed visited His people!

 

The third incident is even more remarkable. It is the raising of Lazarus of Bethany. We find this recorded in John chapter 11.

 

Let’s look at John 11:1-4:

“(1) Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

(2) It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

(3) Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’

(4) When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it’.”

 

News is sent to Jesus that His friend Lazarus is sick. Jesus knowing all things says to his disciples that, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God…” Jesus then does an unusual thing He stayed where He was for another two days (verse 6).

 

In verses 7-16 we see that Jesus and His disciples head back to Judea to go to Bethany. Verses 14, 15 inform us, “(14) Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. (15) And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him’.” He tells them that He is glad He was not there when Lazarus died. This on the surface appears to be an unfeeling, callous state of mind. However, Jesus had something greater in store for Lazarus.

 

John 11:17-19:

(17) So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

[(18) Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.
(19) And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.]

 

In verses 20-27 we find Martha is active. She hears that Jesus is coming and goes out to meet Him. She says to Him in verses 21, 22, “(21) Then Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. (22) But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You’.” Martha states the obvious that if Jesus had been there when Lazarus was sick that Jesus would have healed him. Jesus tarried where He was because what He was about to do would (a) bring great glory to God and (b) that He Himself, as Son of God, would be glorified.

 

Martha’s great faith is revealed here. Let’s look at verses 23-27.

“(23) Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

(24) Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

(25) Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

(26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’

(27) She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’.”

 

Note what Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” Jesus declares that He personally is the resurrection and the life. As Son of God He is Lord of both the living and the dead. He had already on two separate occasions proved He had power to raise dead people back to life.

 

In verses 28-32 we find Martha goes back home and spoke privately to her sister Mary and told her that Jesus had come and was requiring her presence. Verse 32 tells us, “Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died’.”

 

Let’s continue on in verses 33-38:

“(33) Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

(34) And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’

(35) Jesus wept.

(36) Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’

(37) And some of them said, Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’

(38) Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.”

 

So here are the grieving family and friends showing Jesus where Lazarus was buried. They were glad that He had come, but to them it was too late. Lazarus had died and been buried for four days. As far as they were concerned Lazarus had departed from this life. However, Jesus was about to show His absolute power over death.

 

John 11:39-45:

“(39) Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’

(40) Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’

(41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

(42) And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’

(43) Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’

(44) And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’

(45) Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.”

 

Mary and Martha, plus all the Jews escorting her and Jesus’ disciples witnessed a truly remarkable miracle that day. A man dead and buried for four days was brought back to life! Martha pointed out that decay and corruption would have already begun in the dead man’s body. They were about to witness the glory of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God; revealed in a truly splendid manner. A dead man brought wonderfully back to life!

 

John 5:21, 25, 28, 29:

“(21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will…

(25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live…

(28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

(29) and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

 

“I am the resurrection and the life…”

 

Chapter Eight: Jesus the Messiah – the Christ

Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” The Messiah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New Testament. He is God’s anointed One.

 

Christian countries know well that Jesus of Nazareth was actually born in Bethlehem Ephrathah in Judea. Millions each year sing carols about the birth of the Baby Jesus. This “ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting” is the son of the virgin Mary – He is Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Let’s look at the apostle Peter’s words to the Jews in Acts 2:36. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

 

In Genesis chapter 49 the Patriarch Jacob just before he died blessed each of his sons. One blessing in particular we must take note of; Genesis 49:9, 10.

“(9) Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?

(10) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [Messiah] comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” The royal line in Israel comes from the tribe of Judah.

 

Please note that the sceptre, the symbol of supreme authority in a kingdom, does not depart from the tribe of Judah. The verse also lets us know that a line of lawgivers carries on until Shiloh comes. Shiloh is another name in Scripture for the Messiah. There is no other Ruler after Jesus Christ because He is the end of the royal line in Israel. He is the King of the Jews and always will be the King of the Jews.

 

If we carefully study the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we will find two distinctive differences. In Matthew the Gospel of the King we find that Jesus’ genealogy traces back via Joseph, Mary’s husband, to Solomon – David’s son. In Luke the Gospel of the Son of Man we find that Jesus’ genealogy traces back via Mary to Nathan – David’s son. Either way, Jesus was born of royal blood! Joseph of Nazareth, of the house and lineage of David was the real King of Israel, not the Roman appointed king – Herod. The Jews were unaware of this fact. In the four hundred years between the Old and the New Testaments the royal blood line was lost sight of by the Jews.

 

In Matthew chapter 2 we have the account of Herod and the wise men from the East.

 

Matthew 2:1-5:

“(1) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,

(2) saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’

(3) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

(4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

(5) So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:”

 

Herod then called the wise men secretly and sends them to Bethlehem and pretends that he also wants to go and worship the new King. However, Herod had murderous plans in his heart. He asks the wise men to come back and tell him where they find the baby. The wise men found the young Child and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and worshipped Him.

 

The wise men are warned by God in a dream to go home to their country another way and not to go back to Herod. Joseph is also warned in a dream and takes Jesus and His mother immediately to Egypt. Herod is furious because of the wise men’s actions and in a murderous rage orders all the male children two years and under in the Bethlehem region to be put to death. Joseph and his family stayed down in Egypt until the death of Herod.

 

Let’s move on in time. John 1:40, 41 tells us, “(40) One of the two who heard John [the Baptist] speak, and followed Him [Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. (41)He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ).”

 

Matthew 16:13-16 states, “(13) When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’

(14) So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

(15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’

(16) Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’.”

 

Mark 14:61, 62 states, “(61) … Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’

(62) Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven’.”

 

Men in general did not recognise that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. Indeed they thought he was only a prophet. It was to Jesus’ disciples that God the Father revealed the great truth that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. The High priest, the priests, the scribes and the Pharisees did not believe Him and accused Him of blasphemy; because He made Himself out to be the Son of God. The end result of their unbelief was His crucifixion on a Roman cross. Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”

 

The Israelites would not receive Him as their Messiah. They considered Him to be a failed Redeemer, because He did not smash the Roman power and rule in pomp and glory. They forgot that redemption is first by blood and then by power. The sins of the nation had to be atoned for before Christ could reign in righteousness.

 

In the book of Daniel we read about the Messiah. Daniel 9:25, 26, (25) “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks [of years]; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (26) And after sixty two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…”

 

How accurate are the Scriptures! Jesus Christ was cut off. He was nailed to a Roman cross and voluntarily died on that Roman cross for our sins. 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

 

John 1:11 tells us, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” The Jews rejected Him as their Messiah and even today the majority of Jews reject Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah – the Christ.

 

Chapter Nine: Jesus – The Son of God

The Gospel of Mark begins with these words, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

 

Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said to her [Mary], ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’.”

 

Mark 3:11 states, “And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, ‘You are the Son of God’.”

 

Matthew 14:33, “Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God’.”

 

Mark 15:37-39:

“(37) And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

(38) Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

(39) So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God!’ “

 

The above Scriptures point to the Deity of Jesus of Nazareth. Now let’s have a look at John 1:1-5:

“(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(2) He was in the beginning with God.

(3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

(4) In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

(5) And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

 

A word, or words, is the expression of our thoughts. If we want to convey what we are thinking to others we use words so people can understand us. In a like manner the Godhead is revealed to us in the Man – Jesus of Nazareth.

 

John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Son of God is revealed to us as the Son of Man – truly God and truly man.

 

Hebrews 1:1-3:

“(1) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

(2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

(3) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Jesus Christ is the express image of God because He is God! He is the brightness of glory!

 

The apostles Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ glory on the mount of transfiguration. Let’s look at Mark 9:2-4:

“(2) Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.

(3) His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

(4) And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.”

 

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 17 we have this same incident. In verse 2 it tells us, “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”

 

This incident on the mountain reveals Jesus in His glory as God. His Divine glory which He usually veiled from mankind, here He reveals it to the three chosen disciples. Luke 9:32 gives us some more detail.“ But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.” Is it any wonder that the apostle John wrote for our benefit, “We beheld His glory”?

 

When we looked at the opening verses in the Gospel of John it was quite evident that the Word i.e. Jesus was involved as God the Son in the act of creating all things. John 1:2, “All things were made through Him [the Son], and without Him [the Son] nothing was made that was made.” Verse 2 also informs us that “He was in the beginning with God”. The Son is the eternal God! He is part and parcel of the Triune God; who is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

 

John 1:34, “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” This is the record of John the Baptist after he had baptised Jesus in the Jordan River. Now let’s look at God’s own testimony in Matthew 3:16, 17:

“(16) When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

(17) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

It was this truth that so upset the Jews; that Jesus of Nazareth, a man, claimed to be equal with God. They considered Him a blasphemer and decided that He should die for His alleged blasphemy. Even though their own Scriptures pointed out that their Messiah was equal with God. They did not believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Christ. The many miracles and signs He did on behalf of the Father did not convince them of His Messiah-ship. The religious leaders of the Jews were envious of His power over nature, diseases, the demons and even death. There are none so blind as those who do not want to see!

 

John chapter 8 is a good example of this contention by the Jews with Jesus.

 

John 8:52-59:

“(52) Then the Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, “If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.”

(53) Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?’

(54) Jesus answered, “If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing. It is My Father who honours Me, of whom you say that He is your God.

(55) Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.

(56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

(57) Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’

(58) Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

(59) Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

 

Jesus openly declared that before Abraham was born that He Jesus was already in existence as the “I AM” – their own God. The Jews saw this as blatant blasphemy and took up stones to stone Him to death. Jesus hid Himself and went safely out of the temple and left the area.

 

Now let’s have a look at the Son in His creatorial power as depicted in Proverbs 8:22-31:

(22) The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old.

(23) I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.

(24) When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water.

(25) Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth;

(26) While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the world.

(27) When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

(28) when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep,

(29) when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth,

(30) Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him,

(31) rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.”

 

Compare this with the very first words in Holy Scripture. Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Note the first four words, “In the beginning God…” Now we will consider verse 23 above, I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. The Son was always daily the delight of the Father. The Son was there in the beginning. You can’t go any farther back than the beginning! So what was it that moved our Triune God, in the person of the Son, to stoop a little lower than the angels and become a flesh and blood man?

 

Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Taste death for everyone! What is this? Why is this? Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden for some clues to this enigma. Genesis 2:16, 17[+:+]

“(16) And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

(17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’.” Adam and Eve did eat from that tree as we find out in Genesis chapter 3.

 

Genesis 3:6-13:

“(6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

(7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

(8) And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

(9) Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’

(10) So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

(11) And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’

(12) Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

(13) And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 

This is when sin first entered our world. Adam and Eve did not die physically immediately. It was many, many years later that they died. The relationship between man and God had changed. Man was no longer in an innocent state – he was now a sinner! He now knew the difference between good and evil; but he no longer had the power to be sinless in God’s eyes, and he had no power to stop sinning! He now had a sinful nature! One awful result in Adam and Eve’s own lifetime was to know that their first son Cain murdered his brother Abel. The first child ever born grew up to be a murderer!

 

What was God’s pronouncement upon Adam and Eve for disobeying His command to them?

Genesis 3:13; 16-19:

“(13) And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”…

(16) To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’

(17) Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.

(18) Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.

(19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’.”

 

The consequences are still with us today! Women experience awful pain during childbirth. Weeds, thorns and thistles etc. are ever prevalent if you are not a diligent gardener and don’t get rid of them.

 

Romans 3:23 clearly states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So there is a universal problem between mankind and the true and living God. Romans 6:23 tells us that “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now the crux of mankind’s problem is sin and its penalty, “the wages of sin is death” Death occurs every day in every nation on Earth. Jesus Christ came to rectify this problem for each individual.

 

When we looked at Hebrews 2:9 we learned “that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” In other words, Jesus died voluntarily to pay the penalty for our sins and went into death for three days according to the Scriptures. However, death could not hold Him because He in Himself was, and is, sinless. Therefore, the penalty of death did not apply to Him. So He “tasted” death for three days for everyone, in order to give them salvation and eternal life. However, it is contingent on the individual’s trust and faith in Jesus – the Son of God.

 

By going into death and paying the penalty for our sins He has not only provided an answer to the problem of sin; He has glorified God and made atonement to God for our sins. Hebrews 9:26 tells us, “…once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Our salvation is not without cost! We are bought with a price!

 

Why did God not simply do away with mankind? Surely mankind is not profitable to God in their sinful state and condition. As a result of sin our hearts and minds are rebellious and hostile towards God. 1 John 4:8, 9 informs us that, “(8) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (9) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

 

Perhaps an illustration from my own life will throw some light on this situation. For many years I worked as a male nurse in hospitals in the State of Queensland in Australia. I was legally, ethically and morally bound to look after my patients regardless of skin colour or nationality or religious belief. It did not matter if they were nice or nasty, whether they were timid or bombastic, whether they were morally upright or sexual deviants, or whether they were law abiding citizens or criminals. I had a duty of care to all these people! As my patients, each one had the right to my professional care and attention.

 

Looking at the situation of mankind’s sin and rebelliousness, I believe that our God exercised His duty of care towards us in providing a remedy for our sins, even though we do not deserve it. He could have left us in our sins, and consign us to Hell and then later to the Lake of Fire; but He did not – He provided a glorious salvation and the gift of eternal life through His Son!

 

Chapter Ten: His rejection by the Jews

John 1:11-13:

“(11) He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

(12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

(13) who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

Note in verse 11 that Jesus came to His own and His own did not receive Him. A more literal rendering is that He came to His own things and His own people did not receive Him. The Jews marvelled at the many miracles that Jesus did on behalf of the Father; yet they could not accept that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their Messiah – the Christ. Some thought He was a prophet. The chief rulers and the priests certainly did not believe that Jesus was their Messiah.

 

Let’s have a look at John chapter 7.

 

John 7:37-40:

“(37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

(38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

(39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

(40) Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet’.”

 

Many now believed that Jesus was the Prophet (like Moses) who was to come. But what did others in the crowd believe?

 

John 7:41-44:

“(41) Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee?

(42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’

(43) So there was a division among the people because of Him.

(44) Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.”

 

There was confusion among the people because they recognised that the Christ should come from Bethlehem in Judea, not Nazareth in Galilee. Yet clearly this man Jesus came from Nazareth; besides, the region of Galilee was not noted for producing prophets!

 

John 7:45-53[+:+]

“(45) Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?’

(46) The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”

(47) Then the Pharisees answered them, ‘Are you also deceived?

(48) Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?

(49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.’

(50) Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them,

(51) “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

(52) They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’

(53) And everyone went to his own house.”

 

The arrogance and superciliousness of the Pharisees is now evident. They did not believe in Jesus of Nazareth! What would the people know? They did not study the Jewish Law! They actually said the people were accursed. When Nicodemus tries to do the right thing they are scathing in their reply to him. ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’ They did not even know their own history because the prophet Jonah came from Gath-Hepher in Galilee (near Nazareth). Now after this exchange of words everyone went to his own house.

 

As we know, Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem in Judea, the town where King David grew up. Jesus did not make this information known. He wanted people to believe Him through the many miracles He did among them. Those with receptive minds and hearts believed in Him. The majority did not! The chief rulers of the Jews made it their business to turn people’s minds against Jesus of Nazareth. The people expected Jesus to smash the Roman power and rule as King. They did not realise that the sins of the nation had to be atoned for before Christ could reign in righteousness.

 

How quickly the people turned against Him after His triumphal ride into Jerusalem.

 

Matthew 21:1-11:

“(1) Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

(2) saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.

(3) And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

(4) All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

(5) “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey’.”

(6) So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.

(7) They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

(8) And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

(9) Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

(10) And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

(11) So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee’.”

 

The people are ready to take Him and set Him up as their Messiah. How soon this euphoria disappears! Within one week Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ close disciples, plots to hand Jesus over to the chief priests for financial gain. Within this week Jesus is nailed to the cross at Calvary.

 

Matthew 26:1-5:

“(1) Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples,

(2) ‘You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’

(3) Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

(4) and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.

(5) But they said, ‘Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people’.”

 

What happens next is the defining incident that causes Judas Iscariot to plot Jesus’ betrayal.

Matthew 26:6:16:

“(6) And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,

(7) a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

(8) But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste?

(9) For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.’

(10) But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.

(11) For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.

(12) For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.

(13) Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

(14) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

(15) and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

(16) So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.”

 

From the other gospels we learn that Judas Iscariot was a thief. He kept the money bag for Jesus and the disciples. He was not averse to using some of the money for himself. When he saw the “costly fragrant oil” (spikenard) poured on Jesus; it triggered an indignant reaction from Judas Iscariot. All he could see was a wasted opportunity for him to make more money. Verses 14, 15 give us the result of his reaction. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.”

 

So we have the chief priests, the scribes and the elders plotting Jesus’ death and now one of His own disciples is willing to betray Him. In the Book of Isaiah chapter 53, the prophet prophesies these words in verse 3 “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” Isaiah is foretelling Jesus Christ’s rejection.

 

In Daniel 9:25, 26 another prophecy claims our attention. “(25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (26) And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…” This prophecy is telling us that Jesus Christ – the Messiah will be cut off [die] but not Himself. We know from the New Testament Scriptures that He died for the sins of the people. He died as the sin-bearer; offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins to God.

 

Mark 12:37-40:

“(37)… And the common people heard Him gladly.

(38) Then He said to them in His teaching, ‘Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces,

(39) the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,

(40) who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation’.”

 

The normal, everyday Jews “heard Him gladly”. He healed them and spoke words that gave them hope. He taught them with the authority and power of the Scriptures; yet the rulers of the Jews sought to turn the people away from Jesus and His teachings. They could see their power base eroding before their eyes. They despised Him!

 

As we move to the close of Jesus’ public ministry in the Jewish nation; we will see how much He was prepared to suffer at the hands of mankind for you and me.

 

Chapter Eleven: Gethsemane

Gethsemane means ‘oil-press’. This oil-press was in a garden on the Mount of Olives; that is why it is known as the Garden of Gethsemane. The Mount of Olives is on the eastern side of Jerusalem. From the different Gospels we learn that Jesus and His disciples often went there. The town of Bethany was on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives; and presumably the garden was somewhere near the pathway to Bethany. Now as the mountain is called the Mount of Olives; it is quite obvious that the oil-press was used to press olives to obtain olive oil.

 

This garden plays a significant part in the hours leading up to Jesus’ arrest and subsequent trials. The prelude to this event takes place in the Upper Room where Jesus and His disciples kept the Passover supper.

 

Luke 22:1-6:

“(1) Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.

(2) And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

(3) Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.

(4) So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.

(5) And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.

(6) So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.”

 

Here we see the deceit and deviousness of Judas Iscariot. Please note he was now possessed by Satan himself. “(3) Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.” Judas Iscariot is now controlled by Satan and goes off to the chief priests and captains to plot Jesus’ betrayal.

 

In Luke 22:7-13 the preparations for the Passover observance are made. In verses 14-23 the Passover is observed and the Lord’s Supper is inaugurated.

“(14) When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.

(15) Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

(16) for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’

(17) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves;

(18) for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

(19) And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

(20) Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

(21) But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.

(22) And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!’

(23) Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.”

 

John 13:22-30[+:+]

“(22) Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

(23) Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

(24) Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

25) Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’

(26) Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

(27) Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

(28) But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.

(29) For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

(30) Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.”

 

We will now take up the timeline in Luke 22:39-44:

“(39) Coming out, He [Jesus] went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.

(40) When He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’

(41) And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,

(42) saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’

(43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

(44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

 

We must tread softly here for we are on holy ground. Here is the only perfect, sinless, holy man, contemplating what is before Him; and what He is about to do. Remember it is night time in the Garden of Gethsemane. From the other Gospels we learn that Peter, James and John were nearby, but went to sleep. In those other Gospels we find that Jesus prayed three times to have the cup taken away from Him. Nevertheless in complete obedience to the Father He carries out the Father’s will. Please note that this was not a physical cup it is an analogy to show us that what Jesus was about to pass through was like drinking from a cup with very bitter liquid in it.

 

He was about to be made sin, on the cross, and bear our sins in His own body on that cross. His holy soul shrank back from this; yet He did not waiver in His purpose. (43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. (44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

 

Verse 44 gives us a glimpse into His agony in Gethsemane and His prayers became more fervent. “Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. This is an actual medical condition.

 

The clinical term is haematohidrosis, also known as haematidrosis, it is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, and occurs under conditions of extreme physical and emotional stress. Around the sweat glands there are multiple blood vessels in a net like form. Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture.

 

Jesus was under extreme pressure. His agony of soul and the mental anguish of what He must pass through brought an angel down to strengthen Him for the task ahead. Yet the stress was so great His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. We cannot understand the anguish of His holy soul at the thought of being made sin for us. He the sinless One was about to become the sin-bearer in order to pay the price for our sins.

 

Luke 22:45-48; 52-54:

“(45) When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.

(46) Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.’

(47) And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.

(48) But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’…

(52) Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs

(53) When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.’

(54) Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house…”

 

Let’s have a look at the same incident as recorded in John’s Gospel.

 

John 18:1-9:

“(1) When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.

(2) And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

(3) Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

(4) Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’

(5) They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

(6) Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.

(7) Then He asked them again, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

(8) Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,’

(9) that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, ‘Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none’.”

 

Note the power of Jesus, the Son of God! When He identified Himself as the person they were looking for He simply said, ‘I am He.’ The word He in the Greek text is not there. What He really said was, “I AM” the ever existing One. The whole crowd who had come to seize Him, plus Judas Iscariot, all fell down to the ground. Such is the power of the Son of God. Yet, He allowed Himself to be taken.

 

Luke 22:52, 53:

“(52) Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?

(53) When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Jesus was always in control of the situation! No one could do anything to Him unless He allowed it to happen. This fact must always be present when we look at the events leading up to His crucifixion at Calvary.

 

The apostle Peter’s address to the Jews in Acts chapter 2 shows us the foreknowledge of God with the events of Calvary.

Acts 2:22, 23:

“(22) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know –

(23) Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death.”

 

The sovereignty of our Triune God is revealed to us here. Jesus, the Son of God, as Son of Man was delivered up “…by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God…” The eternal God foreknew what would take place at Calvary; it was according to His plans and purposes for our salvation and redemption. God knew what mankind would do to His Son. God knew the part that Satan would play in this; how Satan would orchestrate Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, torture, mock trials and crucifixion.

 

John 18:12, 13:

“(12) Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.

(13) And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.”

 

The Jewish leaders now have Jesus in their power.

 

Chapter Twelve: Gabbatha

We now move into a phase where Jesus is examined by the Jewish high priest and is later brought to Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor. Simon Peter and an unnamed disciple followed Jesus to see what would happen to Him. It is apparent from the context that the other disciple is John (the writer of the Gospel of John).

 

John 18:19-24:

“(19) The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

(20) Jesus answered him, ‘I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.

(21) Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.’

(22) And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”

(23) Jesus answered him, ‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?’

(24) Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”

 

Annas was a former high priest and thus was still thought of as a high priest; however Caiaphas was the current high priest at Jerusalem. It appears that Annas still held considerable authority in Jerusalem among the Jews. Annas begins to interrogate Jesus about His disciples and His teachings. When He does not get satisfactory answers he sends Jesus to Caiaphas.

 

During the night three times Simon Peter denies that He knows Jesus. This incident is recorded in all four gospels; Jesus had already told Simon Peter that this would happen!

 

Luke 22:63-71[+:+]

“(63) Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.

(64) And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, ‘Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?’

(65) And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

(66) As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came

together and led Him into their council, saying,

(67) “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, ‘If I tell you, you will by no means believe.

(68) And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.

(69) Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.’

(70) Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, ‘You rightly say that I am.’

(71) And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

 

John 18:28-32:

“(28) Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.

(29) Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

(30) They answered and said to him, ‘If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.’

(31) Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,’

(32) that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.”

 

The Praetorium was the headquarters of the Roman Governor; wherever he may be. In Jerusalem the Roman fortress Antonia held that position. Fortress Antonia was located on the northern perimeter of the Temple precincts.

 

Now let’s look at Leviticus 24:16 for the background to the Jews actions. “And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.” The Jewish rulers and elders considered Jesus to be a blasphemer of their God because He claimed to be the Son of God – their Messiah. Therefore they wanted to stone Him to death; however, because they were under Roman rule they no longer had this authority.

 

John 18:33-38:

“(33) Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’

(34) Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”

(35) Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?’

(36) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

(37) Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

(38) Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, ‘I find no fault in Him at all’.”

 

Let’s now look at the account in Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 23:5-16:

(5) But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

(6) When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean.

(7) And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

(8) Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.

(9) Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.

(10) And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.

(11) Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.

(12) That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

(13) Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,

(14) said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;

(15) no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.

(16) I will therefore chastise Him and release Him”

 

We will now go back to John chapter 18.

John 18:39-40:

“(39) But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

(40) Then they all cried again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a robber.”

 

John 19:1-6:

“(1) So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.

(2) And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.

(3) Then they said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and they struck Him with their hands.

(4) Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

(5) Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

(6) Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

 

Now we see Pilate’s response to the Jews’ hatred and envy of Jesus of Nazareth; but we also see Pilate’s superstition and fear of who Jesus actually is.

 

John 19:7-13:

“(7) The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.’

(8) Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,

(9) and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

(10) Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

(11) Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.’

(12) From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

(13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.”

 

Gabbatha or the “Pavement” was an elevated platform on the outer western perimeter of the Roman Praetorium in Jerusalem. The Roman Governors used this place for public trials. A Bema [judgement seat] was brought out for the Roman Governor to sit on and judge matters. Thus when Jesus was brought to Pontius Pilate the bema was brought out for Pontius Pilate to sit on; to try Jesus on the charges brought up by the Jewish leaders.

 

Let’s examine more closely verses 7-12 above. Pilate was not interested in Jewish law; that was the Jews’ concern. Pilate was there as a Roman Governor to uphold and administer Roman law. However when he learns that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God he is “more afraid”. Pilate was very superstitious for the Romans were heathens and worshipped numerous idols and gods. For him to think that he was dealing with the Son of God alarmed him greatly. So he questions Jesus and wants to know where Jesus comes from. But Jesus does not answer him Pilate. “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

 

Jesus tells Pilate that he has no power unless God gives it to him and that the Jews had the greater sin. Pilate then seeks to release Jesus but this enrages the Jews. “The Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” Pilate now can see a way out of his dilemma. The Jews have now appealed to him on the grounds of Roman law. “Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

 

John 19:14-15:

“(14) Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’

(15) But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

 

Pilate examines Jesus and ‘finds no fault in Him at all’. He seeks to release Him by giving the Jews an option to free Jesus through the custom of releasing a condemned prisoner at the Passover feast. His plan backfires when the Jews insist that Pilate releases Barabbas a condemned thief and murderer instead of Jesus. Pilate had backed himself into a corner and for political expediency, and to save face, he releases Barabbas and condemns Jesus to death by crucifixion; all the time knowing that he was condemning an innocent man to death.

 

Matthew 27:24-26^^:

“(24) When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

(25) And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

(26) Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”

 

Chapter Thirteen – Golgotha [Calvary]

John 19:17-18:

“(17) And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, *Golgotha*,

(18) where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the centre.”

 

Jesus bearing the cross which was meant for Barabbas is led out to the place of crucifixion. That cross now becomes Jesus’ cross.

 

Luke 23:25-27:

“(25) And he [Pilate] released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

(26) Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.

(27) And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.”

 

The physical punishment that Jesus had endured would have made it difficult for Jesus to carry that wooden cross. As they came out of the city “they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.” Quite a large crowd of people followed Jesus to Golgotha, the Place of a Skull; where the Romans crucified condemned criminals. In Luke 23:32-33 we learn that Golgotha is also called Calvary. “(32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. (33) And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.”

 

John 19:19-22:

“(19) Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

(20) Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

(21) Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, “He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”

(22) Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

 

The only charge that Pilate could write against Jesus under Roman law was that Jesus was a king. Hence, Pilate wrote “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” This infuriated the Jews. Note that this title was written in three languages: Hebrew the language of the Jews; Greek the language of cultured society and Latin the language of the Roman Empire. It was a public declaration.

 

The Jews however wanted Pilate to state that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews – and not that Jesus actually was the King of the Jews. However, Pilate was exacting some revenge against the Jews for forcing him into crucifying Jesus, an innocent man. Pilate knew that what he had written would anger the Jews because he was stating publicly that Jesus was indeed, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Thus we get Pilate’s firm declaration, “What I have written, I have written.”

 

We will now continue in Luke 23:27-33:

“(27) And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.

(28) But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

(29) For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’

(30) Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us”!’

(31) For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

(32) There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.

(33) And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.”

 

Many of the women who followed Jesus to His crucifixion with pity and compassion “…mourned and lamented Him.” Jesus however tells them to weep for themselves and their children because of a coming time of judgement on the nation. We also learn that two criminals were also led out to Calvary [Golgotha] to be crucified alongside Jesus. Jesus was put on the centre cross with a criminal on either side of Him. Isaiah 53:12 tells us that He would be “…numbered with the transgressors…” In other words, He was counted as a criminal and sentenced to be crucified; even though He was completely innocent of any wrong doing.

 

At Golgotha we learn that Jesus had compassion on the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross.

Luke 23:34-37:

“(34) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

(35) And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.’

(36) The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,

(37) and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

 

Mark 15:22-23:

“(22) And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.

(23) Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.” The wine was mingled with myrrh to create a sedating effect to ease pain. However, Jesus refused the bitter drink because it was not part of the Father’s will for Him. Jesus would bear the full pain and anguish of the crucifixion for you and for me.

 

John 19:23-24:

“(23) Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.

(24) They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:“They divided My garments among them,* and for My clothing they cast lots.” [[*Psalm 22:18]]

Therefore the soldiers did these things.”

 

It is interesting to observe the time line in the sequence of events at Golgotha. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke the events are recorded as Jewish time. In the Gospel of John the events are recorded as Roman time. So what appears to be an anomaly is really the same time but recorded according to Jewish or Roman time.

 

For instance, The Roman 6th hour was 6:00 am in the morning; as it was counted down from midnight. The same time according to the Jews was the beginning of the 1st hour. So when we read in Mark 15:25: Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” it is 9:00 am Roman time. For those of us who live in countries on Roman time; Jesus was crucified mid morning.

 

In Luke 23:35-37 we are told that the people stood at Golgotha looking at the crucifixion. The rulers of the people sneered and mocking Him said, “(35) ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.’ The Roman soldiers of the crucifixion squad also share in this scorn and derision. “(36) The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, (37) and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

 

Mark 15:29-32:

“(29) And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days,

(30) save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”

(31) Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.

(32) Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.”

 

Isaiah 53:3-4 tells us prophetically that, “(3) He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (4) Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

 

Amidst the mocking and scorning Jesus was concerned about the welfare of others. Let’s look at John 19:25-27:

“(25) Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

(26) When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”

(27) Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

 

What love and affection Jesus shows to His mother Mary. He provides a secure and loving relationship for her with His disciple John (the writer of the Gospel). For Mary this was a particularly hard time for her; watching Jesus being crucified. It was a fulfilment of Simeon’s prophecy to her in Luke 2:34-35: (34) Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (35) (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

 

John is given a tremendous responsibility by his Lord. From that point of time he is to care for Mary as he would care for his own mother. From the context of John19:26 it would appear that both Mary and John were standing near the three crosses.

 

Now we will look at another incident at Golgotha.

Luke 23:39-43:

“(39) Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

(40) But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

(41) And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

(42) Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

(43) And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

 

Two criminals, yet there are two different outcomes. One criminal will die in his sins for he did not believe that the man on the central cross was the Christ and could give him eternal life. The other criminal by the grace of God realises that Jesus was indeed the Christ – the Son of God. Look at what he says, and remember he is on a cross dying for his evil deeds. “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” By his words he acknowledges that Jesus is the person with supreme authority He also acknowledges that Jesus will come back to reign over the earth. What a tremendous answer Jesus gives him. “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” What a surprise and great relief for this man!

 

Here is Jesus showing His omniscience and His omnipotence. Today, that is, as soon as the criminal died he would go to Paradise to be with Jesus. Jesus’ omniscience is clearly revealed here as He knew that He would die before the criminal died. He would be waiting in Paradise for him.

 

Let’s have another look at the time line. Matthew 27:45 tells us, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.” This is Jewish time; the Roman time is from noon until 3:00 pm. We noticed earlier that Jesus was crucified at the third hour in Jewish time but 9:00 am Roman time. So at the sixth hour in Jewish time, but noon in Roman time, Jesus had been on the cross for three hours duration. The events we have already looked at occurred during these three hours. However we are now about to enter a phase of vast significance!

 

We must go softly here as we are on holy ground. God drew a veil of thick darkness over Golgotha from noon until 3:00 pm. The reason for this was that the question of sin was about to be dealt with. This event was not for the eyes of mankind. Jesus was on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He was there as the sin-bearer, the substitute for you and me! In those three hours of darkness He was all alone – no one to help Him. He had already been despised and rejected by mankind; now He was about to be forsaken by God.

 

His physical sufferings and mental anguish were a prelude to what would be even worse – being made sin!

 

2 Corinthians 5:21:

For He* [[God]*] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

 

Isaiah 53:6:

[*“][_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.

 

1 Peter 2:23-24:

“(23) [Christ] who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

(24) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

 

Can you grasp this? God made Jesus sin for us! God caused to meet upon Jesus the iniquity of us all! Jesus personally bore my sins, and yours, on the cross in the three hours of darkness! Jesus paid the penalty for my sins!

 

In those three hours of darkness Jesus met and exhausted the full wrath and fury of a sin-hating, holy, righteous God against sin. We can never know what He passed through and how it affected Him. But we do know that He did it all alone and came out victorious to give us a full and free salvation. What a Saviour! Jesus went into the darkness of Golgotha to ensure that you and I would not have to go into “…the blackness of darkness forever.” [Jude 1:13]

 

Hebrews 9:26:

“…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. One sacrifice by Jesus Christ was sufficient to put away sin! It never has to be repeated!

 

Hebrews 10:12:

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

 

The utterances by Jesus on the cross continued after the three hours of darkness.

 

Mark 15:34-36:

“(34) And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? [
(35) Some of those who stood by, when they heard] that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!”

(36) Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”

 

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” this cry is foretold in Psalm 22:1. Jesus already knew the answer. He was forsaken because He was the sin-bearer. Habakkuk 1:13

“You [God] are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness…”

 

John 19:28-30:

 

“(28) After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”

(29) Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

(30) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”

 

Mark 15:36 and John 19:29 are part of the same incident. The difference is that in the Gospel of John we also learn that Jesus cries out “I thirst!”

 

Let’s now take a closer look at John 19:30:

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” Two extremely significant events occur here. Firstly, He cries out “It is finished!” thus signifying that He had settled the question of sin forever; and that He was victorious against the wrath of God regarding sin. Secondly, “…bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

 

Matthew 27:50-54:

“(50) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

(51) Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

(52) and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

(53) and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

(54) So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 

Luke 23:46:

“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father into Your hands I commit My spirit’. Having said this, He breathed His last.”

 

In John 19:30 the Greek word used for gave up is paradidomi and it has the thought of: to yield up, intrust, transmit, commit.

 

In Luke 23:46 the Greek word used for gave up is ekpneo and has the thought of: to expire, give up the spirit.

 

In Matthew 27:50 the Greek word used for yielded up is aphiemi and has the thought of: to send, an intense form of to go; in other words to dismiss forceably.

 

Why is it important to focus on these words? For this reason; crucifixion did not kill Jesus of Nazareth. As has already been pointed out He was not subject to death because He was, and is, sinless. Therefore death had no claim on Him. The only way He could die was to dismiss His own human spirit.

 

John 10:17-18:

“(17) Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

(18) No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

 

Please note carefully what is in these two verses. Jesus lays down His life in order to take it up again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.“_ No man took Jesus’ life He chose to lay down His life for you and me. _“I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” The penalty for sin is death! Jesus voluntarily died to pay the penalty and clear our debt of sin.

 

Now I want to point out that Jesus did not commit suicide. A suicidal person usually has given up on life and sees no point in living any longer. Their mental state is a mess and they can see no other prospect other than to deliberately kill themselves. Sometimes these people deliberately kill others at the same time. Look at the case of suicide bombers; these radicalised, mentally unstable people full of hatred deliberately kill themselves in the hope that they can at the same time kill as many people as possible with their explosives. This is a result of hatred for their fellow human beings.

 

Jesus of Nazareth – the Son of God died with His heart full of love and compassion for all mankind. He died knowing that His sacrificial death would bring millions into a personal relationship with His Father – God the Father. He died knowing that in three days He would rise from the dead – never to die again! He died knowing that He would ascend back to God the Father and sit on His right hand far above all principalities and powers.

 

Matt 27:50-54:

“(50) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

(51) Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

(52) and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

(53) and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

(54) So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 

The moment Jesus dismissed His human spirit and died, two major events occurred. The thick curtain in the Temple which veiled the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn in two – from the top to the bottom. The torn veil signified that the entrance into God’s presence was now open; for the veil in the Temple blocked the way into the presence of God. Only the high priest could go behind that veil once only each year on the Day of Atonement. He went in with the blood of the sacrifice which was sprinkled before and on the golden mercy seat. God then covered the sins of the Jewish people for the past year. That heavy veil was torn from the top down to the bottom. If you or I were to carry out this task we would start at the bottom as this would be easier to accomplish. God, however, tears it from the top down to the bottom.

 

 

At the same time that the veil was torn there was an earthquake in Jerusalem. The earth quaked and rocks were split open by the earthquake. The Roman centurion and the crucifixion squad were terrified. The centurion declared publicly that, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 

Hebrews 10:15-22:

“(15) But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

(16) “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”

(17) then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

(18) Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

(19) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

(20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

(21) and having a High Priest over the house of God,

(22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

 

Who is this High Priest? It is Jesus! He has made it possible for you and me to enter into the presence of God through what He accomplished at Golgotha. The irony of the situation is that the Jews in their stubbornness would have patched up the heavy veil in the Temple in order to continue their method of worshipping God. The Old Testament period was phasing out; God had instituted a new, living way into His presence. The New Testament period had begun.

 

Returning to Golgotha, an extremely significant event now takes place.

John 19:31-37:

“(31) Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

(32) Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.

(33) But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

(34) But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

(35) And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

(36) For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” [Psalm 34:20]

(37) And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” [Zechariah 12:10].

 

The two criminals had their legs broken to speed up their deaths. Jesus had already died so the soldier took a spear and thrust it up into His side to make sure that He was really dead. The blood that flowed from His side is the blood that makes atonement for us before God.

 

Leviticus 17:11:

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

 

1 John 1:7:

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

It’s time to return to the scene at Golgotha.

 

John 19:38-42:

“(38) After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

(39) And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.

(40) Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

(41) Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

(42) So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”

 

Matthew 27:59-60:

“(59) When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

(60) and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.”

 

Cruel hands nailed Him roughly to the cross; loving, caring hands took Him down and prepared His body for burial. He was laid in a new tomb; from the context we see that it had been prepared for Joseph himself. Isaiah 53:9: “[_ And they made His grave with the wicked-- but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor ] _was any deceit in His mouth.” The Roman soldiers usually buried condemned criminals in a common grave. So the plan would have been to bury the dead criminals in a common grave. However, God already knew what He had prepared for Jesus – burial in a rich man’s new tomb. Joseph of Arimathea gave up his own new tomb for Jesus.

 

Chapter Fourteen: The Suffering Servant

The prophet Isaiah gives us another insight into God’s perfect Servant. The prophecy was written about 712 BC, seven centuries before Christ appeared on Earth; nevertheless, Isaiah’s words give us a clearer insight into the sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah reveals his prophecy in a manner that gives us a distinct impression that we are onlookers at the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion at Golgotha.

 

Isaiah 52:13-14:

“(13) Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

(14) Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;”

 

Verse 13 tells us that God’s Servant will deal wisely and that He will be lauded and praised and given much honour. Yet the very next verse gives us a completely different scenario.

 

Verse 14 details a very graphic situation. [_] Think about this for a moment. Isaiah is telling us that God’s Servant’s face, His countenance, would be marred more than any man’s. He also tells us that His form, His body, would be marred more than the sons of men. _“His form more than the sons of men” this of course is referring to the harsh treatment handed out to Jesus of Nazareth by the Jewish high priest’s officers and servants, Pontius Pilate’s Roman soldiers and King Herod’s men of war.

 

Isaiah 53:1-2:

“(1) Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

(2) For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

 

In these verses we see that God’s Servant is not desired by mankind. They don’t see anything desirable in Him. Yet God sees Him growing up as a “tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.” Jesus of Nazareth growing up in a sinful world, in a place where there was no ‘spiritual’ sustenance; is the only One who is able to draw His sustenance from His God. The world was ‘spiritually’ dry; ruled by the “god of this world”, the Devil. However, God’s Servant is able to grow because of His total dependence on God.

 

Isaiah 53: 3-4:

“(3) He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

(4) Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

 

In verse 3 the prophet tells us that God’s Servant would be despised and rejected by men. Golgotha was the proof of that! He would be “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief“_ How hard must it have been for Jesus of Nazareth, a perfect, sinless Man to live and walk amongst a world full of sinners? He was indeed the _“root out of a dry ground“_ The prophet then informs us that _“we hid, as it were,_ our faces from Him” A more literal rendering is that we hid our faces from Him. In other words we could not bear to look on that face _“marred more than any man.” God’s Servant was despised and mankind did not hold Him in high honour.

 

In verse 4 the prophet reveals that God’s Servant would bear our griefs and sorrows. He healed the sick and the lame, gave sight to the blind, caused the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak, He even raised the dead back to life. On the cross He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” [1 Peter 2:24]. “Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

 

Isaiah 53:5-6:

“(5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

(6) 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.”

 

Verse 5 puts the reason for God’s Servant being smitten by God – squarely on our shoulders. Our transgressions – our iniquities – our chastisement! The results – for our peace and our healing!

 

Verse 6 Tells us quite plainly that like sheep going astray; we have all gone our own way in sin. The result – “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Don’t underestimate the magnitude of this statement. This was prophesied of God’s Servant seven centuries before it actually happened.

 

Isaiah 53:7-8:

“(7) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

(8) He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

 

In verse 7 we see that God’s Servant would suffer patiently and silently before those who hated Him. We also see His resolve to carry out God’s will for Himself. When His accusers accused Him falsely of many things He remained silent. When He is condemned to death He allows them to lead Him to the place of execution.

 

Verse 8 tells us plainly that God’s Servant would be taken from prison and the place of judgement. We are left in no doubt as to why He is to die; it is “for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

 

Isaiah 53:9-10:

[_ "(9) And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor ] _was any deceit in His mouth.

(10) Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

 

These two verses are interesting because they bring before us the Servant’s burial and resurrection. Verse 9 informs us that mankind wanted to bury Him with condemned criminals. God however would overrule and make sure that His Servant would be buried in honour with the rich; in a rich man’s new tomb.

Verse 10 puzzles many people. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.” The Hebrew word ḥāpēṣ translated as the English word pleased has the thoughts of delight, desire, have pleasure. Why would God be pleased to bruise His Servant and put Him to grief? Is it because God knew what was the outcome of His Servant’s suffering on behalf of guilty sinners? Is it because redeemed men, women and children would be spending eternity in His presence in a place where there is no sin or sorrow or death. In that sense God was pleased to bruise Him and put Him to grief. The question of sin would be settled forever. ”He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Here is the Servant on resurrection ground!

 

Hebrews 12:2:

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He shall see His seed – that’s you and me; we are part of this. He shall prolong His days – eternity is His duration. The pleasure of the Lord will always prosper in His hand! Note in Hebrews 12:2 it was for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross!

 

Isaiah 53:11-12:

“(11) He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

(12) Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

 

Verse 11 God’s Servant will see the fruition of His labour on the cross. His knowledge is why He was successful at Golgotha and the reason He is able to justify many; for He bore their sins in His own body on the cross. Jesus knew that before He went to Golgotha!

 

In Verse 12 we get God’s declaration of how God will honour His Servant. “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong” There is none greater than God’s Servant! He will bless us with many, many blessings – down here and in Heaven. We will each get our portion! We are given the reason for God dividing His Servant a portion – “because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors” God’s Servant gave up His life (as a Man) and was classified as a criminal for you and me. “and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Note please that “He bore the sin of many” Not everyone will take up God’s offer of salvation; therefore the word ‘many’ is used and not ‘all’. “and made intercession for the transgressors.” A good example of His intercession is that for the Roman Soldiers at the cross. Luke 23:34 “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

 

Chapter Fifteen: Golgotha through the eyes of Jesus

In the first paragraph of Chapter Fourteen relating to Isaiah chapter 53 we noted these words. “Isaiah reveals his prophecy in a manner that gives a distinct impression that we are onlookers at the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion at Golgotha.” In Psalm 22 the impression we gain is that prophetically we are at Golgotha; however, we are seeing Golgotha through the eyes of Jesus Himself.

 

The Introduction to the Psalm

To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘The Deer of the Dawn.’ A Psalm of David.

 

Psalm 22:1:

“(1) My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? We have already noted that Jesus cried out these words after the three hours of darkness. However, this psalm gives us more details of His holy suffering. As we get further into the psalm we will get a distinct impression of Jesus looking down from the cross at the people around Him. In verse 1 He asks the question, “Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” In one sense this is a rhetorical question as verse 3 will give us the answer. His aloneness has prompted the question. The question of sin dealt with at Golgotha could only be done by Jesus – no one could help Him; be it human being, angelic being or God Himself. The work of atonement could only be done by Jesus of Nazareth – the Christ.

 

Psalm 22:2-3:

“(2) O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent.

(3) But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

In verse 2 His cries appear to fall on deaf ears. The daytime and the night season remind us of the three daylight hours between 9:00 am and noon; then the night season as darkness covered the earth between noon and 3.00 pm. God hears the cries but remains unresponsive. Verse 3 gives us the answer. “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Jesus knew the reason God was silent; it was because Jesus was on the cross as the sin-bearer. Habakkuk 1:13: “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness…”

 

Psalms 22:4-5:

“(4) Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them.

(5) They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed”.

This is a reminder to God that the children of Israel cried out to Him in times of extreme peril and He delivered them. However, in Jesus’ case it was not to be. If God delivered Him there would be no salvation and redemption, nor could the question of sin be settled once and for all.

 

Psalms 22:6:

“(6) But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.” Tread on a worm and you will crush it. Tread on a snake and it will sink its fangs into you. Whenever I think of these words, “But I am a worm, and no man” I am reminded of King Herod. Luke 23:11 (KJV) “And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.” Surely being set at nought is like being a defenceless, helpless worm.

 

1 Peter 2:21-23:

“(21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

(22) “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

(23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”

 

Psalms 22:7-8:

“(7) All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

(8) “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

The crucified Jesus is looking down on His revilers. He is well aware of their hatred and spite. He does not retaliate but commits himself to His Father. He is not insensitive to their accusations and suffers it all in silence.

 

Psalms 22:9-10:

“(9) But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.

(10) I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.”

Here we see Jesus’ complete dependence on His Father from the time of His birth. Is there anything more helpless than a new born baby? It is completely dependent on its mother for sustenance, help and guidance. From birth, God the Father watched over and guarded His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. We see the Father’s intervention with the wise men and in thwarting Herod’s evil plot to kill the babe. In this psalm Jesus reminds the Father of His trust and confidence in His Father.

 

Psalms 22:11-13:

“(11) Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

(12) Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

(13) They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion.”

Here we have Jesus’ own impression of the chief rulers of the Jews. He likens them to strong bulls encircling Him wanting Him dead! Their hunger and desire for blood is likened to a raging, roaring, ravenous lion.

 

Psalms 22:14-15:

“(14) I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.

(15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.”

Jesus’ thoughts here are of His very real sufferings on the cross. Back in Isaiah 53:12 we learned that the suffering Servant “poured out His soul unto death.” John 19:36 tells us, “For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” This psalm informs us that His bones were out of joint – not broken! Have you ever dislocated a joint? Then you will know how painful it is! Now note this, “all My bones are out of joint” I cannot even begin to imagine the intensity of the pain of having all my jointed bones being dislocated, all at the same time!

 

“My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.” Melted wax is hot and runny. It has no firmness or strength. Jesus was all alone and feeling the heat and pressure of Golgotha. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd” A potsherd is a broken shard of clay pottery. All the moisture in the clay is removed in the kiln when the clay is baked at high temperature. So to be dried up like a potsherd is to have no moisture whatever. Jesus felt His strength being dried up at Golgotha. “My tongue clings to My jaws” No moisture meant His tongue and mouth would be dry. I reckon most of us know the feeling of being very thirsty! “You have brought Me to the dust of death.” Note that Jesus acknowledged that the Father had allowed all this to happen to Him because He was the sin-bearer.

 

Psalms 22:16-17:

“(16) For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

(17) I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.”

“For dogs have surrounded Me” The Jews considered the Gentile nations to be like dogs. So this is a direct reference to the Roman soldiers of the crucifixion squad. “The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me” The congregation here would be all the people, including the soldiers, who were gathered around Jesus on His cross. It is the congregation of the wicked! “They pierced My hands and My feet” This psalm was written by King David who was 28 generations before Jesus Christ. Yet prophetically we have a direct reference to crucifixion – a Roman form of death. The Roman Empire would not come into being until many centuries later; about 45 BC under Julius Caesar. Here again is proof of God’s foreknowledge of events at Golgotha. Jesus was nailed to His cross. “I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me” Jesus was able to see His bones and in this graphic description tells us He could count them; thus letting us know that He was naked on the cross.

 

Psalms 22:18:

“(18) They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” It has already been established that all four Gospels record that the Roman soldiers at the cross fulfilled this prophecy.

 

Psalms 22:19-21:

“(19) But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!

(20) Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.

(21) Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.”

Here is another plea for help to the Father. Jesus wanted delivery from death. He wanted His life spared from the power of the Roman soldiers. He wanted to be saved from the Jewish rulers and the bloodthirsty crowd at the cross. “You have answered Me.” The Father answered but not in the way we would expect. Jesus was not spared!

 

Romans 8:31-32:

“(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

(32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

 

The rest of the psalm brings us on to resurrection ground; which leads us now into the next chapter.

 

Chapter Sixteen: Resurrection and Ascension

Matthew 27:62-66:

“(62) On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,

(63) saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

(64) Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

(65) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.”

(66) So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”

The chief priests and the Pharisees were concerned that even though Jesus was dead He could still cause them trouble. They went to Pilate to seek permission to have a guard placed at the tomb for three days; in case Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole His body from the tomb; they could then claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. There is no hesitation by Pilate; he immediately agrees to give them a guard. (65) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” (66) So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”

 

At the end of Luke chapter 23 we learn that Jesus was buried the same day He died.

 

Luke 23:54-56:

“(54) That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

(55) And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.

(56) Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. [Day 1] And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” [Day 2]

 

Matthew 28:1-7:

“(1) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. [Day 3]

(2) And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

(3) His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

(4) And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

(5) But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

(6) He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

(7) And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

 

After the earthquake an angel of the Lord came and rolled back the stone that sealed the tomb. The guards were terrified and became like dead men, paralysed with fear. The angel tells the women not to be afraid, that Jesus had risen from the dead. His next words are very touching, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Remember, this is an angel of the Lord! He acknowledges that Jesus is the Lord, the One who has supreme authority in heaven and on earth. The Lord of Glory – as Son of Man – had taken to Himself power and authority to rise from the dead.

 

In Matthew 28:11-15 we find out what the terrified guards do next.

“(11) Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

(12) When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

(13) saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’

(14) And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”

(15) So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

 

Mark 16:9-14:

“(9) Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

(10) She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.

(11) And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

(12) After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.

(13) And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

(14) Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”

 

Now it is important to note that Jesus after He had risen from the dead appeared only to His disciples; those that were His followers. He did not appear to the general population! They did not deserve to see Him as they had rejected Him from being their Messiah and King.

 

These verses in Mark 16:9-14 tell us that the Lord Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene; then He appeared to two disciples as they walked from the city into the country. Later that day, Jesus appeared to His remaining eleven disciples [apostles]; who had accompanied Him during His public ministry.

 

In John chapter 20 we learn that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning; saw that it was empty and ran and told Simon Peter and John. “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” [John 20:2]. Simon Peter and John ran to the tomb. John outran Peter but did not go into the tomb. Peter arrived and went straight in, John then followed Him.

 

John 20:6-7:

“(6) Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,

(7) and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” There was no body only the grave clothes. The handkerchief that had been around His head was neatly folded and was separate to the grave clothes. Jesus had indeed risen from the dead!

 

When we looked at the Scriptures in Matthew 28:2 we learned about the angel who came and rolled back the stone covering the entrance to the tomb. “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.”

 

Matthew 28:6:

“(6) He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” The angel rolled the heavy stone away from the tomb entrance. Now note this – Jesus was not there; because He did not have to wait for the angel to come and roll back the stone so that He could walk out of the tomb! In His resurrected body, a new spiritual body, He simply passed through the stone walls of the tomb! His new body is a body made for living in Heaven and was, and is, vastly superior in every aspect to His body made for living on Earth.

 

When the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene He told her in John 20:17, 18 “(17)…‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them’, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”

(18) Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”

 

That same day in the afternoon we have another incident. In Luke 24:13-27 two of Jesus’ disciples are walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. Jesus joins them and asks them what they are talking about to each other. They ask Him if He is the only stranger in Jerusalem that does not know what has happened. (19) And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,

(20) and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.

 

Please take note of what their next words are. (21) But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.

(22) Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.

(23) When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.

(24) And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

 

Jesus’ disciples had hoped that Jesus of Nazareth would redeem Israel from the oppression of Roman bondage and that He would rule in pomp and glory. Instead He had been condemned to death by crucifixion. They were confused and bitterly disappointed by the events as they occurred. On top of this they did not believe those who had actually seen the risen Lord.

“(25) Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

(26) Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?

(27) And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself”

 

Luke 24:28-31:

“(28) Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.

(29) But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

(30) Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.

(31) Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.”

 

Mary Magdalene did not recognise the Lord until He spoke personally to her. These two disciples did not recognise the Lord even when He conversed with them. It was not until He took the bread, broke it and gave it to them that they recognised Him. It is my personal belief that when He broke the bread that the two disciples saw the nail scars on His hands; and instantly realised it was Jesus risen from among the dead. They hastened back to Jerusalem and found the eleven disciples [apostles] and other disciples gathered together in the same place.

 

Luke 24:35-43:

“(35) And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

(36) Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”

(37) But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.

(38) And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

(39) Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

(40) When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

(41) But while they still did not believe for joy, and marvelled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”

(42) So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.

(43) And He took it and ate in their presence.”

 

Jesus here shows His disciples that He is not a ghost or just a spirit. He has a [*flesh and bones“_] *body that is capable of eating normal food; “_broiled fish and some honeycomb” The other interesting point to note is that His resurrection body has no blood! The body made for life on Earth requires blood to keep it alive. Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood…” The resurrection body is a spiritual body and does not need blood.

 

John 20:19-29:

“(19) Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

(20) When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

(21) So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

(22) And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

(23) If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

(24) Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

(25) The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

(26) And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

(27) Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

(28) And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

(29) Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

This is of course refers to the incident where Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus came to them. They told him that they had seen the Lord. Thomas was quite specific in his reply, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later when Thomas is with the other disciples the Lord visits them again. (27) Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

(28) And Thomas answered and said to Him, *”*My Lord and my God!”

He did not need to physically touch the Lord to believe. The sight of the risen Lord was more than sufficient for Thomas. How blessed are we who have not physically seen the Lord, yet by faith we have believed in Him?

 

Matthew 28:16-20:

(16) Then the eleven disciples [apostles] went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

(17) When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted.

(18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

(19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

(20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

These verses from Matthew chapter 28 have been described as the ‘Great Commission’. It is not just for the apostles and disciples of that era. It is current even now!

 

It is very important to note that Jesus was on earth after His resurrection for 40 days; before He ascended back to God the Father. It seems that He appeared to His disciples and apostles intermittently and perhaps not every day. He ascended to Heaven on the 40th day.

 

Acts 1:1-3:

(1) The former account I [Luke] made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

(2) until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

(3) to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

 

Luke 24:50-53:

“(50) And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

(51) Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

(52) And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

(53) and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”

 

Bethany is on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives; so Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives. Note, that He led His disciples out as far as Bethany; it does not say that they were actually in Bethany. The ascension was a private affair and was not intended to be a public viewing. If we read Luke chapter 24 straight through we could easily assume that Jesus ascended within a few days of His resurrection. However, Luke sets us straight in Acts chapter 1.

 

Jesus’ ascension to heaven opened the way for the Holy Spirit to come and do His marvellous work in the Church age. It was in fulfilment of the Lord’s words in John 14:16-17 [_ "(16) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you". _]

 

John 16:13-14 “(13) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

(14) He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

 

Let’s now look at what the apostle Paul has to say on Jesus’ resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8:

“(3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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,

(5) and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

(6) After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

(7) After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

(8) Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

 

We learn from this verse that the Lord appeared to over five hundred brethren at the one time. This would probably have taken place in Galilee. Now note this fact, when Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthian believers most of the five hundred who had seen the risen Lord were still alive! They were living proof in Paul’s era that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead!

 

Now let’s have a look at Hebrews chapter 1. When I consider this chapter in Hebrews I get a distinct impression of the joy with which the Son of God was received back into Heaven.

 

Hebrews 1:1-14:

“(1) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

(2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

(3) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

(4) having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

(5) For to which of the angels did He ever say:“You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again:“I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?

(6) But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

(7) And of the angels He says:“Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”

(8) But to the Son He says:“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your Kingdom.

(9) You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

(10) And:“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

(11) They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;

(12) Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

(13) But to which of the angels has He ever said:“Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

(14) Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”

 

Oh what joy there must have been in Heaven the day Jesus the Son of God ascended to the Father! What joy there would have been in the Father’s heart! The question of sin had been dealt with in a truly glorious manner. The work of Calvary meant multitudes of wayward sinners would be reconciled to God. Heaven was rejoicing that day; angels and redeemed souls (in Paradise) rejoicing and worshipping together! And you and I can rejoice knowing that it has taken place!

 

Just a further thought on verse 3 “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”

Jesus the Son of God is the brightness of God’s glory and the exact image of God; for He is God. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Now try and grasp this fact, in the three hours of darkness when He was undergoing the wrath and fury of God against sin; He was upholding all things by the word of His power! What a Saviour!

 

Chapter Seventeen: Jesus – Kinsman Redeemer

We have considered Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of Man and as the Son of God. We have looked at His perfection as a true flesh and blood man. We have also looked at His Deity as God the Son. It is this uniqueness that qualifies Him to be our Kinsman Redeemer. What then do the Scriptures reveal about kinsmen redeemers?

 

In the Old Testament there were provisions made for redemption under the Law.

 

Leviticus 25: 24, 25 – [Redemption of land and possessions.]

“(24) And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land.

(25) If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.”

 

Leviticus 25:47-49 – [Redemption of bond servants.]

“(47) ‘Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family,

(48) after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him;

(49) or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself.”

 

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 – [Redemption of a childless widow.]

“(5) “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.

(6) And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

(7) But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’

(8) Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’

(9) then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’

(10) And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed’.”

 

Leviticus 25:8-10 – [Year of Jubilee.]

“(8) ‘And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years.

(9) Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.

(10) And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.”

 

The following paragraphs are an extract from my Ebook titled ‘So Simple Yet So Profound’.

 

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“So then, what does it mean to be redeemed? Redemption is the result of buying back a former possession. For instance, if a woman is in need of money she can pawn some of her jewellery for cash. She is given a ticket for the jewellery and has a set time to pay back the money + interest. If the jewellery is not redeemed by the set date; it becomes the property of the pawnbroker and the woman has no further claim on it.

 

Kinsman Redeemer – If the person could not redeem themselves or their possessions; only a brother or very close relative could redeem i.e. buy back, or make good the claims under the law.

 

Boaz in the book of Ruth is a kinsman redeemer. Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, Boaz’s kinsman makes her claim on Boaz. Redemption is a voluntary act. Boaz is willing, however, there is a closer kinsman. Next morning, Boaz goes to the gate of the city and tells his kinsman to sit down. He then takes 10 elders of the city and makes them sit down. He informs his kinsman of the redemption claim. His kinsman is at first willing, but is unable to redeem both Ruth and Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in-law) as it will mar his own inheritance. The closer kinsman forfeits his right of redemption.

 

Boaz then redeems Ruth and takes her for his wife. Boaz also redeems Naomi’s inheritance. Boaz marries Ruth and they have a son Obed. Obed is King David’s grandfather. [We have already established that Jesus of Nazareth is a direct descendant of King David]

 

The Lord Jesus Christ partook of flesh and blood to become eligible to redeem mankind back to God

 

He had to have the necessary qualifications.

1. He is related to mankind by birth.

2. He was willing to redeem.

3. He had the wherewithal to pay the redemption price.

4. He had the strength of will to carry out the act of redemption.

 

Jesus the Son of God by His human birth and perfect sinless life has the right of redemption, as our Kinsman Redeemer.

Psalms 49:7, 8, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their souls is costly…” None of us can redeem anyone because we are sinners and utterly bankrupt before God. However, any sinner, through faith, has the right to claim redemption from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus of Nazareth went to the cross of Calvary to pay the price of our redemption. He perfectly fulfilled the requirements of the Law. He laid down His life; and He shed his blood (God’s requirement for our redemption). Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, woman and child. He was buried and rose again from the dead three days later. Forty days after this He ascended into Heaven.

 

The redemption price has been paid for all sinners who make a claim on Him.

Redemption is by blood (shed at the cross) and by power (He rose from the dead). The Lord Jesus Christ, as our Kinsman Redeemer, shows us a God who loved His creation mankind, so much that He sent His Son into this world as our Kinsman Redeemer. When we are saved we are also redeemed – bought by God at the cost of the sacrificial death of Christ! No one else could pay this price demanded by God.”

 

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Does some of the treatment handed out to Jesus at His mock trials now have a deeper meaning for you? Matthew 26:67: Then* they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands” [*The Jews saw Jesus as a failed Redeemer!] After He rose from the dead two of His own disciples, on the road to Emmaus, voiced their concerns in this matter.

Luke 24:19-21:

“(19) And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,

(20) and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.

(21) But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.”

 

What the rulers of the Jews and the chief priests in Jerusalem considered a victory to themselves was in fact the very means of their own eternal down fall. Let’s look at Colossians 2:13-15:

“(13) And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

(14) having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, [the Law] which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

(15) Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

He did this by rising from among the dead. He did this by ascending to Heaven. He did this by sitting down on the Throne of God!

 

What a Redeemer!

 

 

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Reflections

It’s a good thing to pause and reflect on Jesus as the Son of Man. It’s also a good thing to point out that Jesus’ crucifixion was foreordained centuries before. Indeed the apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:18-20:

“(18) knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…

(19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

(20) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”

Jesus’ crucifixion and sacrifice on Calvary was not a ‘band aid’ solution for mankind’s sinfulness. The Triune God knew that Adam and Eve would fail the test in the Garden of Eden. Even before Planet Earth came into being the work at Calvary was already foreordained. Note verse 20, Jesus Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” but was revealed to mankind in God’s perfect timing.

 

The apostle Paul informs us in Galatians 4:4-5:

“(4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

(5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

 

It was God’s timing when Jesus was born. It was God’s timing for the work at Golgotha. It was God’s timing for the question of sin to be settled once and for all. It was God’s timing for Jesus to voluntarily pay the price for our sins. It was God’s timing for Jesus’ burial and resurrection. It was God’s timing for Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. All this was initiated by the Triune God. Yet all this was for our benefit! We benefit with our sins forgiven and the gift of eternal life. Truly there is no other Man like Jesus of Nazareth – the Christ – the Son of Man – the Son of God – God the Son. His uniqueness transcends every other human being!

 

May you truly be blessed as you think and meditate on the glorious person of Jesus – The Son of God for He indeed is worthy!

 

Revelation 5:11-13:

“(11) Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, [multitudes of multitudes]

(12) saying with a loud voice:“Worthy is the Lamb [Jesus] who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!”

*] And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:“Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

 

“Behold the Man!”

 

 

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About the Author

I am a retired male nurse, married with three sons, who have grown up and left home to pursue their own ways in life. In October 2015 my wife and I moved from Toowoomba, Queensland to Brookfield, a suburb of Brisbane to be closer to family. Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, Australia. Brookfield is a lovely, quiet, rural suburb in Brisbane’s outer western suburbs.

 

I am a committed Christian and I fellowship with like minded Christians. I enjoy writing and reading my Bible and Christian books. I enjoy gospel preaching, bible teaching and sharing the knowledge I have gained over many years studying the Bible. I also enjoy reading other non-fiction books in my spare time, particularly biographies and autobiographies. Other interests are family, walking, car touring and holidaying with my wife.

You are invited to check out my other books.

Ebooks author page https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/JRPeasey

 

I also blog on my two blogs:

Biblical Perspectives blog http://www.jon-peasey.blogspot.com

Words of Life blog http://www.jrpeasey.blogspot.com

 

 

Alphabetical List of Table of Contents

About the Author

Alphabetical list of Table of Contents

Ebooks by Jon Peasey

Gabbatha: Chapter Twelve

Gethsemane: Chapter Eleven

Golgotha through the eyes of Jesus: Chapter Fifteen

Golgotha: Chapter Thirteen

His obedience to the Father: Chapter Three

His perfect life: Chapter Two

His power over death: Chapter Seven

His power over demons: Chapter Six

His power over disease and afflictions: Chapter Five

His power over Nature: Chapter Four

His rejection by the Jews: Chapter Ten

His virgin birth: Chapter One

Jesus – Kinsman Redeemer: Chapter Seventeen

Jesus – the Son of God: Chapter Nine

Jesus the Messiah – the Christ: Chapter Eight

Preamble

Reflections

Resurrection and Ascension: Chapter Sixteen

The Suffering Servant: Chapter Fourteen

 

Ebooks by Jon Peasey

1. Port Robe: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/208837

[Australian Historical Novel]

2. Iron In His Soul: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/217935

[Biblical Historical Novel]

3. The 1950’s – A Time To Grow: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/222328

[Personal Memoirs]

4. Closed On Tuesdays: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/241665

[Travel Memoirs]

5. Biblical Perspectives – Issues of Life Volume 1: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/253088

[Issues of Life from a Christian Biblical Perspective]

6. Words of Life Blog Posts Volume 1: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/258661

[Devotions and Thoughts from the Holy Scriptures to encourage Christians]

7. So Simple Yet So Profound: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/306786

[Devotional thoughts from the Holy Scriptures centred on Christ]

8. In Christ: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/314714

[Devotional thoughts on the Christian’s blessings in Christ]

9. Biblical Perspectives – Issues of Life Volume 2: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/370145

[Issues of Life from a Christian Biblical Perspective]

The 1960’s – Changing Times: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/435827

[Personal Memoirs]

11. The Spirit of God – The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/472837

[Devotional thoughts from the Holy Scriptures centred on God the Holy Spirit]

12. On The Road Again: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/496393

[Travel Memoirs]

13. A Britz Blue Skies and the Open Road: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/572406

[Travel Memoirs]

 

 

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Behold the Man!

Behold the Man! These words were spoken by a Roman Governor 2000 or so years ago. What is their relevance today? How does it impact on your life? Whether you realise it or not this Man will figure in your life now, or in the future. Why is it necessary for me to know about this Man? Is it because my eternal destiny is dependent on this knowledge? Are you curious or indifferent? Do you need to know more? Then settle in for a look at what the Holy Scriptures reveal to us of this unique Man.

  • ISBN: 9780994150837
  • Author: Jon Peasey
  • Published: 2015-12-21 06:50:11
  • Words: 34789
Behold the Man! Behold the Man!