In listening to the news I heard it said that the flooding and resultant damage, devastation and deaths in Kwa-Zulu Natal was an act of God. Don’t misunderstand me, the flooding, damage, injuries and deaths are tragic. Its great a loss and maybe one of the worst catastrophes that has fallen upon our country. An act of God? Not at all! You see, the infrastructure has not been upgraded as was determined years ago; although people were told not to build on lower areas in the hills they did and … little note was given to the changing weather patterns. An act of God? No, we cannot blame God for man’s mistakes … even though this was a disaster of great magnitude. But there was an act of God that we can prove … it is the Sacrificial, Substitutional, Penal Death of the Godman, followed by the miraculous Resurrection on the Third Day as promised. All this information comes from the Bible. As we progress we come to the final hours before Jesus’ death.
1) Jesus in the hands of Pilate’s henchmen.
Mt 27:27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
After being brutalized by the flogging, not the whole complement of 600 soldiers, but many of them, took Jesus into Pilate’s headquarters. They were Romans who could speak Aramaic. They decided to have some wicked fun, removing his clothing, most likely the blood started flowing again. Because their fun was associated with royalty so they dress Jesus in garments that resemble royalty. The crown brought further pain and bleeding. These sadists did not only mock Jesus, they spat on Him. What they did not know was that this Jesus was not just King of the Jews. He is King of Heaven and all Creation. Each time we want to degrade Jesus because of sin or embarrassment, let’s remember whom He is!
2) Jesus in the hands of Simon. Verse 32 tells us that Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry Jesus’ Cross because He was far too weak to carry it Himself. The Cross carried was the crossbeam as the vertical beam was permanently planted in the ground. What a blessing to be used by God to achieve His plan.
3) Jesus arriving at Golgotha. On arrival, verse 33 tells us these henchmen offered Jesus a drink … wine mixed with something bitter. This mixture seems to be some sort of anesthesia. Jesus refuses it because as Substitute He wanted to feel the full impact of the pain and suffering that was required as the full impact of the Wrath of God fell upon Him. Remember … these events are criminal, humiliating, extremely painful and downright wicked … but they are part of the Father’s Rescue Plan for man. Jesus knew this and kept focus on accomplishing the purpose of His mission to planet earth.
4) Jesus was crucified.
Mt 27:35 When they had crucified him.
There is no such thing that this was a story to realize a fantasy or mystic story. Jesus was executed. He became the final sin offering (Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world) on the final altar called the Cross of Calvary. But we cannot overlook the horrendous act of crucifixion! On arrival at Golgotha, Simon placed the horizontal beam on the ground. The soldiers forced Jesus down, stretching His arms along the beam with his head in the middle. They knocked a nail through the one wrist into the beam, then the other. They lifted up Jesus sliding the beam into the slot of the vertical beam. Then they nailed the feet together, through the top of the feet / ankle. Now Jesus was crucified. Picture that excruciating, continual agony as Jesus heaved Himself upwards, pressing against the feet nail, pulling upwards on the wrist nails so that he could breathe. Then there was the continual rubbing of the lacerated back against the rough, splintered wooden vertical beam causing further displacement of the loose flesh … and more bleeding. This movement caused serum to build up in the chest between the “sacks” around the organs. Eventual the victim would not be able to move up and down to inhale / exhale and eventually drown in the serum.
5) Jesus was mocked and ridicule on the Cross.
(1) According to prophecy they divided his garments
Mt 27:35 they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(2) The religious leaders and others crucified with Him mocked and insulted Him.
Mt 27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Mt 27:41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
6) Jesus’s crucifixion became spectator entertainment.
Mt 27:36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.
7) Jesus was labelled King of the Jews.
Mt 27:37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
8) Jesus’ agonizing cry. Verse 45 tells us of how the Father turned His face away, causing three hours of darkness over Jerusalem and especially the Cross. This symbolized God’s displeasure with our sin credited to Jesus. Then the heart wrenching cry:
Mt 27:46 … “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Did the Father forsake His beloved Son? Yes … why? Because this was the plan. Jesus was punished as our Substitute for our sin. The Father’s wrath was poured out. The emotional and spiritual pain was far greater than the physical trauma.
9) Jesus died!
Mt 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
In one page we have skimmed the passage and will return tomorrow. We have sufficient information here to grasp what Jesus went through for us and our sin and guilt. His sacrifice diverted wrath from us. He appeased the Father for our rebellion. He paid the price for us.
Thank You, Thank You Lord Jesus for doing this for me. Thank You. Amen.