Friday, May 9, 2014


For the week beginning Sunday May 11, 2014

(JESUS sentenced to death, crucified, and buried)
John 19

To compromise the truth, is to not stand behind the truth at all. We either hold fast to the things of GOD, or, we allow ourselves to be deceived by satan, just as when we doubt GOD’s goodness, we automatically become attracted to satan’s offers.
The Jews delivered JESUS into the hands of Pilate, and despite his finding JESUS innocent, Pilate tried to compromise the truth of his findings (John 18:38-39 & 19:7)). He convinced himself in the end, that he had done all that he could, but actually, he knew even deeper in his heart that he had long ago, through his problems with the Jews, tossed away his option to do the right thing. Through his earlier actions against the Jews, he had already set himself up to be blackmailed by the Jewish hierarchy in Jerusalem.
The “permissive will” of GOD, allows for man to do many things, and ultimately, through JESUS’ death, we also receive GOD’s wonderful and abounding grace. However, GOD, through HIS infinite wisdom, will never allow “grace” to trump “truth”. The “TRUTH” presented itself to Pilate that day, in the person of JESUS CHRIST, and he decided to put TRUTH to death.
As for the Jews, in order to carry out the death of JESUS, they abandoned every principle that they ever had, especially on this day, when they uttered these infamous words to Pilate, as it is recorded in John 19:15, where they state, “We have no king but Caesar”. It was a final abandonment of the GOD that they had always preached, that, they served.
That also put the final brush strokes on a tragic painting, of a maddened mob, that had been driven by anger. Driven by their hatred for JESUS, the Jews lost all sense of proportion, and they totally forgot about the mercy, they themselves, had so often preached about in the temple. They forgot all justice, and, in the end, they denounced GOD, and professed Caesar. Never before, in the history of man, has hatred’s insanity presented itself before us this vividly, and hopefully, it never will again.
There can never be a “right time” to do the “wrong thing”, as Pilate and the Jews ultimately did. They took the most beautiful LIFE, that ever did live, and then, they snuffed it out, on a cross.

John 19:17-42

In John 19:17-42, Matthew 27:32-50, Mark 15:21-37, and Luke 23:26-46, the authors all give their respective accounts of the “Crucifixion of CHRIST JESUS”. John and Matthew were eyewitnesses. John Mark wrote of Peter’s recollections, whom, himself, was an eyewitness, and Luke’s account is, by his own admission, a result of careful investigative work, and interviewing of the early Disciples and eyewitnesses to JESUS’ Ministry.
What follows, will be my attempt to incorporate these four accounts into one accurate depiction of this tragic and unjust event. All accounts begin with JESUS’ death walk to Golgotha (Skull Hill), where HE is ultimately crucified by Roman method. However, Mark, Matthew, and Luke include in their accounts of how, on the way, JESUS and HIS executioners make a divine encounter with a man called Simon, who is compelled by a Roman soldier, to carry the cross of JESUS.
Here, we see, in Simon, a man who has come all the way from Cyrene, on the continent of Africa, to, no doubt, participate in the Passover Celebration, but instead, ends up becoming the first Gentile to perform a Christian mission. It is well worth noting that since that moment, no man has, or ever will again, be forced, to carry the cross of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. It must now and forever be a “voluntary act”, if we are to choose to do the work of CHRIST.
As they walked along, great crowds of people, including many grief stricken women, followed them. But JESUS turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For the days are coming when they will say, “Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed. People will beg the mountains to fall on them, and the hills to bury them. For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:28-31 - NLT).
When a criminal was condemned to be crucified, he was taken from the judgment hall and put in the middle of four Roman soldiers. His cross was then laid upon his shoulders, and he was marched to the place of crucifixion, by the longest possible route. In front of him marched another soldier holding a placard, or “sign” stating what the convicted person’s crime was.
In JESUS’ case, Pilate had the words, inscribed, “JESUS of Nazareth the King of the Jews”, much to the dismay of the Jewish religious leaders. They had tried to get him to change it to “HE said” HE was the KING of the Jews”. However, Pilate saw this as a last ditch attempt to fire back at the Jewish religious leaders for forcing his hand in this ordeal with JESUS’ trial. So, not only did he refuse to change it, but he also had it written in three different languages, Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.
In Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:18, JESUS promises HIS Disciples that HE will not drink wine again until HE drinks it new, with them in the Kingdom of GOD. In Psalms 69:21, the Psalmist tells us that JESUS would be offered sour wine to satisfy HIS thirst. We see Scripture being fulfilled in Matt. 27:34 & 48, Mark 15:23 & 36, Luke 23:36, & John 19:29-30, where JESUS is offered wine on two occasions and refused to drink. These can also be viewed as final attempts by Satan to trip JESUS up, on HIS promise, HE had made to HIS Disciples, during HIS establishment of the New Covenant, at the Last Supper.
We see further fulfillment of Scripture, with the Roman soldiers gambling, or “casting lots” for JESUS’ clothing, (Matt. 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34b, & John 19:23-24). This fulfills one of the seven prophesies found in Psalms 22, (22:18), which states, “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (KJV).
There were two criminals, who were crucified with JESUS that day, one on each side of HIM. One, strangely enough, felt like he was in a position to mock JESUS. The other defended JESUS’ innocence, and thereby, became the last person saved by JESUS, during HIS earthly ministry (Luke 23:39-43).
Standing near the cross that day, were Mary, JESUS’ mother, her sister Mary, the wife of Cleophas (who is said to be the same as Alpheus, the father of James and Joseph), Zebedee’s wife (the mother of James and John), Mary Magdalene, and the Apostle John. Looking down from the cross, and seeing HIS mother’s anguish, JESUS consigns her care, into the hands of the Apostle John, the Disciple whom HE loved.
These words of JESUS to Mary and John, was the third of seven statements, or sayings, HE made from the cross, HE says to Mary “Woman, behold thy son”, and to John, “Behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). The other six statements can be found in the following verses: Matthew 27:46, Luke 23:34, 43 & 46, & John 19:28b & 30a.
At noon, darkness fell across the sky, and lasted until three o’clock. JESUS speaks HIS sixth utterance, “tetelestai” (tet-el-es-ahee), the Greek word for “it is finished”, or “paid in full”. HE then bows HIS head and utters HIS seventh and final saying, “FATHER, into THY hands I commend MY Spirit”, and HE gave up the GHOST.
There is an ensuing Earthquake, and the curtains in the Temple were torn from top to bottom. Later, the Jews went to Pilate to request that the bodies of the three be removed before the Sabbath, and that their legs be broken to expedite death. Pilate granted the request and the legs of the two criminals hanging beside JESUS were broken. However, they saw that JESUS’ body had already expired and they didn’t break HIS legs.
One of the soldiers did, however, take a spear and pierce JESUS’ body in the side to ensure that HE was dead. In John 19:34, the Apostle tells us that blood and water came from JESUS’ wound after HE had been pierced with the spear. We know that normally, the body of a dead person will not bleed.
It is medically suggested that JESUS’ experiences, physically and emotionally, leading up to HIS death, were so terrible, that HIS heart must have ruptured. When that happened, the blood of the heart mingled with the fluid of the Pericardium, which surrounds the heart. In all likelihood, the spear of the soldier pierced the Pericardium, causing the blood and water mixture to spew out. And so we see that, in the end, JESUS died, quite literally, from a broken heart.
This passage, by John, is final proof that JESUS was a real human with a real human body, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. The water and blood, which flowed from JESUS’ side, were, to John, and should be to all Christians, a sign of the cleansing water of baptism, and the cleansing blood commemorated, and experienced, in the LORD’s Supper.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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