- How do you cover the death of Jesus in one sermon? – YOU DON’T!
- The entire Bible focuses on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- The Old Testament looks forward to it; the Gospel accounts record it; the rest of the New Testament looks back upon it and the consequences thereof.
- Scores of people, prophecies, events, statements, and other factors have direct bearing on the death of Christ.
- Each one of them is worthy of a sermon (or perhaps several) all its own.
- With great joy, we know Jesus not only died, but was raised in triumph from the dead, never to die again.
- This lesson, however, will focus on His death from the perspectives of the physical suffering, spiritual suffering, humiliation, and a few of the outstanding events that accompanied it.
NOT JUST ANY “DEATH” OF JESUS WOULD SUFFICE
- Natural death has been the norm ever since sin spoiled the setting in Eden – for Jesus to have come and died a natural death would have accomplished nothing.
- Not just any means of killing Him would suffice
- Theoretically His enemies could have poisoned Him, starved Him to death, strangled Him, etc.
- There had to be the shedding of His blood _ Hebrews 9:22
- Not just any way of shedding His blood would suffice
- Sword or arrow could have taken His life with the shedding of blood, but prophecy declared _ Psalm 22:16
- John 12:32-33
- Only crucifixion was in keeping with God’s plan – thus _ Philippians 2:8
PHYSICAL SUFFERING OF CRUCIFIXION
- “Crucifixion probably first began among the Persians…Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering” (Dr. Edwards et. al., On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ, JAMA 3/21/86 p. 1458)
- Obvious pain of the pierced hands and feet
- Initial driving of the nails thru them
- Bearing the weight of His body as He hung
- Medical authorities describe crucifixion as one of the most agonizing means of execution:
- Nails would pinch and crush nerves, sending bolts of pain through the arms and legs
- Body weight pulling on arms/shoulders made it difficult to exhale
- Temporary relief came from raising up on the feet – but this caused tremendous pain in feet, hands (rotating around the nails), & rubbing the scourged back against the upright post.
- Unless the condemned died from some other complication first, he eventually asphyxiated. (Sometimes soldiers broke the legs, making it impossible for the victim to raise up to breathe – this resulted in death w/in minutes.)
- No wonder we describe unspeakable pain as “excruciating” (from Latin excruciatus = “out of the cross”)
- Jesus refused the mild pain-killer that was offered to Him (sour wine mixed with gall/myrrh)
- Mark 15:23
- He suffered the full brunt of the agony of the cross
SPIRITUAL SUFFERING OF THE CROSS
- 1 Peter 2:24 – He bore our sins in His own body upon the tree
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 – He “became sin for us”
- Isaiah 53:4-6
- This elicited the cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
HUMILIATION OF THE CROSS
- Hebrews 12:2
- Mark 15:27-28
- Isaiah 53:12
- Jesus was numbered with transgressors – sinless, spotless Son of God treated as a vile criminal
- John 19:23-24 (Psa. 22:18), soldiers divided His garments, cast lots for the seamless tunic
- No indication that they had any respect whatever for His modesty – artists’ conceptions notwithstanding
- This callous treatment of Jesus was but one of many outstanding events associated with His death . . .
OTHER OUTSTANDING EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEATH OF JESUS
The “seven sayings of the cross” (each one of these deserves an entire sermon)
- Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Lk. 23:34)
- Woman, behold your son . . . Behold, your mother (John 18:26, 27)
- Today you will be with Me in Paradise (Lk. 23:43)
- My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Mt. 27:46)
- I thirst! (John 19:28)
- It is finished! (John 19:30)
- Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit (Luke 23:46)
Three hours of darkness _ Luke 23:44
- They had rejected and were murdering the light of the world!
- Note: This could not possibly have been a natural phenomenon (e.g. an eclipse) – it is astronomically impossible to have an eclipse during the full moon!
Temple veil torn _ Matthew 27:51
- From top to bottom – this was not a natural phenomenon (e.g. caused by earthquake) – a curtain hanging down would not be so torn by an earthquake.
- Jesus’ death opened the way for people to have access to God (veil excluded everyone from the Holy of Holies except on the Day of Atonement when only the High Priest could enter)
Centurion confessed Christ
- Luke 23:47
- Matthew 27:54
- Who knows how many crucifixions this hardened Roman soldier had carried out – but this one was different!
- Jesus was, indeed, a righteous man.
- Being righteous, He told the truth.
- He said He was the Son of God, and He is!
- His death on the cross was at once the greatest travesty of justice and the greatest demonstration of divine love the world has ever known.
- Because He suffered, bled, and died there, we have the opportunity to be saved.
- Why not come to Him now in obedience?