Saturday, April 5, 2014

Crucified With Christ


Luke 22  NKJV
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 Jesus, 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.
7 ¶  Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.

What followed that day and into the next morning is both the most tragic and yet the most wonderful events history ever recorded. There was a dinner connected to the Feast of Passover which I understand would have been eaten on a Thursday evening that year just after sundown. We remember this as the Last Supper eaten in a borrowed Upper Room.

All 12 Disciples were present and watched as Jesus took the bread, blessed the bread, broke the bread and gave it to each one and said, “Take and eat, this is My Body which is broken for you.” And after the same manner He took the cup and instructed them to drink as He declared, “This cup contains the New Testament in My Blood which is shed for you.”

After supper Judas Iscariot left the Upper Room. It was thought by the other disciples that Judas was sent on a mission of mercy to give to the poor … in some ways that was true. You see Judas was the one who kept the money bag for the ministry. It must have seemed to many to be a very important position to have held within the group. However the most valuable treasure among the followers of Jesus was not the money but the ministry. Judas had agreed to take money from the High Council to help them stop the ministry of Jesus.

Later that evening Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss. The soldiers immediately took Jesus to Pilate where He was accused and questioned. Then Jesus was taken across the city to King Herod where He was mocked and ridiculed. Herod draped a purple robe on Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate. In all of this the remaining disciples of Jesus and those women who followed Him kept their distance for fear of also being accused.

Although Pilate could find nothing worthy of such punishment and would have set Jesus free, His accusers incited the crowd and pressured Pilate to crucify Him. Pilate ordered that Jesus be scourged by the Roman Soldiers. They cruelly beat Jesus laying 39 stripes on His back. As was prophesied by Isaiah and confirmed by Peter, those very stripes paid for our healing. Then, Pilate condemned Jesus to death on the cross.

That Friday morning Jesus was led to the Roman execution site called Golgotha, meaning the place of the skull, also called Mount Calvary. He was nailed to a wooden cross at about 9am and raised high for everyone to see. The cross was a cruel and torturous punishment which ultimately suffocated its victims while onlookers and passersby spat on and mocked the dying. It was not unusual for death to take its time, even days for some, before strength was depleted and death claimed its victory.

Around noon that day, a very special high holy day, the day upon which the feast was set to begin at sundown, the sky grew dark and the sun refused to shine. It remained dark across the face of the earth for the space of 3 hours until finally our Lord spoke the words, “It is finished!”, and He died. With this the debt of sin was fully, finally and eternally paid, and the way was made for man to approach God for forgiveness and reconciliation. This was confirmed by the veil of the Temple being torn from the top to the bottom exposing the Holy of Holies to whosoever will.

Earlier I said this was the most tragic and yet the most wonderful event history ever recorded. How could it be both? Tell me: Who wanted Jesus, the loving and caring Son of God, the Promised Messiah of the Jews and eternal Savior of the whole World to die? Who wanted Jesus dead?
·        The religious Jewish leaders of that day wanted Jesus to die …
·        The devil wanted Jesus to die …
·        Even God and the angels in heaven wanted Jesus to die …
·        And, so did I!

I wanted Jesus to die. I didn’t know it for years but that’s what I wanted and that’s what I needed … I wanted Jesus to be wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquity, chastised for my peace and scourged with those stripes for my healing … I wanted Jesus to die … it was the only way that I and my family and my friends and even my enemies would ever have the chance to know Him, to be forgiven and be born again. Without His death, we could not live.

Sad to say but with so many wanting Him crucified, Jesus hung on the cross abandoned and alone. He even cried out to His Father from the cross:

Matthew 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

It is not enough that we know about Jesus … we must know Him. However, second to knowing Jesus is to know more about Him …

Do you know Him?

Allow me to help you know Him better …

Hebrews 5
7  (Jesus), 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 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.

He authored our salvation because we needed a Savior … we all need Jesus. How can we neglect so great a salvation and so great a sacrifice? He died so that we could live.

We know He died for us and that without His sacrifice we could not live – but … why did He do it? Why did He willingly offer Himself to pay for something He did not do? He did not have to die for Him to become the Son of God, He was already the Son of God … He only had to die for me to become a son of God. In the Garden of Gethsemane He pleaded with His Father to find another way if possible.

Why did He do it? Because He saw you and He loved you that much. That’s right, He saw you and He saw me when He was on the cross. We were in His heart while He hung there. That’s what the Apostle Paul realized and by the Holy Spirit wrote:

Galatians 2
20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The reason Jesus willingly went to the cross was because of love … You see, The Love of Christ
1.   Gives first …
2.   Gives most …
3.   Gives always …

You will know this love when you know Him … do you know Him today?