They crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the centre’ John 19:18
“And Jesus cried with a loud vice, and gave up the spirit”
In our last lesson, we saw how the Jewish religious rulers
led Him away to the house of the High Priest during the night, tried Him with false witnesses, condemned Him, and took Him to Pilate, the governor of the land,
so that they might crucify Him.
The soldiers viciously flogged Jesus, then twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, mocking Him, striking Him on the face, spitting on Him, taking a rod and striking Him on the head. Thus, the children of Adam disowned the Righteous One, the Lord of Glory, who came from heaven. The people who tortured Jesus did not know the words of the prophets; nevertheless
they were fulfilling the words of the prophets
which announced that the Messiah must suffer in this way at the hands of sinners.
In this lesson we will continue in the book of the Gospel to see how Jesus the Messiah suffered and died on the cross, thus fulfilling
which His prophets announced long beforehand. Before we begin this study, you should know that when Jesus lived on earth, the Roman government would execute certain criminals by nailing them to poles, or trees or specially made crosses. Such a death is called crucifixion. This excruciatingly painful and shameful death was reserved for
the worst criminals.
Perhaps some of you are wondering why God ordained that the righteous Messiah should die such a painful and shameful death. The reason Jesus had to die such a horrible death is because sin is such a horrible crime. Sin is the problem of the world. We are all sinners and our sins are an offense to a holy and righteous God! If God is going to forgive you and me of our sins and still remain righteous, then God must judge our sins with a just and complete judgement. He cannot forgive our sins in just any sort of way. God is a righteous Judge and must properly punish every sin. The penalty for sin is death and the eternal fires of hell.
The Good News is that God has sent us a righteous Redeemer to pay the full penalty of our sins. Jesus is that righteous and mighty Redeemer. He came to save us from God’s wrath which should fall on us
because of our sins.
Now dear friends, we invite you to open your mind and heart as we read from the Gospel the sacred story of Jesus and His death on the cross. The Scripture says: (John 19:16-17) “The delivered he him, therefore, unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he,
bearing his cross,
went forth into a place called the place of skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha”.
(Luke 23:26-27, 30-37) “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, of Cyrene, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, who also bewailed and lamented him … and there were also two others, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary,
there they crucified him,
and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do … and the people stood beholding. And the rulers also derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews,
(John 19:19-24) “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was near to the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews. Pilate answered,
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said, therefore, among themselves, Let us not tear it, but
cast lots for it,
whose it shall be; that the Scripture be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things, therefore, the soldiers did.
(Luke 23:39-43) “And one of the malefactors who were hanged railed at him, saying, If thou be the Christ,
save thyself and us.
But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we, indeed, justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But
this man hath done nothing amiss.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise”
(Mark 15:33-36) “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted,
And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah. And one ran filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let be; let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down”. (The people said that because they did not understand what Jesus had said, nor did they understand what was happening. The whole land became completely dark – from midday until early afternoon.
During those dark hours
God heaped the punishment of the sins of all the children of Adam upon the holy Redeemer, so that whoever believes in Him
will never perish!
We cannot even begin to imagine the intensity of Jesus’ sufferings for us.)
(John 19:28-30) “After this Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith,
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus, therefore, had received vinegar, he said,
It is finished;
and he bowed his head, and gave up the spirit”.
(Luke 23:46) “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, and, having said this,
he gave up the spirit”.
(Mark 15:38-41) “And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he so cried, and gave up the spirit, he said,
There were also women looking on afar off, among whom were Mary Magdalene; and Mary, the mother of James the less and Joses; and Salome (who also, when he was in Galilee followed him); and many other women who came up with him unto Jerusalem”.
(John 19:31-42) “The Jews, therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already,
they broke not his legs;
but one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bore witness, and his witness is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled,
a bone of him shall not be broken.
And again, another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and
He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher,
in which was never man yet laid.
There laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was near at hand”.
Friends, the story of the Messiah does not end with the tomb! We have called our next lesson:
“Jesus is risen!”
What we have studied is truly interesting! We have seen how the children of Adam despised the Messiah, the Lord of Life, and killed Him by nailing Him to a cross. However, what we must remember is that the death of the Messiah was the fulfillment of the plan of salvation which God designed before the world existed.
Did you hear what the Lord Jesus announced from the cross just before He died? He said,
“It is finished!”
Why did Jesus say, “It is finished!”? He said, “It is finished!” because
Surely, the religions of the world do not say, “It is finished!” What they say is: “Nothing is finished! You must save yourself by your own good deeds! You must work to erase your own sins! Come on, get with it! Keep working! Nothing is finished! If you want to enter Paradise you must work, offer sacrifices, fulfil your religious duties, pray, fast, treat your body harshly, etcetera, etcetera!” That is the message of religion!
But God’s Good News to man is:
“It — is — finished!”
Believe and be saved! The Messiah has paid your debt of sin with His own blood! The blood of Jesus can cleanse and change the worst of sinners! That is the reason Jesus could say to the dying, repentant criminal, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) Dear friends, the work that can save you from sin’s penalty is completely done. God is satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice. We no longer need to offer sacrifices of sheep as did our ancestors who lived before the time of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is
God’s perfect and final Sacrifice!
Nothing remains for us, except to believe what God has testified concerning the Messiah and His sacrifice.
Jesus has fulfilled that which the prophets foretold about the sufferings and death of the righteous Redeemer! Seven hundred years before Jesus came into the world, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, because
he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth … he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised
for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:9,5,6).
Do you believe that Jesus is the One who finished the work of Salvation of which God’s prophets wrote? Do you now understand the reason for the death of the righteous Redeemer on the cross?
You and I are the reason!
It is because of our sins that He died, like a spotless sacrificial sheep. We deserve eternal punishment in hell, but God, out of His great love for us, sent Jesus (whom He calls His beloved Son) so that He might suffer our punishment and bear the penalty for our sins. That is what the Holy Scriptures declare, when they say: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet without strength, in due time
(Romans 5:7,8) “For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Glory to God, the Merciful, the Compassionate …
“It is finished!”
God has fulfilled what Abraham’s Sacrifice meant! For in the same location where Abraham sacrificed the innocent ram in his son’s place, Jesus, the sinless Redeemer, allowed Himself to be sacrificed in our place —“that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16).
If you have any questions concerning this perfect sacrifice which the Lord Jesus made for you, write to us.
God bless you as you ponder the deep and powerful words which Jesus announced from the cross just before He died. He said,
“It is finished!” (John 19:30)
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have