Last week we learned that Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and tried. He accepted the suffering He did not deserve to save His guilty people.
Matthew 27:32-56 - Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus suffered shame and disgrace before He was ever nailed to the Cross. He suffered humiliation, beatings, mocking, and insults. The soldiers lead Jesus outside the city to be crucified. That's where they took common criminals. Jesus loved Jerusalem, wept over it (Ps. 122; 137:1-6; Luke 13:34-35), and died for it, but Jerusalem didn't want Him. To really study Jesus' crucifixion you should not only look at Matthew, but also to all four gospels which gives many more details.
They soldiers took Jesus outside the city to be crucified like a common criminal. It was a long route ad they made Him carry His own cross. Jesus become exhausted after all the hours of the trials, the mocking, and the beatings. He was too slow and was holding up the procession. There was a man on the way from Cyrene whose name was Simon. The soldiers forced Simon to carry Jesus' cross. Simon was only a spectator and had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He was thrown into this situation. I am sure it was not by his choosing, but it was in God's plan. He probably came to Jerusalem all excited and looking forward to being in the city and celebrating. Now forced to carry the cross he was probably fearful and angry, but later he realized what a honor he had helping Jesus carry His cross. He probably returned home and told his story as well as the details of Jesus' crucifixion to his friends and family. I am sure this was a day Simon would never forget. Later his sons Rufus and Alexander were recognized in the Christian church. Their names are mentioned in Mark 15:21 and in Rom. 16:13.
What part have you taken in Jesus' Cross?Are you a spectator or a participant?
How have you told others your story?
Do you see your service to God as a privilege or do you complain?
They came to Golgotha and offered Jesus wine to drink which was mixed with gall. Jesus refused to drink it. Jesus was working. He wanted to face the Cross just as God had intended. Pilate had the words "The King of the Jews" fasted above His head. It was the third hour when they crucified Him. With Him they crucified 2 robbers, one on His right and one on His left. They continued mocking Him and said, "He saved others, 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. He trust in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" - Matt. 27:42-44.
It was terrible that they publicly humiliated Jesus with the lowest possible form of execution, crucifixion. Now they added more insults by dividing up His garments among themselves. This was spiritually significant because it fulfilled Ps. 22:18 - "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." Is. 64:6 - "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rage." Is. 61:10 - "For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness." He gave up everything for us even His clothes. There are no words to describe His suffering yet He speaks, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." - Luke 23:34.
How have you found cleansing and blessing because Christ became unclean for you on the Cross?
Luke 23:39-43 tells us that one of the robbers hanging beside Jesus said, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him, 'Don't you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But his man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you came into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'"
While in such pain, He still is concerned for others. He comforted the robber during his suffering and assured him of paradise. He thought of His mother arranging for His friend, John and care for her. (John 19:25-27).
What opportunities has God given you to comfort others?
It took approximately six hours between 9 a.m. to 12 noon for Jesus' Crucifixion. Jesus cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - Matt. 27:46. This was a real expression of agony. He knew the answer to his question, but He wanted to express His agony so we would know what He did for us. He was completely alone and isolated. The result of sin is separation from God. He suffered in His flesh, mind and spirit. God had forsaken Him, but not left Him. All of us who don't put ours sins on Jesus will be separated from God for eternity.
The last three hours of the crucifixion we see God's great power. At noon great darkness covered the whole land because Jesus was holding our sins. From the sixth to the ninth hour God's judgment poured out on sin. The Bible describes hell as darkness. Think about all your sins, the sins of everyone you know, the sins of everyone you don't know, the sins of everyone from the beginning of time, and the sins of everyone in the future. Jesus bore them all.
He then cried out again and gave up His Spirit. John 19:30 tells us he asked for a drink in order to quench His thirst and take away His dry mouth. It also was to give him strength to speak on final time. He cried, "It in finished."
"At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." - Matt. 27:51-53.
When the centurion and others guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and everything that had happened, they were terrified. Never before had the centurion experience a crucifixion like this. Jesus was tortured, yet endured patiently. Jesus was noble, dignified, devout, and kind. What kind of man would be lay down His life willingly? Then when the earth shook and the rocks split, he knew and said, "Surely he was the Son of God." - Matt. 27:54.
Is Jesus your God and Savior?
The significance of the torn curtain in the temple was that before only the high priest could enter the inter most part of the temple called Most Holy Place. He would enter once a year with blood of a sacrificial lamb offered for himself and the sins of the people. A curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the outer part of the temple. The high priest was the only one who could make atonement to God for the peoples' sins. Now that the curtain was torn, we all have access to God through Jesus. Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus' death alone opened the way for man to be one with God. Sin is now abolished and we can enter His kingdom and His presence. The curtain was 60 feet long, 20 feet wide and 4 inches thick. No one could tear the curtain. God alone tore it from top to bottom. This took place at the moment of Jesus' death.
Principle: Jesus' work on the cross demands a response.
The earth responded with earthquakes. The temple curtain responded by being torn. The centurion responded by realizing who Jesus was. The women followers responded by following Jesus' body. How are you responding?
Psalm 22:14-17 foretold the sufferings of the Crucifixion. It describes the horrible physical distress: His arms spread for a prolonged period with unbearable pain, His back that was raw from the scourging, His nervous system in pain from the nails in His hands and feet, His bones out of joint and muscles stretched beyond endurance, His restricted blood flow to heart and lungs, His complete dehydration, the hot sun beating down, insects irritation His bleeding wounds. We can appreciate the Old Testament, because it makes us know that God is in control and always will be.
Jesus wanted to save people, so He refused to save Himself. He suffered because of our sins. He brought two great benefits to all who follow Him. First we can know God forgives us and second we can now come close to God. Jesus ended the terrible results of sin. When people sin God must punish them. All will die. Jesus died and came back to life. God promised us that we like Jesus will come back to life again. (1 Cor. 15:1-23; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Principles:Jesus wanted to save people, but refused to save Himself.
Jesus’ death opened the way into God’s presence making Jesus our High Priest.
Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50-3; John 19:38-42 - Jesus' Burial
When evening came a man named Joseph from Arimathea who was a prominent member of the Council went to Pilate as asked for Jesus' body. John 19:38-41 states that Nicodemus helped him. They took Jesus' body and wrapped it with spices and in clean linen cloths and placed it in Joseph' own new tomb that he had. God had planned this: God provided Joseph with a new tomb, it was nearby, he had new linen and Nicodemus had spices. Simon then place a large stone to cover the entrance of the tomb. Simon had given Jesus a legal burial. He was buried according to the law.
God prepared Simon and Nicodemus for this moment. By burying Jesus it led to credibility of Jesus' death. If the disciples did it, some would claim He really was not dead. The disciple were not involved nor were they present. This shows they did not steal the body. God took care of everything. God was in control. We see His sovereignty through it all.
Jesus' enemies remembered what Jesus had said, that He would rise in 3 days. They didn't want the disciples to come and steal the body and tell people he had risen. So they sealed the large stone that covered the tomb and posted a guard.
Where do you need to exercise trust that God's plan will be fulfilled?Will you ask God to show you specific sins for which Jesus died to save you?
When you fail, will you come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing He won for you at the cross?
Principle: God's plan will always be accomplished regardless of how certain defeat appears.
This is true at the Cross and it's true in life. Just because it's God's plan does not mean it is not hard. Will you ask God to give you renewed strength?
There is good news in next week's study - Jesus Is Risen! We will study the resurrection in Matthew 28.