by JW Olson
2 Apr 93 20:54:12
What was important about the crucifixion of Jesus? Some believe the fact that he rose from the grave is the important part of his life and have even used this fact to change the day of worship from the Sabbath to the first day of the week. What really happened here? Let us walk through it starting with his arrest right on through. Most Christians believe Satan had a bit to do with all the events but are our beliefs based in God's works or the Devil's work? Get out your Bible and follow along!
Jesus was at prayer at a place called Gethsemane with a few of the disciples. These guys were several times found asleep by Jesus when he came back down to check on them. They don't seem portrayed here as being very aggressive or a danger to anybody yet Judas arrived with a large group of people to arrest him. Although Peter to "prove" his loyalty unto death faced this mob, drew his sword and cut the ear off of a servant of the high priest. Jesus healed the servant and asked the crowd if they thought he was a leader of a rebellion or something because of the force that arrived to arrest him.
He was first taken to appear before the church. Strangely they seem bent on finding evidence against Jesus that would allow them to kill him. They had paid a bribe to Judas for betrayal but Judas even asked for forgiveness because he had shed innocent blood and wouldn't testify and even tried to return the money. They looked even for false witnesses and had trouble getting two liars to agree, they tried to twist Jesus' own words against him, and claiming blasphemy (taking the place of God) they finally condemned him as worthy of death and turned him over to the Roman government for execution.
Pilate to try and satisfy the blood thirst of the growing crowd started questioning Jesus but couldn't find a problem large enough to justify death so he offered the crowd a choice. He would let a prisoner free, Jesus or Barabbas (one of the worst prisoners he had). The crowd chose Barabbas to be let free! Pilate washed his hands in public of the deed, declared Jesus as not deserving of death and turned him over to the soldiers for flogging and crucifixion!
The soldiers decided then needed to humiliate Jesus some so they removed his clothing and whipped him. They mocked him. Hearing that he had been referred to as "King of the Jews" they fashioned a crown for him out of thorns and put it on his head, they gave him a purple robe to go with his crown, they gave him a staff, knelt before him and they spit on him. They took the robe and the staff away and hit him on the head with the staff, driving the thorns even deeper, Jesus was led out and crucified and the soldiers cast lots for his clothing.
It was approximately 9:00 am when they crucified him People passed by jeering and mocking him. From about noon til about three in the afternoon there was a darkening of the sun. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out, "It is finished". There was an earthquake and the curtain between the Holy and Holy of Holies in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Rocks were split and people raised out of their graves.
Since the Jews did not like people hanging on the cross on Sabbath they went out to take down the crucified people and break their legs. They saw Jesus was already dead so did not break his legs but pierced him in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead. He was taken down from the cross and given to Joseph (not his father) to be prepared for burial. However since it was almost the Sabbath he was just wrapped in linen and layed in the tomb. The women went home and prepared the spices and herbs to finish the embalming but since the Sabbath was about to begin (sundown Friday night), they rested according to the commandment intending to complete the job after the Sabbath was over.
After the Sabbath was over ( after sundown Saturday evening) but before the sun came up on the first day of the week the women came to finish the preparation of Jesus body for burial. Mary Magdalene came and found the tomb empty except for the linen in which Jesus was wrapped so she went and reported her findings to Peter. She then stood outside the tomb crying and when Jesus came to talk with her she mistook him for a gardener as he had no clothing. Because workers were very poor, they tended to lay aside their clothing while at work so as not to soil or damage them. So when she saw him nude she naturally jumped to the conclusion that he was working there! Had he of been clothed she would have thought him perhaps another follower, come to see Jesus body. Jesus also stated here that he had not yet returned to his father so he did not as some assume upon death instantly go to heaven. It was in fact several weeks after his death before he went to heaven.
I find it very strange that this whole incident is portrayed in each gospel (Matt, Mark, Luke, and John) with careful attention to what was done one each day, yet "Christians" insist that the First day of the week is the day of worship. The word Christian means following after Christ's ways yet so few of them do, Jesus was found each Sabbath in the synagogue ('as his custom was', it is written) worshiping His Father, God. In fact Sabbath itself insists that this world was created and by whom. Get rid of the Sabbath and you get rid of creation! Now who do you suppose would wish to do that?
Why did Jesus have to die? Because the law couldn't be changed! And because of the fact that God is the same yesterday, today and tommorrow. If God could have changed or even just changed the law there would have been no need for the "shedding of blood for the remission of sin". Jesus as a sacrifice would not have had to die nor would he have even been allowed to. This plan was in existance from the "foundation of the earth" or from the very beginning. Jesus was innocent of breaking God's law yet he became our sacrifice and died so that we would not have to. The wages of sin is death says the scriptures and each of us deserves that death if Christ's perfect life wasn't taking the place of ours. His death was the important part yet this part is glossed right over. Think of that the next time someone tells you that the law was changed. Who would benefit from a law change now after the sacrifice had been made? God's people? No, they already had a perfect life sacrifice made for them. Who then?
OK, starting with the arrest. Who do you suppose stirred up the large company to come and get Jesus? Satan or God? Just when was the last time you saw a mob formed to rush out and do some GOOD thing? Why was there all that degradation of Christ? The ridicule, the defacing of his body, the attempts at humiliation, Jesus came as a man and so was still the image of God, that's why. Who hates that image so much that he would like that image covered up, hidden from view, marred, defaced, damaged, kicked about, abused, ridiculed, spit upon, and finally murdered? When Adam first put something between himself and his God, he was attempting to hide from God's view what? His sin! God rebuked him for this action and asked him who put the silly notion that he was naked in his head. Satan acting in his role of accuser, is who instituted the guilt feelings and the attempts to hide or cover sin, not God, yet who do we follow today? Maybe we should leave that role of accuser to the one to whom it belongs!! Even after Jesus was nailed to the cross the people still kept taunting him, trying to further degrade him. Yet even after all this abuse, when he arose he first removed and layed aside the linen wrappings with which he had been covered and walked forth out of the tomb in the form of the image of God. Was he radiant and hard to look at? No, Mary Magdalene mistook him for a common working man!
One of the things here we ought to remember is that someone is actively attacking God and the things of God. God's law is under attack. God's image is under attack. God's creation is under attack. God himself is under attack. How have you participated in this attack? With which side are you aligned? Maybe you just want to hide the image of God from view as you have determined it to be "damaging to your child". Or maybe to "make it more pleasing" you poke holes in your image and hang bits of metal or bits of rock from the holes. Or perhaps it is a little graffiti you do and cover it in tattoos? Or stuff it with food till the bones can no longer keep it upright? Or maybe you have gone after the rest of creation by polluting the air. By dumping garbage in the rivers. By killing off the animals for sport. Or maybe it is the character of God himself that you attack by what you claim him to be. Or maybe even by what you claim yourself to be!
Information - Pastor JW Olson