Type and antitype help us to understand spiritual realities.
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life, John 3.14-15.
That is all!
“and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”
Hardened Roman soldiers had seen it all. As the crushing arm of imperial power, they laughed at small-time attempts to overthrow the government. To them, Jesus was just another failed revolutionary.
Jesus not only died, but suffered humiliation in our stead. Our attempts at self-rescue are ridiculous. But in his humiliation we discover our salvation.
“but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”
1 Corinthians 1.23
Mattered not what others thought about the Good News of Christ. Paul knew it was the only way to salvation.
Does every subject of ours relate to Christ crucified on the cross for our sins? Is he the center of our faith and message?
“Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: ‘This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.'”
The crimes of crucified criminals were posted on their crosses. Jesus’ charge was intended as an insult to the Jews.
Jesus is King, Lord, and Savior, of Jews and Gentiles. The charge written above his cross was too modest.
An empty tomb welcomes tourists and pilgrims in Jerusalem. Located at the foot of a rocky knoll that looks so much like a “place of the skull,” if it is not the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and subsequent resurrection, it certainly evokes thoughts of those events. While it inspires interest in the events around the death of Jesus, it does not preach the word by itself (One stills needs a preacher, or at least a friend, for that). It does not feed the poor or heal the hurting. It does not visit those in prison or give water to the thirsty. This place does not baptize or sing or pray. Only people who believe that God loved the world enough to send his Son to die for us can perform those acts. Sadly, sometimes we do as much as the empty tomb. We may do less, since the tomb does teach by symbolizing the place where world-changing events occurred. After the resurrection, Jesus instructed followers to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV84). We need to leave the empty tomb and direct a spiritually starving world to the Risen Messiah, Jesus. It is time to obey; it is time to go.
While attending a devotional at Hillbrook Christian Camp last night, the speaker made reference to Jesus being betrayed, arrested, hung, and ultimately dying on the cross. As he moved on from that point, he was interrupted by a little boy in the assembly. His sweet little voice had a worried tone to it as he asked the speaker, “Someone killed God?”
I liked the story and Steve Higginbotham’s application. Steve says the story will be posted online this afternoon, so check it out here when it comes up.
Work on an assembly line and you do the same thing day in and day out. Lots of jobs are that way. I filled bottles with herbicide at DuPont as a winter job for a number of years. It becomes rote once you get the hang of it.
I suppose even something as gruesome as crucifixion could become routine. To a hardened soldier, desensitized by years of combat, it might come a little easier. Can you imagine the horrific injuries he witnessed? Consider the instruments of war used by the Romans. Consider what passed for medical treatment. I don’t like to think about it, but this was the centurion’s reality. Look it from his point of view. Carrying out a crucifixion was just another day at work. Let’s let him talk.
Yes, I am a centurion. I have a job with the state. Crucifixion is simply a criminal getting what he deserves. You get used to it. You’ve seen one guy crucified you’ve seen them all–well, until today. I’ve been watching. This one’s different.
After being tried, scourged, pummeled and mocked, this man they’re calling Jesus, on command, willingly picks up the cross beam. With his last ounce of strength he carries it until he collapses. At first I thought he was just resigned to death, but something’s not the same with this guy. He doesn’t resist. The nails are hammered in. He groans in agony. The cross is lifted up and dropped into place. The slow, torturous process of asphyxiation begins.
We put the list of charges on a sign above his head. It says, “This is Jesus. The King of the Jews.” It seems like a strange way of listing charges, but I just do what I’m told.
He’s so different from others I’ve put to death this way. There’s no cursing. There’s no blaming everyone but himself. There’s not even begging for mercy.
Any number of things puzzle me. Like now, for example, in the middle of this torture, he’s telling someone to be sure and take care of his mother?? And why doesn’t he defend himself as the Jewish leaders drop by to make fun of him? Among other things they say he claimed to be God’s son. Even the ones crucified beside him jump in.
But get this. After awhile one of the criminals changes his mind and asks to be remembered in the kingdom. I’m not sure what that means, but the response is very surprising. This one in the middle answers benevolently. What? After all that badmouthing he just forgives him as if it didn’t happen?
Who is this guy? I’ve never seen anyone maintain his composure like this Jesus has through this kind of duress. This is certainly not your run-of-the-mill crucifixion.
Another something strange to add to the growing list. It’s the middle of the day and the sky has turned black. It all seems so ominous. He’s saying something. He thinks God has forsaken him. I guess I can agree with him on that one.
Well it’s been dark for a few hours and it looks like it won’t be long now. I’ll be glad when this crucifixion is over. I heard him say it’s finished and he’s stopped moving. I’m not quite sure what he meant by that either.
Wow! It feels like…it is..an earthquake! How many strange things can happen in one day? Bravery brought me through the ranks to lead solders as a centurion, but now fear wildly surges through my body.
My mind flashes back to events earlier in the day. Pilate tells the Jews, Jesus is innocent. His wife is beside herself, disturbed by some dream that brought her to the same conclusion. Under interrogation by Pilate, Jesus says he’s a king, but “not of this world.”
How do I make sense of all these things?—this man Jesus, unlike any human I have ever encountered, middle of the day darkness, and now an earthquake. I woke up thinking this would be a day like any other. Now I stand here shaking, not knowing how to respond.
Everything I have witnessed points to one conclusion. “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
Jesus’ statement, “it is finished” sticks with me. These three words are not a statement of merely the end of His earthly life. It is so deep and carries with it so much.
At the crucifixion of Christ, what most catches your eye or ear? One thing only, please. What moment, word, action most captures your attention? What happens during Jesus’ suffering that most marks your soul?
Today as on every first day of the week we celebrate in remembrance the death, burial and resurrection of Christ our Savior as in Act 20:7. We partake of the bread as the pure and righteous body that suffered and died for us; drink the blood shed for the remission of our sins. Praise His Holy name.
I posted this on FB this morning. Some have copied and pasted on their home page. Feel free to do the same or simular to keep the truth moving forwards.
He’s alive! Praise God! Today we will celebrate the events that occurred on Friday-Sunday about 2000 years ago. Of course we will celebrate it again next Sunday and the Sunday after that and the Sunday after that. Acts 20:7
Many years ago I was studying with a new convert who quickly became a good friend. Every week we’d study together at his apartment, back when he was single. One week we read Psalm 22. He was amazed at the detail of the prophecy about Christ.
Here are the words Jesus cited on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (v.1).
The mocking of the crowd is first heard here. “Let the Lord rescue him!” (v. 8).
He mentions the gambling over clothing. “The are dividing up my clothes among themselves; they are rolling dice for my garments” (v. 18).
After his suffering there is praise. “You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly” (v. 25).
The invitation is given. “Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him!” (v. 26a).
His sovereignty appears. “For the Lord is king and rules over the nations” (v. 28).
The final notes sings of proclamation. “They will come and tell about his saving deeds; they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished” (v. 31).
It might be said that we have Psalm 23 only because we have Psalm 22.
The psalm is precious to me because it speak of Jesus, and because Jesus knew it and spoke from it on the cross.
I’m glad to say that the brother I studied with is still faithful, after all these years. He’s since married, has four kids, is a successful businessman. And he knows that the suffering of Christ was foretold as a part of God’s great plan to save mankind.
A Cross With Wheels?
by Steve Higginbotham
January 11, 2010
Just this past weekend, while I was driving in Bowling Green, I saw two men carrying crosses on the side of the road, followed by a crowd of about 30 or 40 people. As I passed these two men, I looked at the crosses they were carrying and I couldn’t help but notice that both crosses were accessorized with wheels!
Now, I understand why they placed wheels on these crosses. The wheels make the crosses they are carrying easier to carry. The wheels make the crosses more convenient to bear. But that’s the impetus for this article. You see, there’s nothing convenient about a cross! In fact, it was designed to be an inconvenient, excruciating, and humiliating means to kill someone. Convenient crosses? They don’t exist…or at least shouldn’t. Continue reading
Barabbas. This man had to live everyday with the understanding he was guilty but freed, while the innocent Jesus was innocent but crucified. Barabbas knew the extreme penalty associated with scourging and crucifixion. Barabbas never felt the nails in his flesh, but he must of felt the weight of an innocent man taking his place. Do you?
The Daily Nudge stays on today from yesterday, because the topic ask about the Fellows’ best thought about Christ and because they were too much absent yesterday. And I really, really want to hear what they have to say on this one.
This question belongs in much the same category as the one about choosing a favorite Bible book. Category of the hard, almost unfair questions. For who can single out one thing about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? So the question tends to serve more for a moment to register a recent thought that has been bouncing around in the brain, a recent verse or truth that appeared anew to brace the heart, a need that lately drove the soul to seek the Lord for specific resources or answers.
So shall I mention how the Lord drives out my fears and inspires faith to trust and follow when the winds blow hard and the waves burst high upon the breakers? Or might I try to measure the heights from which he came to take upon the status of a man? Or would I pass along to you today that single word, the divine yes, “I Will,” to show he cares and cures and loves and saves?
No, none of these. Today, at least. For, to single out a thought about the Lord, go I must to the Cross. To agony in its purest form, to pain borne not for one or two but for a race, to countless sins heaped up in hideous press upon an imploding heart. Yes, to Golgotha I go, that ugly place of death whose very name restricts the throat! To cries of terror at eternal loneliness compressed in a moment. To compassion in the midst of tears and tearing flesh, to whispered prayers for pardon for the hardened soldiers whose hammers nailed him to the tree and stiffnecked traditionalists who laughed at nakedness and called for proof by bursting free.
I’d turn away from such a sight of horrors, but love that would not give me up makes the Hill of Skulls, that gruesome slope of public torture, a holy ground where feet lose their shoes and souls shake off their sins.
That, today, is my best thought about Christ.