VIDEO It Really is Finished and the Impact

 

Bible Verses

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Luke 23:26-27 & 32-55

Explanation

It was normal in Rome for there to be a gap of two days before a prisoner’s judgment and execution, but in Roman colonies, such as Israel, the sentence was often carried out straight away. The Jews especially wanted the death of Jesus to take place as soon as possible, as the next day was the Sabbath (the Jewish holy day) and the final ceremonial meal of the Passover celebrations was to take place after sunset.

Jesus would have been dressed back in his own clothes for the procession to the place of execution. The procession would have been made up of four top roman soldiers per prisoner and under the charge of a centurion. It was normally led by the centurion with one of the guards walking in front of each prisoner holding up a white board with the crime of the prisoner written on it. The processions normally took the longest route possible through the streets to show the prisoners off to as many people as possible. But Jesus’ procession went quite a short way to get the place of execution, because the execution needed to take place as quickly as possible.

The procession left Pilate’s palace and went through the first gate to a busy shopping area of the city. The shops would have been closed for the Passover celebrations, but there still would have been a large crowd watching with sympathy and pity on the condemned prisoners.

Jesus would have been followed in the procession by the two other prisoners who were to be crucified with him. (They had been convicted of theft.) Prisoners were made to carry the cross-piece of their own cross which was tied across their shoulders. (Often their heads were also tied back to make the journey as painful as possible, but there is no evidence that this was done to Jesus.)

Jesus had not eaten, drank, or slept since being arrested the previous evening and had been beaten many times. It was not surprising, therefore, that he was so weak that he collapsed under the weight of his cross piece. However, he did not collapse until he reached the city wall. The Romans would not have wanted him to die before he was executed, so they pulled a man called Simon of Cyrene from the watching crowd to carry the cross. (Simon was probably a Black Jew on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover celebrations and was camping on the road outside the city. It is thought that he became a follower of Jesus and one of the leaders of the early Church.) Jesus was probably carried the rest of the way by two Roman soldiers.

The procession carried on through the outskirts of Jerusalem until it came to a place called Golgatha (which means ‘the skull’ because it is a rocky out-crop that looked like a skull).

When the procession reached Golgotha, the soldiers would have first put the uprights of the crosses into the ground. These would have been about two metres (6 feet) high, just high enough that the prisoners feet would not touch the ground. The cross pieces were then laid on the ground and the prisoners were re-tied to them with arms extended, so that the plank went across the shoulder blades, and were tied on at the elbows. Large iron nails were then driven through each wrist nailing the prisoner on the cross piece.

The cross-piece was then connected to a rope and pulley and pulled up onto the upright, guided by soldiers using ladders. (In very large Roman places of execution, there were permanent scaffolds set up, so the prisoners could be raised up very easily. But Golgotha was probably not big enough.) The cross-pieces were then nailed and / or tied onto the upright. A small rough wooden seat was put onto the upright to help support some of the prisoners weight. Lastly, the prisoner’s feet were nailed to the upright, either individually or sometimes a huge nail was used that went through both feet, one on top of the other.

Once prisoners were in the crucifix position, they could sometimes take days to die. They either died of exhaustion or more commonly they drowned when their lungs filled up with body fluids and blood.

People watching crucifixions often offered the dying a drink of strong wine and Myrrh (An embalming agent and anaesthetic. It was also one of the three gifts brought to Jesus as a baby by the Magi or Wisemen!), but Jesus only took a small sip and refused the drink as he did not want his senses dulled.

Because Jesus was the main prisoner to be executed, his cross was placed in the centre, and probably the highest, of the three crosses, with each criminal on either side of him. The sign with the crimes of Jesus written on it, that had been carried in the procession, was then nailed to the very top of the upright. It said ‘The King of the Jews’ in Latin (so Romans and educated people could read it), Hebrew/Aramaic (so the Jews could read it) and Greek (so Greeks and other educated pilgrims could read it). This term would have been very insulting to the Jews, and the Romans would have meant it to be so! Because of this, the Jewish Priests called out in very sarcastic jeers, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

Jesus’ clothes were then divided among the four soldiers that had escorted him to Golgotha. His clothes would have consisted of, a Jewish prayer head covering, a cloak, a linen girdle / undergarment, his sandals and his main robe. The soldiers would have drawn lots for the first four items, but who would have the main robe, that would have been made of good quality cloth and so was worth quite a lot of money, was decided by gambling with dice. This made an Old Testament prophesy come true, where it says in the book of Psalms 22:18 that: They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

Jesus’ prayer “Father forgive them” although primarily directed at the soldiers, also involved the Jewish leaders for killing the Son of God.

The soldiers continued to make fun of Jesus and offered him some cheap wine they were drinking while the gambled at the bottom of the cross upright.

Then one of the other criminals hanging next to Jesus mocked him, sarcastically asking Jesus for help. But the other criminal realised who Jesus was. He knew that he was innocent of any crimes and told the other criminal to keep quiet and said that they really deserved to be there, but that Jesus didn’t. By asking Jesus to remember him when he entered into paradise (or heaven), the criminal would have meant ‘judgment day’ or the end of the world that was talked about in the Jewish scriptures. He would have been very shocked (and so would have all the onlookers) when Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. The Jewish onlookers would have understood this to mean that Jesus was claiming the power to judge people and decide who would enter Heaven.

There is a very powerful and moving song telling this part of the Easter story called ‘Thief’ by my favourite Christian rock group called Third Day. It is written from the perspective of the thief who knew who Jesus was.

It was noon when the sky went dark. It was called the Sixth hour because the hours of the Jewish day were measured from sunrise, about 6.00am. By this time, Jesus had been hanging on the cross about two and one half to three hours. Also by this time, John had gone and brought Jesus’ mother Mary and few other women followers of Jesus to the Cross. These were the only disciples of Jesus to be there when was executed. John was the only disciple who had been with Jesus all the time since he had been arrested.

The sky stayed black from noon until 3.00pm. The darkness would have not only been in the sky, but also in Jesus’ heart as he experienced all the the sin, pain and death, past, present and future that ever existed on earth.

At about this time Jesus died. He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). This is the first line of Psalm 22 (The Psalms were/are Jewish and Christian songs & poems.). In those times, if you wanted to start a Psalm you didn’t used a number, but the first line. By saying this Jesus was bring the onlookers attention to the whole Psalm, which accurately describes His crucifixion and death, although it was written hundreds of years before! But the Psalm doesn’t stop with the death, at the end of it, it talks about God (Jesus) coming to rule over the earth and people praising him!

After this Jesus spoke his words: “It is finished” meaning his work on earth, and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”. This is a quote from Psalm 31 verse 5, meaning that Jesus gave up his will and life fully to God, trusting in him, even into death. The words were yelled as in triumph at the end of a battle, not whispered in defeat.

This had a profound effect of the Roman centurion in charge of the crucifixions as he recognised who Jesus was.

As Jesus died, a violent earthquake shook Jerusalem. It tore in two a large curtain that hung in the Temple. The curtain was about one metre thick and made of the heaviest and most expensive cloth. It separated the main part of the inner Temple from the ‘Holy of Holys’, the room at the very centre of the Temple that only one Priest was allowed to go into once a year. It tore from the top to bottom. The curtain represented the separation of God from man, so the curtain being destroyed would have been a very shocking symbol to the Jews and a sign that something powerful had happened – Jesus had opened God to everyone!

Jewish law stated that a dead body could not be on display after sunset, especially not the Sabbath. This would have started at Sunset and remember, it would have been the Passover Sabbath, the most important Sabbath of the year. So the bodies would have be to removed quickly. People being crucified could sometimes take days to die. So to speed up the death, the arms and legs of the prisoners were broken and then they were stabbed through the heart. This would have happened to the other two men being crucified with Jesus, but when the soldiers got to Jesus they found him already dead.

This fulfilled another prophesy which said the Messiah would be like the Passover lamb, i.e. perfect with no broken bones. All that happened to the body of Jesus was that his side was pierced to drain out the body fluids and make the dead body easier to handle. For a crucifixion, Jesus had died very quickly. But he had been beaten several times before he was crucified and was so a lot weaker than a normal crucifixion victim. More importantly, as the Son of God, he is the only person who ever lived who could ‘dismiss his own spirit/soul’ and so die by a word of his command!

Then Joseph of Arimathea who was a Jewish council member and a secret friend of Jesus came to ask the Romans for the body of Jesus. He had not been called to the ‘trials’ of Jesus, because Annas and Caiaphas thought he might stop the trials and call them unlawful.

Joseph was a rich land owner and had a tomb ready for a burial nearby. It was probably where he was going to be buried, but he was willing to give it up for Jesus. The Tomb would have been a large cave with two body shaped niches carved into the side walls. Joseph and another council member called Nichodemas (who had also got to know Jesus quite well) took the body of Jesus to the tomb and quickly embalmed the body. Mary and the other women would have also gone to the tomb, but would have only watched this initial embalming. They planned to come back on the Sunday morning, just after sunrise, to embalm the body properly. This would have been the earliest time under Jewish law that they would have been allowed to return to the tomb after the Passover Sabbath.

The quick embalming consisted of wrapping the body in bandages, like a mummy. The bandages would have been soaked in Myrrh as it has a strong but pleasant smell and covered up the smell of a dead body. (You might remember that Myrrh was one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the Wise Men/Magi in the Christmas Story!)

The body would have then been laid in the niche and a very large stone was rolled in front of the tomb entrance. At the request of the Jewish leaders, the Romans put a guard of the best and most highly trained soldiers on the tomb to make sure no one could steal the body.

The disciples then left to mourn and await the sunrise on Sunday, when they could go back to the tomb and embalm the body properly.

https://www.whyeaster.com/story/death.shtml


Dr. John MacArthur: THE IMPACT OF THE RESURRECTION, Ephesians (1983)


How Great Is Our God


Washed Clean

The blood of Jesus, [God’s] Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

I couldn’t believe it. A blue gel pen had hidden itself in the folds of my white towels and survived the washing machine, only to explode in the dryer. Ugly blue stains were everywhere. My white towels were ruined. No amount of bleach would be able to remove the dark stains.

As I reluctantly consigned the towels to the rag pile, I was reminded of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s lament describing the damaging effects of sin. By rejecting God and turning to idols (Jeremiah 2:13), Jeremiah declared that the people of Israel had caused a permanent stain in their relationship with God: “‘Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,’ declares the Sovereign Lord” (v. 22). They were powerless to undo the damage they’d done.

On our own, it is impossible to remove the stain of our sin. But Jesus has done what we could not. Through the power of His death and resurrection, He “purifies [believers] from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Even when it’s hard to believe, cling to this beautiful truth: there’s no damage from sin that Jesus can’t totally remove. God is willing and ready to wash away the effects of sin for anyone willing to return to Him (v. 9). Through Christ, we can live each day in freedom and hope.

By Lisa M. Samra

Today’s Reflection

Where do you go with your guilt? How might you live differently today knowing that Jesus’s death has the power to completely remove the guilt and “stain” of your sin?

Resurrection Hope

John 20:1-31

Within a span of three days, Jesus’ disciples went from heartbroken sadness to triumphant jubilation. The cross appeared to be the end, making them feel hopeless and helpless, but the resurrection announced a new beginning, which brought confidence and courage. The cloud of doubt and despair melted away and was replaced with unshakeable faith.

Can you imagine how they felt when they realized Jesus had risen from the dead? Suddenly hope came alive—they had not believed a lie! His victory over death proved their conviction that He was the Messiah. Now everything He had said was validated as truth.

We commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross with solemnity, but the resurrection calls for applause, praise, and song. All the blessings that come our way through the Savior’s cross are confirmed to us by the resurrection. It proved that the Father was satisfied with His Son’s payment for our sins. We can know that our transgressions are forgiven, and we’re eternally secure.

What’s more, Jesus promises that we, too, will be resurrected and given new bodies. Physical death couldn’t hold Him, nor will it overpower us. Because He overcame the grave, His followers have the same kind of life He has—eternal and indestructible. He’s saved us from hell, transformed our lives, and promised us resurrection to an eternal heavenly inheritance.

We celebrate Easter with rejoicing because our Savior conquered death and lives forevermore. With unwavering faith, we trust the Bible because Christ’s power over the grave proves He can and will fulfill every word.

Alive with Christ

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” (Romans 6:8-9)

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead both guarantees the future bodily resurrection of the believer and associates us positionally with Him now. Since He died for our sins, we, in effect, were “dead with Christ.” Therefore, when He defeated death and hell, and revived His own dead body in immortal power, He broke any dominion of death over Him or over those who were, positionally, with Him.

This is one of the grandest scriptural themes of the Christian life. We were dead with Christ, but now God “hath quickened us together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). Not only have we been “made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22) with Him, but we have also been “raised” with Him up from the grave and then into heaven where we are “seated” with Him on His throne! “[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

This means also that we have been glorified with Him and are actually reigning with Him. “The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: . . . that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).

But if all this is only true in position, what meaning does His resurrection life have on our daily lives now? Simply this—that knowing these truths gives us the incentive and power to live them. “If (or, literally, ‘since’) ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). “For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you” (2 Corinthians 13:4). HMM

If God Does Answer Prayer

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

—James 1:17

Why does God answer prayer? Let’s not imagine that it’s because somebody was good. We Protestants think we don’t believe in saints, but we do. We canonize them: we have Saint George Mueller, Saint C.H. Spurgeon, Saint D.L. Moody and Saint A.B. Simpson. We get the idea that God answered prayer for them because they were really good. They would deny that fervently if they were here.

Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Having fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it’s because God is good. From His goodness, His loving-kindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That’s the source of everything.   AOG046-047

Thank You, God, that You are indeed good, You are faithful, You are gracious, You are full of loving-kindness and benevolence. Thank You that You do in fact answer prayer! Amen.

 

God in the midst of thee is mighty

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing.—Ephesians 3:17.

 

Made for Thyself, O God!

Made for Thy love, Thy service, Thy delight,

Made to show forth Thy wisdom, grace and might,

Made for Thy praise, whom veiled archangels laud,

O strange and glorious thought, that we may be

A joy to Thee.

Frances R. Havergal.

 

It is not of God’s severity that He requires much from man; it is of His great kindness that He will have the soul to open herself wider, to be able to receive much, that He may bestow much upon her. Let no one think that it is hard to attain thereunto. Although it sound hard, and is hard at first, as touching the forsaking and dying to all things, yet, when one has reached this state, no life can be easier, or sweeter, or fuller of pleasures—for God is right diligent to be with us at all seasons, and to teach us, that He may bring us to Himself, when we are like to go astray. None of us ever desired anything more ardently than God desires to bring men to the knowledge of Himself.

J. Tauler.

 

God always fills in all hearts all the room, which is left Him there.

F.W. Faber.

 

God Does The Repaying

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Prov. 19:17

We are to give to the poor out of pity. Not to be seen and applauded, much less to get influence over them; but out of pure sympathy and compassion we must give them help.

We must not expect to get anything back from the poor, not even gratitude; but we should regard what we have done as a loan to the Lord. He undertakes the obligation, and, if we look to Him in the matter, we must not look to the second party. What an honor the Lord bestows upon us when He condescends to borrow of us! That merchant is greatly favored who has the Lord on his books. It would seem a pity to have such a name down for a paltry pittance; let us make it a heavy amount. The next needy man that comes this way, let us help him.

As for repayment we can hardly think of it, and yet here is the Lord’s note of hand. Blessed be His name, His promise to pay is better than gold and silver. Are we running a little short through the depression of the times? We may venture humbly to present this bill at the Bank of Faith. Has any one of our readers been a bit of a scrooge to the poor? Poor soul. May the Lord forgive him.