The Crucifixion of Christ
Text: John 19:16-37
An article published this morning reported on the crucifixion re-enactment in the Philippines.
“Screaming in pain, Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to wooden crosses to mimic the suffering of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation. Church leaders have spoken against the annual practice mixing Catholic devotion with folk belief, but it continues to draw big crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province. Ruben 54, was among half a dozen men whose hands and feet were rubbed with alcohol before locals dressed as Roman soldiers hammered sterilized nails into his flesh. He has repeated the same act for the last 29 years as part of giving thanks after surviving a fall from a building…After they were lowered from the crosses, medical workers carried the devotees on stretchers and made sure there were no complications from their injuries.“I think it takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment to really go through something like that,” said American tourist Tracy Sengillo. “It’s really fascinating.”Devotees undergo the crucifixions in the belief that such extreme sacrifices are a way to atone for their sins, attain miracle cures for illnesses or give thanks to God.”
But is this practice right? Does is atone for sin? And does it in any way replicate the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Here we have an eyewitness account. We’re not sure Matthew, Mark, or Luke were present, but John was.
I. THE PROPHECIES OF THE CRUCIFIXION – v36-37
v16 – “led away” Is 53 – “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” brought can be ‘led’
v18 – “two other with him” – “numbered with the transgressors”
v23-24 – Ps 22:18 – “parted his garments and cast lots”
v18 – “where they crucified him” – Ps 22:16 “they pierced my hands and my feet.” “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)” Deut 21:22-23
Paul refers to this: “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Gal 3:12-13
It’s amazing that the Jews did not see the Word fulfilled before their very eyes. The Jews were very familiar with the letter of the OT scriptures.
The Jewish concern? Ceremonial pollution of the land – v31 Concerned about the land but not the Lord – it’s the same today. Concerned about the law but not the Lord – is that you?
At the desire of the Jews, the Romans took the hands that touched the lepers and the blind and the deaf and the dead and with the dull blows of a hammer drove nails into mercilessly them.
II. THE PERSON CRUCIFIED – v19-22
The Jews didn’t know who He was. The Romans didn’t know who He was. So Paul writes:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Cor 2:7-8
If only I could to take you to Calvary now and show you that person they nailed to a tree. And who is that person? The Lord of glory. The RCC and Orthodox Church and ever-increasing so-called Protestant churches like to have images of the Crucifixion, but how can you depict the Lord of glory? Where do you begin to create an image of the Lord of glory suffering upon a cross?
Isn’t it hard to take in? That men like us nailed the Lord of Glory!
III. THE PLACE OF CRUCIFIXION – V17-20
Golgotha = Hebrew. Latin = Calvary. Skull = English. All the same.
The Roman Catholic Church tried to claim the place, and then archeologists afterwards found the old wall of the city, and this placed the RCC location inside the old city walls, which doesn’t correspond to scripture. However, others had identified another place outside the walls, now called Gordon’s Calvary. Of course the RCC maintain their place is the right place, but they’re wrong.
“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Heb 13:11-12
IV. THE PERIOD OF THE CRUCIFIXION
Mark 15:24-25 “And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.”
Mark is writing in Roman time and their day began at 6am at sunrise. Third hour = 9am.
Read: Luke 23:39-44
Sun shining from 9-12, and darkness from 12-3pm. In the first 3 hours:
i) Father forgive them for they know not what they do
ii) Today thou shalt be with me in paradise
iii) Addresses Mary and John
Then it goes dark:
i) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Here he is being our substitute, and buying redemption, and reconciling and propitiation – and all this is between the Father and the Son. Yes man crucified the Son of God, but as the Isaiah prophesied centuries earlier, “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him”. God made His soul an offering for sin.
ii) I thirst.
iii) It is finished.
iv) Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. “The penalty originally inflicted for sin was not merely the separation of the soul from the body, which is physical death, but the separation of the soul from God, which is spiritual death. That Jesus suffered this latter form of the penalty as well as the former is attested by His despairing cry. During those hours that Jesus hung on the cross as the sin-offering for His people that unique spiritual relationship which had existed between His human soul and the Father, and which had so enriched Him during the entire period of His earthly life, was completely withdrawn. No glimpse of Divinity any longer broke in upon Him. God had literally hid His face from Him.” – Loraine Boettner
V. THE PAINS OF THE CRUCIFIXION
These pains started in the Jewish court before the high priest. Matt 26:67 “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands”
‘buffeted’ = hit with a closed fist. Literally punched him in the face. So by the time He was on the Cross His face was battered, and his face and hair covered with spittle. Is 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
Then the Romans scourged Him. A shortish whip with hard or sharp pieces on the multiple tails of the whip so that each lash would bite into the flesh.
Ps 129:3 “The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.”
And his brow was punctured with a crown of thorns. Two inches long, sharp as a needle. And they take his body and hang him upon the tree that His bones came out of joint.
There aren’t that many types of wounds (some variation with how they are identified) and Jesus suffered them all.
i) Contused wound – where the skin remains unbroken. Like a bruise. (punches)
ii) Punctured wound – like stepping on a nail. (crown of thorns)
iii) Incised wound – like that caused by a knife. (spear)
iv) Lacerated wound – where the flesh is torn. (whip)
v) Perforated wound – one which goes right through. (nails)
And that’s not including abrasions from falling on His knees and bearing the cross on His back.
All this is the mainly the brutality of man. It’s not the entire Atonement. In the darkness is where we really see Him as the offering for our sin. God made His soul an offering for sin (Is 53:10) and there in that darkness it pleased the LORD to bruise Him, to crush Him, and to abandon Him!
And this is why sinners we need no other argument, and need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.
And it is this bearing of wrath of God that was invisible to human eye that caused Christ such anguish, not the physical brutality.
Paul had a desire to depart, knowing that it was likely to be a martyrs death, but Christ was filled with anguish and said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour” John 12:27
As one man said, ”If Christ was simply a martyr, then He was not a perfect example; for many a martyr has shown greater courage in prospect of death”
Close – Rom 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all”
Can you take that in? God delivered His Son into the hands of wicked men. Jesus was crimeless, harmless, and sinless, and when God gives Him into the hands of men look how they treat him.
But there are some of you here and you’re little different. You stand in the crowd of the world with a choice between Barabbas and Jesus and you choose Barabbas the robber.
Yes, Jesus stands here today offering you eternal life, and you choose Barabbas the robber. Let me ask you what your Barabbas is? What is it that’s robbing you of peace with God and eternal life? You look at hungry children and feel moved to help them, but you behold the Lord of glory crucified for sin and you don’t bat an eyelid. But perhaps that’s not the case anymore. Perhaps you have been moved?