Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Isaiah 52:14 “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him (Jesus) — His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.”
Have you been to an art gallery and studied paintings of Jesus dying on the cross? Usually the artist depicts Jesus hanging from the cross with a crown of thorns on His head, nails in His hands and feet, and a small opening in His side with a few drops of blood – but no signs of Jesus suffering agonizing pain and trauma. Where are the paintings that illustrate what truly happened to Jesus – that show Him “disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness?” How difficult it would be for an artist to paint that intensely upsetting scene, as well as for us to even look at his painting. Isaiah 53:4&5 prophesied about Jesus and the torture He was to endure – “Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” In Luke 18:31-33, Jesus explained to His disciples what was about to happen to Him, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the Prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.” Jesus had read the scroll of Isaiah – He knew what was going to happen to Him, yet He chose to obey His Heavenly Father…obey God by giving His life. Thank You, Jesus! The details of His sufferings should leave every Christian, and hopefully non-Christian, devastated that Jesus had to – rather chose to – do this for us… chose to take our sins to the cross and pay for them by His blood… chose to pay the wages for our sins with His life for us to be able to live eternally with Him and His Heavenly Father... chose to sacrifice His life for us so that we can live here on earth with hope, joy, godly peace, and godly purpose. Let’s go over some of these agonizing, devastating events that Jesus willingly endured for us. On Thursday night, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, deserted by His disciples, and taken to the High Priest. After a mock trial where He was found guilty of blasphemy, the guards blindfolded Jesus, “spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. Others slapped Him…” (Matthew 26:67) Very early that next morning (Friday), Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. After questioning Jesus, Pilate could not find any basis for a legal charge against Him, but still the people in the crowd demanded His crucifixion. Pilate finally obliged them. Pilate handed Jesus over to be flogged and crucified. Flogging involved a brutal beating with a whip that had leather strips to which were tied small iron balls and sharp pieces of bones. During the flogging, the skin was literally stripped from Jesus’ back, buttocks, and legs exposing muscle and bone which resulted in tremendous blood loss. As the flogging continued, the iron balls and bones tore into the underlying skeletal muscles, producing flaps of bleeding flesh. Now the Jews required a flogging to stop after 40 lashes (actually 39 in case of a miscount). But there was no limit to the number of lashes in a Roman flogging. After the flogging, the Roman soldiers put a robe on Jesus’ shoulders and a crown of thorns on His head. They mocked Him, spit on Him, and struck Him repeatedly on the head, driving the thorns further into His head causing more blood loss. Jesus was forced to carry His own cross to Golgotha, the place of His crucifixion, until he collapsed from the weight of it due to the incredible torture He had experienced, blood loss, shock, and exhaustion. Jesus’ wrists were then nailed to the cross with 5 to 7 inch long iron spikes. The location of the nail caused a nerve to be crushed in each wrist which produced extreme pain in Jesus’ arms. Nerves were also injured by the nails driven into His feet causing more excruciating pain. The purpose of crucifixion was to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. For Jesus to be able to breathe while hanging on the cross, He had to lift His body by pushing up on His feet and flexing His elbows. This put all of His weight on His feet causing searing pain in His feet as well as in His wrists. Lifting the body in this way caused His back, which was at this point pieces of hanging flesh due to the flogging, to be scraped against the rough wood of the cross. Each breath was agonizing. The last moments of Jesus’ life are described in Matthew 27:46: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'--which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" This is the first time Jesus does not address God as His Father. Why? Because Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world, God, who is holy and cannot associate with sin, had to turn His back on His only Son…had to separate Himself from Jesus and the sin (our sin) that He was carrying. For the first time while on earth, Jesus, in such unbearable pain, could not have fellowship with His Heavenly Father - He felt forsaken by God. Shortly after this, Jesus said, “It is finished,” bowed His head, and gave up His Spirit. Yes, He finished what He was purposed to do – He took all our sins (past, present, and future) to the cross and paid the price for them by His blood. Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus!
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!”
Next Sunday, Easter Sunday, we will talk about His Resurrection!