Read: Luke 23:50-56
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. (Luke 23:50, 51 ESV)
Jesus’ body was claimed and prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathaea. He was a member of the Jewish council and had not consented to the murderous course of the religious leaders. Too often Christianity has broadbrushed the Jews of Jesus era, over generalizing them until they are nearly unrecognizable. Not all of the Jews, or their leaders, wanted Jesus dead. But without carefully reading the story it can seem that way. It can seem as if everyone really and truly was against God.
Even today we see this principle at work. Society had told us that Christianity is outdated and no longer relevant. To listen to mainstream talking heads it sounds like Christianity is starting to find itself on the outs. But that isn’t the case. In all actuality, the detractors and naysayers are just louder. Like in Jesus’ day, the opinion is often that if you yell loud enough and.frequently enough you will get your way. But getting your way is not the same as having a consensus. It isn’t the same as being right. Decibel level has no correlation to correctness.
Don’t be discouraged if the world around you seems loud and obnoxious. Perhaps someone is merely waiting for you to make your stand before they decide to join you from the shadows.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (Isaiah 53:8 ESV)
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46 ESV)
Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would die. His Old Testament writings are sometimes called the fifth gospel because they are full of so much prophetic writing about Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all of Isaiah’s prophecies. Jesus did die on the cross.
Some people today do not believe that Jesus actually died on the cross. They believe he was crucified, and that he just passed out or something. That’s just simply not the case. Jesus died. He breathed a final breath. His spirit left his mortal body.
Jesus final breath marked a turning point in the history of humanity. His sacrifice was complete. There was still some stuff left for him to do. But the dying part was over. It had happened. It was complete. And sin was paid for.
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:44, 45 ESV)
Supernatural events surrounded Jesus’ crucifixion. It was the day that Hell leveraged all it had to do all it could, and failed. Jesus could, and would be killed, but he would not be stopped. He would not stay dead. His life would be the catalyst for the hope of humanity and his death would be the event that would change human destiny forever.
Darkness covered Jerusalem that day. The huge curtain that separated the priests from God fell into two pieces. Dead people left their tombs and wandered the area. It was a significant day.
Evil things were meant for mankind. Satan’s schemes had reached their apex. Jesus would die. But the apparent victory was actually defeat.
The Father had always known the Son would need to die for humanity. He had ordained it since before the foundations of the earth. He had whispered it into the hearts of prophets for thousands of years.
The light of the world hung upon a cross, and the world went dark. Earthquakes happened. People believed. And people have never stopped believing.
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43 ESV)
The Romans crucified Jesus with at least two other criminals. One of those hurled insults, but the other recognized his guilt and asked Christ for mercy. Jesus responded by declaring that the man would be in Paradise with him that very day.
When Jesus speaks it is true. The Bible itself is often referred to as the Word of God. Jesus is called at the beginning of John’s Gospel the Word made flesh. Jesus words are always true. They were true when first uttered some 2,000 years ago. They are true today, and still so tomorrow.
When Jesus says “You will be,” then you will be. It’s a certainty. What is it you can hear him saying in your soul?
You will be….
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34a ESV)
“Ignorance is bliss” may be one of the more reckless idioms of this age. But the effects of uninformed action stretch across the destiny of man. Jesus had compassion on his murderers not because of their ignorance, but because of their actions.
Being ignorant, or devoid of knowledge pertaining to something, is not a sin. If such were the case we would all be in a lot of trouble, especially me. But when the lack of knowledge or wisdom carries over to sinful disobedience we are without excuse for our actions.
Jesus prayed a prayer for his tormentors from the cross. He clenched nail-pierced hands and raised his bloodied brow, adorned by broken thorns, to heaven—praying a declarative prayer of intercession. There upon the cross he began the work of interceding on our behalf with the Father.
The sin of man killed Christ. Committing a murder he was born for. And in his death he forgave those who killed him. Because only Jesus could excuse the inexcusable.
Promise: Psalm 22:16
Fulfillment: Luke 23:33
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— (Psalm 22:16 ESV)
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (Luke 23:33 ESV)
The Old Testament king David prophesied about a thousand years before Christ’s birth that Jesus would be crucified. A prophecy that was written hundreds of years before the invention of crucifixion—clearly alluding to the horrible way in which Jesus would be nailed to the cross.
The mere thought of having nine inch metal spikes driven through my hands and feet is horrendous. Yet Jesus knew all along that it was to be his fate. As a kid he must have seen other men crucified. I wonder what passed through his mind.
Jesus did not shy away from that which he had set out to do. He followed through, even as he was pierced through. He knew the promise of Old Testament prophecy, and he embraced the markings of his messianic destiny, even as he secured the promise for our eternal salvation.
Matthew 27: 32-34 & Luke 23:26
As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. (Matthew 27:32 ESV)
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26 ESV)
When Simon of Cyrene left home with his family I doubt he imagined that he would play a key role in an event that would forever change the destiny of mankind. He was compelled, the text says, to carry the cross. He was forced by armed men already on their way toward savage murder. He had no choice. It was not voluntary compulsion.
I wonder if Simon knew what was happening. I wonder if he had heard of Jesus, or would come to an understanding later. I wonder if Simon and Jesus sit and talk about that day every once in a while.
Sometimes we are compelled. Voluntary or not, take heed of that which you find yourself compelled to do. It could be that you too are caught up in a story bigger than any you ever imagined.