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|April 2004 (5764)||Vol. 30 No. 4|
WHO CRUCIFIED JESUS?
Mrs. Ari D. Hidalgo
The prophetic verse in Psalm 2:1, gives us a clear and concise statement as to the perpetrators of the death by crucifixion of The Messiah. We read, that ‘the heathen (Gentiles) rage, and the people (Jewish) imagine a vain thing?’, ‘against the Lord, and against his Anointed’.
As we read through The Gospel narratives, we find that Matthew, Mark and Luke give their accounts of the awfulness and cruelty that Jesus went through as He died on the cross. We especially notice in John 19:16-30, that, “THEY CRUCIFIED HIM” as found in verse 18, which we will use for our introductory thought. Those who were responsible for Y’shua’s (Jesus) death are as follows: First, Judas Iscariot, then, the band and the captain and officers of the Jews that he brought with him. They took Jesus and bound Him and led Him away to Annas, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the High Priest of Israel that year. And Annas sent Jesus bound unto Caiaphas. Then led they (Jesus) from Caiaphas to Pilate. Pilate was the Governor that was appointed by Rome. Pilate also sent Jesus, being a Galilean, to Herod, for that was Herod’s jurisdiction, and it so happened that Herod was in Jerusalem at the time. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate.
Therefore, the responsible parties that crucified Jesus were the Romans (namely Pilate who represented Rome - who are the Gentile people), and, The Chief Priests (the leaders of Israel, and its Sanhedrin party representing the Jewish people as a nation). But, it was the Romans that did the actual crucifying, for the Jewish people, in general, stoned their criminals to death. Additionally, it was the time of Passover and they could not carry out a sentence of death if they were to observe this Feast day. So, the Jewish leaders of the Nation of Israel turned Jesus over to the Roman leaders that they might put Him to death. Not only are ‘all of the above’ mentioned accountable for Jesus’s death, but all of us are responsible, for we have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God. Jesus died for the sins of the world. And, if we really want to get technical, Jesus laid down His life, no one took it from Him as we read in John 10:17-18.
It is important to notice that Pilate wrote a title and set it over Jesus’s head, an accusation that is recorded and written in all four Gospel narratives. In John 19:19, we read ... JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS .... and in Matthew 27:37 it says ... THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS ... and in Mark 15:26 ... THE KING OF THE JEWS ... also in Luke 23:38 it is recorded ... THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. All of these references do not contradict each other. NOT ONE of the Synoptic Gospel writers quote the entire inscription that was over the cross, but ALL have ... THE KING OF THE JEWS. All four of the Gospel accounts combined give the entire inscription which is:
"THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS".
This is 'THE TITLE' that was on the cross over the head of Jesus, and it was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin for everyone to read as they passed by. This, alone was a powerful witness.
Going on, we read that there was a dispute of the wording of the inscription. In John chapter 19 and verse 21, it is recorded that the Chief Priests of the Jews said unto Pilate ... "Write not, The King Of The Jews; but that HE SAID, I AM KING OF THE JEWS". Pilate answered, ... "What I have written I have written". In other words it stays just the way it is.
Jesus our Lord is The King of the Jews, He just didn't say that ‘He was’, but that, 'He is', The King of the Jews, and it is forever. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever.
And all who will trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, He is their King, as well as Israel's King, and it is forever.
THE '15' EVENTS DURING THE CRUCIFIXION
There were many events that took place at the crucifixion. I would like to mention 15 of them in Scriptural order, all of which, are scattered within the four Gospel narratives.
1. THE ARRIVAL AT GOLGOTHA - (recorded in Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; John 19:17). GOLGOTHA is interpreted as the place of a skull and is the Hebrew word for SKULL. It is used in Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; and John 19:17, but in Luke 23:33 the word usage is CALVARY taken from the Latin. If you go to Jerusalem, Israel and visit Golgotha, you will see a cliff like hill that actually is in the shape of a human skull. Golgotha is where the Romans death penalty by crucifixion took place.
Both of the words, Golgotha and Calvary mean 'skull'.
A great company followed Jesus to Golgotha, and of women, crying, lamenting Him. Many believed that Jesus was The Son of God, and didn't want Him to suffer and die.
2. THE OFFER OF THE STRONG DRINK THAT IS REFUSED - (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23). The drink was wine mingled with myrrh. Wine and myrrh mixed together composed a stupefying drink which was sometimes given to those who were in great pain and in suffering, such as must be endured in crucifixion. When Jesus had tasted it, He received it not and would not drink it. Why did He not drink it? Because, Jesus had to be fully awake to experience all the pain and suffering for sin, thus, fulfilling the Prophetic Scripture. Besides, Jesus said to His disciples that He would not drink of wine again, until He would drink it new with them in the Kingdom. (Mark 14:25).
3. JESUS IS CRUCIFIED BETWEEN TWO THIEVES - (John 19:18; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27-28). In Mark 15 and verse 28, the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, "And He was numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). In Luke 23:33 the thieves are called malefactors meaning criminals/thieves.
4. JESUS UTTERS THE FIRST CRY FROM THE CROSS - (Luke 23:34). "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." This is THE FIRST CRY.
Indeed, these words that were uttered show forth Jesus's Godly character of love, mercy, compassion and most importantly forgiveness towards sinners who are blind spiritually, and dead in trespasses and sin.
5. THE SOLDIERS PARTED JESUS GARMENTS AND CAST LOTS - (John 19:23-24; Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34). In John 19 and verse 24, we are told that they also cast lots for His vesture, thus fulfilling the Scripture in Psalm 22:18. "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture". One can not read this Psalm without reflecting on Psalm 22 as a Messianic Psalm that speaks about The Messiah's suffering, especially these words in verse 1, ... "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?".
6. SOME JEWISH AND GENTILE PEOPLE MOCKED JESUS - (Matthew 27:39-43). These verses in Matthew 27 are the fulfillment of the words in Psalm 22:7-8. ..."All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ..."He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."
Indeed, these are words of prophecy that speak of Jewish and Gentile people mocking Jesus, The Son of God, Who is The Suffering Messiah and Saviour of the world. Other Gospel narratives that speak of the mocking are in Mark 15:29-32 and Luke 23:35.
It is interesting to note what Jesus said in the book of John 2:19, and that is, ... "DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND IN THREE DAYS I WILL RAISE IT UP". This grand testimony was mocked by some of the Jews during His crucifixion. (Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29-32).
In the book of Mark we read in chapter 15 and verse 29b, how some of the people mocked Jesus's words ..."THOU THAT DESTROYEST THE TEMPLE, AND BUILDEST IT IN THREE DAYS", ... "SAVE THYSELF, AND COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS." They still did not understand that Jesus was referring to Himself, His death, burial and resurrection.
They even used His Holy Name, Christ (Messiah), in mocking form in verse 32 as they shouted, ..."Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe". As if they would believe that He is The Anointed One that was sent by God to save Israel and be their King. They said these words just to make fun of Jesus. They didn't believe that Jesus was the Christ, The King of Israel. And even if He came down from the cross they still wouldn't have believed on Him, for their hearts were hardened, as the prophet Isaiah had prophesied, in Isaiah 6:9-10. In general, the house of Israel's heart would be harden towards God's message of Salvation that was preached. Even the two thieves took part in mocking Jesus at the beginning.
7. THE THIEVES RAIL AT HIM, BUT ONE REPENTS AND BELIEVES - (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; Luke 23:39-43).
When the two thieves (also called malefactors) were crucified beside the Lord, one on the right hand and another on the left, the one being no better than the other, both did wrong. Mark tells us, that "They who were crucified with Jesus reviled Him", (Mark 15:32). Both of the thieves mocked, reviled Jesus, but something wonderful happened, that is, a miracle took place, one of thieves humbly repented. 'One' of the thieves repents, and begins to rebuke the other. With his little understanding of Jesus, he calls Him LORD and cries out saying .... "Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom". (Luke chapter 23 verse 42). He believed that Jesus was Lord and that He had a Kingdom. It is only by the grace of God, in the wonderful redemptive work of the cross of Christ that a sinner can be instantly transformed into an attitude of confession and saving faith. No sin is too great that The Lord can not forgive, and no person is so bad that The Lord can not save.
The Scripture tells us that Jesus came not for the righteous, but the unrighteous, to save sinners. (Mark 2:17). By all means, when we read the Scripture in Mark, it must be pointed out that Jesus is not saying that the Pharisees, Scribes are righteous, but rather, He came for those who would recognize their poor state, that they are sinners and need to repent. Just like the one thief did.
Which brings us to the eighth event called the SECOND CRY.
8. THE SECOND CRY THAT JESUS MADE FROM THE CROSS, WAS TO THE REPENTANT THIEF - (Luke 23:43).
What Jesus said to the repentant thief we find in verse 43, ... "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise".
Before the resurrection of Jesus, 'Paradise', at that time was in Abraham's bosom, until Jesus descended and brought captivity captive, that is, brought all that were in Abraham's bosom with Him to 'The Third Heaven', 'The Abiding Place of God'. Jesus's SECOND CRY on the cross was a cry that set the repentant thief, who was a sinner, free from sin, hell and eternal destruction.
Upon THE THIEF'S repentance, and confessing Jesus as Lord, The Messiah said that he was going to be with Him in Paradise. Not only did Jesus forgive the thief, but He also saved him, and gave him eternal life.
Being with Y'shua (Jesus) meant that the thief would live forever. When Jesus forgives, it is forever. Jesus became his Lord, his Saviour, and his Salvation forever.
"For 'whosoever' shall call upon the Name of The Lord shall be saved". (Romans 10:13).
And, this is the message to be preached, the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, and it is presented to the whole world. (John 3:16).
9. THE THIRD CRY THAT JESUS MADE ON THE CROSS WAS TO HIS MOTHER - (John 19:25-27).
It is said that 'John' was the disciple, whom Jesus was referring to, for he was known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved, we are told that He said these words in verses 26, & 27 of John 19.
Unto His mother He said ..."WOMAN, BEHOLD THY SON!", meaning, that the disciple, John, was going to be her son that would look after her.
Then, He, Jesus, said to the disciple, ... "BEHOLD THY MOTHER!", meaning that Jesus's mother, Mary, now would be the disciple's responsibility to look after her as his own mother, in other words, provide for her as part of his family.
By doing this, Jesus was honoring His human mother, by seeing to it that she was taken care of, thus, observing the 5th commandment setting forth an example for all of us to follow. Other Scripture challenges that speak of caring for our parents, and families are found in Mark 7:10-13 and I Timothy 5:8. In the book of I Timothy chapter 5 and verse 8 is a strong and Godly instruction for all, especially those who are believers ..."But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." The word 'infidel' means an unfaithful person.
Jesus was faithful unto death, and not leaving anything undone, even His compassion for His human mother as He took care of her before He died. He made sure that she would be provided for by the disciple. And we read of the disciples faith and obedience toward Jesus's words ..."And from that hour that disciple, (John), took her unto his own home". (John 19:27).
The Scripture says in James 2:17 and 20 that ..."Faith without works is dead". Our faith needs to be exercised and challenged every day by good works. It is good and Godly to care for those who are in need physically, as well as, spiritually, and most importantly, to obey God's Word.
Our faith and works begin 'first' towards our Lord, and then towards our families and others.
The 10th event during Jesus's crucifixion is darkness that was over all the earth.
10. THE DARKNESS - (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). Our Lord was put on the cross at nine a.m., called the third hour in Mark 15:25. It wasn't until NOON that DARKNESS came over the land from noon until three p.m., the sixth till the ninth hour.
Please remember, that the sixth hour mentioned in John 19:14, is NOT THE SAME as the above mentioned time, because, the Apostle John is narrating the event according to Roman time when Jesus was before Pilate and it was the preparation day before Passover. According to Roman time it was 6:00 a.m., and this is when Jesus began to suffer and be abused. He experienced shame, He was brutally struck several times, and terribly scourged with sharp weapons.
The 'third' hour when Jesus was put on the cross is Hebrew time, thus it was 9:00 a.m. But, before He was crucified, He suffered, and was so weak from being beaten almost to death, that He had a difficult time carrying His cross, as we read that they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian to bear the cross after Jesus. (Luke 23:26).
During the crucifixion, in respect to the time of DARKNESS, that came over all the earth, it took place from the sixth to the ninth hour, according to Hebrew time, meaning, noon until three p.m. Still the day of preparation.
Something happened during this time, as utter darkness fell upon the day. And at that very moment, God's wrath was poured upon His Son, Jesus. All the sin of the world was put upon Him. He received the judgment and punishment for all mankind. The suffering that Jesus went through was so horrible that no human being could look upon him, thus, it was gross darkness.
Not one human being could ever begin to express, not even Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of Christ", the wrath of God that was poured upon Jesus for 3 hours as He was crucified for the sins of humanity. No one could even imagine the pain and suffering that Jesus endured on the cross for our sins, during that awful time of agony. (Isaiah chapter 53).
In Luke 23:44-45 we read that the sun was darkened about 3 hours, and something else happened as Jesus was atoning for sin, ... "the veil of the temple was rent in the midst". The rending of the veil signified that the Sacrificial System was no longer needed, for the perfect sacrifice for sin, The Lamb of God, who is Jesus, was offered and accepted by God. Eternal forgiveness had been accomplished and now, available to all who would call upon the Lord.
Also, it signified that the wall of partition was removed and that both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus could now approach God with boldness.
..."Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16 ).
The work of Redemption was finished, thus, we need to look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Therefore, the twelve hours that are mentioned in The Holy Bible of His agony, suffering and ultimate death that He endured would be from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Just before the Sabbath day and the High Holy Days, Passover, the perfect sacrifice for sin was accomplished.
The 11th event, is the FOURTH CRY unto God The Father.
11. THE FOURTH CRY - (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Our Lord was speaking at the ninth hour (three p.m.) in Aramaic when He said these words.
The pronunciation of the first word of His FOURTH CRY from the cross, in Matthew is, "Eli", in Mark, it was "Eloi", ..."Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani". Eloi or Eli is very similar to the Hebrew pronunciation of "Elijah" or its Greek counterpart "Elias". That is perhaps the reason why some thought that Jesus was crying for Elijah. In English the FOURTH CRY said by Jesus while He was on the cross is ..."My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It was the terrible cry from His humanity predicted long ago, that the Suffering Servant would say as recorded prophetically in Psalm 22:1. Jesus our Lord did fulfill this saying as mentioned in The New Testament in Matthew and Mark. The punishment was so great that it was as if God The Father, at that moment of time, had forsaken His Son Y'shua (Jesus).
The 12th event is His FIFTH CRY.
12. THE FIFTH CRY - (John 19:28). ... "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled," His humanity uttered His FIFTH CRY, He said,
"I THIRST", thus, the Messianic words in Psalm 69:21 were fulfilled.
Humanly speaking, Jesus was extremely weak and exhausted for He had just received, physically, the GREATEST PUNISHMENT THAT ANY MAN HAS EVER EXPERIENCED, that is, enduring the three hours of darkness over the earth, when HE SUFFERED FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD. Afterwards, He WAS THIRSTY. Also, He was a thirst for the glory that He had with God The Father in Heaven, as He was ready to be glorified.
If we have ever run in a 'Marathon' or been in a race, we can relate to what it means to be thirsty. But, we will never thirst like Jesus did when He suffered on the Cross of Calvary.
He thirsted physically, so that spiritually all people's thirst would be quenched forever. The world does not know that they are spiritually thirsty, just like the Samaritan woman in John 4:13-15 when Jesus testified to her. If we believe in Jesus, the Scripture tells us in John 6:35 that we will never thirst. Another wonderful invitation that Jesus gives to all who are thirsty is to come to Him and drink, found in John 7:37.
Jesus said ..."I Thirst", followed by taking vinegar from a sponge, in order to fulfill Scripture.
Then, He uttered His SIXTH CRY.
13. THE SIXTH CRY - (John 19:30). ..."When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said ... "IT IS FINISHED:". THE SIXTH CRY were words expressing the shout of victory. He came to do the will of God, The Father, and, He did it, as He completed the work of redemption with His very own life (John 4:34).
Another Scripture in The Old Testament that is found in The Psalms speaking of The Son of God, who is The Messiah, coming to do the will of God is...
Psalm 40:6-8 ... "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required". "Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me". "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
Jesus finished the work that He was called to do and said ..."It is finished".
Y'shua (Jesus) was sinless, and was willing, to come to earth and be the perfect man sacrifice for sin. He cried out 'IT IS FINISHED'. Which brings us to the 14th event, Jesus's SEVENTH CRY from the cross.
14. THE SEVENTH CRY - (Luke 23:46). "FATHER, INTO THY HANDS, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT:", were Jesus's last words that He spoke. He committed His Spirit to God The Father. He was ready to be glorified.
The word COMMEND and COMMIT in Hebrew is "PAQAD" which means 'to give in charge'.
We read in Psalm 31 and verse 5 that King David used a similar word to COMMEND, that is, COMMIT. And also it is listed as a Messianic verse, which Jesus fulfilled, ... "Into thine hand I commit my spirit:" Like Jesus, The Son of God, King David was willing to completely commit himself to The Lord God, especially when the enemy had laid a trap to snare him. He had faith that God was his deliverer. Y'shua (Jesus) our Lord was completely surrendered to the will of His Father in heaven, thus, He commended, gave Him (The Father) charge over His Spirit, he committed His Spirit to Him.
As a Bible believer, we need to trust in our Lord every day, and be willing to present ourselves unto Him as a living sacrifice, that He would be glorified in us. (Romans 12:2). That is what it means to be completely surrendered to our Lord, Jesus glorified in us. The last event, is the 15th.
15. OUR LORD GAVE UP HIS GHOST - This is the last and final event that took place during His crucifixion. In (John 19:30), ... "Jesus bowed His head and gave up the ghost." and in (Matthew 27:50), we read that He ... "yielded up the ghost". The description of this event in Matthew and in John are unique.
In other Bible verses, "GAVE UP THE SPIRIT,", OR, "YIELDED UP THE SPIRIT," is used to translate a single Hebrew and or Greek word meaning 'breathe out' or 'expire'.
This is true of the description of the death of Jesus in (Mark 15:37, 39 and Luke 23:46). He took His last breath.
BUT, in Matthew 27:50 and in John 19:30 alone, these expressions translate a Greek phrase of two words, meaning 'give over the spirit' or 'deliver up the spirit'. This is very unique because ...
The death of Jesus was different from that of any other man. No one could take His life from Him unless He was willing to let them (John 10:17-18). God The Father gave God The Son the power to lay His life down and to take it again, no human being has that kind of power. For He and He alone has the power to give life or take life. Our Lord Jesus Christ chose to die so that we might live eternally with Him. Eternal life is the work that He finished ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY two thousand years ago for EVERYONE who will by faith receive His death as the atonement for THEIR SINS, be sure that they will be saved from wrath to come.
Receiving and believing in Jesus and His wonderful atonement must always be done by God's grace through faith. And when it is time for us to depart and be with Him it will happen. Until then, as we wait for that blessed hope, may we continue giving ourselves, spiritually, as a living sacrifice unto our Lord, and be about our Heavenly Father's business.
All who saw "The Crucifixion" personally, each individual was affected in different ways. Just like we have today, when the Gospel Message is preached, all who will read or hear about it will be touched with either indifference or inspiration.
Two things that I noticed happened to two individuals in The Scriptures are as follows:
(1) One Jewish individual 'called a thief' that was on the cross, repented and was saved. (Luke 23:42-43).
(2) One Gentile individual 'called the centurion' glorified God and confessed that Jesus was truly a righteous man, and The Son of God. These are recorded in Mark 15:39 and in Luke 23:47.
During "The Crucifixion" many things did transpire, both good and bad, but these two touched my heart and is so meaningful to me.
For even during Jesus's crucifixion we read that a Jewish and a Gentile person's life was changed and saved. Thus, fulfilling the order of the Gospel message in Romans 1:16. For the message of Salvation is always ..."to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
May The Lord God continue to use His Precious Word, especially these "15" EVENTS DURING THE CRUCIFIXION that we have listed herein, to change the lives of many more individuals to believe in God, and His wonderful work of Redemption in His beloved Son, Y'shua, Jesus our Lord!
According to I Corinthians 2:8 ... "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory".
Here is a beautiful Scripture that speaks of His finished work of redemption.
II Corinthians 5:21,... "For He (God) hath made Him (Y'shua- Jesus), to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Y'shua-Jesus)".
Being made righteous comes to us only by grace through faith in God's Beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8,9, ..."FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: ..."NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST." Amen.
* helpful hints from C.I. Scofield
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