The Holy Spirit told me to write this article this week. I usually write once a fortnight but God has impressed upon my heart that many Christians do not understand what Jesus went through before He died. Here we are celebrating His resurrection and praying that everything that is dead in our lives should come to life. Fantastic prayer but without the shedding of His blood, there could have been no resurrection and no celebration.
Isa 53: 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of our sins and what an ordeal He had to go through. Having just celebrated Easter, I wanted to write something about what Jesus went through for us because He conquered death on our behalf.
Do you know the cost of that Blood? Allow me to explain its value to you:
It all started in the garden of Gethsemane; Matt 26: 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
If you are in Christ, sometimes you feel a heaviness in your spirit and you cannot explain it. In the case of Jesus, He knew what the heaviness was about because He told His disciples that ‘my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death‘. Jesus knew what was to happen because He asked His Father to ‘let this cup pass from me’. Sometimes you cannot always share your burden with anyone, except go to God in prayer. The burden could be a sickness, some financial issues, a sin, whatever it might be for you, it could be a time of walking it on your own with God. In sharing, sometimes, you will be given advice that is not of God. Here we have Jesus who did not tell Peter what was about to happen, He kept quiet, because Jesus knew His disciples would be a hindrance, look at what Peter did (John 18:10).
Jesus is led away in the dark and his trial started; Jn 18:13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Jesus’s trial went something like this:
1. Annas, an ex-high priest and influential figure, subjects Jesus to interrogation (John 18:19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
2. Annas then passes Jesus over to Caiaphas, the current ruling high priest. Caiaphas subjects Jesus to further interrogation. Jesus never denies who he is but rather he confirms it – John 18:24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. Not once did Jesus rebuke them as they planned and schemed against Him.
3. If Jesus could stand up before his intended executors for us, we should have abundant confidence that he now stands up for us before our Father in heaven – Hebrews 4: 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
4. Jesus is beaten and mocked by his captors; Luke 22:63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? 65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. By dawn brought again to face the Sanhedrin – a council of the high priest, elders and scribes. They pronounce him guilty as charged but still need to take him to Pilate as they do not have the necessary authority to carry out the death sentence (Luke 22:66-71).
5. In the morning Jesus is whisked over to Pilate, the Roman appointed governor of Judea (John 18:28). His second trial begins. Matt 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
6. Pilate sends Jesus to Herod, a ruler over the region of Galilee and Perea, an area within Judea. Herod mocks Jesus and sends him back to Pilate (Luke 23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. 9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. Mrk 15: 17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head.
7. On his return Pilate attempts to release Jesus, as he is now certain of his innocence. Pilate’s plan backfires and Barabbas, a revolutionary and murder, goes free in Jesus place. Nothing was going to get Jesus free at this point. Not even a stern warning from Pilate’s wife who had a frightening dream that night about the innocence of Jesus – Matthew 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Mark 15: 18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
The meaning of ‘scourge’: The Romans would, according to custom, scourge a condemned criminal before he was put to death. The Roman scourge, also called the “flagrum” or “flagellum” was a short whip made of two or three leather (ox-hide) thongs or ropes connected to a handle. The leather thongs were knotted with a number of small pieces of metal, usually zinc and iron, attached at various intervals. Scourging would quickly remove the skin. According to history the punishment of a slave was particularly dreadful. The leather was knotted with bones, or heavy indented pieces of bronze.
Mrk 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. Jesus was too weak and could barely carry His cross at this point. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
They nailed him to the cross; they nailed his wrists or hands and his feet. The Cross is a place of pain and a place of surrender. Are you carrying your cross? Without surrender, there can be no victory.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
The death of Jesus on the cross opens the door for God’s forgiveness. The cross is all about forgiveness and God’s love. No wonder that these are the words Jesus spoke on the cross.
John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Jesus died on the cross naked with His mother Mary looking up at Him, a son of promise whom she was given by Holy conception. He died a humiliating death for us. How can a mother behold such a scene? The anguish of His mother, to have to behold such a picture in her mind, of her dying son. Even though Mary had been warned by Simeon in Luk 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. I am sure Mary did not understand fully or even grasp what Simeon said at the time; how can any mother grasp such a prophesy? That one’s son will die the most horrible death ever.
So as we celebrate His resurrection, spare a thought for what He had to go through for you and I. He did not open his mouth to abuse them back or call fire to fall or call on the natural elements to destroy them all (fire, wind and water) or call on the heavenly army etc… Jesus had all the arsenal of Heaven at His disposal but He did not say a word because of the salvation of the whole world.
As we continue our Christian life and journey, let us be mindful about sin and not allow the devil to make us sin against He who paid the most extreme price for us, by dying on the Cross of Calvary.
Praise Jesus! He is Risen! Halleluyah! Amen