Since the invention of audio and video recordings we have witnessed some amazing things:
- Last words and reactions of pilots before a plane crash when rescuers find the "black box".
- War being fought every evening on the news - Middle East.
This evening I would like to share with you the last images and words experienced by Jesus before His death recorded (not by video), but by eyewitnesses who served as camera men and whose "recordings" we have here in the Bible. If it was on film, here is what we would see and hear. The Bible is our "black box".
The Last Things that Jesus Saw and Experienced
Mark 14:53-65 - Jewish Trial (First Scene)
Jesus has been arrested by temple and Roman guards after being betrayed by Judas in the Garden. The Apostles have run away and He is all alone.
He is brought first to the Jewish court of the High Priest, Caiphas, who has convened a 'special' trial in the early a.m. It was not legal to convene an assembly to condemn someone in the night.
False accusers, one after another.
Verses 53-64 - Trial condemnation to death upon His confession. (While Peter denies Him outside, Jesus accepts His sentence of death inside).
Verse 65 - Night of horror begins as the spit, bind and beat, mock and slap - Isaiah 50:6 fulfilled.
Matthew 27:26-31 - The Roman Trial (Second Scene)
After having falsely accused, and torturing Him, the Jewish leaders bring Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate (because although they had sentenced Him to death, only a Roman official could carry out the execution.
11Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And Jesus said to him, "It is as you say." 12And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" 14And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.15Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.
19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him." 20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21But the governor said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." 22Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Crucify Him!" 23And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!"
24When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves." 25And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!"
- Matthew 27:11-25
After unsuccessfully questioning Jesus and trying unsuccessfully because of the Jewish mob, to set Him free because of lack of evidence, Pilate turns Jesus over to the Roman guards where the ordeal is about to continue.
- Verse 26 - Scourged - Romans used short whips with many strips with bones or lead bits at the tips. Whipping was applied from both sides with objects to cut flesh.
- Verse 27 - Cohort is about 600-1000 men. All present to watch, a spectacle.
- Verses 28-29 - Dressed Him in a robe, reed in hand, crown of thorns like a king and knelt before Him in order to humiliate Him.
- Verses 30-31 - Spat on Him, took reed away (as a sign of powerlessness) and beat Him on the head driving the thorns into His skull, while laughing at Him. Led Him away to His death.
If you could see from Jesus' perspective, you would see... Not one drop of human pity, compassion in their attitude. Goal was to totally destroy Him psychologically before they destroyed Him physically.
Luke 23:26-27 - The Crucifixion (Final Scene)
Once the beatings and mockery was over he was led out of the city to be crucified.
Luke 23:26-27 - He was too weak to carry His own cross (cross formation was about right feet high) and so Simon was pressed into service.
They were followed by a large, noisy crowd with shouts, weeping, etc. Hear it, feel the atmosphere.
Matthew 27:33-34 - Prisoners given wine with myrrh (dope) (called gall beach it was bitter) to calm them down while being nailed. (Not an act of mercy).
Jesus refuses so His mind is clear until the end. He still has things to do.
Verse 35a - They crucified Him - one large nail per hand and foot. Death came slowly from thirst, pain. Usually three to four days of agony.
Verse 35b - Gambled for His clothes and waited for Him to die.
Verses 37-43 - Usually you want to suffer and die in comfort and privately... All of this was done in public, in the open.
Once crucified, the people not yet satisfied with His suffering, continued to hurl insults at Him while He hung on from the cross.
Verse 44 - Even the two thieves were insulting Him.
Beaten, bleeding, humiliated, in terrible pain Jesus looks over the scene before Him and sees the cruelty of the guards, the hatred of the crowd, the mocking of the religious leaders, the abandonment of His disciples and He finds the strength to say seven things before He dies on the cross.
The Last Seven Things That Jesus Said (While He surveyed the scene before Him)
"Father, Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do" - Luke 23:24
The very first words from His mouth while He hung on the cross were not concerning His own pain, the injustice of it all, a cry for help, but rather a plea to god on behalf of His murderers.
"Truly I Say to You, Today You Shall be with Me in Paradise" - Luke 23:43
Second thing He says is response to one of the thieves next to Him.
39One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" 40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
- Luke 23:39-43
Notice that in Matthew 27:44 it says that both thieves were cursing Him. What do you think finally convinced one of them to believe - miracles, doctrine? No, the power of forgiveness working in love. He heard from Jesus words of forgiveness, he seeks forgiveness for himself.
The lesson of the thief is not that it is never too late to be save, or that baptism is not necessary for salvation, but rather the power of salvation is love - love unto death if necessary. That is what draws all men to Christ - His great love.
"Woman, Behold Your Son... Son Behold Your Mother" - John 19-26-27
After the confusion, Jesus' mother and John come near to the cross and Jesus puts her into the care of John.
Christ is God because of great miracles, etc., but He is also God because in that while the greatest battle for humanity is being waged at Calvary, He has His eyes on all the details and the needs - even the sparrows are under His protection.
"My God, My God, Why Has Thou Forsaken Me?" - Mathew 27:46
He deals with those furthest away from Him first (enemies, thieves, mother disciple), finally self. He now grapples with His own suffering.
He bears the final crushing punishment for the sins of all men - separation from God.
It was not physical abuse and pain that atoned for sin, there were natural consequences of men's sin, ignorance, hatred of God. Jesus experienced these throughout His life and it culminated here.
The suffering that paid the price for sin was paid on the cross, but it was not the cross itself, it was the separation that Christ experienced from His Father while on the cross.
This terrible agony caused even the Son of God to cry out in agony - this is the punishment reserved for guilty sinners. This punishment Jesus willingly took upon Himself on heal of all sinners - on behalf of you and me.
"I am Thirsty" - John 19:28
Jesus asked for a drink. Why? it seems that after having suffered so heroically He would make it to the end without any physical assistance.
I think He asked for a drink because he was human and in doing do demonstrated that He suffered as a human - unprotected by some supernatural armor against pain.
The life He lived was perfect because He was God; the life He offered in suffering was human because He was man.
"It is Finished" - John 19:30
From the beginning, God's plan was to send His son to live and die to pay the moral debt of sin which condemned all men to separation from God eternally.
History of Jewish nation and the life of Jesus all led to this act, now it is accomplished once for all and forever.
When we believe, repent, and are baptized we need to understand that we lay hold of the finished work of atonement that Christ has made on our behalf. all sin has been dealt with, forever. The payment for your sin is finished.
When Jesus said, "It is finished." He means nothing else needs to be done to pay for all of man's sin.
"Father, Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit" - Luke 23:46
The last words of Jesus before He dies.
Notice that He does not die struggling to hang on to life as most men do, but rather He willingly offers His spirit in death to His Father.
Why? Because Jesus knew He had the power to both lay it down and pick it up again.
17For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
- John 10:17-18
Christians do not have the power to lay down and pick up their lives forever, they have the assurance from the one that does, that when their lives are over He will raise them up again, because if He has the power to pick up His own life, He certainly has the power to raise up yours.
We often ask what would we have done if we were there - we would like to be transported back to that time to see where we could be, when Jesus surveyed the view form the cross, where would He have seen us?
It is not necessary to go back, you can judge your position there by looking at your position here:
- Romans: Unbelievers, unwittingly opposing God and crucifying the Savior. Today we have many who do not believe and are in the darkness living as puppets for Satan through their ignorance, and oppose God and Christ without knowing.
- Jews: Believed in God, but refused to accept God's word made flesh. Today, how many claim to know and believe in God but refuse to obey His word and follow Jesus instead of traditions and doctrines not based on the Bible. We reject God when we reject Christ. We Reject Christ when we reject His word.
- Disciples: Believed in Jesus, but refused to stand with Him under pressure. Jesus said that many would receive the word, but when persecutions came would quickly fall away. Among our own members we have many who have confessed Christ and have been baptized, but when it comes time to choose to remain faithful to Christ instead of a bad habit, sexual sin, worldly friends, pressure of family or jobs, they, like early disciples, ran away and watched from a distance as the mob killed their Lord.
- On the cross with Jesus: Only Jesus went to the cross, no one else went with Him. There could have been 13 crosses on Calvary that day, (did you even think that if the soldiers would have caught the disciples and they confessed Christ, they would have all been crucified?), but only one was willing to go. Today, all those who confess His name, sincerely repent of their sins, are baptized and follow Christ until He returns, they are on the cross with Jesus (Romans 6:3-5).
There was only one place to be back there and there is only one place to be today - on the cross with Christ.
In Montreal, there is a large lighted cross that overlooks the city. This is a wonderful gesture by the city but Christ does not want the cross on the hill, He wants the cross within us, and He wants us on the cross with Him.
You have seen the video, "View From The Cross", with what group are you. have you seen yourself in the movie? Unbelieving Romans, disobedient Jews, cowardly disciples or are you on that cross with your savior, Jesus Christ? If you have never need there before and you would like to get on, repent and be baptized. If you would like to get back on - pray, repent.
Wherever you are tonight,I call on you to accept the cross of Jesus.