This meditation is written with the presumption that the audience is already familiar with all these events.
“Before We can Begin to See The Cross As Something Done For Us,
we Have to See It As Something Done Dy Us.”
I choose to pick up the story of the final events while Jesus was here on earth, at the mountain where His transfiguration took place, its when Moses and Elijah appeared before Him. Matthew 17:1-3
They were likely discussing the total fulfilling of “all” the law and just as importantly “all” the prophecies of the Old Testament down to the last detail. In part, because of this meeting, we know that Jesus was fully aware of “all” that was about to happen to Him.
Now, from the Mount of Transfiguration let’s fast forward to Jesus’ last hours before His death. In his book “Experiencing the Cross,” Henry Blackaby explains: Jesus was about to confront three “waves”, of intense agony, pain and suffering, the likes of which can never be imagined
- The first would be in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- The second on the Cross itself.
- And the third:Jesus entering into an “outer darkness”.
* * * * *
Connecting some “Dot’s”
It’s in Revelations 5:5-6 that we see one of the elders of heaven introducing Jesus as the:
“Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Yet when the man from earth looks, he sees, “… a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.”
It is in the garden that we see Jesus going from walking in His authority of being the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” to allowing Himself to take on that of a humble servant, “… a lamb about to be slain.”
Then on Resurrection Sunday we are introduced to “our Risen Victorious Savior.”
* * * * *
Now beginning at the Garden of Gethsemane: During the first hour or so, when Jesus entered the garden, we are able to have a glimpse of a most intimate time between Jesus and our Heavenly Father. As we meditate on Jesus and what He went through in the garden. We see that He sweat blood while prayerfully weighting all He was about to experience.Luke 22:44
The Bible tells us that the intensity of that hour was so profound for Jesus that our heavenly Father had to send an angel to minister to Him, least He die from the agony He was in. Luke 22:43
Shortly after this He was betrayed by a friend, then He was arrested and bound. Mark 14:45-46
Then, over the next several hours, time and again Jesus was hit in the face, spat upon, beaten, and chunks of His beard were torn from His cheeks, all the while being rejected for His claim of being the one true God. We also see during these encounters, He was verbally abused, laughed at and mocked. This began when Jesus was taken to the high priest and elders where He was first falsely accused.
In the mist of this, one of His closest friends denied Him three different times. John 18:25-27 Next, Jesus was taken to Pilate who was the governor of Jerusalem, and after a short assessment of all that was happening, Pilate quickly realized that he had an innocent man on his hands. Matthew 27:2
Luke 23:4 Trying to avoid condemning Jesus, Pilate sent Him to Herod, the local ruler, hopefully for him to judge. Luke 23:6-7 But Herod came to the same conclusion as Pilate and sent Him back to Pilate’s court. For it is clear both Pilate and Herod knew Jesus was innocent. Luke 23:8-12 Luke 23:13-17 Luke 23:20 At that point, Pilate hoped against hope that just flogging Jesus would satisfy the crowd. Pilate handed Him over to his soldiers, who took Him, stripped Him naked and beat and whipped Him so severely that He could not be recognized. Next, the soldiers put a purple robe on Him and beat a crown of thorns into His head, while laughing at Him and mocking Him saying “Hail, to the King of the Jews” John 19:1-5 Matthew 27:29 A short time later we see Jesus – barely able to stand beside Pilate in front of a gathered crowd and scripture says:
Now this all took place during the feast of Passover and it was the custom at this Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested.
Therefore, Pilate offer the crowd a choice, release Jesus, who Pilate knew was not guilty or release a known murderer named Barabbas. Mark 15:7 The crowd, encouraged by the chief priests and the elders responded with one voice saying,
“Release Barabbas to us”
But Pilate asked,
“What should I do with this man, Jesus?”
Their response was,
… Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
* * * * *
So condemned to die, the journey to Golgotha began.
By this point Jesus was so physically weak that He needed help carrying His cross. Arriving at the top of Calvary hill, Jesus was again stripped naked and nailed to the cross. He was one of three crucified that day. During the last hours of His life,the soldiers pass their time by dividing up His garments and gambling for His underclothes. John 19:24 Plus we read that many of the onlooking crowd joined in hurling insults at Him How bad was the ridicule of Jesus? We read that at one point during the crucifixion Jesus cried out;
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
and we see that someone offered Jesus a little wine vinegar from a sponge they put on the end of a stick. John 19:29 (In those days sponges were used by the Romans, as we use toilet paper today.) Needless to say, Jesus refused. Finally, once He had died, they took a spear and pierced His side, just to make sure He was dead. John 19:34 Jesus was so controversial, that when His body was placed in a borrowed tomb, a guard was posted at that tomb to make sure it was not disturbed. The tomb itself had a special Roman seal place on it to reinforce the importance that the tomb was not to be opened. Matthew 27:59-70
* * * * *
The Outer Darkness:
This is the place that Jesus was totally and completely separated from His Heavenly Father, and there during the next three days Jesus took on the “Forces of Darkness.” We have little information of what took place, during this time, but we know that His “Life” and “Light” prevailed and He comes back to us after destroying sin and death. For Revelation 1:18 it says:
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
* * * * *
(Now, I choose to pause the story here and we need to highlight the reason Jesus experienced all of this).
It is at this point we must personally accept or reject our part in these events that took place over 2,000 years ago and several thousand miles away. Every true believer must face his or her own personal guilt in the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the cross for me, for you. Because of our pride,our unbelief, our rebellion towards Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit. our rebellion towards Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit. And here we see what our sinful rebellion produced, namely,
Now we can intellectually review this meditation in a few minutes or we can slow down and in faith reflect upon how our Lord and God responded to the sins in our lives, by taking them on Himself.
* * * * *
It is important to reflect on a line of the “Creed” that says:
… whence He shall come to judge the living and he dead.
We need to realize that the second we crossover into eternity, we will either face Jesus as our Lord and Savior or as our Judge. Hebrews 9:27
Scripture will encourage each of us to self-judge ourselves now. 1 Corinthians 11:31 For reality is that we will experience, judgement now or sometime in the future. By judging ourselves now, we avail ourselves of the Holy Spirit’s help in correcting our wrongs.
The sober reality is that we who call ourselves Christians, know the verses where He says:
that the: “lukewarm, He will spit from His mouth.”
And He is going to separate:
“the wheat from the chaff.”
“the sheep from the goats.”
and to some, He will say:
“…depart from me for I never knew you.”
Or we will here:
“Well done, good and faithful servant, …Come and share your master’s happiness!’
In order to hear the last statement we must self-judge ourselves now. Again, we each must deal with how our God chose to show us how much He loves us and we must respond to what Jesus did for us.
Are we forgiven? Yes!
Yet the truth is, every child of our God is greatly affected by the events that happened to Jesus and we never quite get over them.
Now don’t move on too quickly, let what you have just read sink deeply into you heart. For it is in our heart that we believe (we have faith). For it is through prayerfully meditating in faith on the gospel accounts of the crucifixion story, that these accounts will change our life if we let them.
* * * * *
Our Risen Victorious Savior, Our Lord Jesus, knew what He had to go through. The agony, suffering, pain and death, He knew that each of these events must be gone through, to get to the other side and reconnect with His Father and the Holy Spirit. The garden, the cross and the outer darkness was the price He was willing to pay to experience the Resurrected Life that our Heavenly Father had prepared for Him. As we look at these three waves with the eyes of the Spirit, we can see through them, to His victory over sin and death.
The Reality is that today Jesus is alive with all power and authority, and right now He is seated at the right hand of our heavenly Father. Ephesians 1:15-23
Now for us, kneeling in praise and worship within our hearts next to His cross, we come to the place where His sanctification of us takes place. It is at this place that our hearts will become clean and tender and pure and holy. 1 Corinthians 6:11 And as this is happening in our minds, and in our hearts, then our whole life will begin to be effected by this experience also. For the reality is that the cross of Jesus Christ has not lost any of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
* * * * *
So, how do you respond to this meditation? It is important, that you take any sin that is besetting you, any problem, any struggle, any addiction. Place it on this cross that Jesus died upon, and each and every time one of these issues arises within you, commit to refocus on, to prayerfully meditate on the overcoming power of the cross and what it cost our Bother our Lord and Savior Jesus, instead of focusing on your issues. As you sincerely do this, you will begin to see the sanctifying power of God working within you.
What does it say in 1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the message of the cross…
…it is the power of God.”
What “power” does this “message” have?
For you, for me right now, it is the sanctifying power to change our hearts, to be like His Heart.
This is the “power” the Holy Spirit will use to change us into the “Image and likeness of Jesus!”
* * * *
To leave a comment, testimony or prayer request.
* * * *