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A Suffering Savior

March 2, 2015

To accomplish the Divine mission to deliver His people from sin Jesus had to suffer and die. In the weeks leading up to His death, Jesus told His disciples what was going to happen in Jerusalem. The first event in a tragic series that would end in Jesus’ crucifixion was His betrayal. Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and scribes. The chief priests and scribes were supposed teachers of the nation regarding the coming Messiah and should have been the first to recognize the Messiah when He came. Instead, these men had already shown themselves to be in active opposition to the Messiah. Instead of receiving Jesus as the One promised by God to bring salvation to His people, the leaders of Israel rejected Him. They condemned their Messiah to die.

Israel’s governing body turned the King of the Jews over to their Roman conquerors. Jesus was the One the Jews were to receive as their long awaited King, their God and their Savior. He should have been paraded through the streets in praise and bowed before in humble worship. In their rage and jealousy, the Jews turned Him over to the Romans. The Romans received Jesus with hoots of derision, shouts of laughter and cries of mockery. Pontius Pilate sought to remove himself from an embarrassing situation by shipping Jesus off to Herod. Herod wanted to see a magic trick, but Jesus refused to entertain him. Herod and his soldiers mocked Jesus. They clothed Him in a royal purple robe and mocked His claims to be the Jews Messiah before sending Jesus back to Pilate.

Pilate, hoping to appease the Jews anger, had Jesus scourged. A scourged was a whip with an end split into several different tips. To each tip was attached a piece of bone, stone or metal. The one sentenced to scourging was tied to a large pole, his hands stretched over his head. A soldier would drive the whip into the condemned back, tearing off the skin and muscle. As the lash struck again and again, the whip would drive deeper into the person, tearing cartilage and ligaments and chipping bones. Scourging was often so brutal it resulted in the prisoner’s death.

When Pilate’s soldiers were done scourging Jesus, they berated and mocked Him. They drove a crown of thorns on His head, beat Him with a reed and spit upon Him. As the chief sign of their disdain and hatred, the Romans spit on Him. Instead of praising the God of Heaven, their Creator who was on His way to the cross to die for them, they spat on Him as if He was the lowest piece of human scum.

After all the indignities and abuse were heaped upon Jesus He was sentenced to death on the cross. The cross was a brutal method of torture and execution. The cross was carefully designed to leave one hanging on the verge of death in intense agony for as long as possible. The cross is an instrument of horrible suffering perfected by a people who wanted every crucifixion to be a warning to any who would rebel against the power of Rome. Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of men, was to be killed.

The cross shows the horrible consequences of sin and the beautiful love of God. All that Jesus tells His disciples of His coming crucifixion serves to highlight the horrible tragedy of sin. Sin is such an wretched offense, such a heinous crime, such a vile treason, that only an infinite payment is sufficient to accomplish justice. Sin is so horrible that for it to be forgiven, God the Son had to be betrayed, rejected, mocked, scourged and executed. Jesus had to suffer the most horrible of physical agonies for our salvation. Jesus had to suffer the most horrible of spiritual agonies for our salvation.

His death was the end, but not for Him nor for His work of salvation. Jesus death was the end of the domination of sin and death. Jesus death was the end of the payment of sin. After finishing His task, Jesus was restored to life by the power and good pleasure of God the Father. The resurrection of Jesus is the triumph that concludes the victory of the cross. The resurrection is that which assures salvation. The resurrection is that which ensures everlasting life. The resurrection is the final, Divine certification that Jesus is God who made the only sufficient and satisfactory payment for man’s sin. The resurrection is the reason Christian’s have hope in this world today. The cross is a nightmarish atrocity necessary to rectify the unthinkable rebellion of wicked man. The Savior who died for sin has been restored to life. He is now alive and offers salvation freely to all who will receive Him.

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