"A Day of Destiny"
Think of the thousands of days since creation. Is it possible that any day stands above the rest? During this time of year we celebrate two momentous days. One is the day that Jesus died. There were three major phases to this day that changed the world and made it possible for your life and mine to be changed:
I. THE HUMILIATION OF JESUS (27:27-31).
A. Jesus had been whipped beyond belief and condemned to die. He was very weak from the beating. The beating was so severe that many victims died from the beating alone. Pieces of bone and rock were often sewn into the strands of leather that made up the whip. When the lash made contact with the victim’s skin it literally cut it open -- often to the bone. But this would not be the end of his humilitation. He must endure more for you and I.
B. Jesus was taken back into the Praetorium after being scourged (v. 27). The soldiers then gathered for sport.
C. Jesus was stripped of His clothes and a scarlet robe was placed upon Him. They mocked Him as King.
D. Jesus was spat upon. The One who had left heaven and become a man was treated in a way almost impossible to imagine.
E. Finally, they put His clothes back on Him and led Him away to His death.
II. THE CRUCIFIXION AND AGONY OF JESUS (27:32-46).
A. Jesus was so weakened from the beating that He could not bear the weight of the cross. Simon of Cyrene was forced to help him carry the cross.
B. We are told that Jesus would not accept the painkiller offered Him. Jesus did not seek to escape either physically or mentally was was happening. He was prepared to experience the penalty of your sin and mine to the fullest.
C. Then they crucified Him -- no details are given here. The Gospels dwell on the meaning of Jesus’ death rather than the gory details of how it was done. Crucifixion was commonplace in that era, so readers needed to explanation. Let us pause just a moment to understand what death by crucifixion was like.
D. Nails were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet and possibly a small seat was placed on the cross for Him to straddle in order to prolong His agony. The seat was higher than the appropriate height for sitting so that the victim had to push up on the nail in the feet to reach the seat to find relief in breathing. But in time the victim would slip off of the seat again and the process would repeat itself until the victim was too weak to reach the seat and find relief in breathing. Eventually the victim died by suffocation. In short, it was a cruel and painful death.
E. They gambled for Jesus’ clothes (v. 35). His few worldly belongings were disposed of in this miserable manner.
F. Jesus suffered:
1. Physically - the beating and crucifixion
2. Verbal abuse - mocking and railing (vv. 39-44)
3. Deep Spiritual Pain - depths which we cannot fathom. He cried out in pain using the words found in Psalm 22:1. This cry came at the end of 3 hours of darkeness. Jesus experienced the darkness and complete alienation of mankind from God in that moment when He cried out. "He who knew no sin" truly "became sin" for us in that moment. (vv. 45-46)
III. THE DEATH OF JESUS (27:47-50).
A. When Jesus cried out some thought He had called for Elijah (v. 47).
B. He was given sour wine to drink to ease the suffering (v.48).
C. Jesus yielded up His Spirit and died. When He deemed the time appropriate, He experienced death for you and I.
IV. THE GLORIOUS RESULT OF JESUS’ DEATH (27:51-54).
A. We are no longer separated from God. (v. 51a) This glorious result was signified in the tearing of the thick veil in the Temple that separated the people from the Most Holy Place. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The separation between God and mankind has been removed. Each one of us can choose to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
B. Death and the Grave have been conquered. Jesus has experienced the worst life can bring and He triumphed over it all! (vv. 51b-53)
C. Like the Roman centurion, you can see for yourself through God’s Word what Jesus did for you, and how much He loves you. Upon seeing the sacrifice Jesus made, the centurion confessed Jesus by saying, "Truly this was the Son of God."
What keeps you from confessing Jesus Christ? Is it fear? Pride? Not understanding it all? All that you need to understand today is that Jesus loves you and died for you. Just trust in God’s written Word and take the Nail-Pierced Hand of Jesus by faith. Confess Him as the One who died for your sins and ask Him to forgive you today and to come into your life as Savior and Lord of all. He will make it real in your life and give you a life worth living. The result of that day of destiny is what God desires for you today!