Sermons

Summary: THIS IS A GOOD FRIDAY SERMON ABOUT THE WORDS OF THE CENTURIAN AND THE CHANGE THAT HAPPENED IN HIS LIFE AS A RESULT OF CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION

SURELY HE WAS THE SON OF GOD

MATTHEW 27:32-56

GOOD FRIDAY

APRIL 19, 2019

THE SCENE WAS SET IN JERUSALEM FOR SOMETHING SPECACTULAR TO OCCUR. THE CROWD SIZE HAD SWELLED OVER THE WEEK TO WHAT SOME PEOPLE THINK WAS OVER A MILLION PEOPLE. THEY CAME TO CELEBRATE THE PASSOVER. ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SANHEDRIN WERE THERE. EXTRA ROMAN SOLDIERS WERE ORDERED IN TO HELP WITH CROWD CONTROL. BOTH PILATE AND HEROD WERE THERE SHOULD VIOLENCE BREAK OUT. FINALLY, JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE THERE.

DURING HOLY WEEK, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS DETERIORATED TO THE POINT WHERE THEY WERE LOOKING FOR ANY WAY THEY COULD FIND TO KILL HIM.

THE ROMANS WOULD NOT NECESSARILY DO ANYTHING TO HELP THEM AS THEY COULD NOT STAND THE JEWS, BUT IF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS INCITED THE PEOPLE, THE ROMANS WOULD REACT TO PREVENT A RIOT.

BACKGROUND:

JESUS WAS ARRESTED BY THE JEWISH GUARD, WITH ROMAN GUARDS IN SUPPORT. IT WAS DONE AT NIGHT TO KEEP THE ARREST AS QUIET AS POSSIBLE. HE WAS BROUGHT BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST AND THE SANHEDRIN FOR TRIAL.

ALL OF THIS WAS ILLEGAL. CAPITAL TRIALS WERE NOT TO BE HELD AT NIGHT, BUT WHEN ALL WERE WELL RESTED AND ALERT. NEWCOMERS TO THE SANHEDRIN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SIT IN JUDGMENT ON CAPITAL CASES, BUT THIS WAS NOT THE CASE DURING JESUS’ TRIAL. THE STORIES OF THE WITNESSES QUESTIONED DID NOT CONTAIN THE SAME DETAILS. IT WAS A SETUP RIGHT FROM THE START.

THE JEWISH SANHEDRIN FOUND JESUS GUILTY OF BLASPHEMY AND SENTENCED HIM TO DIE IN JUST A FEW HOURS. VERDICT IN CAPITAL CASES REQUIRED AT LEAST A DAY TO PASS BEFORE VERDICT SO THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE SANHEDRIN COULD CONSIDER THE CASE.

THE JEWS HOWEVER BECAUSE THEIR LAND WAS OCCUPIED BY ROMANS, DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO CARRY OUT THIS SENTENCE. THEY TOOK JESUS TO THE ROMANS, AND NOW A NEW CHARGE WAS ISSUED, THAT OF INSURRECTION. IT WAS A CHARGE THE ROMANS COULD NOT IGNORE.

POINT ONE: ROMAN INVOLVEMENT

THE ROMANS HAD NO LOVE FOR THE JEWS, AND ORIGINALLY DIDN’T TAKE JESUS SERIOUSLY AT ALL. THEY LAUGHED AMONG THEMSELVES ABOUT HIM, THINKING HIM TO BE JUST AN ITINERANT PREACHER WHO HAD NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH HIS TIME THAN TO WANDER ABOUT THE COUNTRYSIDE PREACHING OF PEACE AND LOVE.

THIS TIME THOUGH PILATE WOULD TAKE THE SITUATION SERIOUSLY. JERUSALEM’S POPULATION OF JEWS HAD SWELLED WITH THE OCCASION OF PASSOVER.

PILATE HAD TO FEAR THE POSSIBLITY OF RIOTING IF HE DID NOT DO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANTED. THEY ALSO CLAIMED THAT IF HE DID NOT EXECUTE JESUS FOR CHALLENGING THE AUTHORITY OF CAESAR, BY CLAIMING TO BE A KING, THEN HE, PILATE, WAS NOT A TRUE FRIEND OF CAESAR.

PILATE WAS CAUGHT IN A BATTLE OF HIS OWN CONSCIENCE. HE KNEW THE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST JESUS WERE NOT TRUE, AND HE WAS INTRIGUED BY JESUS HIMSELF. HE TRIED HIS BEST TO ANSWER THE PEOPLES CRY FOR BLOOD, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, TO NOT HAVE JESUS EXECUTED.

FIRST HE ORDERED THE FLOGGING OF JESUS. THE CAT AND NINE TAILS WAS A WHIP WITH GLASS AND PIECES OF BONE CONNECTED TO NINE STRANDS COMING OUT OF THE HANDLE. THEY WOULD DIG INTO THE VICTIMS BACK LEAVING HIM A BLOODY MESS AFTER 39 LASHES. ONE IN THREE PRISONERS DIED FROM THESE FLOGGINGS. IT WAS USUALLY RESERVED FOR THE MOST HARDENED OF CRIMINALS AND WAS A PRELUDE TO EXECUTION. THE CENTURIAN AND HIS SOLDIERS WERE MOST LIKELY IN CHARGE OF HIS FLOGGING.

THESE SOLDIERS THEN MOCKED JESUS AND HIT HIM REPEATEDLY. THEY PLAYED A GAME WITH HIM CALLED HOT HAND. THEY SHOWED HIM THEIR FISTS, THEN BLINDFOLDED HIM. ONE BY ONE THEY TOOK TURNS HITTING JESUS, ALL EXCEPT ONE. THEN THE BLINDFOLD WAS REMOVED AND IF THE PRISONER WAS STILL CONSCIOUS, THEY WOULD HAVE TO DISCOVER WHICH SOLDIER HAD NOT HIT HIM, WHICH OF COURSE THEY COULDN’T, AND SO THEY WOULD PLAY THAT GAME AGAIN.

NONE OF THIS TORTURE SATISFIED THE JEWISH CROWDS, SO PILATE TRIED ONE MORE TIME TO SAVE JESUS. HE OFFERED TO RELEASE EITHER JESUS, OR JESUS BARABBAS A KNOWN KILLER AND INSURRECTIONIST. HE FELT SURE THEY WOULD NOT LET THE KILLER GO FREE, BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE CROWD CHOSE TO DO.

PILATE THEN CHOSE TO MAINTAIN CROWD CONTROL AND ORDERED JESUS’ DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION.

POINT TWO: HISTORY OF CRUCIFIXION

THE THEORY BEHIND CRUCIFIXION WAS VERY SIMPLE. THE ROMANS ADOPTED CRUCIFIXION FROM THE PERSIANS, BECAUSE IT WAS THE MOST EXCRUCIATING FORM OF DEATH KNOWN TO MAN, AND THEY PROMOTED IT AS A PUBLIC SPECTACLE AND DETERRANT TO ANYONE THINKING OF REBELLING AGAINST THE EMPIRE. IN SOME CASES, CROSSES WOULD LINE JEWISH ROADS IN 10-15 FEET INTERVALS FOR LITERALLY MILES.

DEATH CAME BY ASPHYXIATION, OFTEN TAKING DAYS OF UNIMAGINABLE SUFFERING. THEY WERE MADE TO CARRY THEIR CROSS OR CROSSPIECE TO THE PLACE OF EXECUTION. THERE THE CROSS WAS PLACED ON THE GROUND AND THE CONDEMNED WAS POSITIONED ON IT. HIS WRISTS WERE NAILED TO IT AND IN MANY CASES HIS ARMS TIED SO THAT WHEN THE NAIL-HOLES ENLARGED AS A RESULT OF HIS WEIGHT, HE WOULD NOT FALL OFF THE CROSS.

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