The story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is required knowledge for believing in Jesus Christ. The events surrounding the cross all have significant meaning.
Please read Matthew 27:32-56 before starting GraspingGod.com's free Bible study lessons, #3.12.
Note: Hopefully, you'll find time to also read Isaiah 53:1-12 with this lesson.
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) Would any type of death for Jesus have met God's requirements for a perfect sacrifice?
2) Who carried Jesus' cross up to Calvary?
3) For what sins did Jesus Christ die on the cross?
Our last lesson, The Scourging Of Jesus, leads directly to Jesus' cross on Calvary. If you missed it, please visit and set the foundation for this study. Let's get started with the following critical, biblical thought . . .
Deuteronomy 21:23 ESV sets the foundation stone for building and understanding today's lesson. Israelites knew this fact well and it's one reason the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus Christ crucified. It was their hope the Jewish people would witness Jesus hanging from a tree, accursed by God. Unfortunately, the Jewish leaders were unable to see the big picture.
Thankfully, God was in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who came to earth to die for you and me. He took our punishment from God in full measure. In fact, Jesus became accursed by God, for a moment in time, because he was paying the high price for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-5; Zechariah 13:7). This was the reason Jesus died by hanging from a tree.
We're going to study God's wrath, which was unleashed the Lamb during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We will investigate the manner of Jesus' crucifixion first; and finish by learning about the miracles that occurred while Jesus hung from the tree.
Many people are too squeamish for such a gruesome topic as crucifixion, however it is very important to realize what our Savior suffered for us. Some don't want to bother because they're only concerned with miracles of God, and others only want religion, while many are satisfied with intellectualism.
St Paul the Apostle
addresses these excuses, "But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling
block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. . . For I decided to know nothing
among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 1:23;
2:2 ESV); and, "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly
body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for
me." (Galatians 2:20).
Martin Luther quotes, "No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the cross."
Don't neglect knowledge of Jesus' suffering, because it should have been your cup of God's wrath.
Knowledge of God is our motive and power, so momentarily place yourself at the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
What exactly was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? This was the Roman government's severest form of execution usually saved for slaves and criminals. Roman citizens were not allowed to be crucified.
Crucifixion was the full extent of punishment, but we discussed the scourging of Jesus in the last lesson, so we'll study Jesus on the cross in this section.
Jesus was forced to carry his own cross after a sleepless night, six trials, a complete mockery of his Kingship, and a hideous scourging by blood-thirsty soldiers. The fact that he could walk was astounding, much less carrying a 200 pound cross through the streets. He carried it until exhaustion set in and Simon of Cyrene, a passer-by, was compelled by the soldiers to finish the march up the hill.
Once there, the soldiers laid the cross down with Jesus on top. They drove iron nails through his hands and his feet before picking up and dropping the cross into the deep post hole.
There Jesus hung, probably naked, for all to see.
The mockings of Christ didn't cease, with insults filling the air around the cross.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ reached it's pinnacle at this point in time. The terrible effects of the beatings took a toll on him. The sheer agony from the nails piercing his limbs was nearly unbearable. The cross was meant to maximize the condemned prisoner's pain, and Jesus' plight was no different.
The blood wasn't flowing normally through his
body, leading to pain in his organs, and especially his chest. Breathing
became more difficult as he hung with his arms stretched out. For a
more detailed, but graphic, view of the physical aspects of the
crucifixion, please visit: Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
God's wrath was being poured out on Jesus Christ.
The Lamb was in the midst of being slaughtered by the Father.
Devils and humans scourged him and hung him on a tree. Now, God was unleashing his powerful wrath upon this spotless Lamb. Light disappeared as darkness rolled over Calvary. The once stable earth throughout the middle east rumbled under God's fury.
Your sins, my sins, all the sins of those who love God, were being punished by our Holy and Righteous God.
The worst punishment God prepared for the Lamb commenced. The Father removed his presence from Jesus.
The sacrificial Lamb entered the horrors of hell. This is what Jesus dreaded while praying in the garden.
Jesus' fear of hell, i.e. outer darkness, was so intense that it allowed him to look past the earthly punishments he was receiving. He didn't fear man, but he dreaded the punishment from the One who could destroy souls in hell (Matthew 10:28).
Psalm 34:16a tells us that "The Lord turns his face against those who do evil." Jesus didn't do evil, but he was our substitute. Jesus was punished as if he had committed all our sins.
Jesus was totally removed from God's presence. He was thrust into hell, alone.
Jesus wasn't punished for his sins, for he had none. His entire being and life perfectly pleased his Father. Nor was Jesus being punished for the equivalence of one person's sins, but for all those sins throughout history that God was about to forgive (past, present and future). Jesus was drinking from the terrible cup of God's wrath.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and his descent to outer darkness, were God's ultimate punishments for billions upon billions of human sins, which were ALL laid upon One beautiful soul - Jesus Christ.
Adam and Eve's first sin was being punished here at the cross - Jesus was paying for their pride and rebelliousness. Moses' murder and rebellion were being punished. Jesus was bearing the punishment for King David's pride, along with his murder and adultery. Peter's denial and lies were being punished by God. St Paul the Apostle's murders and terror against Christians were being punished. Mary Magdalene's immorality and demonic activities were being paid for by Jesus' suffering.
Christ was paying for my lifetime of horrible sins. Was he paying for yours? If you're not sure, please ask him to do that very thing.
God's presence was in full display at Calvary. Let's shift our study to his work around Jerusalem during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
1) Darkness Filled the Land
Matthew 27:45 states that the sky became dark from 12 noon until 3:00 pm. This obviously wasn't a complete blackout because that would have created utter chaos around the crucifixion site. You can be assured, though, that it was ominous, whether with or without clouds.
From the records, people continued to communicate and act normally. Had there been a complete blackout people would have fled the scene. The darkness was recorded by some secular resources, according to church fathers.
Several times in the Bible God used darkness caused by different means to pronounce judgment. Exodus 10:14-15 notes that locusts blocked the sun's light in one of the ten plagues of Egypt. Joshua recorded that the sun stood still for a 24 hour period, which would have darkened the other side of the earth (Joshua 10:12-14).
The earth's rotation reversed for nearly 45 minutes, with Hezekiah witnessing the event, turning shadows backwards ten degrees (2 Kings 20:9-11). Amos 8:9 predicts that God will make the sun set at noon sometime during the last days of planet earth.
I believe the most intriguing possibility for the reason of the darkness is that the New Covenant was instituted. The Abrahamic Covenant was covered in darkness (Genesis 15:12-18); and the Mosaic Covenant was covered in darkness (Genesis 19:16). Those two covenants looked ahead to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33), so naturally parallels can be drawn.
At the Last Supper Jesus proclaimed, "After supper he took another cup of wine and said, 'This cup is the new covenant between God and his people - an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.'" (Luke 22:20). Keep the covenant parallel in mind through all of the following miracles.
2) Temple Veil Is Torn
Matthew 27:51 reveals that at the moment of Christ's death the temple veil was torn completely from top to bottom. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ rendered the old sacrificial system obsolete. The temple's high priest entered the Holy of Holies once per year on the Day of Atonement. Judaism had an imperfect system, meant only to temporarily appease God's wrath on the people.
Jesus Christ suddenly became the Supreme High Priest offering the perfect sacrifice once and for all time. The temple veil was no longer needed. God chose the annual moment when the temple had it's largest amount of people sacrificing their lambs. Thousands of lambs were being slaughtered within the temple when the long-awaited Lamb of God was sacrificed. This is a truly remarkable occurrence.
Matthew 27:51 also included the fact of a rock-splitting earthquake. Scriptures are replete with the fact of earth movements in the presence of God (Psalm 18:7, Nahum 1:5, Psalm 68:8). God split open the earth and devoured Korah and his followers (Numbers 26:10). The powerful wrath of God often causes the earth to shake.
This fact alone should drive people to their knees in sorrow for their personal sin.
When a person is considering famous earthquakes, this particular earthquake that struck Jerusalem has to be at the top. Usually, earthquakes bring death, but this mighty earthquake brought life!
4) Dead People Raised To Life
Matthew 27:52-53 NIV states that the massive earthquake opened graves around Jerusalem. The saints whose bodies were resurrected from the dead exited the graves after Jesus rose from the dead.
The resurrected people entered Jerusalem obviously as a witness to God's glory. This is one of those Bible events in which we wish God had given more information!
One commentator believes that this group of godly saints rose in their glorified bodies prepared for heaven, unlike Lazarus who was raised to live and die again (John MacArthur Jr., The Murder Of Jesus, Word Pub., 2000, p235).
Satan drove the spiritual and human powers to hanging Jesus on the cross. Satan got his wish - finally having his chief nemesis killed.
However, Satan's evil plans ended at Jesus' final breath, because God completely took over at that point in time. Satan became a powerless spectator to God's spiritual workings on the behalf of his love for humanity. Let's look at a few of the reasons.
First of all, God accepted Jesus' sacrifice for human sins. Countless millions will be granted forgiveness by God because they trusted in God's Son for salvation. God's holy nation of people were now forgiven, and the nation would continue to grow into the future.
Secondly, the old sacrificial system of the Jews was officially ended by God, being announced by the torn veil. Satan had a field day with this system of works that became corrupted to the point of utter hypocrisy.
Finally, Jesus' spirit was dismissed from God's presence, entering and suffering in outer darkness (aka hell). Later, he preached to the fallen angels who had left their natural domain by fornicating with human women (2 Peter 3:17-20). Satan's plan of destroying the line of the Messiah was finally foiled forever, and Satan was shamed (Colossians 2:15).
In summary, the Messiah came to earth, living a life that pleased God, finally being accepted as a sufficient sacrifice for human sins. God won the major battle over Satan at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Every sin committed in human history must be punished. The people who have been forgiven by God have already had their sins punished, which happened at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
After death these forgiven souls will enter God's rest, a perfect heaven where wonderful, warm fellowship will happen between people and God's creatures (i.e. angels, people, and animals) forever and ever. No sicknesses, injuries or disappointments will ever occur again.
Sin will not be allowed entrance to heaven. Knowledge and wisdom will be learned forever as God shares his incredible Kingdom with those whom he loves. Jesus rules heaven and he will be perfectly glorified.
Those people dying in their sins will be paying for those sins, eternally. God's wrath upon these people and their sins will never be appeased. They will be judged and sentenced, by Jesus Christ, to outer darkness (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Outer darkness consists of unfathomable, endless physical pain and emotional suffering (Matthew 24:51).
God's light doesn't shine there. No good exists in outer darkness. There are no parties, no laughing and nothing good to eat. There is no golf, no boating and no vacations. Outer darkness has no cars, no sports and no television. No friends will call you and no family gatherings will be enjoyed.
There will be no more learning and no more entertainment. Worst of all, every ounce of hope, every dream one has about enjoying life will vanish. Pain, suffering and darkness will be the eternal experience of those who die without Jesus' forgiveness.
Choose to follow Jesus Christ today. He awaits your (click) prayer of repentance and faith.
Next lesson, Seven Last Words Of Christ, #3.13.
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: Bible Study Questions:
1) If you only had one minute to explain to someone the most important part of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, what would you choose to share?
2) What significance of the temple veil being torn in two pieces?
3) Why will the sins of an unforgiven person never be completely forgiven by God?
Inspirational Bible Verses:
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. Galatians 6:14
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: Faith Quotes!
We cannot escape the embarrassment of standing stark naked before God. It is no use our trying to cover up like Adam and Eve in the garden. Our attempts at self-justification are as ineffectual as their fig-leaves. We have to acknowledge our nakedness, see the divine substitute wearing our filthy rags instead of us, and allow him to clothe us with his own righteousness. John R.W. Stott
He who chooses sin sooner than repentance prefers to suffer the wrath of God rather than be holy and dwell in heaven forever. Charles Spurgeon Quotes
Jesus became the greatest liar, perjurer, thief, adulterer and murderer that mankind has ever known - not because he committed these sins but because he was actually made sin for us. Martin Luther Quotes
Prayers of Thanksgiving:
Dear Father, Please, please, please forgive my sins against you. Your gracious gift of Jesus and his gracious gift of dying for me are too much to decline. They are truly the best things in life - the richest blessings from heaven. O God, thank you so much for reaching down to me, and teaching me these valuable truths. I promise to treat them with all due respect. I promise to continue to grow in your knowledge by reading your precious words from the Bible. I love you, dear Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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