Details of Jesus’s Death and Burial Prophesied About Hundreds of Years Before- John Chapter 19

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah prophesied about the suffering of Jesus over 700 years before Jesus came. These verses are from Isaiah 53.

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Jesus was crucified. He was nailed to a cross and hung on the cross until he died. It was a brutal death that would normally take a few days. Jesus could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen out of his love for us.

 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate, who had his doubts about crucifying Jesus, had a sign put on the cross as perhaps a jab at the Jewish leaders.

 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 

The Jewish leaders wanted it changed. But Pilate would have none of that.

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Even a small detail about the death of Jesus was prophesied about hundreds of years before he came in Psalm 22.

All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

. The soldiers at the cross cast lots for his garment.

 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

The soldiers came the break to legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified beside him. They broke the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, he had already died, so they pierced his side to let the blood flow out.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 

This fulfilled Zechariah 12:10 also written hundreds of years before Jesus came.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”

Even the burial of Jesus was prophesied about in Isaiah 53.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’s body would have been thrown into a common grave with the two criminals. but Joseph of Arimathea intervened and got a new tomb for Jesus.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 

We see just from these verses that the death and burial of Jesus was in God’s plan all along. It was not some surprise and God had to quickly come up with Plan B through the resurrection. It was intentional on Jesus’s part to come and die for us.

Think about how much God loves you that he had this plan, The fact that details surrounding the death and burial of Jesus were prophesied about hundreds of years before he came is a faith builder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Tortured, Rejected, and Sentenced- John Chapter 19

Isaiah 53:7&8- He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth
;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus came. The Jews were looking for the promised Messiah, the king who would sit on David’s throne. Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant. In these verses we see references to Jesus being tortured and eventually killed.

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Pilate’s wife sent him a message we see in Matthew 27

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Perhaps this was on Pilate’s mind as he tried to deal with the situation. The Romans were superstitious people and yet viewed the Jews as being backward and difficult. In an attempt to diffuse the situation Pilate had Jesus flogged.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

They flogged, whipped, Jesus with a cat of nine tails which was a whip with nine leather straps with sharp pieces of rock etc at the end. The soldiers mocked him. The robe they put on him would have stuck on because of the blood from his back. The crown of thorns caused Jesus to bleed from his scalp.

Pilate had Jesus brought out and said:

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 

But the reaction of the chief priests and their officials was:

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate replied

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The chief priests answer?

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

This freaked Pilate out which is not surprising due to the Romans beliefs in many gods.

“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus finally replied

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the religious leaders persisted in a peculiar way.

 “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.

Interesting because the Jew despised the Romans and wanted them out of Israel. They had no love for Caesar or the Romans. Pilate presented Jesus to them saying here is your king. The religious leaders who despised Caesar and the Romans answered.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Pilate gave in and consented to have Jesus crucified.

Think about what Jesus endured. Think about how he suffered. Then think about the truth that he went through all of that, the farce of a trial, the torture, the rejection, because he loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Healed Someone Even As He Was Being Arrested- John Chapter 18

When we see videos of someone being arrested such as in the show Cops, we see people trying to avoid arrest, at times fighting with the police, but one thing I have never seen on such a show or in video footage is the person being arrested healing someone. That is exactly what happened while Jesus was being arrested.

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Imagine being one of the soldiers in the detachment sent to arrest Jesus. He has just knocked all of you down on your butt by saying three little words, “I am he” as we saw last week in Jesus Arrested John Chapter 18. Then he peacefully allows you to arrest him. Then one of his followers, Peter, cuts off the ear of a servant the High Priest.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

So the servant is standing there bleeding from where his ear used to be. How does Jesus respond?

He rebukes Peter saying

 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then he heals the servant with all the detachment standing there. Jesus is being arrested by over 400 soldiers. He knows he is going to be tortured and crucified and yet, he heals a man. We read in Luke 22:

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Back to John 18, we see Jesus being arrested and taken to the High Priest.

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.  Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Imagine the scenario. Imagine you are one of the soldiers and you witness Jesus perform this miracle of healing a man whose ear has just been cut off. What would go through your mind?

The High Priest’s servant did not believe in Jesus. He was there to arrest Jesus. Imagine you are him. Your ear has just been cut off and now the man you are there to arrest heals you. What would go through your mind?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

We Can Enter God’s Presence Because of Jesus

Something powerful happened at the moment Jesus died on the cross for us. It was no simple symbolic event. It carried with it immense meaning for us, for all who believe in Jesus. We read in Matthew 27:50-51:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom

The curtain in the Temple separated the Holy of Holies where the High Priest would offer sacrifices from the rest of the inner temple. Only the selected priest could enter the Holy of Holies which represented the presence of God. It was so holy in fact that a rope was tied around the ankle of the priest who entered the Holy of Holies in case the priest died due to sin or error. That way the body could be pulled out without entering.

The curtain being torn from top to bottom showed that the way to enter the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, was now open for all who believe in Jesus.

In Hebrews 10 we read:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

We can enter the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God because of the blood of Jesus. Jesus himself is the curtain. He is the new and living way to enter God’s presence.

We also read in Hebrews 10:

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We can come to God not based on our own efforts. We enter because of Jesus. None of us are worthy on our own to enter the presence of God in prayer. But the wonderful news is that because Jesus died on the cross the way to the presence of God has been opened for us.

When we pray, we enter because of Jesus. If thoughts reminding us of our past hinder us, we can proclaim that we come to God because of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Roman Soldiers at the Crucifixion of Jesus

Roman soldiers were men hardened by combat. They encountered many unfamiliar things to them as they served in the Roman army. One could say they would not have been easily impressed by what they observed.

Only hours before Jesus died, Roman soldiers brutally tortured Jesus taking delight in doing so. While Jesus was on the cross some of the same soldiers cast lots for his Jesus’ clothing. To them he was just another criminal to be executed.

But strange things happened while Jesus was on the cross and when he died. In Matthew 27:45 we read:

 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

In Matthew 27:51-5 we read:

The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 

So these battle hardened soldiers who had only a short time earlier cast lots for Jesus’ clothing an mocked Jesus saw the strange darkness that covered the land in the early afternoon, felt the earthquake when Jesus died and saw the bodies of dead people in tombs around them come to life.

Their response in Matthew 27:54?

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Imagine yourself being there and seeing the eerie darkness, experiencing the earthquake when Jesus died, and seeing dead people in tombs come to life. What would you have thought?

The Roman soldiers at the cross came to their conclusion- Jesus is the Son of God.

Thank you for reading/ God Bless.

Jesus Was No Victim- He Permitted His Arrest

Even while being arrested for a mock trial, Jesus showed he was no victim. He voluntarily went to his torture and death on the cross because of his great love for us.

Imagine you are one of the detachment of soldiers sent to accompany the religious leaders to arrest Jesus. There are over 400 of you armed with swords, spears, and shields. A man comes out and asks, “Who are you looking for?” The religious leaders say, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The man who asked, “Who are you looking for?” was Jesus himself. His response when the religious leaders said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth was, “I am he.”

BUT

Something happened when he said, “I am he.” Simply by saying those three words, he knocked you and all of your fellow soldiers down on your butts. We see it in John 18:5-6:

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)  When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Just to make it more dramatic, imagine one of Jesus’s followers cuts off the ear of one of your fellow soldiers. We read about in Luke 22:49-50:

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

And then to amplify the intrigue, you see Jesus heal the soldiers ear. We read that in Luke 22:51:

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

So you came with over 400 fellow armed soldiers to arrest one man, Jesus. Jesus knocks all of you down on your butts with three words. Then when one of his followers cuts off the ear of a fellow soldier, Jesus heals the man’s ear and then lets you arrest him.

Perhaps you would be thinking, “this is no ordinary man” or “this is freaking me out.”

Dear readers, Jesus was no victim. He could have stopped all of it, but instead he permitted it all to happen because of his love for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle

We are all guilty before God but because of Jesus dying on the cross and taking the judgement upon himself that we deserve, we can be freed from sin and judgement. Because of Jesus, we can receive the gift of relationship with God and eternal life.

That is what this week is all about as we remember Jesus being tortured and crucified and then defeating death for us. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven by God.

I love this song by Lauren Daigle. It expresses so well the experience of being amazed by what Jesus did for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Using An Old Rotary Phone In A Snowstorm

In October 1997, my city had a once in a hundred years snowstorm. It was 12 inches of heavy wet snow. I woke up in the morning to what sounded like explosions. I peaked outside and saw a branch snap off a tree and fall to the ground. It shut down the city for several days.

It was a Sunday morning. I woke up realizing I had no electricity. Parts of my city had no electricity for a week. I got mine back later that day.

I called one of the pastors of my church to inquire about church that morning. He asked me how I was calling since my area had no electricity.

I let him know I had an old rotary dial phone in a box and got it out to make the call. He asked me to help him call people to say no church that day. I spent an hour calling people from that old rotary phone.

Sometimes things we consider old and obsolete can still serve a purpose.

The bible encourages us to seek the ancient ways in Jeremiah 6:
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

In these times that we have plethora of books, videos, speakers to go to, I do not want to forget the book that has stood the test of time. Governments have tried to stop it and failed. The bible, the Word of God, is the most important resource for any Christian.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.