14 April 2022
Lent started on March 2nd, and this week is the climax of Lent. It will be a week of repentance, remembering the suffering of Jesus on the cross. And next week 17th April is Easter. The cross and resurrection are central to the Christian faith.
33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews. 38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 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!” (Matthew 27: 33-54)
“Christ on the Cross” / Giotto
Jesus was afraid of the death of the cross. Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to prepare and pray for his heart. There he spoke with God the Father, prayed, and finally made up his determination to obey God’s will.
Due to the betrayal of Judas, Jesus is captured. After that, there was a trial and the people shouted, “Crucify.” Then he is whipped, carries the cross he hangs on , and finally Jesus arrives at the hill of Golgotha (verse 33). The soldiers tried to make Jesus drink the bittersweet wine, which is now like anesthesia, or pain relief, but Jesus did not (verse 34). I think he never tried to avoid the pain of mankind’s sin.
Originally, it was Barabbas that was in the middle of the cross. But instead of Barabbas, Jesus, who was not guilty at all, was crucified in the middle (verse 38). It would have given the crowd the impression that Jesus was the most sinner and mastermind of the three.
The crowd cursed Jesus. “If you are a child of God, save yourself. Come down from the cross.” (Verse 40) This was the last temptation to escape from the cross. If Jesus does not take on the sins of mankind, all mankind will be condemned. Jesus abandoned life to give us life. Jesus had the power to descend from the cross, but he did not.
The priests also mocked, saying, “ Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. ” “Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.” (verses 42,43). The temptation to escape the cross came one after another. Eventually, even the robber who was crucified with Jesus cursed Jesus (verse 44).
However, if we look at Luke’s Gospel 23: 40,41 in parallel, we can see that one robber has changed his mind. He repented of his sins and proclaimed Jesus’ innocence. ” It’s natural because we’re rewarded for what we’ve done, but he hasn’t done anything wrong. ” Probably he heard the Jesus’ prayer for forgiveness. ” Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing, “(Luke 23:34), The robber who heard this prayer opened his eyes and prayed for the forgiveness of his sins.
He tells Jesus. ” Jesus, remember me when you reach the throne of your kingdom ” (Luke 23:42), humbly asking for mercy. Then Jesus promised him. ” You are in paradise with me today. ” (Luke 23:43) His wish was fulfilled and this robber was saved. He had to be punished for his sins, but his sins were forgiven before God. He had little time left and no time to do good deeds, but he was saved by the grace of God and by his repentance and faith.
The two criminals to the right and left of Jesus had completely different endings. Both are sinners. One did not repent until the end. His ending is hell. But another end to repentance is heaven. The difference between heaven and earth was born. Both were near Jesus. They were watching Jesus Christ, the same Savior, up close. But the reaction was the exact opposite. It is the same in modern times.
At noon (12:00), the land became dark and continued until 3:00 pm (verse 45). According to Mark’s Gospel 15:25, Jesus was crucified at 9 am. Therefore, the land became dark three hours after the cross. I feel that God’s judgment occur.
When the Israelites fled Egypt, the land was pitch black. When Moses reached out to heaven, the whole of Egypt was pitch black for three days (Exodus 10:22). After this, the Israelites were able to escape from Egypt by the power of the blood of the lamb. This was the first Passover festival. This was a prophetic indication of Jesus’ cross. Jesus was offered as the Lamb of God as a sacrifice for sin.
Jesus was crucified on the day of the Passover. It’s the same time. The priests offered sacrifices twice a day. It’s 9am and 3pm. Jesus crucified at 9 am and died at 3 pm.
Around 3 pm, Jesus shouted out. ” My God, my God. Why did you forsake me? ” (Verse 46) This is a quote from David’s song in Psalm 22: 1. It is the anguish of the soul, the cry of suffering separated from God, disconnected from God.
Until now, Jesus was praying “Father,” but here he could not pray like that. Why?. At this moment, Jesus was crucified as a sinner who was completely abandoned by God. He was crucified as he was cursed. This is what it says in Galatians 3:13. Christ has become a curse for us and has redeemed us from the curse of the law. For it is written, “Whoever is hung on a tree is all cursed.” Blessings are being given to us because Christ has become a cursed person.
The event of Abraham’s offering of Isaac is recorded in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. It is said that the place was Golgotha Hill. The father kills the child, which is a very painful event. God intervened and Abraham was fortunate enough not to kill Isaac. But case of Jesus, it wasn’t. God did not intervene. How much was the suffering and pain of God the Father at that time? The suffering of losing a child is unimaginable.
Suppose two people are drowning. My child and the child of others. Only one child can be rescued. Which one do you usually help? Will help your child. But what happened to God the Father? God has helped us. We and Jesus the Son are drowning. God the Father rescued us. Jesus shouted on the cross. “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” God the Father who heard it would have been moved. His heart would have hurt. But God the Father did not help Jesus and left him drowning. He was crucified and he was dead. Because if God saves Jesus, if God saves his life, we will not be given a life. We can clearly see God’s love here.
Jesus shouted, “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” In hell, where we were originally separated from God because of our sins, we took on the punishment for sins that Jesus shouted for us so that we would not have to scream. Sin crucified Jesus. Our sin crucified Jesus on the cross. So let us hate that sin.
Jesus shouted again and then died (verse 50). According to John 19:30, this is the word “completed.” It was a cry of Jesus’ victory that salvation was completed. No matter how hard humans try, they cannot reach salvation. Because humans are imperfect. That is why Jesus, the perfect one, came down from heaven and accomplished salvation.
Three things happened when Jesus died.
① The curtain of the temple was torn in half from top to bottom. The curtain that separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies broke. In the Old Testament, the curtain on the Holy of Holies, a very holy place, a special place that the high priest could only enter once a year, broke. That is, through Jesus we all have opened the way to God as priests. This is a blessing of the New Testament era. We can boldly approach the throne of God to receive God’s grace and help (Hebrews 4:16).
② The ground shook and the rock broke. ③ The tomb opened and the bodies of many sleeping saints were revived. (And after the resurrection of Jesus, they came out of the tomb, entered the Holy City, and appeared to many.)
Seeing these events, the centurions were very afraid and confessed, ” He was truly the Son of God ” (verse 54). We too have made a confession that “Jesus is our Savior” by the grace of God. This week is Holy Week. Let’s look up at the cross of Jesus.