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Is It Nothing To You?
There is one holiday each year which is not celebrated on the same day every year. Rather it is observed in close connection with the Jewish Passover which is calculated on the lunar year. An intercalary month is inserted every leap year. This day is called ‘Good Friday’ by religious Gentiles. It is the observance of the day The Lord Jesus Christ, The Messiah of Israel died on the cross of Calvary, Friday (14 Nisan) April 3, A.D. 33.
During the three and a half hour trial and the six hour crucifixion, Jesus patiently and quietly endured suffering of every kind of wound and wrath in order to become The Savior of mankind from the dastardly and iniquitous sins of the whole world in order for you and me to be saved.
Medical science has determined that there are seven kinds of wounds which beset humans.
1. Contusion or bruised flesh. During the trial of Jesus before the High Priest, one of his attendants slapped Him with the palm of his hand. Later some repeatedly spit in His face, then after blindfolding Him they buffeted, punched, and slapped Him (Jn. 18:22; Mk. 14:65).
2. Laceration or torn flesh. They scourged or flogged Him. That is they flailed or lashed His bare back violently with a whip made of leather with scraps of sharp metal or pointed bone inserted along three leather long thongs united at the handle and strenuously applied thirteen times amounting to forty stripes save one (Jn. 19:1,2). They cast around Him a purple cape. Then they put a reed in His hand.
3. Puncture or pricked flesh. They wreathed a crown of thorns with the sharp points turned inward toward the scalp. Then they spit upon Him and took the reed from His hand and repeatedly beat against His head (Mt. 27:30). Then they removed the royal cape which had adhered to His bleeding back with clotting blood and they clothed Him with His outer garments. Then they led Him up the half mile to Calvary, the Place called Skull (Jn. 19:17), bearing His cross and stumbling beneath the load. It was 9 A.M. when they crucified Him.
4. Perforation is a hole through any part of the body. They laid Him on the cross on the ground and nailed both of His hands and His feet to the cross. Then they lifted up the cross and jammed it into the hole in the rock ledge causing His joints to dislocate.
5. Rupture or bursting is a shattering and release of internal pressure resulting in internal bleeding. In order for the abdomen to contain blood there had to be a rupture of the heart or aorta causing hemorrhage into the peritoneum.
At 3:00 P.M. after enduring suffering for six hours on the cross and the debt for sin was paid, as soon as He completed suffering the wrath of The God as the true roasted Passover Lamb, He addressed God as His Father. And when He bowed His head, He expired (Jn. 19:30 cf. Lk. 23:46). Then the Jews requested that the legs of those being crucified be broken because Passover was fast approaching and dead bodies must not be hanging on the cross, but Jesus already expired.
6. Penetration and incision opens the skin and makes bare an organ. The soldier’s spear pierced His side and directly blood and water exited from the peritoneum (Jn. 19:34). Thus six of the seven kinds of wounds were inflicted upon The Lord Jesus Christ by humans. But what of the seventh? It was inflicted by The God (Isa. 53:4; Lam. 3:1,2,6,19).
7. The Burn is fire scorching the skin. We know that Jesus went through the fire of The God’s wrath because John the beloved disciple, in The Book of Revelation, wrote a description of Him standing in Heaven with feet ‘‘having been burned’’ in fire.
‘‘And in midst of the seven lampstands a like One to Son of Man [Human] standing clothed with a robe reaching to the feet . . . and the feet of His, similar ones to fine brass, ones having been burned as in a furnace’’ (Rev. 1:15 APT*).
At noon three hours of darkness swept over the whole Earth (Lk. 23:44; Mt. 27:45). The weeping prophet, Jeremiah wrote just after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Lamentations. The Holy Spirit of God often incorporated Messianic prophecies in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. These are prophecies that deal with current events of their day, dealing with what has just happened or will happen in the immediate future with a distant future event relating to The Messiah. There is just such a passage in Lamentations.
‘‘Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up. . . . I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light’’ (Lam. 1:12-14 cf. 3:1,2).
Although The God dealt with Israel in His anger by sending Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem by fire, Jeremiah was not burned. He was spared by Nebuzar-adan, Nebuchadnezzar’s captain and given freedom to stay in the land and go wherever he wanted to go (Jer. 40:2-5). Therefore Jeremiah is prophesying concerning The Lord Jesus Christ, The Messiah, The Son of The God, Who was burned during those three hours on Calvary’s cross. From this description it is clear that ‘the fire’ ‘sent from above’ prophesied in Lamentations was the cause of the darkness which covered the whole Earth. The penalty for sinning is burning in the Lake of Fire for ever. The God’s wrath upon sin, the devil and his angels, and unrepentant sinners in the eternal Lake of Fire (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:12-15) is usually described as fire and brimstone in darkness. Brimstone gives off a dark, black gas and black smoke. The Lamb of God, when afflicted by The God, endured the fire of God’s wrath upon sin (Isa. 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Just before 3:00 P.M. He cried out loudly with a loud voice, O My God, Why did You forsake Me? (Mt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34). As Lamb of God and Son of Man, He addressed God, The Righteous Judge and not His Father. Since He was being judged for Sin, being made Sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:10,11), and suffered punishment for Sin, God must forsake Him in His anguish and torment.
Indeed the wrath of humans was vented upon The Christ. Men did their cruelest to put Him to death. The Jews called for crucifixion (Mt. 27:22-25; Mk. 15:13; Lk. 23:20-23; Jn. 19:15) and the Romans carried out the execution (Mt. 27:26,27; Mk. 15:15-17). But also Satan, the old serpent was involved motivating the humans and bruising the heel of The Christ (Gen. 3:15). But it was The God who was bringing His wrath upon Sin and upon The Lamb of God as He took away the whole world’s Sin, which consists of:
1. God Judging (Isa. 53:4,5,8). Christ was stricken (in anguish, LXX), smitten (sent judgment upon) and afflicted (grievous and mental anguish inflicted) by God. He was judged for you and me that we need not receive the judgment to the Lake of Fire executed upon us that we deserve, if we appropriate His substitutionary death by means of repentance and totally committed continual trust in Him.
2. God Punishing (Lam. 1:12-14; 3:1,17). After humans administered their cruelest treatment, in fierce anger God brought His Passionate wrath upon Sin on The Lord Jesus Christ, The Passover Lamb of God at Calvary during those last three hours. It was absolutely necessary for The Passover Lamb to be roasted with fire (Ex. 12:8). So must also the sin offering be burned without (off away from) the camp (Lev. 4:20,21,26; Heb. 13;11,12), as The Lord Jesus Christ was, if there is to be forgiveness of sin. The God demands a sacrifice shedding blood and burned in fire in order for atonement to be effected and forgiveness proffered (Num. 15:25,26). Why? Because the penalty for sinning is burning in the outer darkness of the Lake of Fire for ever in fire and brimstone. The whole Earth was in darkness for three hours while God lifted up His rod of punishment and struck Christ, the sinless substitute. A substitute only stands in for a short time. Just before He expired He shouted, Tehtéhl-ehstai — It stands finished or fully paid! He paid it all for you and me.
But a dead Savior cannot save, He must be alive. So on the third day He arose and ascended into Heaven and applied His blood on the Mercyseat (Heb. 9:11-15) just as the High Priest in the Old Testament did on the Day of Atonement. After His resurrection-ascension He proved Himself to be alive for forty days. Thereafter He has been seated at The Father’s right hand waiting patiently for His enemies to be made His footstool while He intercedes with His Father on our behalf. The Suffering is over, Christ arose and applied His blood on the Mercyseat to effect justification for sinners.
What Is That To You?
Now when one applies the blood of The Christ to one’s heart and the roast Lamb of God is assimilated (spiritually eaten), that one is justified, i.e. completely cleared from the guilt of all sin, both Sin, the root and Master, and sins, the fruits. Jesus said, Unless you eat the flesh of The Son of Man [the Human] and drink the blood of His, you are not having absolute life in yourselves (Jn. 6:53).
What does all this mean to you? There are several choices.
You can be an Observer without Concern. To many it means nothing, just as Lam. 1:12 reads! The Place of the Skull was a mesa with the abrupt side in the form of a skull at the foot of which was a country road passing it leading to the city. People were passing by arriving for Passover. They no doubt looked up at the crucifixion site and became aware of what was taking place but were unconcerned. It was nothing to them. Many today become aware of the crucifixion of Jesus but pass by on the road of life unconcerned.
It can be an Observation without Cognizance. To some it is a heart-touching event, but no more! They never get to fully understand all that His suffering and resurrection means to The God and for them. So they too, pass by unconcerned and to most if not all, it means nothing.
There can be an Observance without Conviction. To some it means the debt of sin and the price of redemption stands paid, it stands finished! But there is no real conviction of sin. They have a sentimental attachment for the cross. They cling to the old rugged cross, but not to The Christ of the cross. Without conviction there is no repentance and total commitment of trust. Without both, it means nothing to The God and regeneration is impossible. They have a fragmentary salvation based upon easy believism.
This can be an Opportunity without Commitment. To all there is opportunity for full salvation based upon the death of The Lord Jesus Christ, His precious shed blood, His resurrection-ascension, and the application of His blood on the Mercyseat in Heaven. But again without both repentance and total continual commitment of trust they fall short of full salvation and regeneration. To these it does not mean enough to positively act and claim The God’s offer of grace.
But to some it means everything! The God dealt with the penalty of sin, eternal suffering of the fiery wrath of God and the completion of foundation for forgiveness of sins, atonement, and justification through the blood of Christ.
What can you do because Christ suffered so much for you? Five options: Nothing! Ignore it! Go on your way as usual! or, Be concerned but procrastinate and say, Not right now! or, Respond in gratitude and commit your whole being to Him as Paul did (Rom. 12:1,2). What will you do because Christ suffered so much for you?
Dr. Fred Wittman
*A Precise Translation
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