Christian Home Bible Course

Lesson 5   


IN the history of the civilization of mankind, one day stands out ABOVE ALL OTHER DAYS.   It is a day that was anticipated thousands of years before it took place; a special day predetermined to take place by God.

"God that made the world and all things therein...
hath determined the times before appointed..."
ACTS 17:24,26

   There have been many dark and gloomy days in the history of mankind.   But the darkest, most horrendous day this world has ever known, was THE DAY THE HUMAN RACE NAILED THEIR CREATOR TO AN OLD RUGGED CROSS.

"Him [Jesus], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"
ACTS 2:23

   Down through the years men have been executed by poisoning, hanging, drowning, firing squad, guillotine, gas chamber, burning at the stake, electric chair, and so on.   However, death by crucifixion far surpassed the torture of all other methods invented by the depraved mind of man.   Such an execution was slow and indescribably agonizing.   A man crucified on a Roman cross knew the extreme of man's ability to torture.   Jesus Christ Himself, knew what awaited Him when His three year ministry was over: that He must be nailed and hoisted up on a cross to suffer and die . . .

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"
JOHN 3:14

"...When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am..." JOHN 8:28

"...The Son of man must be lifted up..." JOHN 12:34

   From the wood of Bethlehem's manger to the wood of the old rugged cross, Calvary hung over His head.   Jesus Christ was born to die.

   No study of the BIBLE would be complete without an in-depth look at the blackest day in all history, and yet the greatest event in all the BIBLE.



It's another beautiful day in the nation of Israel.   Located within the mountains of central Israel we find its most famous city, Jerusalem.   Within this modern populated metropolis lies old Jerusalem, still surrounded by a high stone wall that dates back thousands of years.   Our attention is focused on a city bus stop just outside the north wall of the old city.   Here we find one of the busiest sites in all of Jerusalem.   Busses are coming and going as people scurry after them.   Horns are honking, dogs are barking, tires are screeching and people are shouting.
   This busy station lies at the foot of a rugged little hill, no higher than a two-story house.   At a certain time of the day, the sun beats down in such a manner that it creates shadows within the rugged crevasses of the hill.   Standing atop the city wall and looking above the bus stop you will notice these shadows forming hollow sockets resembling a human skull (the BIBLE calls it Golgotha --"the place of a skull").   Most of the people below, coming and going amidst their busy schedules, never stop to consider what took place on this rugged little hill nearly two thousand years ago.   But it was on this hill that Jesus Christ hung suspended between heaven and earth, nailed to the cross, and uttered His final words . . .

"It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."   JOHN 19:30

   It was finished!   At the age of 12 Jesus knew that "[He] must be about [His] Father's business" (Luke 2:49).   Twenty-one years later at the age of 33 His Father's business was over.   He had died on the cross!


   To answer this, let's go back . . . a week before Jesus went to the cross.   He left the region of Galilee and while walking south toward Jerusalem, He told His Apostles:

"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests,
and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death,
and shall deliver him to the Gentiles
[Romans]: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him,
and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again."
  MARK 10:33-34

Jesus clearly knew, and foretold what was about to happen.   He was acutely aware of the BIBLE verses that referred to Him.   On various occasions He had said . . .

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me."
  JOHN 5:39

"...all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses,
and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
  LUKE 24:44

Now once again Jesus Christ, about to fulfill the hundreds of prophecies concerning Him, walked along with His Apostles . . .

"...and began to tell them what things should happen unto him," MARK 10:32

   Although Jesus knew of His betrayal, the rest of the Apostles were unaware that Satan had planted his own "secret agent" among them: a traitor named Judas Iscariot.   Judas had been "going through the motions" and fooling everyone for the past three years.   Consequently, he became Satan's pawn to destroy Jesus.


Satan made many attempts over the years, to destroy Jesus Christ.   He had tried to:

  • Corrupt the lineage and bloodline through which Jesus would be born (Genesis 38)
  • Destroy the baby Jesus after His birth by killing all toddlers age two and under (Lesson 4)
  • Destroy Jesus after His fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:5- 6)
  • Have Jesus thrown over a cliff in Nazareth (Luke 4:29)
  • Drown Jesus on the sea of Galilee (Mark 4:37-39)
  • Incite the Jews, a number of times, to kill Jesus (John 5:16; 7:1; 8:37; 10:31)

       Jesus said of Satan . . . "He was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44).   And now Satan had engineered the perfect plan: it involved none other than one of Jesus' twelve Apostles - Judas.   He was the main pawn on Satan's chessboard, and one of the guests at . . .


       Throughout the years, many have treated the Lord's Supper as an ordinance necessary for the salvation of one's soul.   But in reality it is nothing more than a memorial, a reminder of Jesus' death.
    On this night Jesus and His twelve had gathered to partake of the Passover meal.   Little did His disciples know that this precious time together would be their last.   What would be for the disciples a festive time, would be for Jesus a farewell supper: a meal that had death written all over it!

    "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.   And he [Jesus]
    sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat."   LUKE 22:7-8

       The Passover was an annual feast, celebrated in the Jewish month Nisan (March-April) from the 14th to the 21st.   This feast was instituted by God to commemorate the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.   The Israelites had been Egyptian slaves for 430 years when God, through Moses, told Pharaoh, "...Let my people go..." EXODUS 5:1

       When the Pharaoh refused, God sent plague after plague upon Egypt.   It wasn't until the tenth plague that Pharaoh loosened his stubborn grip upon the Jews.   This final plague resulted in the death of all the first born in Egypt.   All, that is, except those of the Jews.

       Because God had given the Jews life saving instructions, they acknowledged this anniversary as a reminder of God's deliverance.   Now 1,483 Passovers later, Jesus and His disciples were gathered in an upper room preparing to celebrate this yearly feast . . .

    only this time the real Passover Lamb was present!

       Unknown to His disciples, the Passover was a "picture" of Jesus Christ --- one of many symbolic descriptions of the Messiah that God had interwoven into their culture.

    Y During the Passover meal the disciples remembered how God had told the Israelites to . . .

    "...take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:" EXODUS 12:3

    † While sitting beside them was Jesus Christ . . .

    "...the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."   JOHN 1:29

    Y The disciples were reminded of the Passover lamb that was . . .

    "...without blemish, a male..." EXODUS 12:5

    † While their very own master, Jesus Christ, was a sinless man . . .

    " of a lamb without blemish [sin] and without spot:" I PETER 1:19


    Y The disciples were aware that the lamb was to be one year old (prime of life for a lamb) . . .

    "...lamb...of the first year:" EXODUS 12:5

    † While Jesus, God's Lamb, died in His prime.

    "And Jesus himself...about thirty years of age," LUKE 3:23

    Y The disciples were to remember that it was the application of the lamb's blood to the door post that actually saved the first born of Israel. . .

    "And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it [the lamb]."   EXODUS 12:7

    † While fellowshipping with them was the One whose blood, once applied, would save them.

    "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."   ROMANS 5:9

    Y Concerning the lamb, the disciples remembered that . . .

    "...neither shall ye break a bone thereof."   EXODUS 12:46

    † While sitting among them was the One who upon dying on the cross.

    "...A bone of him shall not be broken."   JOHN 19:36

    Y Their commemoration of the Passover included a reminder, to the disciples, that the Israelites had placed their trust in the lamb's blood. . .

    "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.   And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations..." EXODUS 12:13-14

    † While the hand passing the food to them contained the blood that would save them!

    "...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."   I JOHN 1:7

       Jesus Christ, God's Lamb would be the innocent dying for the guilty, just as the little Passover lamb was the innocent dying for the guilty.   So here were the disciples celebrating the Passover with the very person that it pictured, and throughout the entire meal it didn't occur to them once that . . .

    "...even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:" I CORINTHIANS 5:7

       Jesus had said, "Search the scriptures" (John 5:3) and anyone taking His advice would have found Him pictured everywhere throughout the Old Testament.   Jesus Christ is symbolized by Noah's Ark, the Ark of the covenant, the manna from heaven, the water from the rock, the brazen serpent, the life of Isaac, Joseph, David, Moses as well as the various yearly feasts including the Passover.   However, the Jews had become so "religiously mechanical" in their ritual practices that they never took the time to ask "what does it all mean?   Is God trying to show us something?"   In order to shed some light on this event, Jesus . . .

    "...took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body
    which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me
      LUKE 22:19


    THE BREAD Jesus passed around was broken not cut.   During the events leading up to His death Jesus' body would be "broken[,]" beaten beyond recognition, all for our behalf.

    "...his visage [appearance] was so marred [disfigured] more than any man,
    and his form more than the sons of men:"
    ISAIAH 52:14

       The bread itself was unleavened.   It was made without yeast (known as leaven in the BIBLE).   Leaven was used by Christ in His parables as a picture of sin.   Since Christ never sinned, it was only appropriate that unleavened bread would be used to picture His sinless body.

    "And he took the cup...saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament,
    which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
      MATTHEW 26:27-28

       His shed blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sins.   This truth was pictured throughout the Old Testament during the Jewish animal sacrifices.   The BIBLE clearly teaches that Jesus' blood (not water or anything else) washes away sin.

    "...Jesus Christ...washed us from our sins in his own blood," REVELATION 1:5

       The wine itself was non-alcoholic, and had to be, since it was picturing His sinless blood.   Alcoholic wine has gone through fermentation, which is another picture of sin found in the BIBLE.   With all that was said and done that night there should not have been any doubt that Jesus was the Lamb of God as predicted in the BIBLE.
    However, there was one among them who would never be convinced:

    "And as they did eat, he [Jesus] said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me."   MATTHEW 26:21

       Of course His betrayer was Judas Iscariot.
    There has been much speculation as to why Judas betrayed Jesus.   The most common theory is that Judas was a Jewish Nationalist hating the Roman occupation


    The BIBLE condemns liquor in over 75 places.   In Proverbs 23 the BIBLE says that we should have nothing to do with wine that has become fermented (not even look at it).   Did Jesus make fermented (alcoholic) wine at the wedding feast?   If He did, He went contrary to the BIBLE which He inspired, and violated a clear command given in Habakkuk 2:15.
    Did Jesus drink alcoholic wine at the last supper?
    The Greek word "oinos" is translated "wine" in the BIBLE, and can mean fresh or fermented grape juice, as well as grapes still on the cluster.   The BIBLE refers to the Last Supper in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22 and the word wine is not even mentioned.   In all three accounts, Jesus says "drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine".   Vineyards are plentiful in the Holy Land and pure grape juice is abundant.
    of the Jews.   Like many, he expected the Messiah to liberate the Jews from their oppressors and then set up an earthly kingdom, restoring Israel as a world power.   But, as time went on, Judas realized that Jesus was referring to a heavenly kingdom and not an earthly one.   Since that was not his desire, Judas eventually became disillusioned and . . .

    "...went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
    And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money.
    And he sought how he might conveniently betray him."
      MARK 14:10-11


    AFTER the Passover meal, Jesus and His remaining eleven disciples sang a hymn.   Jewish history tells us it would have been the 118th Psalm, customarily sung after the evening meal.   In it, the Psalmist gives thanks for the Lord's salvation and mentions a very profound truth.

    "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."   PSALM 118:8

    Side note:   Taking the King James Version and dividing its total number of verses in half results in
    Psalm 118:8 being the middle verse of the BIBLE.   The middle two words of this same verse are "the
    .   Therefore "the LORD" is in the middle of the verse that is found in the middle of the BIBLE,
    literally placing the Lord at the center of the BIBLE.

       How ironic that this verse was sung on the night that a mere man would betray the confidence of God Himself --- a betrayal that would take place at their next destination:


    "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. ...
    Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
    and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder."
      MATTHEW 26:30-36

       Throughout His life Jesus Christ did something that many would find hard to understand, considering that He was God in the flesh.   He prayed!   He did so because He was the Son of God in total submission to God the Father, setting the example for all of His disciples to follow.
       In spite of His deity, Jesus throughout His earthly life had subjected Himself to complete dependence upon His Father for everything He needed.   But on this particular occasion His dependence and trust would be pushed to the limit.   For He had an appointment with death, and as He prayed He asked His Father to deliver Him from the permanence of the grave.   Perhaps His thoughts fell upon what the Psalmist had prophetically said:

    "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer [allow]
    thine Holy One [Jesus] to see corruption [bodily decay in the tomb]."   PSALM 16:10

       His death would mean complete and total alienation from His heavenly Father.   Never before had the two been separated.   Father and Son had always co-existed in perfect harmony (Lesson 4).   But, Jesus knew all too well that once on the cross, He would have to partake of God's cup and have the sins of the world poured into Him.   The sinless One would become the very thing that God hates the most - sin.

    "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
    that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

       With the sins of the whole human race upon Him, Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, would be a lightning rod conducting God's wrath.   The thought of becoming His Father's enemy drove Him to pray like never before:

    "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will,
    but thine, be done.   And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
    And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were
    great drops of blood
    falling down to the ground."
      LUKE 22:42-44


    Medical side note:
    This is known in medical terms as "HEMATIDROSIS" (Bleeding Sweat).   This strange effect sometimes
    happens when emotional pressures are so great that tiny blood vessels burst in the sweat glands and
    mix the blood with the sweat . . . causing great weakness.

    Gerald H. Bradley, M.D.           

       In spite of the dreadful prospect of total separation from His Father, Jesus willfully chose to go on:
    "...nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).   For His agony was outweighed by the joy of all the souls that would be saved by His sacrifice.   Once God's wrath was poured out upon Jesus Christ it would no longer be directed at anyone who would accept Him as Lord and Saviour through repentance and faith.

    "Much more then, being now justified by his blood,
    we shall be saved from wrath through him."
      ROMANS 5:9

       As much as Jesus would have wanted to prolong His precious prayer time with His heavenly Father, eventually it would have to come to an end:

    "And when he rose up from prayer...behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas,
    one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.   But Jesus said unto him,
    Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?"
    LUKE 22:45-48

       The betrayer had arrived; Judas had chosen his time well.   There were no crowds to riot, only Jesus' disciples were present and even they would soon become scarce!

    "And they [his disciples] all forsook him [Jesus], and fled."   MARK 14:50

       Jesus, now alone, was about to face the religious leaders in the most blatant display of injustice the world has ever known:


       The trial itself was a mockery of the judicial system.   Here the objective was to pronounce guilt upon an innocent man.   The bottom line was they wanted Jesus dead!   He simply had stepped upon too many "religious toes."   He had exposed their hypocrisy and self-righteousness once too often.

    Their only problem --- Jesus had done nothing wrong!

       Since they couldn't convict Him legally, they had no other choice but to do it illegally, breaking as many of their own laws as necessary.   They began by arresting Him at night - without a warrant; both of which were violations of Jewish law.   At approximately 3:00 a.m. they took Jesus before Annas.

    "Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus,
    and bound him, And led him away to Annas first;
    for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year."
      JOHN 18:12-13

       This act was illegal because no prisoner was to be examined privately and in secret.   Besides that, Annas had no official authority.   He had retired as High Priest, passing the position on to his son-in- law Caiaphas.   After some questioning and mild abuse . . .

    "...Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest."   JOHN 18:24


    BY NOW Caiaphas had called an informal meeting of the Sanhedrin.   They were a select group of Pharisees, elders and scribes, the "religious of the religious."   Their meeting at Caiaphas' palace at that hour of the night was illegal in itself.

    "And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him
    were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes."
      MARK 14:53

       More violations took place during their questioning of Jesus.   He was never allowed a proper defense, nor was any formal accusation even made.   The "witnesses" that they found, phony as they were, did not even have testimonies that collaborated.

    Side note:
    The religious crowd violated 18 of their own judicial laws in order to have Jesus condemned to death.

    "And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus
    to put him to death
    ; and found none.   For many bare false witness against him,
    but their witness agreed not together."
      MARK 14:55- 56

       By this time, Jewish law would have thrown this case out of court.   But these men wanted blood and no "legal technicality" was going to stop them.   So as they diligently tried, they eventually found something they could hang a conviction on, and ironically Jesus Himself provided it:

    "Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ,
    the Son of the Blessed?
      And Jesus said, I am....   Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith,
    What need we any further witnesses?   Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?
    And they all condemned him to be guilty of death."
      MARK 14:61-64

       Jesus had been under oath, yet His own truthful testimony had incriminated Him, thus violating the law of double jeopardy.   Again this violation was of no concern to them as long as they had something to (falsely) justify condemning Jesus to death.   They also wanted His death quickly; another violation since they were not supposed to convict and execute a prisoner on the same day!

    But they had one major problem to overcome . . .

       The Sanhedrin had no jurisdiction to execute anyone while the Jews were under Roman occupation.
    So they now had to take their case to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and get him to pronounce a sentence of execution.   But their accusation of Jesus claiming to be the Son of God would not fly with Pilate.   While Jesus' claim had supposedly broken Jewish law, He still had not broken Roman law, which was necessary to bring about an execution.   Therefore, the Sanhedrin. . .

    "...led him unto Pilate.   And they began to accuse him, saying,
    We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute
    [tax] to Caesar,
    saying that he himself is Christ a King."
      LUKE 23:1- 2

       The charge they presented to Pilate was a blatant lie.   Jesus had in fact said the opposite when he told the Pharisee themselves "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's [taxes]..." MARK 12:17
       Pilate had no reason or motive to have Jesus executed, so naturally he didn't feel compelled to break or even stretch the law once he discovered that Jesus had done nothing wrong!   He was therefore willing to let Jesus go.

    "And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?   And he answered him and said,
    Thou sayest it.   Then said Pilate...I find no fault in this man."
      LUKE 23:3-4


       The Sanhedrin was not about to give up and allow Jesus to go free.   Therefore they vehemently insisted that Jesus had indeed broken the law.   Pilate, not wanting to be the cause of a religious riot, turned Jesus over to Herod, the Jewish "puppet" king:

    "And they [Sanhedrin] were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people,
    teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.   When Pilate heard of Galilee,
    he asked whether the man
    [Jesus] were a Galilaean.   And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto
    Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod..."
    LUKE 23:5- 7

       But Herod likewise could find no wrong, although he found the idea of Jesus being a king, as poor as He was, quite amusing.   He acted accordingly:

    "And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him,
    and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate."
      LUKE 23:11

       While Jesus was being "passed about" from ruler to ruler, the persistent Sanhedrin were not far behind.   They wanted to make sure that Jesus was executed and were ready to convince whoever was judging Him that He was guilty, even if it meant lying or blackmail.   Pilate however was not about to give in to their pressure so easily.   So he told the chief priests. . .

    "...Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having
    examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye
    accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto
    him.   I will therefore chastise
    [whip] him, and release him."   LUKE 23:14- 16

       Pilate was trying to reach a compromise.   By offering to whip Jesus, he thought he could appease the Sanhedrin's unreasonable demand.   But they, stubborn as they were, would not simply settle for having Jesus whipped.   They wanted Him dead.   So Pilate made one final attempt at setting an innocent man free.   Being the Passover, the custom was to release a prisoner of the Jews' choice.   Pilate would therefore offer a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, a well known murderer.

    "Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye
    that I release unto you?   Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
    MATTHEW 27:17

       The Jews now had a choice, the Messiah or a murderer.   Any other rational group of people would surely have picked the Messiah but this mob was anything but rational.   They only knew the blind hate that they had for Jesus Christ.   Therefore they chose to set Barabbas free.   Then Pilate asked,

    "...What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?
    They all say unto him, Let him be crucified."
      MATTHEW 27:22

    Pilate had done all he could do to avoid executing the innocent man before him:

    "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult [riot] was made,
    he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying,
    I am innocent of the blood of this just person
    : see ye to it."
      MATTHEW 27:24

    To this the Jews, as if to purposely bring the wrath of God upon them as a nation, cried back . . .

    "...His blood be on us, and on our children."   MATTHEW 27:25


    Jesus had been falsely accused and condemned!

       But this was nothing new to God.   Throughout history many have accused God of being unjust as they have looked around this world to see only misery and heartache.   A common question has been:

    "Why doesn't a loving and all powerful God do something to make this world a better place to live?"

       However, the cause of the world's problems is not God's unwillingness to help, but man's desire to sin:

    "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy,
    that it cannot hear
    : But your iniquities
    [sins] have separated between you and your God,
    and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
      ISAIAH 59:1-2

       Sin has erected a wall between a Holy God and sinful man.   And while God's hatred of sin cannot be ignored, His love for man cannot be denied.   He continuously offers to rid man of his sin problem, giving him the peace he so desperately seeks.   That is why God has always said to man:

    "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
      ISAIAH 1:18

       And now, God's offer had brought Him face to face with His rebellious creation, now turned accusers, as once more He was saying: "Come now, and let us reason together..."   But the last thing the sinful human heart wanted to do was reason with God!


    "...and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified."   MATTHEW 27:26

       The Sanhedrin had done something truly wicked.   They had accused and convicted their own Creator.
    Their actions demonstrated the depth of depravity that is possible with the sinful human heart.   God, through the prophet Jeremiah, had described men as "walk[ing] the imagination of their evil heart" (Jeremiah 7:24; 11:8).   Now that same imagination had created the instrument used for SCOURGING.

       HISTORY tells us that the instrument was a short whip (flarum or flagellum) with several leather thongs to which small metal balls and pieces of broken glass or bones were tied.   The man was stripped of his clothes and was tied to an upright post, facing it.   The victim was then flogged with full force onto the back, buttocks, and legs.   The metal balls and sharp pieces would tear into the skin leaving ribbons of bleeding flesh.   The scourging was intended to weaken the victim to near collapse or death.   Jewish law limited the number of lashes to 40 (the Pharisees used 39 to avoid breaking the law in case of a miscount).   It isn't certain whether the Romans obeyed this limit.

       à This horrendous instrument was now being applied to God in the flesh.   And with every lash the sinful heart would "...say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways."   JOB 21:14

    HOW IRONIC . . .
    while God's way would put man in Heaven, man was putting Him through "hell"!


    "And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.   And when they had platted
    a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed
    the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!"
    MATTHEW 27:28-29

       à With each laugh in God's face, the sinful heart was saying in essence "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?" JOB 21:15

    HOW IRONIC . . .
    while God would have given them peace, they were giving Him turmoil!

    "And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote [hit] him on the head."   MATTHEW 27:30

       à With each spit and blow upon God's head, the sinful heart was saying, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice...?" EXODUS 5:2

    HOW IRONIC . . .
    that while Christ would have given them eternal life, they were anxious to give Him death!

       Jesus allowed all the mockery and humiliation, when in actuality He could have summoned 72,000 angels immediately to destroy His enemies and set Him free (Matthew 26:53).


       Perhaps a century before His fateful appointment with Calvary, Jesus Christ watched from Heaven as an acorn fell to the ground back on earth.   As He commissioned the acorn to sprout into a small tree, the All- knowing Lord knew what that tree would one day grow into.   As the decades passed, the Sustainer of the universe (Hebrews 1:3) continued to nurture that tree until it reached full maturity.   Finally the day came when men came by, chopped down the tree, and fashioned it into a rugged cross.   The Creator of all things had grown the very tree on which He would shed His blood and die.   It was now time to fulfill His appointment to be nailed to that tree (Acts 5:30).   The crucifixion had begun.

       HISTORY tells us crucifixion was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering.   During this time in history, the Romans normally executed by beheading.   They reserved crucifixion for only the worst criminals, with the vilest one in the middle.   It was customary for the condemned to carry the crossbar from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion.   The victim would be offered a painkiller called gall.   He was then thrown to the ground on his back with arms outstretched on the crossbar.   Tapered iron spikes (about 5 to 7 inches long) were driven into and through His wrists.
    (The Greek word from which hand is translated is "cheir" and may include hand and wrist.   Nails through the anatomic "hand" as we call it will not support the weight of the body).   The soldiers then hoisted the crossbar onto the vertical center pole and nailed the person's feet to the front of it in a position so that His knees were bent.   The nails through His wrists pierced the median nerve causing wave after wave of intense pain to shoot up His arms.   Each time the criminal wanted to properly exhale, He would have to push up with His nailed feet to take the pressure of gravity off His rib cage.   As He hung, His lungs were hyper-expanded and He could not exhale.   With the pain and effort required for each exhaled breath, the person soon retained much carbon dioxide.   To hasten the death of their victims, the Roman soldiers would break the legs, not allowing them to push off with their nailed feet and suffocation would soon follow.


       As Jesus hung on the cross there were many around Him.   Some were sitting (Matthew 22:36), some were standing (Matthew 27:47), some were simply passing by (Matthew 27:39).   This was the day of the Passover, one of the busiest days of the year.   Yet for all the people who were present, Jesus was still very much alone.   The crowds had rejected Him; even His disciples forsook Him and fled.   Everyone had abandoned Him except for His Father.

       If there was one word that meant more to Jesus than any other it was the word Father.   Father is the word used by the true child of God.   It is a word that rolls off the tongue of the child who knows with perfect and quiet assurance that their relationship is real.   Many times Jesus had said:

    "I and my Father are one."   JOHN 10:30
    "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone..." JOHN 8:29

       However, for a reason that we'll soon find out, even the Father would be forced to abandon Him as He hung on the cross . . . "And it was about the sixth hour [12 noon], and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour."   LUKE 23:44

       God had drawn the curtains over Calvary.   He had foretold this would happen 800 years earlier (Amos 8:9).   Whatever it was that God was about to do, He obviously did not want the world to see it.
    Perhaps the darkness was created to hide the dread that ran through the mind of Jesus.   If eyes could have penetrated the darkness, perhaps in horror they would have seen the hand of God bringing forth a cup and pouring the sins of the world upon the Saviour; maybe they could have seen their sins being poured into this innocent man.   Would they have finally realized JESUS WAS DYING IN THEIR PLACE?

    "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin..." II CORINTHIANS 5:21
    "But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    he was bruised for our iniquities
    [sins]..." ISAIAH 53:5

       If they had only seen through the darkness, would they have realized that it was THEIR SINS that He was dying for?   IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THEM ON THAT CROSS, dying for their own sins!

    "...Christ died for our sins..." I CORINTHIANS 15:3
    "I am crucified with Christ...who loved me, and gave himself for me."   GALATIANS 2:20
    "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree [cross]," I PETER 2:24
    "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust..." I PETER 3:18
    "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." HEBREWS 9:28

       Three hours later when the darkness finally lifted, Christ was still on the cross, but something was missing.   Sin had severed the relationship between the Father and the Son.   Jesus was no longer aware of the presence of the Father, and could not even address Him as Father anymore.   The only thing Christ could do now was to cry out . . .

    "...My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" MATTHEW 27:46

       Jesus had become sin itself and His own Father could no longer even look at Him.   The BIBLE says of God that "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Habakkuk 1:13).
    Jesus had been forsaken by everyone, and now His own Father had to turn His back on Him.   Jesus hung between Heaven and earth bearing the sins of the world all by Himself.   He was now the object of God's justice, judgment and hatred of sin, deserving His undiluted wrath.


    After all the pain and suffering, Jesus said,
    "...It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."   JOHN 19:30


    There has been a debate for years over who was "technically" responsible.   Was it the Roman soldiers, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Barabbas, the High Priest, the Pharisees or the angry mob who screamed "Crucify him[?]"   One might conclude that it was the Sanhedrin or even the Jewish nation (John 1:11; Matthew 27:25).   But actually, none of these were ultimately responsible.   The BIBLE says that it was JESUS HIMSELF who said "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46) and "bowed his head, and gave up [freely] the ghost" (John 19:30).
    It would have been impossible for Jesus to die any other way.   The BIBLE says in Romans 6:23 "the wages [payment] of sin is death[.]"   Since Jesus was sinless (Lesson 4) He was not under the curse of sin, and could not have died unless He Himself released His soul.
       He had finally finished His Father's business (Lesson 4).   He had paid the world's sin debt in full.   Like a person buying someone a gift certificate, Jesus had bought every soul the gift of eternal life.
    Now it was up to the individual to accept that wonderful free gift by faith!

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."   JOHN 3:16

       The Pharisees never believed Jesus and rejected everything He said.   However, there was one thing He said that made its way into their tightly closed nervous minds: Jesus had promised His resurrection in three days.   So they approached Pilate requesting him to seal the tomb and have guards placed around it.   The last thing

    any of them wanted was Jesus' disciples artificially fulfilling their master's promise by stealing His body (Matthew 27:63-66).   After three days and no resurrection, the Pharisees figured that everyone would soon forget about Jesus . . .


       Three days and three nights after His death, several disciples while visiting His tomb, discovered it opened.   Two angels standing by said to them . . .

    "...Why seek ye the living among the dead?   He is not here, but is risen:
    remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be
    delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
      LUKE 24:5-7

       Jesus had risen from the dead!   His resurrection is the greatest proof that His death has actually paid the world's sin debt in full, totally satisfying God's justice.   With God's justice satisfied WE can now be JUSTIFIED (JUSTIce satisFIED) to God "Who [Jesus] was delivered [died] for our offenses [sin], and was raised again for our justification."   ROMANS 4:25

       Had Christ not risen, His payment would have been insufficient to conquer death.   There would be no alternative for mankind but the grave.   But the BIBLE states . . .

    "...that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
    death had no more dominion over him."
      ROMANS 6:9

       Christ's death on the cross provided man a way to escape Hell.   The resurrection of Jesus meant the defeat and doom of Satan and his demons.   The BIBLE states: "for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."   I CORINTHIANS 2:8



    (1) The Tomb was discovered empty, with no signs of a body having decayed there (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:3; John 20:1-10).

    n The disciples would not have taken the body.   They had fled upon Jesus' arrest and would not have wanted to deal with Roman guards (those guys were tough!).
    n The Jews and their religious leaders would not have taken the body.   They wanted to keep it buried in the first place!   Besides, if they had His body, they would have used it to discredit the disciples' claims of an actual resurrection.
    n The Roman guards surely would not have taken it.   If they had, it would have meant their death for failing in their duties.

    (2) His appearance changed His disciples from doubtful cowards to bold preachers willing to die for the faith.
    Nothing but an actual eye witnessed resurrection of Christ would have changed them like that.   The Apostle Peter said: "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."   ACTS 2:32

    (3) After His resurrection He was seen by many in BODILY FORM.   In fact, to those who thought He was a spirit He said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."   LUKE 24:39

    Many also witnessed His ascension into heaven . . . "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion [death, burial, resurrection] by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" ACTS 1:3


    For many years Christians have visited the Holy Land to tour sites mentioned in the BIBLE.
    Perhaps none is more sacred than the empty tomb of Jesus Christ located outside the city walls of Old Jerusalem.   The site was excavated many years ago near Calvary (Mark 15:21-41).   Artifacts were found amongst the rubble from a pagan temple to Venus.   History records that in 135 A.D. the evil Roman Emperor Hadrian built such a temple over the tomb of Christ to spite the Christians.   It was destroyed in 330 A.D.   The tomb is a room 14 feet wide, 10 feet deep and 7 feet high.   It fits the BIBLE description in every detail.   There is also much evidence that first century Christians worshipped there.   In other vaults adjoining the tomb of Christ were found tombstones inscribed "Buried near the Lord."   But the greatest fact about the tomb of Christ is the absence of any marks of mortal corruption.   No body ever decomposed within because CHRIST ROSE AGAIN!

    Closing side note:
        The aged Napoleon Boneparte was in exile in the South Atlantic on the island of St. Helena for the last five years of his life.   One evening in 1817, while visiting with the few remaining friends he had, Napoleon referred to a map of the world.   He pointed to a red dot on the map which he had drawn and exclaimed "Here, right here . . .if it hadn't been for this spot (Waterloo), . . . I WOULD HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD."
        Likewise, even today, there's a spot located in the Middle East just outside Old Jerusalem.   It's a little hill overlooking a busy bus stop.   Today, Satan himself points to that spot with a bony, trembling finger, and says "Here, right here. . . if it hadn't been for this spot (Calvary), . . .I WOULD HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD."   To be continued . . .


    THE SETTING: Two old friends discussing religion and the BIBLE . . .

    JEFF, I always hear about Jesus Christ dying on a cross, but no one has ever really explained how it applies to me.   I mean it's a sad story and everything, but how does it help me 2,000 years later?

    Gary, the BIBLE says that "...Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." I TIMOTHY 1:15

    But that verse refers to sinners.   What about people like me who believe in God and always try to do what's right?   How does His death apply to us?

    Hmm. . . I think there is something you should understand.   Let's read the whole verse again, only this time keep in mind that the person speaking is the Apostle Paul, a great man of God.

    "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,
    that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;
    of whom I am chief."
      I TIMOTHY 1:15

    You mean Paul considered himself a sinner?   What did he do that was so bad?

    It's not what he did, it's what he was - he was a sinner.   You don't become a sinner because you have sinned, but rather, you sin because you are a sinner.   Being a sinner is a condition that everyone is naturally born into.   King David understood this when he said . . .

    "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."   PSALM 51:5

    When Adam and Eve rebelled against God they died spiritually and obtained a sin nature.   They became sinners, and their sin nature has been passed down to every generation since then.   Gary, everyone, including you and me, is born with a sin nature:

    "For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience many were made sinners..." ROMANS 5:19
    I'm having a hard time believing all this.

    What is so hard to believe?   Take your three year old for example, did you have to teach him how to lie, or steal a cookie?   Did you teach him to act selfish and not share his toys?

    Hmm. . . . I guess I didn't have to.                                                                

    That's because sinning comes natural to him.   He was born with an inclination toward wrong behavior.   In fact, you have to counter his sin nature by teaching him to do right.

    You have a point there, but what about the idea that man has a spark of goodness inside, waiting to be fanned into a roaring fire of benevolence?

    Well, that's one idea that didn't come from Jesus.   He said . . .

    "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
    fornications, murders, Thefts....   All these evil things come from within..."
    MARK 7:21-23

    The worst part is: as sinners we do by nature the very thing that God hates the most---sin!   The BIBLE even defines sin for us: "...sin is the transgression [breaking] of the law."   I JOHN 3:4

    Sin is simply not following God's will, and disobeying what He says in the BIBLE.   Gary, can you honestly say that you have never violated any of God's laws?

    Of course not, nobody is perfect.   I've broken a few commandments here and there.   But then


    again, I haven't been seriously trying not to.   If I really wanted I could probably follow them.

    I'm afraid you couldn't, Gary.   Paul couldn't, and he was an Apostle.   He said . . .

    "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
    for to will is present with me;
    but how to perform that which is good I find not."
      ROMANS 7:18

    That means God's law, including the Ten Commandments, goes against our sin nature.   Sooner or later we will break them.

    But there are commandments that I've never broken!   Like adultery for example.

    Actually, Jesus said simply lusting after a woman is considered adultery by God (Matthew 5:28).
    He knows our thoughts.   Besides, if you break one commandment, it's like breaking them all:

    "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and
    yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
      JAMES 2:10
    But Jeff, are you saying that no one can make it into Heaven, no matter how good they are?

    Yes!   No one can be righteous enough to earn Heaven.   In fact, in God's eyes, no one is righteous period!   That's why the BIBLE says . . .

    "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."   ECCLESIASTES 7:20
    Then answer me this; if God's law is impossible to keep, why did He give it to us in the first place?

    The law was given precisely to show us that we are sinners and cannot earn our way to Heaven.   God gave us His law so that. . .

    "...all the world may become guilty before God.   Therefore by the
    deeds of the law there shall no flesh
    [man] be justified in his [God's] sight:
    for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
      ROMANS 3:19- 20

    Our inability to follow God's law without breaking it once, is the best proof in the world that we are all naturally born sinners.   It clearly demonstrates that . . .

    "...all have sinned, and come short of the glory [standard] of God;" ROMANS 3:23

    God didn't give us the Ten Commandments to enable us to get to Heaven, but rather to show us that we are sinners unworthy of going there!   The BIBLE is God's plumb line that He drops down from Heaven to reveal right from wrong.   It identifies sin and clearly tells us that God cannot allow sinners into Heaven.

    "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
    Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
    nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
    nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
      I CORINTHIANS 6:9-10
    Ok, so if I can't go to Heaven why doesn't God just let me stay here with all the other sinners?

    Because God has special plans for His universe, including the Earth, which do not include sinners running around loose committing sin.   Jesus said . . .


    "The Son of man [Jesus] shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom
    all things that offend, and them which do iniquity
    [sin]; And shall cast them into a furnace
    of fire
    [Hell]: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."   MATTHEW 13:41-42
    But that's not fair!   How can a loving God dispose of me like that, if I can't help but sin in the first place?

    You may not be able to stop sinning but you can surely repent and humble yourself before God, asking for His mercy to save you (Luke 18:13).   You see, God hates sin, but He LOVES mankind.
    And He proved His love toward us by giving His own Son to die on the cross for us.   This provided forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Heaven:

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
    that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
      JOHN 3:16

    Christ's death satisfied God's justice.   He took on the sins of the world and died in our place.   He was the innocent dying for the guilty, taking upon Himself the punishment that we sinners deserve:

    "But God commendeth [proved] his love toward us,
    in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
      ROMANS 5:8

    As sinners we are at opposition with God, but Christ's death reconciled us back to God:

    "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
    much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
      ROMANS 5:10

    If Christ had not died on the cross, you and I would be doomed.   We can't save ourselves by trying to pay for our own sins.   As sinners, that would be impossible!   It would be like trying to push the ocean back with a spoon!   God's law has no provision for working to get to Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9).   Only the shed blood of Christ can erase all our sins past, present, and future!   The BIBLE says that He . . .

    "...loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood," REVELATION 1:5

    Our only hope of salvation is through Jesus Christ.   His death paid for our sins:

    "For the wages of sin is death;
    but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
      ROMANS 6:23
    How do I accept this gift of salvation?

    Repent (Luke 13:5) -- change your mind about your sin, forsake it.   Turn from your sin toward Him in submission to His will.   Admit that you are a lost hell-bound sinner in need of a Saviour and TRUST Christ, and only Christ, as your Saviour!   The Bible says in Romans 10:13. . .

    "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
    shall be saved



    (Some information used in this lesson was derived from the following books)

  • The Day God Died by Lehman Strauss, Zondervan Pub.
  • The Dark Side of Calvary by Al Lacy, J.B. Printing Pub.
  • Halley's Bible Handbook by Henry H. Halley, Zondervan Pub.
  • The Doctrine of Christ by Robert Sargent, Oak Harbor Pub.
  • The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop, Harper and Brothers Pub.
  • The Gift by J.T. Chick, Chick Pub.
  • The Pulpit Commentary by H.M. Spence, Eerdmans Pub Co.
  • Holy Bible   King James Version.

    «««««««««« A Sneak Preview ««««««««««««

       In this lesson we have looked at the greatest event in all the BIBLE.   But facts about Calvary are meaningless unless Biblically applied.   Ironically enough, the religious crowd of Jesus' day missed the whole point of His death on the cross.   They chose instead to follow their traditions which actually went contrary to the BIBLE (Matthew 15:3).   The religious Pharisees possessed the BIBLE, and yet Jesus made reference to their blindness (Matthew 23:13-33; John 5:38-39).   Is it possible to know and believe the BIBLE, and yet still miss the most important message of the BIBLE?   Our next lesson guarantees to be our most thought provoking lesson yet.   It will address misconceptions which the BIBLE exposes, and will deal with matters such as:

    * Will most people go to Heaven or Hell?
    * Why are there so many different religions?
    * What is a "false prophet" according to Jesus?
    * Does the BIBLE deal with deception?
    * How is the BIBLE supposed to be interpreted?
    * Did people in the Old Testament get to Heaven the same way as people today?
    * According to the BIBLE is our own conscience a good guide to follow?

    And more. . .


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