The time is over for questions and wondering what all of this is about. Jesus has reached the final moment in his earthly life. Last week, we took a look at the last round of questions about the identity of Jesus. This week, his human life ends.
After the questioning, and the release of a thief, Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers who scourged and beat Jesus. They made a crown of thorns and placed it upon his head and dressed him as a king. Afterwards, Pilate had Jesus brought out to the Jews and they began to shout, “Crucify, crucify!” (John 19:6). Pilate made another attempt to release Jesus from his custody, but the Jews responded, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God” (John 19:7, NASB). This response caused Pilate to become fearful and question Jesus again. Jesus said, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11, NASB). Once his loyalty was questioned, Pilate made one last effort to free Jesus, but the Jews continued wishing him to be crucified.
“The cross is not a mere event in history; it’s a way of life! Take up your cross DAILY, Jesus said!”
— John Piper
They led Jesus from the Praetorium to Golgotha (or Place of a Skull) which lays just outside of Jerusalem. Pilate, keeping with the revelations Jesus made to him, wrote an inscription in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin to be placed on the cross, “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19, NASB). The Jews fought back, but Pilate held his ground. Standing at the feet of his cross were Jesus’ mother, aunt, Mary Magdalene, and “the disciple Jesus loved” (which I believe many assume this disciple to be John). After receiving a drink of sour wine, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished” and died (John 19:30, NASB).
“The man with a cross no longer controls his destiny; he lost control when he picked up his cross. That cross immediately became to him an all-absorbing interest, an overwhelming interference. No matter what he may desire to do, there is but one thing he can do; that is, move on toward the place of crucifixion.”
— AW Tozer
After the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea requested his body. Joseph was a disciple that remained in secret, because he was afraid of the Jews. Pilate provided the body to Joseph and Nicodemus came to help. They took the body, performed the necessary rituals for burial. They placed it within a tomb that had not been used before. There is where the sealed the body to lay.
“The greatest negative in the universe is the Cross, for with it God wiped out everything that was not himself; the greatest positive in the universe is the resurrection, for through it God brought into being all.”
— Watchman Nee
I know that I have heard this story more times than I can possibly count. The words can begin to get stale and not mean anything. What do we do if we find ourselves in this position? The death of Jesus is the precursor to the single greatest event in human history. It is the time that God chose put aside all of his power and submit to the will of humanity. Little did the people know that they were actually fulfilling the very roles they were created to fulfill. Too often people become anxious over the idea of whether or not they know their purpose. I am convinced that this idea is not something people should be concerned with. I’m certain that the Jews did not set out to kill God, but ultimately performed the duty they were created for.
Are you someone with worry about how to live into God’s plan for your life? Is this something you should really be concerned with? God created you with a purpose. He knows about you, and the things you will do in your life. They will not all be successful, and some will be outright disastrous (and possibly evil). This does not mean you are living outside of God’s will. Nothing exists outside of God’s will. I am aware that this is not everyone’s belief, but it is something that at least brings me some peace in times of trouble. Have you ever felt that you were living outside of God’s purposes? What helped you to get through it?