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Excruciate – Ex (out of); cruciate (cross); “out of the cross”

Jesus death was in every sense excruciating. Death on the cross is still used as the foundation of describing the most intense pain imaginable as “excruciating”

I. Political, Religious and Cultural Climate

It is important to understand the climate surrounding the events of Jesus death. A richer grasp of His sacrifice is possible through the knowledge of what was occurring in the political and religious communities at the time.

A. Political

It is hard to separate the political from the religious during this time in Israel’s history because it appears very little if any true worship was occurring.

Following the conquering of Palestine by General Pompey, the Romans occupied Israel and continually struggled to find a political balance with the troublesome and fanatical (to the Roman mind) Jews. The Roman rulers were in constant compromise and appeasement to keep the Jews pacified.

The Romans were the undisputed rulers of the world at this time. They had a particular disdain for Jews and their exclusive form of religion. Herod the Great was the local Roman King. He was exceptionally cruel and this hastened the fervent longing by all the Jews for their Coming Saviour.

The Romans allowed a token of self-government to pacify the religious leaders. The Pharisees were the ruling majority and were allowed to save face and maintain power in the eyes of the people, but in truth, Rome ruled.

B. Religious

The Jewish populace as a whole was in great expectation of the Messiah but not primarily for spiritual reasons. They foresaw the Christ as a military and religious leader who would dethrone the Romans and bring Israel to power.

1. Pharisees

The religious party probably began as the “holy ones” associated with the Maccabees in the endeavor to rid the land of Hellenistic elements. When the Maccabees turned themselves to Hellenism [1] once it was in power, the hol one “separated” (the possible source of the name, Pharisees) from the official religious establishment of Judea. The Pharisees interpreted the law strictly in accordance with a developing oral tradition and sought to make the understanding binding upon all Jews. Though few in number, The Pharisees enjoyed the favor of the majority of the people Palestine. (MacArthur)

2. Sadducees

Probably from the name “Zadok,” the high priestly line, the Hellenized, aristocratic Jews became the guardians of the temple policy and practices. The Sadducees rejected the Old Testament as Scripture except for the Torah, as well as any teaching they believed was not found in the Torah (the first 5 book of the OT), e.g., the resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:6-8) (MacArthur)

The religious leaders of Israel had a very lucrative system of worship established and were much more concerned with maintaining power and control through an impossibly complex tradition of rituals.

The Jewish people not only endured the bondage of Rome, but the were doubly oppressed by the burden of corrupt religion they could never hope to conform to.

The stage was set for the Saviour.

II. General Background of Jesus of Nazareth

· Born in Bethlehem in a manger, outside of a “no vacancy” inn in the midst of common domestic animals

· Born with only a biological mother, Mary; God literally being the Father of Jesus who was miraculously conceived in a virgin thus not inheriting Adams sin as prophesied in Isaiah

· Joseph, Jesus earthly father; from Nazareth, a carpenter by trade

· Joseph and Mary were both descendants of King David as prophesied in Scripture

· Jesus early life was that of a normal boy; learning carpentry

· He gives glimpses of who He is by His remarkable teaching in the Temple

· Jesus is 30 years old when He begins His 3 year earthly ministry

· John the Baptist announced the beginning of Jesus ministry and baptized Him

o “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29)

· Jesus spends 40 days and nights in the desert fasting and being tempted by Satan

· Jesus lives a fully human life being tempted in every way, yet never sins; where Adam failed, Christ succeeded

· Jesus performs countless miracles and still the ruling religious leaders attribute His power to “Beelzebub” (the unpardonable sin) (Lk 11:15)

· Jesus chooses his 12 disciples and call them to simply “Follow Me”

· Jesus proclaims himself as God very clearly

o Before Abraham “I AM” (Jn 8:58)

o I and the Father are One (Jn 17:11, 10:30)

o Jesus forgives sin (Mk 2:5)

o Allows John the Baptist to declare it (Jn 1:29)

o Allows Himself to be worshiped (Matt 8:2)

· Predicts, and proclaims His coming torture, suffering and persecution; willingly submits Himself to it (Luke 22:41)

III. Passover Fulfilled

The symbology and fulfillment of the Passover is worthy of separate mention. Exodus 12 gives us the account of the instituting of Passover.

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

· Jesus is our new beginning

3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

· Salvation is personal. Every man, every family does it individually. It is not dispensed by some religion or a man

4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

· The sacrifice had to be perfect. The Lamb here was a temporary covering of sin; the Lamb of God would pay the price once and for all. That’s why Jews had to sacrifice continually. That’s why Jesus had to die only once.

6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.

· The Lamb became part of the family for two weeks. This was a very personal sacrifice, very emotional. It was to represent the incredible trauma of sin and how it destroys the innocent.

Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

· The Lamb was killed as the sun set representing the Light of the World leaving us.

7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

· The blood was swatted onto the top and sides of the doorway (seem familiar!). The blood “covered” the household and when Death (God’s judgment) passed by, It saw only the blood, not the sinner behind it.

· God always requires a blood payment to atone for sin

8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

· We partake of Christ body individually through communion remember how he allowed His body to be broken for our sin.

· Jesus went through the greatest of “fire” and sacrifice on our behalf

· The unleavened bread spoke of the absence of sin; Leaven is yeast. It only takes a very small amount of leaven (sin) to affect the entire lump of dough (our life).

o

9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.

· We’re just passing through this life, be ready to leave

12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

· God will pass by all creation and pass Judgment on the Last Day

13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

· When God sees Christ’s blood, He passes over us

14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

· Our memorial is communion

15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.

· We should remove the sin from our life; over time our life should be free from sin for longer periods of time

……… 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

IV. Prophecy Fulfilled

What is prophecy [2] ? It is a future event(s) foretold by God through His prophet. It is not vague, lucky or coincidence [3] . The Old Testament contains approx 425 prophesies about Jesus.

But isn’t that just taking a bunch of text portions, half sentences and phrases out of context? True, that a few partial phrases here and there wouldn’t prove much, but FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE prophesies taken as a group; each and everyone fulfilled to the last detail…. That’s easily makes Jesus the most authenticated person in history.

Sampling of Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus:

Isaiah 53 – Psalm 22

Prophecy – Date

Fulfillment

Born as a human male – 700BC

· Isa 9.6-7 …a child is born, to us a son is given…he will be called… Mighty God, Everlasting Father..

· Mark 1.1

· Jn 1.1-3, 14

Born of a Virgin – 700BC

· Isa 7.14

· Matt 1.20-23

From the House of Judah – 700BC

· Isa 37.31

· Matt 1.1-2, 16

Ancestor of Jesse – 700BC

· Isa 11.10

· Isa 11.1-5

· Rom 15.12

· Matt 1.1-2, 5-6, 16

From the House of David – 700BC

· Isa 16.5

· Matt 1.1-2, 6, 16

Born in Bethlehem – 700BC

· Micah 5.2

· Matt 2.1

From Nazareth – 700BC

· Isa 9.1-2

· Matt 2.22-23

· Matt 4.13-16

His Birth would trigger a massacre of baby boys – 625 BC

· Jer 31.15

· Matt 2.16-18

· “thousands” were not killed. Bethlehem was a small rural town. Probably less than 50 were killed

Come out of Egypt – 725 BC

· Hos 11.1

· Matt 2.14-15

Messiah would include theGentiles – 700 BC

· Isa 49.6

· Isa 42.1-4, 6

· Matt 12.14-21

· This fact didn’t sit well with the ruling religious class; they didn’t want to share their special status with anyone

Miraculous Healings – 700 BC

· Isa 29.18

· Isa 35.5-6

· Lk 7.20-22

· Jn 21.25
Jesus did so many “works” and miracles that if written down, the world may not contain enough books to hold the account of them all

He would deliver spiritual captives – 700BC

· Isa 61.1-2

· Lk 4.16-21

Despised and rejected by men – 700 BC

· Isa 53.3

· Is the crucifixion proof enough?

Hated without cause – 1000 BC

· Ps 69.4

· Isa 49.7

· Jn 7.48-49

· Jn 15.24-25

· Jesus was betrayed, accused, tried, convicted, sentence and murdered without cause; even those in Authority kept appealing to the mob that they have “found nothing” wrong with Jesus

Rejected by Rulers – 400 BC

· Psa 118.22

· Matt 21.42

· Jn 7.48-49

Rejected by his own brothers – 1000 BC

· Ps 69.8

· Mark 3.20-21

· Jn 7.1-5

Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver – 500 BC

· Zech 11.12

· Matt 26.14-15

· This was the price of an average, run of the mill slave; the Creator of the Universe… traded for the a few bucks

Silver returned and Potter Field purchased – 500 BC

· Zech 11.12-13

· Matt 27.3-10

Disciples scattered – 500 BC

· Zech 13.7

· Matt 26.31

Beaten with a rod – 700 BC

· Mic 5.1

· Mark 15.19

Vinegar to drink – 1000 BC

· Psa 69.21

· Matt 27.34

· Matt 27.48

Nails in hands and feet – 1000 BC

· Psa 22.16

· Jn 20.25

· This was prophesied long before crucifixion was even thought of; so it would have been a very strange prophesy until the practice of crucifying came into existence

Crushed for our sin – 700 BC

· Isa 53.5-6

· Rom 4.25

· I Cor 15.3

Suffered on behalf of others – 1000 BC

· Psa 69.4

· Isa 53.5-6

· Rom 4.25

· I Cor 15.3

Pierced – 700 BC

· Isa 53.5

· Zech 12.10

· Jn 19.33-34; 36-37

No bones broken – 1000 BC

· Psa 22.17

· Psa 34.20

· Jn 19.33, 36

· This was done to almost all the crucified to hasten their death. But Jesus, in fulfillment of prophecy died relatively quickly at exactly the prophesied moment and it was not necessary to break his legs

Clothes gambled for – 1000 BC

· Ps 22.18

· All four Gospels attest to this fact

Violently killed – 700 BC

· Isa 53.8

· Crucified

Put in a grave with the wicked – 700 BC

· Isa 53.9

· Even though He ended up in a private grave, this was not His “assignment”; Rome had assigned his “grave” as death and mutilation on the cross along side of the wicked; typically his body would have rotted or been eaten right off the cross

Buried in a rich man’s tomb – 700 BC

· Isa 53.9

· Matt 27.57,59-60

Resurrection – 700 BC

· Isa 53.8, 11

· Matt 28.2, 5-7, 9

· Indisputable eyewitness testimony, historical and legal evidence

He would suffer – 700 BC

· Isa 53.3

· Psa 22

· Mark 5.14-17 – Run out of town

· Jn 10.31-33 – Almost stoned

· Jn 7.1 – murder conspiracy

· Mk 3.20-21 – rejected by His family

· Jn 7.1-3,5 – His brothers sent Him off to be killed

· Abandoned by disciples and friends

· Crucified

Other prophesies

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