N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “crucifixion

Numbers Have Meaning

Numbers have great meaning for all of us. We remember the number of our street address, zip code, social security and phone numbers…even if we have trouble recalling the exact date numbers of important events. The same is true in the Holy Scriptures. Numbers have meaning.

Having read the first chapter of Matthew, I noticed that it took 14 generations from the time of Abraham for God to bring His Son Jesus, the Messiah, into the world. I’m not certain why that number stood out to me, but I decided to look up the meaning of the number 14. I wanted to find out what it meant in the Biblical sense, rather than those who study numerology or try to read the stars. Here is what I found:

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:1 – 17

Number 14 is a symbol of salvation and rescue. Jesus finished his life in flesh on 14th day of first month, and made his sacrifice for the sake of all people. Number 14 is a double of God’s power and completion.  Matthew 1

The 14th day of the month was the start of Passover or when Israel as a nation was started. Most references to 14 in the Bible are about a Passover that was being celebrated. Exodus 12:6

The Ultimate Sacrifice: On the 14th day of the first month in 30 A.D. Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, was crucified as the perfect sacrifice to save mankind from sin. Jesus’ death on Passover completed His ministry in the flesh.

Seven represents completion – thus 7 + 7 = 14, indicating a double completion…Jesus’ ministry in the flesh was completed. Jesus sacrifice of Himself ended or fulfilled the need for animal sacrifices, which the Jews had been doing to cover their sins. (from Bible Study online)

The Crucifixion by Gabriel Metsu

If you had no thoughts about the number 14 until now, it will probably go without saying that you will notice this number more in your everyday life. Regardless of numbers, it is important to see that God’s importance on numbers and their meanings only shows us the perfection numerically or scientifically that He shows in His creation and His perfect plans given through the prophets.

Earth…only one of the life forms in creation of the universe

What were God’s scientific plans when creating life?

Group 14 (IVA) | | Group 14 of the periodic table is often referred to as the carbon group. It is located in column 14 of the periodic table and houses the elements carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, lead…Many molecules contain carbon. In fact, there is an entire field of chemistry that deals with carbon-containing compounds, known as organic chemistry. Pure carbon can manifest in multiple forms such as diamonds, graphite and graphene, and Bucky balls (fullerenes). When mixed with iron, steel is formed. An isotope of carbon, carbon-14, is used to date organic specimens. Carbon is also used in semiconductors and resistance heaters. Carbon is the fundamental element in all Earth-based life. (from Chem Teacher)

Carbon

Here’s one for all you people who love tattoos: “The tattoos of Otzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old corpse found frozen in the Alps, were inked from carbon, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Small incisions in the skin were made, and charcoal rubbed in, perhaps as part of an acupuncture treatment.” (from Live Science)

Doctors Eagarter and Zink take samples of Otzi the Iceman Photo Credit: Marco

 Nearly 10 million carbon compounds have been discovered, and scientists estimate that carbon is the keystone for 95 percent of known compounds, according to the website Chemistry Explained. Carbon’s incredible ability to bond with many other elements is a major reason that it is crucial to almost all life. (Live Science)

_______________________

To understand other numbers found prominently in the Bible, we need to look at some of God’s prophecies that led up to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    One who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days. Micah 5:2

__________________________

I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

 For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
 they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.
Psalm 22: 14-18

 

Casting lots at the foot of the cross

THE NUMBER 3: “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21).

“‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was THREE days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” Matthew 12:38-40

This number 3 is repeated throughout the Bible as a symbol of completeness. God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. ... On the third day, the earth rose from the water, symbolic of resurrection life.

The number 3 is also powerful in that it denotes the Godhead is a trinity … God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

THE NUMBER 7: The number 7 is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. … The word ‘created’ is used 7 times describing God’s creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4) God also rested on the 7th day from all his work and he saw that it was “good.”

_____________________________

However, we look at numbers, we may find them of interest but God wants us to leave His timing of events in our futures up to Him. He has told us to fear not, to trust Him and not predict the future on our own. Some people have tried to prove to the masses that they had figured out God’s timing. They think their great minds have somehow received a revelation. They even circled a number on their calendars to when Christ will appear once again as a 2nd coming to the earth. Really?

There are certain to be some even today, who are predicting with our world-wide virus, trashing of cities and continued wars, that the end is certain to be near. Even some clergy are telling people to “store up…at least for three months…as if they are certain that the great trials of the end days are upon us. They are probably going my this verse of Holy Scripture:

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24

Unfortunately, they looked at the first part of the verse and did not believe or ignored the last portion, which we will address later.

As far back as the 1844’s there was a real person, William Miller, who believed that he had calculated the END and Christ’s coming again.

This is their story:

Tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts expected the world to come to an end. They were followers of William Miller, a man who claimed to know the date of Jesus’s second coming. Many “Millerites” sold all their possessions to prepare for the day when Christ would return to earth, gather them up to heaven, and purify the rest of the world in an all-consuming fire. As the date approached, a great comet blazed across the Massachusetts sky, and the number of believers grew. On October 22nd, the Millerites donned white robes and climbed mountains or trees to speed their ascension into heaven. (Miller went on a speaking tour about his prediction…gaining between 50,000 and 100,000 believers.) ….

As the year of the expected apocalypse neared, believers in the prophecy began to give away their belongings, abandon their crops, and sell their land. In the town of Harvard, one man sold his cows at great sacrifice because there would be no one to care for them when he was “gone up.” Women in the Worcester area cut off their hair, removed the ruffles from their dresses, threw or gave away their jewelry, and, in some cases, everything they owned. Others broke up all their furniture declaring that they would no longer have use for tables or chairs or beds. Wanting to be suitably attired for heaven, Millerites made long white garments for themselves that they called their “ascension robes.”Believing that Christ would return on a mountaintop, they climbed up Mt. Wachusett to await the coming of the Lord. One respectable but arthritic old man from Harvard who could not make it up the mountain stationed himself at the very top of the tallest apple tree in his orchard and waited out the night. In New Bedford, a whole family perched on the branches of an apple tree dressed in their white robes.When the prophecy failed, most abandoned Miller’s apocalyptical teachings and returned to their original churches. (Mass Moments)

The Holy Scriptures tells us the truth about the coming again of Christ?

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5

 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray... Matthew 24

We have one good friend who likes to ask “WHY? HOW CAN THAT BE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” when studying the Holy Scriptures or doctrines of the church. There is nothing wrong with questioning. This is how we grow in our faith.

The video below may help answer the questioning of the intellectuals, engineers and all other inquisitive people like ourselves, concerning one scripture, Mark 13:32. This is when Christ says “only the Father” knows the day or the hour…not even the angels or God’s Son. He doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit, but says “ONLY THE FATHER” knows, which would also indicate the Spirit also did not know. He is speaking, of course, about the coming TRIBULATION on the earth and/or THE COMING AGAIN OF CHRIST. Actually, we all have many questions concerning faith and the future. I agree with my husband when he says, “I don’t know…I’ll just ask when I get there.”

God does not give us a NUMBER or DATE for the end times, also known as The Tribulation, or His coming again! He only asks us to watch and be ready in our hearts.

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32

Video: Turn up your sound


Why do Christians call it “Good Friday?”

Crucifixion was one of the most gruesome deaths that a person could endure.  Because of this, it is difficult to understand why the Christians remember that day as “GOOD Friday.”   Let me explain.  It is not the torture of the crucifixion that is considered good…but the message of what this death meant to the people of the world.

1Peter 2:24 tells us, “He Himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds, you have been healed.”

Mary cries at the foot of cross

Christ’s Mother, Mary, at the foot of the cross

What exactly is crucifixion?  Have we ever really given it sufficient thought? Perhaps this description taken from Wikipedia will help:

Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation… Crucifixion was most often performed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar (usually particularly heinous) crimes. Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful, gruesome, humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period. The Greek and Latin words corresponding to “crucifixion” applied to many different forms of painful execution, from impaling on a stake to affixing to a tree…  Seneca the Younger, a Roman philosopher, wrote: “I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet”…In some cases, the condemned was forced to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A whole cross would weigh well over 300 lb…Upright posts would presumably be fixed permanently in that place, and the crossbeam, with the condemned person perhaps already nailed to it, would then be attached to the post. The person executed may have been attached to the cross by rope, though nails and other sharp materials are mentioned in a passage by the Judean historian, Josephus, where he states that at the Siege of Jerusalem,  “the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest”…While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have traditionally depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, the person being crucified was usually stripped naked. Writings by Seneca the Younger state some victims suffered a stick forced upwards through their groin. Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape criticism by some eminent Roman orators. Cicero, for example, described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears”…Frequently, the legs of the person executed were broken or shattered with an iron club, an act called crurifragium, which was also frequently applied without crucifixion to slaves. This act hastened the death of the person.

Christ on cross

Painting by Guido Reni 1575-1642

From the writings of those who heard the last words of Jesus, He said these sentences as the hours past and He eventually died on the cross:

  • “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”   Luke 23:34
  • “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43  This was said to the thief dying on the cross next to Him.
  • “Woman, this is your son.” (Said to his Mother, Mary, who had given Him birth)
  • This is your Mother.”  (Said to His disciple John to take care of His mother Mary)   John 19:26-27

    Sorrowful Mary at cross

    Sculpture of Mary, the mother of sorrows

 

  • My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (This was after 3 hours of darkness, which was only 3:00 o’clock Judea time in the day.)
  • “I thirst.”   (This was the expression of his human suffering. He had been scourged, crowned with thorns and was losing blood.)
  • “It is finished.”  John 19:30
  • “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.”  Luke 23:46

It was by His death that we are redeemed.  “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave Himself as ransom for all.”   1Timothy 2:5-6

Procaccini_Giulio painting

Procaccini_Giulio painting

 

 The Biblical Text of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ  taken from Matthew 27:33-56  And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull),
 they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.   And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots;   then they sat down and kept watch over him there.   And over his head, they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”   Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.  And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,   “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.   He trusts in God; let God deliver him now if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”   And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.   Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.”   And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink.   But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”   And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.   And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;   the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,   and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.   When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”   There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him;   among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

(Turn up sound)


The Miracle of Resurrections

Was there more than one resurrection?

When reading over the events that led up to the crucifixion of Christ and the Crucifixion itself, one may completely ignore what happened while Christ was on the cross.  These events certainly would have made anyone take notice for the whole land was filled with darkness even at three in the afternoon.   Perhaps they thought, as they mocked and jeered Him that it was simply a storm coming up.  However, the land began to shake and they were in the midst of an earthquake.  Those who were in the holy Temple saw something else that would have jarred them to the core.  The heavy curtain that hung in the Temple, that was the place where the high priest went, tore from the top to the bottom. This curtain separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies in the temple (Heb. 9:2-3)  The people surely wondered in the midst of darkness, the earth moving and the screams of the people, how did this happen?   (We know, in hind site, that this was great symbolism that God was opening the way to all people to worship Him.  The price for sins had been paid by His Son.)

There was more to come to rattle the senses of the people that day… and it was going to be witnessed by many.    There was a number of resurrections before the Resurrection of Christ. (Some theologians place the resurrection of believers at the time of the Crucifixion and others after Christ rose again.)   Regardless of when it was, the witnesses who saw those who once were dead…then saw them alive.

These people who were resurrected may  be overlooked by readers of the Scriptures …but not by those who were there.  The earthquake continued; rocks fell, and graves of believers who had died were opened.   Many of the people were buried in a rock tomb, perhaps like the one shown below.

tomb for berial

Let us read the Holy Scripture together from Mathew 27:

“… From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”  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.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”   And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.   They came out of the tombs after  Jesus’ resurrection  (or during the Crucifixion as the case may be)  and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
  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!”
Miracles had surrounded the  ministry of Christ.  The blind were healed; the crippled walked, and the dead were raised.  People were witnesses.   God, the Father, poured out His miracles when His Son died on the cross…through
darkness…earthquakes…and the tombs of the dead were opening to allow the dead to live  again.
 Even today,  we are told not to look for signs, but to trust that God can do miracles when He so desires.   Doctors tell us of miracles of healing that do not have any rationale or understanding.  There will always be doubters.  Yet, we can look no further than our universe and the stars that stay in their perfect patterns.  We can see the birth of a baby with everything that is needed to breathe and grow.  Have we ever wondered how a heart can beat every moment without stopping  for sometimes over one hundred years?    It is all miraculous.   We as believers look forward to knowing the true meaning of our own resurrection.
 I saw a wacky movie the other evening with the main character saying to himself,  “I was born a Jew and I’m not certain if I believe there is a God.”  Catholic procession He began searching and went to a priest to see if he could find God in another faith, but ended up wondering if he had done the right thing.   He even talked to a religious group of  Hare Krishnas who were dancing and beating their tambourines.  Then he decided that he could not stand at the airports and give out literature as this group was doing. hare-krishna

 

 

 

 

Would he have believed that there was a God if he had seen a real miracle?  He was looking to religious organizations to show him the truth and to prove to him something that only God can give…the miracle of personal faith and  new birth.

  Some of the people at the cross of Christ continued to mock while others fell to their knees, knowing that this truly was the Son of God. 
 We are approaching the day of Crucifixion which is called “Good Friday” in the Christian world.  I’ve often wondered why it could be called “Good” when it was such a terrible, dark day.  In Germany, the day is called “Sorrowful Friday” which probably is a better meaning.   The only answer to “good” is that of the wonderful message of God’s love for us and our redemption.
 The answer then to our question is YES, there were more resurrections…and will be another one to come for all people:

” Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice  and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

(John 5:28, 29 English Standard Version)

 

VIDEO  (Turn up sound)

A Wife Speaks… Husband Doesn’t Listen

Pilate-and-wife

Pontius Pilate and his wife

Would things have been different for Jesus had Pilate listened to his wife?  Could He have avoided the terrible death of crucifixion?  Pilate’s wife came to him, pleading that he not harm Jesus.   In fact, she said for him to have nothing to do with Him.  This was a strong statement.   “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.” Matthew 27:19

  It appeared that she believed strongly in her dreams and what they may mean.  She also “suffered” in them, so the dreams must have been terrifying.  Regardless of how she got the word, she knew her husband might make a grave mistake.  She had to warn him!  She also calls Jesus an “innocent (or just) man”.

Who exactly was Pilate?   Better known as Pontius Pilate, he was the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea  from AD26-36.  He had served under Emperor Tiberius and according to various writing was probably a Roman equestrian.  (The Equestrian Order is the Plebeian nobility. … Also referred to as the Equites, or Knights. In Roman antiquity, these were the wealthy, landed Plebeian merchant class granted a “Public Horse” by the State so they could act as the Republic’s cavalry.  Wikipedia)

Pilate’s  position gave him authority to grant or deny certain requests by the people.  Pressure was building on Pilate from the crowds of people and the traditions of the time of releasing from prison someone on certain days.  In this case, the mob wanted Barabbas to be released and Jesus taken.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult 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.”  Matt.27:24

mob before pilateOn releasing Barabbas to the mob and giving them Jesus to crucify, Pilate not only ignored the wise words of his wife, but made a terrible prophecy to future generations. He publicly and ceremoniously washes his hands and calls out to the people,  His blood be on us, and on our children.”   Did he have any idea what he was really saying?   Probably not, but he wanted to rid himself of all responsibility.  One can imagine what his conversation was like with his wife that evening!    

Sometimes we are warned by those around us when we have major decisions to make…to be careful…to reconsider.  We can choose to ignore and rush out on the limb because of fear;  lack of self confidence…or even the pressures being brought about by work or relationships.   It is an age-old problem for all of us.

Jesus and Pilate

Pilate talks to the crowd about Jesus

Back to our previous question: Could Jesus have avoided the Crucifixion if Pilate had listened to his wife?

Maybe He could have for that moment, but not in the long run for God had a plan to save the world from sin and give forgiveness and meaning to our lives.  He had told of this plan to the generations before by way of their prophets.   The betrayal of Christ by Judas (discussed in the previous blog) and leading up to the events of the crucifixion,  had been clearly told in what is now the Old Testament Holy Scriptures.    We are told in the New Testament,  “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled” (Matt. 26:56).

If you are a Jewish reader, who has dismissed these prophecies as pertaining to Christ, Who you do not believe to be the Messiah,  I challenge you to read the prophecies and their fulfillment written below… and ask God to show you His truth.

Jesus, Himself, had shown the Jews that followed Him that they had been shown by the prophets His death and purpose:  “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27).

Let’s take a look at a few of the many  Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment  in the New Testament:  (Taken from Messianic Prophecies bible.com)

1. SOLD FOR THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER  by Judas

Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12 And I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:14-15 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver.

2.  THE MONEY CAST TO THE POTTER

Prophecy: Zechariah 11:13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:5-7 And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.

3. THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM

Prophecy: Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:56 “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. (See also Mark 14:27)

4. SMITTEN AND SPIT UPON

Prophecy: Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:30 And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.

5. DUMB BEFORE HIS ACCUSERS

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:12-14 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.

6. WOUNDED AND BRUISED

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:26, 29 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified. . . . And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

7. HANDS AND FEET PIERCED

Prophecy: Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

8. CRUCIFIED WITH THIEVES

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Fulfillment: Mark 15:27-28 And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28 (And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”)

9. PRAYED FOR HIS PERSECUTORS

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (emphasis mine)

Fulfillment: Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

10. GARMENTS PARTED AND LOTS CAST

Prophecy: Psalm 22:18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

Fulfillment: John 19:23-24 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 They said therefore to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

11. HIS FORSAKEN CRY

Prophecy: Psalm 22:1 For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “that is, “ My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ?”

12. GALL AND VINEGAR GIVEN HIM

Prophecy: Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Fulfillment: John 19:28-29 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch ofhyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.

13. HIS SIDE PIERCED

Prophecy: Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

Fulfillment: John 19:34-37 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken. “ 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Procaccini_Giulio painting

Painting by Italian  Giulio Cesare Procaccini 1600’s

14. DARKNESS OVER THE LAND

Prophecy: Amos 8:9 “And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I shall make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.  (The Jews reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset. This would make the sixth hour about noon, and the ninth hour near three o’clock.)

15. BURIED IN A RICH MAN’S TOMB

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60 And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.

Perhaps in her dream, the wife of Pilate saw all these things that would come to pass.   She knew this innocent man’s  crucifixion was nothing for which she wanted her husband to be responsible.   Yet, if it had not been Pilate who turned a deaf ear to the pleas of his wife, there would have been another who would have condemned Him.   God, the Father, had a plan for the world and for His Son to be the Redeemer and the Messiah.  If she had seen more, she would have known that her terrified dream had a magnificent ending… the Resurrection after the third day.  She would have seen that His followers recognized him and that He showed Thomas the nail scars on his hands.

Jesus said to Thomas,     “… reach hither thy finger and behold My hands…” 

VIDEO:  turn up sound and share in a peaceful worship of a Greek Orthodox Christian Byzantine voices for Lent

 

 

 

 

 


The Crucifixion and Good Friday

IMG_0193How shallow we are when it comes to the suffering of our Lord.  No one knows what that agony was like even though it has been portrayed on stage and in theater.   Hollywood tried to show us the depth of it in Passion of the Christ  and now the production, The Bible,  tries to relive it again. 

The person playing the part of Jesus Christ is nothing like I would imagine Christ to have been.  I did not want to see a handsome model, but a  man who looked very much like any Jew would look from that area of the world. For some people,however, who do not know the Bible or the Gospel and would not read the Bible , this dramatizations may be a good thing.  We should remember that this excruciating death is not entertainment.  Who could be entertained by such an event? It should not be treated like any other story.  It is much more than that.

For me the death of Christ and His resurrection is very personal.  I want to simply sense His presence and to know that what He did is really unimaginable.  Dying on a cross with nails in the hands and feet would have been so awful that it can never really be understood.   Crucifixion was a typical execution by the Romans of the day. Only those who have experienced it really know the true meaning.   The closest to understanding may be the martyrs, who gave everything for their faith.  Many were tortured and burned at the stake.  They understood His suffering.

For Jesus, it was not only the dying that He knew He had to face.  He also knew that for that time, He would be separated totally from his Father in Heaven.   This is why He cried out, “Why have You forsaken me?”   

The Christian church around the world observe the day of crucifixion in different ways.  In the USA, the day is called Good Friday.  In Ireland and Germany it’s called Black Friday; in Romania and Croatia it’s called Big Friday; in Norway it’s referred to as Long Friday and in Spanish-speaking countries it’s Holy Friday; and in Brazil it’s Passion of Christ Friday.pieta detail

All of these terms seem better than “Good Friday” since there seems to be nothing good about the Son of God dying. Nevertheless, the term “good” could also project  what was about to happen just three days later….the rising from the dead and what resurrection means to all of us who will one day also die….a looking forward to that same resurrection.

This day is also shown differently within the church sanctuaries  as  some  place black drapes  over statues. It is time also to go to each station of the cross to remember Christ  carrying His  cross to Calvary.  It is a quiet, reflective  time of prayer to contemplate what our Saviour has done for us.  

  Below is some music to help in prayer as we come to the close of this special day.

(Click to play and read the words being sung below:)

Behold the wounds in Jesus’ hands, The marks upon His side, Then ponder who He meant to save When on the cross He died. We cannot see the love of God Which saves us from the fall, Yet know that Christ from wood and nails Built mansions for us all.
Behold the outstretched hands of Christ Our God, who came to save, Whose love and grace redeems ours souls And lifts us from the grave. Though bruised and battered as we stray His guiding hands caress, He washes and anoints with oil Then in His arms we rest.
Behold the wounds in Jesus’ hands, Look to your Lord and live He yearns to bless you with His love And all your sins forgive. Oh empty is the heart of man When it is filled with sin. Come open wide your broken heart And let your Savior in.
Behold His wounded hands and feet! Come touch and see and feel The wounds and marks that you may know His love for you is real. Then as you fall to worship Him and wash His feet in tears Your Savior takes you in His arms And quiets all your fears.
Your Savior takes you in His arms And quiets all your fears.


Friday of Holy Week: Christ Crucified

IT IS FINISHED

As I walked outside the main gate of Auschwitz in Poland, a man sat by the roadside.  He carefully held a piece of wood.  It was a part of a birch tree and carved in the middle was the face of Christ.  Large, sharp thorns  had been placed across the forehead.  This man looked at me with the hopes that I would buy this from him, which I did.  The workmanship was extraordinary, even though crude.   It said so much about this man and what he had made, but more so about this  place where he sat.

Just inside these gates, millions of innocent Jews had been put to death.  This man had made the carved face of a Jew Who was put to death and no one could find any wrong in him. As Pilot said, ” I find no case against him.”

THIS WAS A SUFFERING JEW CARVED ON A TREE OUTSIDE THE GATE OF SOME OF THE WORST OF HUMAN SUFFERING.

Jesus also sat outside the gate where he would be taken before a mob, mocked, and put to death.   He prayed for the people of the world who would believe in Him, saying His hour had come and His work on earth was finished.  Even though He knew the suffering that He was to endure, His thoughts were of protection and love for those who believed the words He spoke and saw the miracles He performed.   Jesus said:

“Holy Father, protect them in your name that  you have given me so that they may be one, as We are One….

I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…I ask not only on behalf of  these but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me…

Father, I desire that those also whom you have given Me  may be with Me where I am… to see My glory which You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Inside the gate of Auschwitz, just a few feet from where the man was sitting…many years before… horrors  happened.     One of the things that I saw in one of the torture chambers was a wall where someone had scratched a cross. We know that Christians suffered and died there also.  Nothing in Auschwitz can be romanticized.      Neither can the crucifixion of Jesus.

Even though great art masters have painted  beautiful portraits to inspire us, the crucifixion was real torture given perfection by the Romans.  The preparation for a glorious Easter Sunday when Christ rises from the dead is a solemn time.  This is why the altars of the churches are stripped bare of all ornamentation or flowers.  There was nothing  lovely  about death.

   The video below is realistic with the music asking a question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Perhaps we need realism when we actually consider what Christ endured.


“ALL HIS ACQUAINTANCES…STOOD AT A DISTANCE” Luke 23:49

Jesus cried with a loud voice as He died, ” Father into your hands,I commend my spirit!”

It was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of  all mankind.  Darkness had covered the sun’s light and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. It was a time to fear.  It had been agony. Those who knew Jesus..and perhaps…knew Him well…stood at a distance watching the spectacle.    This man, Jesus, was young…only in his 30’s.  Yet, in His short  life, wonderful things happened.  What had He been busy doing that caused such distain?  He was healing the sick, teaching how the Father wanted us to live, gathering the little children around him, caring for the outcast, but the politicians of the day hated him.  He was a threat.   The people followed him openly; carrying palms to line a path for Him to walk.  Yet,  in His darkest hour…they stood in the distance.   Fear takes a grip  when we think we may fall into the hands of those who would crucify us.  We are afraid…like Peter,  that someone will recognize us as a follower.   Jesus told His disciples that he would see this day. He knew the agony that was coming. His prayers in the garden showed his dread as He sweat.  He knew who would betray Him; even as He knows who will deny Him today.    They did not understand.   Like those in His day, we not only have fear to hinder our walk, but the lack of understanding of God’s plan and purpose for us.    

There was one man named Joseph, who held a position as a councilman in the group that  had condemed Jesus.  He shook off his fear  and ask for the body of Jesus.  Was he not afraid of association?    He asked women to help in preparing the body for burial in a borrowed tomb.   Somehow this man saw the importance of caring  for the one whom the soldier had called “innocent”.   He was willing to come out of the shadows and stand up for Jesus…not at a distance.  He did not know that the day of Resurrection was coming within a few days.  The sorrow that had filled this time would end.   Those who wanted to mourn Him  would instead run with joy to tell all they knew that He was not in the tomb.  He had said that in three days He would rise from the dead.  Still, their understanding was cloudy.   The grave would not hold Him. He told them He would go to prepare a place for them.  They would not be left alone for the Holy Spirit would be sent to teach men the ways of God.    Eventually, the people  would see Him transfigured and taken into heaven.   His promise that He will return is looked for by all  His followers…then and today.   Like Joseph, they are the ones  willing to come out of the shadows and know him up-close….and not at a  distance.


“You Were There ” An Easter Message

During this time of Lent and  preparation for  Easter….the Resurrection of our Messiah,  Jesus Christ…

  We wish all of you a blessed Passover  and Easter Celebration.     Boyer Writes would like to share this video with you.  We will write again after Easter.

  Christ was and is always with us.