The crucifixion of Jesus is at the heart of the good news we preach. Only by understanding the crucifixion can we truly appreciate the blood of Christ and how it is able to wash away all of our sins. As we look at the account of the Crucifixion we will see the types of pain that Jesus underwent (Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual).
Jesus knows He will be betrayed and abandoned by His closest friend. This is an emotional pain that many of us can relate to.
Jesus could not even rely on His closest friends for help. Did Jesus want to go to the Cross? Clearly, He did not. He begs God for another plan, but He also submits His will to God’s. What is the cause of Jesus’ overwhelming sorrow? What is He afraid of? How is Jesus able to go forward despite His lack of help from His friends and His sorrow? Because God is with Him.
Judas used a signal because criminals flee or resist when they are arrested. Jesus did neither and instead assured that His arrest would happen (John 18:2-9 says they even bowed down at His name and He pushed forward His own arrest). Peter was willing to die fighting with Jesus but was not willing to surrender to suffering with Jesus. How was Jesus able to keep going when He is arrested and His friends let Him go alone? Because God is with Him.
Jesus was so innocent that even lying witnesses could not convict Him. Jesus had all authority even here and it was His own testimony that convicted Him. The emotional pain continues with Him being spit on and mocked (Prophesy to us), and the physical pain begins with them striking Him. How is Jesus able to go on after His own chosen people reject Him and sentence Him to death? Because God was with Him.
The emotional pain culminates with Peter’s three denials. Peter began the night with promises of loyalty to the point of death and ends the night afraid of a servant girl’s accusation. Peter begins to swear by God that he does not know the son of God. How is Jesus able to go forward after His closest friend denies even knowing Him? Because God is still with Him.
Peter and Judas both betrayed Jesus and both felt sorry, but feeling sorry does not equal repentance and change. Judas’ focus is on relieving his guilt and he kills himself rather than deal with that guilt.
Pilate does everything he can to avoid responsibility and remain “neutral.” We cannot be neutral when it comes to Jesus’ death. The crowd chooses a criminal named Barabbas and this is hard to understand. But how many times have I (we) chosen sin over righteousness in our lives even when we knew it was wrong. Jesus is handed over to be flogged. A flogging was similar to a whipping but with a different purpose. A whipping looks to inflict pain while a flogging looks to inflict permanent damage. (The medical account gives a great idea of what a flogging was.) How is Jesus able to go through such intense torture and pain? Because God is with Him.
The flogging was the official beating Jesus received as part of his sentence, but these soldiers now add an additional beating for their own amusement. The Son of God allows himself to be used for the enjoyment of these violent men. They mock His Royal and Holy nature for simple cruelty. How is Jesus able to endure such humiliation? Because God is with Him.
Jesus is crucified (The medical account greatly helps understand crucifixion). Crucifixion was the worst torture and it was reserved as a punishment for only the lowest of the low (slaves, foreign rebels, etc…). Men would usually take days to die on the cross. The Jewish leaders use the occasion to mock Him and His power. How is Jesus able to endure their scorn while suffering such intense pain? How does He not cry out and beg for mercy? Because God is with Him.
Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1. In his darkest hour, Jesus still responded righteously. Did God really forsake/abandon Jesus? How/Why could God do this when Jesus needed Him most?
1 Peter 2:21-25
Jesus took our sin into His perfect body and died as punishment for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). What did God do when this happened? When God turned away from Jesus that is when darkness covered the land and when Jesus eventually gave up His spirit. Jesus had relied on God since before creation, and the spiritual pain of being separated from God was too much for Him. Why did Jesus die on the cross for us? So that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. Why does He care about us living? Because He loves us. This is our whole-hearted response to the cross.
Written about 700 years before Jesus, this chapter predicted what the Messiah would do at the cross and why. Verses 1-3 – despised and rejected. Verses 4-6 – pierced for our transgressions; crushed for our iniquities; by his wounds, we are healed. Suggestion: read this passage again putting in your own name. Verses 7-9 – like a lamb to the slaughter; for the transgressions of my people, he was stricken. You may want to remind the person of the sins he/she described in an earlier study. Verses 10-12 – he is a guilt offering; but after the suffering of his soul, satisfaction (resurrection).
How can Peter tell those gathered at Pentecost (some who were not even there when Jesus was crucified) that they put Jesus to death? Because He died for their sins. The same is true for us. Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins?
What was their response to the cross? Are you cut to the heart? What was Peter’s answer? How did they respond? How do you want to respond?