We considered death this past Sunday … Jesus died to deliver us from death … but how did He die?
How ready are you to die? Tonight? What can we learn from Christ’s death to ready our own souls?
The age of 33 is the prime of life – think combination of ability, confidence, knowledge, and strength.
The Man Christ Jesus intensely pursued His life purpose of dying for us with holy zeal and focus, which should (a) rejoice our hearts, (b) give us faith for dying, and (c) give us zeal for holy living.
Jesus of Nazareth died for you! Do you know how He died? You can learn to die and live from it!
“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-53).
The time to be received up was to shortly follow His death, so He knew it was time to die.
He was unmovable in His determination to go to Jerusalem and die for us by crucifixion.
So committed was He to do the will of God – even His own death – others knew it clearly.
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50).
This baptism of Jesus was His immersion under God’s wrath at His crucifixion for our sins.
John the Baptist had baptized Him in the waters of Jordan long before this (Lu 3:21-22).
This is the baptism that He spoke about regarding James and John (Matthew 20:20-23).
He was straitened – think straitjacket – confined and restricted to one thing – to die for us.
All other activities were mere distractions in comparison to this great goal of dying.
This does not mean He desired the pains of death, but the completion of it (Luke 22:42).
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Ps 40:6-8).
The scriptures of the Jews testified of Jesus Christ (Gen 3:15, 22:18; 49:10; Deut 18:15-19).
Paul used these words of David to confirm the replacement of the old covenant (Heb 10:5-7).
Observe the delight that Jesus took in doing God’s will … in allowing His body to be killed.
“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Heb 10:5-7).
God made a body for the Lord Jesus Christ, so He could give that body in death for His elect.
The O.T. animal sacrifices never pleased God in any legal way – they could not pay for sins.
Jesus came and fulfilled every prophecy given of Him in the O.T. scriptures as our Saviour.
“The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up” (Isaiah 50:5-9).
Jesus never rebelled against God’s call – to lay down His life to wicked men for wicked men!
He set His face like a stone (flint) toward this work. He knew it would succeed (Heb 12:2).
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Though many foolish and wicked men falsely accused our Lord, He did not respond to them.
Though the insane mob intended to kill Him, He did not threaten back or anything like that.
“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
From the age of 12, Jesus knew His primary ambition or goal was to do His Father’s work.
What was His Father’s business? To live to the prime of life and be killed for you and me!
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
Jesus had one primary ambition and goal in His life – to do the will of God. Lord, help us!
He came to finish the will of God in redemption, and that would require Him to die for us!
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38-40).
Jesus did not come to do His own will, but God’s will, and God’s will was for Him to die.
And what was the Father’s will? That Jesus Christ would die and save every one of the elect!
“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:28-29).
Jesus always did those things that pleased the Father, including His command for Him to die.
Jesus declared they would more fully appreciate His obedience when they saw Him crucified.
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:18).
Jesus had the full authority and power over His life, but He chose to lay it down willingly.
The Jews and Romans did not finally take the life of Jesus – He gave it up cheerfully for you!
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt 16:21-23).
Though Peter had just declared truth (Matt 16:13-17), he now spoke without knowledge.
Thanks be to God that Jesus of Nazareth only savoured the things of God – our salvation!
“And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16).
Our Lord had 32 other Passovers in His life, but this last one hours before His death was best.
He knew it was the last one before His suffering and death, and He was ready to get into it.
He would shortly fulfill the entire feast by dying as the Lamb of God for the sins of His elect.
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:27-28).
The Man Christ Jesus was troubled by the horror ahead, but He knew this was His purpose.
He called upon God to glorify Himself through His sufferings and death. What holy motives!
“And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:27-31).
Knowing Judas was ready to do his devilish work, Jesus told him to get going with his deed.
We might say similarly, though never in such a situation, “Let’s get this show on the road.”
When Judas left the room, Jesus knew He was going to glorify God, which was His goal.
“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence” (John 14:30-31).
His high motivation to go cheerfully to torture and death was to love and obey His Father.
He did not linger at this intimate supper with close friends. He rose to get to Gethsemane.
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt 26:39).
As the Man Christ Jesus, He feared God’s judgment and death, but He bowed to God’s will.
His faith and love to God were so great, He overcame His trepidation and went to Judas!
“Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?” (John 18:3-4).
Rather than hide or disguise Himself, He went forth to give himself up to the angry mob.
He did this even though He knew all things that were to take place over the next 12-15 hours.
“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11).
What cup did Jesus drink? The cup of God’s wrath for our sins (Matt 20:20-23; Jer 49:12).
He knew all the details that the cup contained, but He chose to drink deeply for you and me.
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54).
If either you or I had been Jesus Christ, we would have called the angels for our deliverance.
Rather than a glorious victory over these blaspheming enemies, He died to fulfill scripture.
“And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children” (Luke 23:27-28).
When an ordinary man suffers greatly, it is of comfort to have others mourning with him.
But Jesus directed the mourning of these women away from Himself and to their families.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb 12:2-3).
We are to look to the great example of the Lord Jesus Christ for our faith and perseverance.
He endured the cross, eagerly as we have seen above, and despised its terrible shame.
He endured great opposition that night and day, so we should be able to faithfully resist sin.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Pet 2:21-23).
Here again is our example – even in the practical duties to rulers and bosses (I Pet 2:13-20).
The Lord Jesus Christ did not respond in kind to His ferocious enemies, but trusted in God.
How will you face death, when He has already gone boldly before you and defeated it (Heb 2:14-15)?
Since He was willing to die for you, are you willing to take up your cross daily for Him (Luke 9:23)?
Does His love constrain you, as it did Paul, who gave his life in service (II Cor 5:14-15; Gal 6:14)?