CHRIST,OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt.3)

“And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin”(1 John 3:5 NKJV).

Of all the pictures given us by those who recorded the Gospel of Jesus Christ, none stands out more vividly than that of His arrest, trial and death. More scriptures regarding the coming Messiah will be fulfilled within hours of Jesus arrest than perhaps any other period of His earthly existence. The apostle Paul will pick up this thread of thought when he writes to the Corinthian believers. “Moreover, brethren, I declared to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”(1 Corinthians 15:1-3 NKJV).

HIS ARREST

According to all the gospel writers, the arrest of Jesus was totally bogus. Arrested in the middle of the night, after He was identified by Judas, His betrayer, for the princely sum of thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13;Matthew 27:3,9). This point is not to be overlooked because it in fact pointed to Jesus the Messiah portrayed by the Scriptures. His features were such according to the flesh that the Roman soldiers did not know how to identify Him without the help of a betrayer who knew him well. The prophet Isaiah wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him”(Isaiah 53:1-2 NKJV). Jesus was no modern day “rock star” or “Hollywood celebrity”. Outwardly, He was a normal Jewish man. But that is where the human comparison ends and the divine mystery begins. The apostle Paul wrote, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them”(2 Corinthians 5:19 NKJV).

HIS TRIAL

Although Caiphas, the high priest at that time, moved to have Jesus arrested and killed, it was all ordained by Father God that it be so. What men thought that they had “hatched a plan” to do to get rid of a religious “trouble-maker”, was necessary for “political” expediency (To keep in good stead with Rome-John 11:50) was all in God’s purposes. The apostle Peter preached to the Jewish people, “Brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ would suffer, He has fulfilled”(Acts 3:17 NKJV). Although many accusations were made against Jesus at His trial, not one could be corroborated by the testimony of witnesses…He uttered not a word. He had foretold His disciples of His trial, torture and death. This was to fulfill the Scriptures, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it’s shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken”(Isaiah 53:7-8 NKJV).

“CARRY THE CROSS”

Jesus was made to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem on His way to be crucified.  Simon of Cyrene, an innocent bystander, was conscripted to carry Jesus’ cross up the hill of Golgotha. What irony…What a paradox. This African man helps Jesus carry His cross (because of his physical weakness due to His scourging) when in fact Jesus will carry the weight of our sins (and that of the world) on this very cross. “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”(2 Cor. 5:21).

HIS DEATH

The cross that was to publicly humiliate Jesus in His death, actually became a thing of wonder. He turned the “cursed tree” into a platform or pulpit to preach His final message of Father’s love. He not only was willing to suffer for us…He prayed for us (as the high priest did uniquely on the Day of Atonement-See Hebrews 7:17-28). Further, He shed His sinless blood for us. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins”(Leviticus 17:10). Ultimately, He gave up His life in exchange for ours. This is not only the message and meaning of the Cross…It is it’s invitation. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again”(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV). The nails did not hold Jesus on the Cross…His love for you and me did. Why did Jesus hang there? In the words of Brennan Manning, Jesus was saying as He was stretched between heaven and earth…”I am dying to be with you”.

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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