In this Chapter:
1-16: Jesus Sentenced to Death
17-27: The Crucifixion
28-37: The Death of Jesus
38-42: The Burial of Jesus
This chapter lays out Jesus’s gruesome death. During those times, crucifixion was the worst way to be put to death. It was made to prolong the pain and suffering for the longest amount of time before death actually occurred. Crucifixion was so brutal that it was a death sentenced used only for the worst of criminals.
After being flogged and beaten and tortured and speared, Jesus finally breathed his final breath and died on the cross. His body was then taken off the cross and buried in his grave. (note: some skeptics suggest that maybe He didn’t really die, but what set of soldiers, political leaders and friends would approve the burial of a dude that is still living?! That doesn’t make any sense.)
In this chapter, it’s pretty wild to see how God has been working out His plan of salvation for all people since the beginning of time. In a few different parts of the chapter, it says that things were done in order to fulfill Scripture (19:24, 36, 37). Certain writings in the Bible are called “prophecy” which just means that a long time ago, God had told people to write down certain events that would happen in the future. So, before the crucifixion of Jesus ever took place, God had already set in order everything that would happen. Before the beginning of time, Jesus was to die on the cross to pay the price for the sins of the world. And to prove His power, God had Jesus fulfill all of the 400+ prophecies that had been written about Him beforehand!!!
It’s cool to see who actually has the ultimate authority when Pilot is talking with Jesus. He says that he has the authority to either set Jesus free or send Him to the cross. Jesus replies that he would have no authority to do anything unless that authority was given to him from God, showing that God is the one who has ultimate authority over all things. If God did not want Jesus to be sent to the cross, then nothing and no one would ever have been able to send him there, no matter what kind of earthly authority they had. Because God is the Creator of all things, He is also the ruler of all things, and whatever He says goes.
How cool is it to know that God never just “wings it” when it comes to what happens on the earth?! He has a very specific plan in mind, and He is always at work to accomplish His plan. God also has A GOOD PLAN for each of our lives; a better plan than we could ever have imagined for ourselves. All we have to do is have faith in God and trust Him with our lives. We kinda just hand over the controls to Him and let Him work out His perfect plan for our lives.
While on the cross, just before His death Jesus says, “It is finished!” Hold up. What exactly has been finished? Isn’t Jesus still going to raise from the dead? This can’t be the end of the movie yet! When Jesus says this, it is the single moment in time when God’s plan of bringing salvation to the world is completed. For all of earth’s history, God has been working on bringing humanity back to the right relationship we had with Him in the beginning. Because sin separates us from God, and because He does not want us to be separated from Him, He sent His Son to die as the punishment for our perpetual disobedience, so that we could spend eternity back in good standing with Him. The cross was the COMPLETION of that plan!
God’s Got This:
How great is it to know that we have a God who is over all things and is in control of all things? How great is it that we have a God who, since the beginning of time, has been working to bring us back to a wonderful relationship with Him? And how great is it to know that the work of salvation and bringing us back to that relationship with Him is finished? And He already did all the work for us!
Check this out: Every other religion in the world centers around the teaching that we have to work our way back to a right standing with our creator. It’s the stairway to Heaven mindset. The responsibility falls upon us. Our pursuit of paradise or nirvana rests solely on our effort. Christianity is the only religion that teaches the opposite; it’s not us working our way up to God but Him coming down to us and doing the work for us. That’s the message of undeserved grace!
That means Christianity is not about rules at all. It’s about humbling ourselves enough to accept God’s free gift of grace. And after that’s done, we live a life of love and celebration to Him for His goodness. If we really lived like we believed that, would the “judgmental, hypocritical, goody-two-shoes” stereotype of Christians even have a foot to stand on anymore? God’s got this. It’s done. Accept it.