Friday, April 03, 2015

Easter - the people involved

Easter the people involved

Around 2000 years ago, a visitor to the ancient city Jerusalem
during their annual feast of Passover, would have been confronted
with an all too familiar sight.Three men were going outside the
city that day to face immense suffering and finally death.Two
of those men were to be put to death for their own crimes,
receiving the consequences of their actions. For many this was
just another day in the liie of the Roman Empire! just another
crucifixion! This was the Roman way of putting felons to death.
Josephus, the Jewish historian. describes crucifixion as “the most
wretched of deaths." (The best known event of crucifixion prior
to this day was when 6000 followers of Spartacus were crucified
along the Appian Way as a celebration of victory.) As those three
crosses were raised on the hillside Golgotha outside Jerusalem
with their victims nailed by the hands and feet, this was to be
no ordinary day. Its effects, consequences and realities, will last
forever. As we consider the people involved and their actions, let
us learn that the man on the centre cross was Jesus Christ the
Son of God. He died that we might have our sins forgiven! The
death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross brings to us at Easter a
message of salvation and everlasting life through faith in the Son
of God.

The perpetraters.
The Lord Jesus having taught the people and performed mighty
miracles to the blessing of many over a few short years, was hated
by the Chief Priests and elders. They along with the Scribes and
Pharisees sought to put Him to death.After His betrayai by Judas
they brought Him before Caiaphas the High Priest. This religious
trial was a falsehood as their only desire was to put Him to death‘
Unable to achieve this under their own law, they then brought Him
to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor who, “... knew that for envy
 they had delivered Him” Matthew 27: 18. As Pilate tried to reason
with the assembled crowd their cry was overwhelming, “...crucify
Him, crucify Him” Luke 23:21. Pilate had said "I find no fault in this
man“ Luke 23:4, but, “.,.willing to content the people. ..delivered
Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified” Mark l5:l5,

The onlookers......
After Pilate scourged the Lord Jesus, the soldiers ‘clothed Him
with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and ‘put it about His
head” Mark l5:l 7, Before taking the purple robe off to lead Him
out to be crucified,  they smote Him, spit upon Him and mocked
Him. “And when they were come to the place, which is called
Calvary, there they crucified Him" Luke 23:33. At this scene there 
was a great multitude of people standing, with some sitting, and
 the passers by wagging their heads. Mocking Him were the Chief
Priests with the Scribes and elders saying; “He saved others Matthew
 27:42. The Lord Jesus looking on from the cross with love and
compassion said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”
Luke 23:34. The Centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus,
said, “Truly this was the Son of God" Matthew 27:54.

The Man.....
As we have observed, the man on the centre cross that day
was Jesus, the Son of God.Why was He crucified since He was
without fauit?  "Christ died for our sins" 1 Corinthians l5:3. Our sins!
"For all have sinned and come short og the Glory 0f God" Romans
3:23 The death of Christ was not just a travesty of justice, it wa
a sacrifice, “...this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sin
for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” Hebrews 1O:1. 2. God‘s
holiness and righteousness demanded a perfect and complete
sacrifice for sin.Jesus Christ offered it when He, “offered himself
without spot to God” Hebrews 9::14, and cried “ft is finished
John I 9:30.

The possessors........
Salvation by the shed blood, death, burial and resurrection of the
Lord Jesus Christ, is offered freely to all.This salvation is essential
and is found in a person! Peter says; “... Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead...Neither is there
salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given
among rnen, whereby we must be saved”Acts 4:10, 12. Saved from
the judgment of God and fitted for the presence of God, what
a prospect for guilty sinners! This salvation becomes a personal
possession by the work of the Holy Spirit, when a sinner acts in
“...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ
Acts 20:2 1’. Many are onlookers at the death of Christ, counting
it nothing more than a historical event. For all who acknowledge
they are sinners, repent and receive Christ as Saviour by faith,
they truly are possessors. Are you?
Gary Woods

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