THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE KING
Intro: The history of the world is little more than a collection of days, strung
together to form years, the years to form decades and the decades to form
centuries. Most days are ordinary days, there is little to distinguish them
from any other day. However, here and there along the relentless march of
history, one encounters days that are worth remembering.
The landscape of history is dotted with what we might refer to as days
of infamy. President Franklin Roosevelt, referring to December 7, 1941, the
day the Japanese bombed the Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii said, "It
was a day that will live in infamy." An infamous day is one to be
remembered because an event of unspeakable evil or some other horrible
event occurred. Another infamous day that is fresh in all of our minds is
September 11, 2001, when America suffered a brutal terrorist attack.
Of course, other days in history are to be remembered because of the
special nature of the events that occurred in them. November 9, 1989 will
always be remembered as the day the Berlin Wall came crashing down,
signaling the end of the oppression of the people's of Eastern Europe. Just
this week, April 9, 2003, billions of people watched as the citizens of
Baghdad toppled a 40 foot statue of Saddam Hussein, signifying the end of
his reign of terror.
The day before us in our text today has the distinction of being both a
day of intense evil and a day which witnessed the triumph of good over evil.
There is no other day in history that rises to the level of the day The King
Was Crucified! It was an infamous day because it shows man at the height
of his sinfulness. It was infamous because He came unto His Own and His
Own received Him not. It was infamous because the Creator is put to death
by His creatures! However, it was a famous day in the annals of history
because sin was defeated; the power of Satan was forever broken; and
because the black halls of death were invaded by the Prince of Life!
I would like for us to travel back to that day 2000 years ago and watch
as the King of glory is crucified at Calvary. I pray the significance of that day
will be made clear to our hearts and minds. Let's witness together The
Crucifixion Of The King.
I. V. 33 THE PLACE OF HIS CRUCIFIXION
A. It Was A Prominent Place
1. It Was Prominent Physically - Golgotha - the place of the skull,
or in Latin, it is called Calvary! That place that resembles the
skull of a dead man. That place littered with the skulls of death
men. That place just outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem
was well known to all the people who lived there. They had
witnessed the deaths of thousands of criminals and others who
were considered enemies of the Roman government. Since it
was Roman practice to allow the bodies of the crucified to rot on
their crosses, you can believe that the people of Israel knew this
place very well.
2. It Was Prominent Historically - this mountain that was being
defiled by Rome was a special place for the Jews. You see, this
hill was part of the same ridge upon which the Temple itself was
built. It was also here that Abraham had brought his son Isaac
many centuries before to offer him to God, Gen. 22. This was
a very prominent place for the Jewish people.
B. It Was A Prophetic Place - In Gen. 22, we find the story of how
Abraham was commanded to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt
offering to God. That passage is one of the clearest Old Testament
pictures of the coming death of God's Son Jesus on Calvary. There,
we see a Father willingly giving up his own son to die. In that
passage, there are two verses worthy of special note today. Notice verses 5-14. Two verses stand out to my mind in connection with
what we are studying today. The first is verse 8. There, Abraham
says, "God will prove Himself a lamb for a burnt offering." The
wording of that verse is significant! The second verse is verse 14,
where the Bible says, "In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."
This is an ancient prophesy telling us that God would give His Lamb
on this very mountain. That is just what we are seeing in Matt. 27.
This was a prophetic place!
II. V. 35-49 THE PAIN OF HIS CRUCIFIXION
A. V. 35a He Endured The Pain Of The Cross - The Bible says it so
simply, "And they crucified Him..." But, those words do not even
begin to convey the horror of what Jesus Christ endured on that
cross. Consider that fact that before He arrived at Calvary Jesus
had been awake all night. He has been through at least four trials.
He has been beaten by the Jews. He has been beaten by the
Roman soldiers. He has endured the horror of the Roman scourge.
He has been mocked, ridiculed, spit upon and made to carry His
cross to Calvary, then He is crucified! An act more horrible than
anything you and I can imagine! Here is a brief description of what
it must have been like.
(Note: What is crucifixion? A medical doctor provides a physical
description: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted
man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the
wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the
wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist
and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and
repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but
to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with
both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of
each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he
slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists,
excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to
explode in the brain--the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on
the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this
stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his
feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the
nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps
sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless,
throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push
himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not
exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small
breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood
stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able
to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending
cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is
torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the
rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain
deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and
begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over--the loss of
tissue fluids has reached a critical level--the compressed heart is
struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues--the
tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
He can feel the chill of death creeping through is tissues. . .Finally
he can allow his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, "And they
crucified Him." (Mark 15:24). What wondrous love is this? That
was what He endured because of His love for you, Rom. 5:8!
- Adapted from C. Truman Davis, M.D. in The Expositor's Bible
Commentary Vol. 8.)
(Note: I would remind you that He was still the Creator as He hung
on that cross! He could have called for myriads of angels, Matt.
26:53, but He endured His crucifixion in silence, just as the prophet
had said He would, Isa. 53:7. Why did He do this? Because He
B. V. 35-44 He Endured The Pain Of The Crowds - While Jesus
endured the agony of the cross, those who were at Calvary that day
did everything in their power to enhance His suffering. The soldiers
who had nailed Him to the cross are at His feet gambling over His
clothes. The rank and file walk beneath His stricken form and mock
Him. The religious leaders ridicule this sad, broken figure hanging
on the cross. Even the two other men who are hanging there with
Him that day join in the mockery of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The only compassion He received that day was from a tiny group
of people gathered at the foot of His cross watching His die. His
mother, an aunt, a beloved disciple, a woman delivered from a life
of sin. They were there to love Him and mourn His death!
(Note: Again, I am reminded of just Who this was hanging there that
day! One word from Him and His tormentors would have evaporated
into nothingness! Yet, He did not return their torments or attacks.
When He did speak, it was to pray for them and for their forgiveness, Luke 23:34. What grace! Why did He do this? Because He loves
C. V. 45-46 He Endured The Pain Of The Condemned - When I refer
to His enduring the pain of the condemned, I am not just referring to
His graciously saying the dying thief, Luke 23:39-43. I am referring
to the amazing event that transpired during the three hours of
darkness. I am referring to that moment in time when Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, literally became the sin of the world on the cross, 2
Cor. 5:21. I will never understand it, but I praise God for it every
day. Somehow, all of our sins were transferred to Him as He hung
on that cross. He, the last Adam, became our sin and He was
judged by God in our place! The first Adam brought sin and death
to the entire human race by his actions in the Garden of Eden. The
second Adam, the Lord Jesus, brought salvation and life to all who
will believe by His actions on the cross of Calvary! God judged Him
as if He were every sinner when He died. He paid the price for all
of us that we all might be saved!
(Note: Why did He endure the full brunt of the wrath of God on the
cross? Why did He take our Hell and feel our death? Because He
III. V. 50-54 THE POWER OF HIS CRUCIFIXION
A. V. 50 The Power Of Redemption - When the Saviour breathed His
last on the cross, redemption had been secured for all those who will
place their faith in Him! No greater words have ever been spoken
that when Jesus, just before He died said, "It is finished!", John
19:30. Through His death, He satisfied God's just demands for sin, Rom. 6:23. He took the place of the guilty before the judgment bar
of God and secured redemption through His blood for all who will
trust Him as their Savior, 1 Pet. 1:18-19! His death on the cross
forever satisfied God, 1 John 2:2; Rom. 3:25. His death on the
cross liberates those trapped and victimized by sin! He sets us free
when we receive Him by faith!
(Ill. In his book Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of
a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor
explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered
from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a
transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the
disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the
boy was the ideal donor.
"Would you give your blood to Mary?" the doctor asked. Johnny
hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said,
"Sure, for my sister." Soon the two children were wheeled into the
hospital room--Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy.
Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned. As the
nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny's smile faded. He
watched the blood flow through the tube.
With the ordeal almost over, his voice, slightly shaky, broke the
silence. "Doctor, when do I die?'
Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why
his lip had trembled when he'd agreed to donate his blood. He's
thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that
brief moment, he'd made his great decision. Johnny, fortunately,
didn't have to die to save his sister. Each of us, however, has a
condition more serious than Mary's, and it required Jesus to give not
just His blood but His life.)
What that means for you my friend is that you do not have to die
and go to Hell! You can be saved by the grace of God! Your sins
can be forgiven! You can be made right with God if you will receive
Him as your Lord and Savior!
B. V. 50 The Power Of Restoration - Through the death of Jesus on
the cross, the believer finds himself restored to a right relationship
with God. Through His death, all those who receive Him by faith, are
justified, Rom. 5:9. The word justified means "to be declared
righteous; to render one righteous, or to make one as he ought
to be." The blood of Jesus does for me what I could never do for
myself! It washes my sins away and renders me righteous in the
sight of the Lord. It is the blood of Jesus that makes men worthy to
go to Heaven, Phil. 3:9.
C. V. 51 The Power Of Reconciliation - When Jesus died on the
cross, we are told that the veil of the Temple was torn in half, from
the top to the bottom. The veil stood as a barrier between the holy
place and the holy of holies in the Temple. Behind this veil was the
mercyseat. The High Priest would enter behind that veil once each
year on the Day of Atonement and place the blood of the sacrifice on
the mercyseat to atone for the sins of the people. That veil had
stood as a reminder that man was separated from God by his sins
and was unworthy to approach God, Isa. 59:2. However, when
Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn in two, signifying that the
way to God had been opened. Man no longer need ever be
separated from God by his sins any longer. He can be brought into
the presence of God by the blood of Christ that was shed on the
cross, Eph. 2:12-16. The blood brings sinful man and holy God
together as one!
Conc: I can only think of one day that might rival the day Jesus died as an
even more glorious day, at least on a personal level. That day would be the
day when I understood that He died for me and I responded to His call and
was saved by His grace.
My friends, has the day Jesus died on the cross really become the day
that He died for you? You say, "But didn't He die for everyone?" Well
Yes and No! His death only has value for you if you are willing to receive
Him as your Saviour! Otherwise, as far as you are concerned, His death on
the cross meant absolutely nothing!
Has there been a day in your life when you trusted Jesus Christ as your
personal Savior? Has there been a moment in your life when you embraced
Him, His blood and His resurrection as your only hope of Heaven? Are you
saved? If not, you can be! Just come to Him if He is calling you and He will
save you by His grace and set you free from your sins and your destiny in
Are you saved? Are you living like a saved person? After all He did for
you, how can you give Him less than your best? Are you saved? How long
has it been since you bowed before Him and just loved on the Lord and
thanked Him for saving an old sinner like yourself? Whatever He is doing
in your heart today, just mind Him!