“THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED”
1. This coming Sunday, the western world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in one way or another. On Saturday the city of Monrovia will observe their annual “Spring Egg Hunt,” secularizing Easter completely out of the annual celebration with no appreciation for the irony of it all.
2. I would also expect there to be an alliance of Churches in Library Park on Sunday at dawn, commemorating the resurrection of Christ with a sunrise service. Of course, most of the Churches represented at that service are pastored by men who do not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. But why quibble about crucial things?
3. Our own Easter service will take place at the regularly scheduled time, wherein we will celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in victory over death after being dead for three days and three nights. That is Sunday morning at 10:45. Tonight’s service, on that day of the week when the Lord Jesus was crucified, will overview His crucifixion.
4. Allow me to work backwards, chronologically, starting from Easter Sunday morning events, and moving back to the crucifixion, and before that, to the garden of Gethsemane.
5. Mark 16.1-6:
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
6. Notice three things: First, notice that, according to Mark 16.2, this scene takes place at sun up on Sunday. Second, notice that the stone is already rolled away from the tomb, Mark 16.4. Finally, notice that Jesus is not at the tomb, because He had already risen.
7. Matthew 28.1-10:
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
8. Four things to notice in this passage: First, this episode does not take place at dawn, but approaching dusk, which is the end of the sabbath. The new Jewish day begins at dusk, and the word “dawn” in Matthew 28.1 refers to approaching something, specifically, approaching the beginning of a new day. Thus, Matthew 28 records events almost 12 hours earlier than Mark 16 does.
9. Second, during this episode the stone is rolled away and there is an earthquake, scaring the guards, verses 2, 3, and 4. Third, the Lord Jesus is not at the tomb, just as Mark 16 records, but, fourth, He is still nearby, verse 9. Twelve hours later, which events Mark 16 records, the risen Lord Jesus is no longer nearby the now empty tomb.
10. So, sometime around sun down on late Saturday afternoon, the stone was rolled away for all the world to see that Jesus had risen from the dead and that His body was no longer in the tomb. But where had He been for three days and three nights before His resurrection?
11. His body had been in the tomb. It had been placed there following His crucifixion, and, at Pilate’s orders, guards had been placed at the sealed entrance to make sure no one came and stole the body. I read Matthew 27.66: “So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”
12. But where had His soul gone when He gave up the ghost and died? My opinion matches the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
13. As I have stated before, Hell refers to the place of the dead. At the time of Christ’s crucifixion, I believe there were two compartments to Hell, the place of torment for the damned and the place called paradise for the redeemed. Jesus promised the one thief that he would be with Him in paradise that very day, Luke 23.43: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
14. So, I think the soul of Jesus was in that place of the redeemed dead for three days and three nights, until such time that the resurrection was to occur and His soul would reunite with His miraculously glorified body, in fulfillment of Psalm 16.10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
15. If Jesus had risen from the dead by dusk on Saturday, and if He had been dead for three days and three nights, when was He crucified? I think Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday morning, He hung on the cross throughout the day, gave up the ghost in the late afternoon, and His body was taken down and hurriedly buried before the sun went down because of the approach of the special sabbath.
16. Let me read from Matthew 27, His last unjust and illegal trial, and His crucifixion:
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
10 And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.
11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
17. This, I believe, as I said before, all took place on a Wednesday. Then, after three days and three nights, as Jesus predicted, He rose from the dead at the setting of the sun on Saturday, Matthew 28.1, with Mark 16 referring to events that occurred on Sunday morning just before the rising of the sun.
18. The Last Supper, then, had taken place on a Tuesday night, after which the Lord Jesus retired with His apostles to the garden of Gethsemane (with the exception of Judas, who was in the process of betraying Him).
19. One more passage to read before we go to my text for the evening. Luke 22.39-48:
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
20. I would suspect that the events described in this passage occurred between 10:00 PM and midnight on Tuesday. Of course, there are many details surrounding our Lord’s passion that I have left out, for lack of time, but you can get a mental picture of what our Savior went through, from the time He went to the garden Tuesday night to pray with such intensity that He began to bleed, to His crucifixion on Wednesday, and finally to His resurrection on Saturday, as it began to get dark.
21. “But pastor, that is so different from the way I learned that it happened as I was growing up.” Yes, using the Bible for your rule of faith and practice is so troublesome, and it puts you so much at odds with the assumptions and cherished beliefs of the lost religious crowd, who would like for Easter to be all about bunnies and eggs and chocolate candy.
22. Easter, as we call it, is actually about sin and damnation and blood and suffering and sacrifice and death and resurrection and victory. But the victory came at an extremely high price.
23. Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 5.7, where we will read through verse 9, to see the writer of Hebrews’ summation of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
24. There are three main observations that I want to bring to your attention from this passage, which is a look back, an overview if you will, that the writer to the Hebrews gives to us concerning the saving work of Jesus Christ as our High Priest and at the same time our Sacrifice:
1A. First, JESUS PRAYED
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared”
1B. The phrase “Who in the days of his flesh” refers to the entirety of the Lord’s earthly sojourn leading up to and including His crucifixion. The writer to the Hebrews is clearly giving to us a broad overview of the most salient features of His earthly ministry. It was not the miracles. It was not the teachings. So far as the writer to the Hebrews is concerned, the most important activities the Lord Jesus engaged in relative to His high priestly duties and His role as our substitute were His prayers and supplications.
2B. The Lord Jesus Christ prayed throughout His earthly ministry, as any reading of the gospels shows, but the intensity of His prayers and supplications increased dramatically toward the end of His life, as He approached the cross, climaxing in the garden Gethsemane. What is said of His prayers and supplications?
1C. He offered them up with strong crying and tears. The strong crying that is mentioned here does not refer to what you and I normally think of as crying, such as sobbing and weeping. What is rather in mind here is the raising of the voice. The Lord’s cry to God on the cross is an example of this: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb. He also wept over Jerusalem. And He no doubt wept in the garden of Eden.
2C. My friends, this was no mechanical exercise the Lord Jesus Christ went through. He cared. He loved. He grieved. He moaned. He was in anguish. He hurt.
3C. “unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” Jesus prayed to the Father, Who “was able to save him from death.” Not spare Him from experiencing death, mind you, but bringing Him through death to the other side. Did God, the Father, hear His Son’s prayers? Yes. Upon what basis were the prayers heard? “Was heard in that he feared.” The Father heard the heart cries of His Son, Who feared Him. Fear of God promotes prayer to God. And He answered.
4C. My friend, do not ever again think of Jesus Christ dying for sins without thinking of Jesus Christ praying to His Father . . . for you. John 17 records some of the Lord Jesus Christ’s prayer to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. Let me read to you but one utterance: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word,” John 17.20.
2A. Next, JESUS SUFFERED
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered”
1B. Think about this, if you will. Jesus is the Son of God! He is the eternal Son of the living God! He became a man so He might redeem men. But He has ever been and will ever be God’s only begotten Son.
2B. Yet He suffered. What did He suffer? The death of the cross. How did He suffer? At His Own Father’s hand. Isaiah 53.4 declares that He was “smitten of God.” He was wounded, bruised, oppressed, afflicted. And though wicked men were instruments of punishment, Who did it? Isaiah 53.10: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”
3B. My friend, what unimaginable suffering the Lord Jesus Christ experienced. It was at His Father’s hand, but for what purpose and to what end? Why did Jesus suffer so? I read a portion of First Peter 3.18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
4B. Never think of Jesus dying on the cross without thinking of Jesus praying for sinners. Never think of Jesus dying on the cross without thinking of Jesus suffering for sinners. There were things He would never know but by obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. But He obeyed unto death, and thereby learned obedience.
3A. Finally, JESUS SAVES
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”
1B. Perfect has to do with finishing your course, with completing your assignment. There was an assignment given to the Son by the Father. When completed, that assignment would enable the Son to legally, to righteously, to holily, to honorably, to creditably, save sinners.
2B. Since Jesus did what the Father directed Him to do, “he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He is now “able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” Hebrews 7.25.
1. Facts are important things. It is necessary to know important facts. But facts can become dry and stale and clinical and antiseptic if they are not handled rightly. And so it is with the facts about the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Think about His suffering and bleeding and dying on the cross. You can allow the bare facts about those events to pass through your mind without having any effect, without impacting in any way, your heart.
3. My friend, Jesus Christ did not pray for you. He prayed for you, crying out to God for you, pleading with His heavenly father concerning you. He wept for you. He pleaded for you. And then He suffered for you! Oh, how He suffered for you. The cruelest punishments. The most horrible indignities.
4. So, now that He is able to save, the only question has to do with whether or not you are one of them who obey Him. And this obedience begins with His command that you come to Him.
 Http://www.new-life.net/conf1.htm 11/17/02