The Day Christ Died

Title: The Day Christ Died

Bible Book: Revelation

Author: John Bisagno

Subject: Cross of Christ; Christ, Death of



I. The Relating Of His Death

At 9:00 on Friday morning they crucified Him. He was crucified naked. The artist have been kind through the years and have placed a garment on his body. But, in reality, he was crucified unclothed. The captain of the Praetorian guard allowed the division of the clothing as mementos of the day. One took the inner tunic while another the outer one. Yet another kept the girdle and one took His sandals. When they came to the robe they found that it was beautiful, priceless and seamless; so they sat down and gambled at the foot of the cross for that seamless robe.

The events of the week had gone as predicted. An avalanche of hosannas as the King of Kings swept Jesus on Monday into the city of Jerusalem - The City of The King. It was His city - His by prophecy, His by creation, His by right, His by deity - all things were His. He had come to His own, His own things, but His own received Him not. As quickly as the sun set on Wednesday's, once again the Pharisees had fanned a flame of fiery animosity against Jesus that would spread like a prairie fire against him and lead to his death.

What were the charges against Him, what were the crimes? The crime was love. He eats with sinners, He loves the unlovely, He touches the untouchable, He forgives the unforgivable, and He makes the audacious claims - claims that He, a carpenter, the son of the peasant girl, could restore the temple once it was destroyed in only three days! Those were His crimes. They hated Him for what He did and what He said!

While still a young man, popular opinion was beginning to turn against Him. But the flame of the Pharisee's indignation would be the catalyst that would sweep him beyond the precipice of rejection and into the hopeless and abysmal depths of total rejection by the very world that He had created and the people He had chosen to be His messengers.

The events of that day were not without preparation, for before the Roman judicial system would allow such a death a trial would have to take place. The accuracy, the perfection, the thrust of the very system used to try Him is to this day the judicial system upon which all modern societies are built. And yet he was tried in a trail that was erroneous in over 50 points of the Roman law. Without prior notice, held at night, without his accusers present, without benefit of witness or counsel, and the list goes on and on, he was falsely tried. Not once but trice was he tried on the same charge. Once before Pilate, then to Herod on legal technicalities and then to Herod where He was a loop hole in

the law would allow Herod to claim that the issue was out of his jurisdiction. Then he was sent back to Pilate and a third time Pilate tries the Lord Jesus. He asks, "What is truth"? And He who was incarnate truth, answered him not a word for He knew that Pilate was not looking for truth. Pilate's wife had said: "Have nothing to do with this man, for I have suffered many things of Him this night in a dream." And yet giving in to the pressures of his office, his own conscience stricken with the tension and tug of the guilt of his true feelings, he would say, "I will not pronounce judgment! I am innocent of the blood of this man, do with him as you will." The crowd responded, "We accept the blame, let his blood be more gladly on us and on our children." Pilate asked, "Barabbas, would you rather have Barabbas, the seditionist?" The crowd responded once again, "No! Release Barabbas and let Jesus be crucified - away with him! We will not have this man to be Lord over us. Crucify him, yes, that's it crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!"

In the trial, he was beaten. This was not primarily to bring death, but it was for a the purpose of appeasing the people as a substitute for death. Historically men had fasted 39 days for 40 was to bring death. Historically and traditionally they would be beaten 39 times for 40 would bring death. He would not be killed by beating, He would die as prophesied on a Roman gibbet.

And so the soldiers were called and a cat o' nine tails was brought forth to be used on Jesus. The cat o' nine tails was a long leather whip with steal prongs on each end that bit into the back of the one being beaten. Thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, and finally thirty-nine mighty blows were placed on the back of our Lord! Stop! That's enough! After this, they compelled the Nazarene to bear the cross. The back laid bare to the smitters would now carry a 200 - 250 pound Roman cross to the place of execution. Weakened by loss of blood and days of fasting and preparation for the ordeal bearing the loneliness of humiliation and the scars of rejection from his own whom He loved so much, Jesus carried the cross up that lonely hill. All earthly human energy was drained from His body. He had said, "What shall I pray, 'Save me from this hour, for this cause came - I pray for thy power.'"

His muscles flexed and the cross was placed upon his back. He began to course the path of the Way of the Cross. For the better part of a mile the rough Roman streets, the cobblestones, and the jagged rocks bit into his knees and his shins as he fell, time after time. Upon a knee He made one last effort, but all physical hope was gone and He fell crushed beneath the load.

"There, yonder in the crowd, you, that big black man, you come here!" Simon of Cyrene, a man from Africa, towered above the people. Bronzed, blacken, with burly muscles, this tall handsome black man has the privilege that every Christian should love to have, that of bearing the cross for Jesus.

"Must Jesus bare the cross alone and all the world go free?

No, there is a cross for everyone. And there's a cross for me!"

There is a cross for Simon of Cyrene. There's a cross for you and there's a cross for me. He carries the cross and the Savior looks at Him and through tear stained eyes smiles as only eyes of love can speak and says "I love and I thank you". At the top of the hill, minutes later, it seems like the sun beams more hotly than ever she has shown and the leaves cease to blow on the trees and the breeze is no more and death looms about Golgotha. At a distance you can see the tiny hill that is hardly 200 feet high. All about that hill, to this day, there are graves.

Two men were already lifted up on crosses when Jesus arrived. They were evil men who were dying for their crimes. Jesus was lifted up on a cross between them. Prophecy was fulfilled which read, "In death He was slain with the transgressors." In His dying, he identified Himself with the sinful human stream that He had come to save from the beginning to the very end.

In stillness and death, like the world has never known, the birds hushed their singing, the insects stopped their scurrying about and all the world was breathless. Jesus laid down willingly, hands outstretch flat on his back looking in the face of his Father, in order that His hands might be nailed to that cross. Angels strained over the parapets of heaven to see - they cannot believe what they are seeing and in startled amazement the word goes down the streets of glory, "They are crucifying Him! They are crucifying our King!"

A nine-inch spike is placed into His left hand first. And He prepares for the awful excruciating pain of the first blow as the hand is punctured and the blood oozes forth. Then going out through all eternity is a sound the world shall never hear again - the steal bites into the flesh as He is crucified. As tightly as the head of a drum, his other arm is stretched down the other beam of the cross and another spike is nailed into that hand. The hand that was raised one days as Jesus said: "Suffer the little children to come to me," and, "Everyone that thirsts come to the waters," and, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see God," that hand is now nailed to a tree! His hands are nailed to the cross and now his feet are crossed and a thirteen inch spike is driven in just below the ankle with an awful grinding sound.

At the base of the hill there is a hole. It is about a foot and a half wide, it is about five feet deep. The bottom of the cross is slipped into that ugly, awful socket like a hole from which a tooth has been extracted. And the captain of the Praetorium guard himself raises the back of the center beam as the two assistance on either side of the extended arms raise the Son of God up between two thieves. The bottom of the cross slips into the hole and with a resounding thud. His body sags and come to rest as He hangs on Judea's hillside. In the back of the cross historians say there is a cruel devise. A triangular shaped piece of wood, right in the middle of the beams, extends the chest forward and pulls the arms backward. Often the lungs are torn from the moorings of the body. And it is nigh impossible to breath. For one can exhale but inhaling the crucified would often strangle to death on His own blood.

Jesus would strangle to death. He would not die of the whipping. The beating would not take His life, nor would the pain, nor would the loss of blood. He died of a broken heart! When they thrust a spear into His side, blood and water erupted from the wound. Doctors tell us that the only time that blood and water come simultaneously from a rupture in the body is when the heart has been ruptured.

We literally broke the heart of the Son of God on the cross. He had never sinned. He had never made an error. He never admitted a mistake. He had never apologized for a wrong. He never retracted a word. He never confessed a sin. He never asked advice. He was God, perfect in a human body. And yet, somehow, for six hours on Golgotha, in a mystery the world that the world shall never comprehend, He that had known no sin became sin for us all that the Lord might lay on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah said that his visage was so marred beyond that of any man that we esteemed Him not. The literal rendition is awful. It means that His facial expression was so ghastly that it was almost beastly, humanly impossible to look upon. Thus the angels cried and demons shrieked in horror and the Father turned His face and the sun refused to shine. Because He that had known no sin found compressed into one six hour period all the sin, suffering, and hell and heart beak of all mankind. He became sin for us and the Lord laid on Him all the wrath of a righteous God.

He looked into the face of His Father and said: "Father forgive them they don't know what they are doing." Someone said, "He's out of his mind, he's going berserk and the pain is too much. Look he's calling for his Father. He thinks God is his father! Put him out of his misery." So they brought a sponge extended on a stick. It was mixed with vinegar and gall, which was an antiquated painkiller. They placed it to His lips. He tasted it and discovered it to be pain killer and turned His head and refused to drink. For He would not allow anything to alleviate the suffering of any of the awfulness of Golgotha because that one sin he might not be paid for. He paid for it all.

Then near the end people began to cry out to Him. They said, "Prophesy a sign to us, thou prophet." They asked, "Who was it that smote you?" They spit on Him. They said, "So you are the Savior! Spittle and blood and sweat and dirt, you don't look much like a savior. If you are the savior come down from the cross and save us! Thou who would destroy the temple and raise it up again save yourself! While you are about it you can save us too." Jesus simply prayed a loving prayer, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are saying, they don't know what they are doing."

And at last He would cry: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" "My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me?" The prophet Zechariah said: "We could not look on him whom we pierced nor could the Father. For sin had separated between Himself and ourselves as far as the east is from the west." And when He became sin for us, the animal kingdom cringed away and the demons coward him and strong men denied him and all fled from the cross and the Spirit withdrew and the Father turned His head. Then and there, Jesus had become sin for us! The at last he said: "It is finished." Not, he was finished! It is finished. He had done it. He had paid the ransom. He had provided the provision, He had given the death the law required an extracted in the pound of flesh for all sin.

And the trees lifting their bows toward Heaven announced: "It is finished! It is finished!" And the Spirit

took the blood and applied it to the mercy seat of the Holy of Holies in the heaven not made with hands. "It is finished! It is finished!" It is finished!

II. The Reason For His Death

What is that mysterious announcement? What is this, from which demons shriek in horror and that which caused the Father to turn his head? What is this that caused the graves to split open and the wind to start blowing? What is this that caused the thunder to clap and the lightening to flash and the bowls of the earth to tremble? What is this that caused rocks to split in two and the veil of the Temple to be torn from the top to bottom? What is this that caused graves to open and an awesome earthquake to rock eternity from side to side to side? What is this? Is this just some historical tragedy? Is this like the death of king Lear or the drinking of the hemlock or the assignation of a Kennedy? Is this just the death of another great man? What is this thing? What is this? Is it another one of man's great dramatic presentations on the stage of life?This is God's once for all time answer to man's first sin from Eden to Revelation! I have sinned, I have sinned, I have sinned! My God what shall I do? What shall I do?

I shall turn to the cross!

"At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day."

It is the core and the crux and the zenith of all my very being - the Cross is everything for me. Who did that? Who is responsible for this? The Roman government? But I hear the Praetorian guard say, "We are not responsible. We are just men acting under authority. We are paid executioners. We are told to go here and we did not know whom this was! We have performed hundreds of such executions. We were just men under orders, we knew not that He was the Son of God. We didn't do it!"

I think undoubtedly you know that throughout history the Jews have attempted to remove themselves of the responsibility for the death of Christ. "We are not responsible! We didn't do it. We didn't do it! We didn't crucify Him; the Romans did it." That is what the Jews say.

Who did it? One of the latest theological jags is, "God did it". It's God's fault. One contemporary liberal theologian says, "God is responsible for the death of His Son and deserves not to live." For he reasons that God is neither good nor all-powerful. Therefore. God is not really God. If He was a good God he would have stopped it, but He did not have the power to stop it. That is what the liberal theologian says. He posits this: If God is an all-powerful God and could have stopped it, then he is not a good God because he didn't stop it.

One very popular stream of religion in America today says that it was an accident. God never intended his Son to die on the cross. He just prophesied, taught and healed and that was all He was to do. Jesus, in their opinion, was meant to be a lovely thinker - He was to be a marvelous example for us. They believe that somehow before it could be stopped, a tragic accident occurred and God couldn't stop. How foolish these false ideas are!

Who killed Him? Is it God's fault? Did the Romans kill Him? Did the devil kill Him? Did the Jews kill Him? Did society kill Him? Society gets blamed for everything else, let them take the blame. Society killed Him! Ah! You know the answer, and I know the answer. You did it! I did it! We did it! Our sins did it. We nailed Jesus to the Cross just as surely as if we took a mallet in one hand and the spikes in the other and crucified Him. We did that! Our sins did it. And on that day and since that day and from that day, those arms have never ceased to be out-stretched and extended to all who would come as guilty sinners saying, "I am guilty. I am responsible. God forgive me, God be merciful to me a sinner."

"Just as I am with out one plea

But that thy blood was shed for me.

O Lamb of God, I come."

And when we come to Him and receive Him, Calvary's lovely flow falls upon us and washes all our sins away. He makes you as clean and holy and pure and white as the new driven snow.

III. The Reality Of His Death

In closing, I want the Holy Spirit, to paint a picture on your heart this morning. For I want us to stand at the cross today. Will you help me too finish? I am going to ask you to close your eyes and bow your heads. Lets all just place our hands over our eyes. If you must, slip your hands up under you glasses and don't let anything disturb you. Don't look around for any reason. Let's get relaxed and quite and wait just a moment and as we hold our hands on our eyes.

Now in your mind, see a crowd of people. It's three in the afternoon, now. The sun is not shinning because it's prematurely dark. You can barely see. Yes, there, off to the right on the little hill above the crowd are three crosses. One cross stands out - yes that's the one. Can you see Him?

"There is a hill lone and gray

And a land far away

In a country beyond the blue sea,

Where beneath that fair sky

Went a man forth to die,

For the world and for you and for me.

Can you see Him? Can you see Him?

Behold, faint on the road,

Beneath the worlds weary load,

Comes a thorn-laden man on the way.

But the lonely and faint,

Not a word of complaint

Fell from Him on that hill lone and gray.

On through the crowd,

On toward the shroud,

He is ascending that hill lone and gray.

Hark! Hark! I hear the dull blow

Of a hammer swung low.

(Thud of a hammer in the background)

They are nailing my Lord to the tree.

But the lonely and faint

Not a word of complaint

Fell from Him on dark Calvary.

Then the darkness came down,

The rocks rent around

And the cry pierced the grief leaden air.

It was the voice of our King,

Who received death's dark sting

All to save us from endless despair.

Oh it bows down my heart

And the teardrops will start

When in memory that gray hill, I see.

For it was there on it's side

Jesus suffered and died

For the world and for you and for me.

And what shall I say,

But I love Him today!

And that I know that I always will,

For He suffered and died

With my sin in His side

On Calvary's old rugged hill."

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you.


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