Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the Details

We are once again about to celebrate the anniversary of  Jesus' Death and Resurrection, an event that even after 2000 years has not been forgotten.
There were so many  significant details fulfilled on this week-end so long ago.   Details spoken about or portrayed prophetically in the Old Testament  that were  fulfilled literally by Jesus.

I'd like to note a few that you may or may not be familiar with.

1.  Jesus Robe ---   We read in   Joh 19:24  "They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: "THEY DIVIDED MY GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS." Therefore the soldiers did these things." 

Why was it important that Jesus' robe not be torn ?
God commanded the following regarding the High Priests robes... Exo 28:32  There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear. 

Note that it was reinforced around the opening so that even tearing it  by accident would be prevented.
But why?  
In Lev. 10:6 , Moses gives Aaron the stern warning of the Lord.  If a High Priest 'tears his garment' he will die and the wrath of God come upon him.   A High Priest who tore his garment disqualified himself from being High Priest.

At the time of Jesus we know that Caiaphas was the High Priest, even though he was not a descendent of Aaron.  Nevertheless, when he in Matt. 26:65, in a rage, tore his garments he not only disqualified himself but condemned himself to God's wrath.
Never again would there be a High Priest in the physical temple.
Jesus was the forever High Priest -   His garment was NOT rent !  

2. Who killed Jesus ?  
Over the millennia there has been the back and forth accusing debates about who killed Jesus.
There is really only one answer.

In the very first Passover,  God did not kill the lamb,  the Eyptians did not kill the lamb.   It was each Israelite, a sinner in need of a Savior,  that had to kill his own lamb -- the lamb whose blood on the  doorframe would save him!
So also at the cross,  it was the sinners who killed Jesus ...  you and I killed Him.   It was our sin that put Him on the cross.
I John 3:16 says that Jesus lay down His own life.  When Pilate asked Jesus if he did not know that he had power to crucify Him or set Him free , Jesus answered him that he had no power at all! Joh 19:11  Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. "
Except for your sin and mine, Jesus would not have had to give His life to save us.

3. What made Jesus finally answer Pilate when Pilate questioned him?
We know from John's epistle that Pilate was getting frustrated with Jesus because He remained silent and did not respond to his comments John 19:10 "Are you not speaking to me?...."
  We have an added detail in Luke's account in Luke 23:3 when Pilate asked him point blank .. "Are you the King of the Jews?"  and Jesus answers him ...   "It is as you say."
What made Jesus answer the question when it was worded that way?    If Jesus had not answer Pilate, Jesus would have been guilty under the law and no longer 'sinless'.  If He had not answered it would have disqualified Him as the sinless Lamb of God !
See the law stated in Lev 5:1  'If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter—if he does not tell it, he bears guilt."
The way Pilate worded his question, it was in the form of an oath and because Jesus had 'first hand' knowledge of what the answer was, He was obligated under the law to answer.   

4. Why did the Jewish leaders  want Pilate to change the wording on the 'title' Pilate wrote to hang on the cross?
When the Jews saw that Pilate had written "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews"   they were offended and requested that he change it to "he said I am King of the Jews" ...  but Pilate refused!  - John 19:19
Why did they want it changed ?   There was a very significant reason why they wanted it changed. When an educated Jew looked at the sign written in Hebrew,  he would be struck with the acrostic of the first letters of each word - King of the Jews)  ..    Put together, the letters were YHWH ...   Yahweh,  the name by which the Jews knew their  God.   So to them the sign was blasphemous ... "Jesus of Nazareth, God"
We do not know if Pilate understood what he had written , but we know God did !
He spoke to His people even from the cross ---  "You have crucified Me, your God" .

5. What does it mean that Jesus "made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death' ?
In Isaiah 53:9 we have this very specific prophecy about the Messiah.  
In hindsight it is easy to understand.  Jesus died, hanging on a cross between two wicked men.
But then a rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, obviously a man of influence, asked  for and received permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus.  He buried Jesus in his own, new unused sepulchre.
The prophecy, so seemingly contradictory, perfectly fulfilled!  Jesus died as a criminal, yet was buried in a rich man's tomb!

I wish you, my dear reader, 
a reflective Good Friday and a glorious Resurrection Sunday ! 
"He is risen !!  He is risen indeed !"   
and we are saved !!