The Crucifixion - The Cross Points to Christ’s Saving Love - John 19:17-18
April 5, 2022, 9:00 AM

John 19:17-18    17   Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).   18   Here they crucified him, and with him two others-- one on each side and Jesus in the middle.      

John 3:16   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.    

The cross is believed to be used by the Persians a number of years previous to Roman crucifixions as a means of execution. The Romans adapted it for foreign criminals and slave executions by having the victim carry a horizontal bar on his back to where a pole or upright bar was already set. The person was stripped and nailed to the beam. He then was lifted up having his feet nailed to the standing vertical beam. The cause of death would often be a combination of shock, exposure, loss of blood and commonly suffocation. It was a cruel death physically. The Romans had a law that a citizen could not be killed in such a manner.   

You may remember the common means of execution by the Jews was stoning. For a short period of time Rome would not allow Jews to have anyone put to death. This must have happened once again to fulfill the prophecies that Jesus was to shed His blood and be lifted up on a pole, (like the symbolic serpent on the pole talked about in the time of Moses).     

Isaiah 53:7 tells us that “He was led as a sheep to be slaughtered, yet he opened not his mouth.”. Jesus was led away. You don’t drive sheep you lead them.                   

The cross points to the saving love of Jesus Christ taking the curse of sin as the one substitute for our punishment. He was identified with the sinners when He was placed between two thieves. I wondered how Jews could read from their own Old Testament prophets, particularly Isaiah 53, and miss the direct detailed account of the cross of Christ. Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, explains it saying it frustrates the Jewish theological teachers, because it is so close to the life, ministry, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. They have one theory - that the passage refers to the entire nation of Israel. It is omitted from the liturgical synagogue readings during the calendar year.                   

Rosen writes that most Jewish people are unaware that Isaiah 53 even exists. A very common response from a Jew who looks at it for the first time is “That’s not from the Jewish Scriptures. It sounds New Testament to me.” When individuals come to faith in Jesus as the true Messiah, they see the passage for the first time and are startled to discover it was there all along.                   

Isaiah is talking about a God who is sending, with love, a substitute willing to suffer so that by His stripes we are healed and by His sacrifice we are saved. Psalm 22 highlights the piercing of the hands and feet.                  

Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me. The cross points to this saving love.    

Application:  Meditate on the Hymn Jesus Paid It All - I hear the Savior say, thy strength indeed is small! Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.   Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain - He washed it white as snow. 

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for giving us these Old Testament Prophecies that were so clearly fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ.    As I watch and pray, may I find in thee my all in all knowing that You were willing to suffer so that I might be healed, saved through the blood of Jesus.   

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