THE DEATH OF CHRIST

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: JOHN 19:14-42




INTRODUCTION:


  1. Today we are going to look at one of the most important events in the history of mankind, i.e., the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 19 is a very important chapter in the Bible because it deals with the crucifixion of our Lord. We will also refer to some other Scriptures as well.
  2. These momentous events should not only be understood from the historical point of view, but also from the doctrinal point of view. The substitutionary death of Christ is undoubtedly the most important doctrine in the Bible.
  3. One preacher put it this way: What happened that day is important; but even more important is that we understand why it happened. There are millions of people who understand what happened that day in Jerusalem, but unfortunately many of them do not have the slightest idea why it happened.
  4. I was listening to a friend preach over the radio, and he mentioned a survey where many people consider the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus more important than the death of Christ. Well, undoubtedly these people understand what happened on the cross, but they are confused as to why it happened.

  1. THE PATH TO THE CROSS
  2. THE WORDS FROM THE CROSS
  3. THE WORK ON THE CROSS

 

I. THE PATH TO THE CROSS.

  1. If we are to properly understand the death of Christ, let us remember that the path to the cross was a path of rejection (John 19:14, 15).
  2. Seven hundred years before the cross, Isaiah the prophet said: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not" (Isa. 53:3).
  3. The path way to the cross was a path of rejection. In John 19:15, the people cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him." Unsaved friend, you may not articulate those terrible words with your tongue, but if you reject Jesus Christ, those words are in your heart! They cried out: "Crucify Him" (19:15). The path to the cross was a path of rejection.
  4. Also, the path to the cross was a path of submission to the will of God (cf. Matt. 26:38, 39). We read in John 19:16, "Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away."
  5. Wicked men "led Him away," but the Bible says our Lord did not resist (cf. Isa. 53:7; I Peter 2:21-24).
  6. It was also a path of hard labor (John 19:17). It was customary for a criminal to carry his cross from the judgment hall to the place of execution. Our Lord began the mile-long walk "bearing His cross" (John 19:17). We read in the other Gospels that he was relieved by one Simon of Cyrene, who was passing by (cf. Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26).
  7. Why the Romans compelled Simon we are not told. Perhaps our Lord was so weak after His scourging that He had a difficult time walking. Maybe they were getting impatient with His faltering steps. The Bible does not say. But we know that the path to the cross was a path of labor.
  8. The path to the cross was also a path of suffering (John 19:18). Crucifixion was a cruel way to die. Nobody knows who started this horrible form of execution -- some say the Persians, some say the Phoenicians, but we know that the Romans popularized it. Psalm 22:16 is a remarkable prophecy; David wrote, "They have pierced my hands and my feet" years before anyone had ever heard of crucifixion.
  9. Nearly 500 years before the cross, Zechariah the prophet wrote: "And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced" (Zech. 12:10; cf. John 19:36, 37).
  10. The path to the cross was a path of intense suffering and agony -- the scourging, the crown of thorns, the buffeting by wicked men, the huge nails driven through our Lordís hands and feet.
  11. The path to the cross was also a path of shame. The wicked Roman soldiers mocked our Lord and spit on Him. They that passed by the cross railed on Him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross" (Mark 15:29, 30).
  12. "Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save" (Mark 15:31).
  13. The path way to the cross was a path of shame. Our Lord was mocked; and He was reviled (cf. I Peter 2:22-24).
  14. Our Lord was crucified between two thieves (John 19:18). This only added to the shame -- the sinless Son of God was hung on a cruel cross between two common criminals! Think about it!
  15. And this too was a fulfillment of prophecy. Isaiah 53:12 says, "He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
  16. Isaiah said He "made intercession for the transgressors." Luke 23:34 tells us Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
  17. It was a path of rejection and humiliation, and a path of suffering and shame but thank God there was an end to this path. Jesus said: "It is finished" (John 19:30).

Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished," was His cry;
Now in Heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

 

II. THE WORDS FROM THE CROSS.

  1. We have already looked at some of these words -- words of intercession: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
  2. Our Lord also spoke words of salvation. To the repentant thief He said, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
  3. From the cross, our Lord spoke words of love (John 19:26, 27).
  4. From the cross, our Lord spoke words of physical suffering (John 19:28).
  5. From the cross, our Lord also spoke words of extreme spiritual and emotional suffering. As the sins of the whole world were laid upon Him, He cried out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46; cf. Ps. 22:1). Who can comprehend such pain and suffering?
  6. From the cross, our Lord spoke words of victory (John 19:30).
  7. From the cross, our Lord spoke words of authority (Luke 23:46). Our Lord died by His own volition. Remember He had said, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself" (John 10:18).
  8. This differentiates the death of Christ from all other deaths, because He had the power and authority to die by His own volition because He is the God-man.

 

III. THE WORK ON THE CROSS.

  1. The life of Christ is very important, but the NT emphasizes His death. Why did Jesus come into the world? He Himself said, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
  2. The apostle Paul said: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (I Tim. 1:15). And how did He accomplish this wonderful salvation? How does Jesus save lost sinners?
  3. By His work on the cross (cf. I Peter 2:24).
  4. His death on the cross was a vicarious death (I Peter 3:18).
  5. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US" (Rom. 5:8).
  6. His death on the cross was a finished work -- He cried out: "It is finished" (John 19:30).

 

CONCLUSION:


  1. I was looking through the Encyclopedia Britannica. In my edition, there are 16 big pages under the title "Jesus Christ." It discusses the political conditions and the religious conditions of His day, His birth, and His ministry. It has many interesting facts (as well as many errors).
  2. But it only has a few sentences about the death of Christ. And it states that it the substitutionary death of Christ is only a "theory."
  3. But according to the Bible, it is not a "theory," but a fact (cf. Isaiah 53:4-6). And the only way to be saved is to understand these facts, and believe these facts, and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins.


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