Midweek Fellowship – September 14, 2016

“The Death and the Burial of Jesus Christ”

 

Dcn. Garry Salguero

 

1Corinthians 15:3-8 says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”

 

St. Paul is sharing in this Scriptures the priority in his ministry.  This was reported to him and he was evangelized and then he evangelized the people in Corinth.  During that time, there were many misconceptions and rumors to discredit the death and the burial of Jesus Christ.    If we discredit the death of Christ, we discredit His resurrection and godliness. 

 

There were misconceptions regarding His death and burial:

  • esus recovered from His wounds and resuscitated; He did not really die.

  • Christ injuries were nonfatal injury.  

  • Jesus was buried and His body was stolen by the disciples.

  • Jesus was replaced on the cross by someone else, by Judas.  Since Judas was to kill himself, and it was said that it was just a piece of meat that was hanging on the cross, Judas would experience what Jesus experienced and not be recognized because of his wounds.

 

The death of Christ

On the reports of the death of Christ, twenty five percent of the Gospel accounts focused on the death of Jesus Christ.  Christ knew about His Death. He was totally aware of His death; it was not hidden from Him. In fact, He talked about it to His disciples.  The first prediction was in Matthew 16:21-23, cross referenced with Mark 8: 31-33, and Luke 9: 21-22.   In Matthew 16:21-23New American Standard Bible (NASB), “21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”  

The second time Jesus talked about His death was in Matthew 17: 22-23, cross-referenced with Mark 9: 30-32and Luke 9: 43-45.  InMatthew 17:22-23New American Standard Bible (NASB), “22 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.’ And they were deeply grieved. Or greatly distressed and they were afraid to ask Jesus because they did not understand what Jesus said.”

The third time Jesus talked about His death was in Matthew 20: 17-19, cross-referenced with Mark 10: 32-34 and Luke 18: 31-34. Matthew 17: 22-23 NASB says, “17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” In Luke it says there that the disciples did not grasp what Jesus said.

 

In the Gospel of John, John presented the death of Christ differently.  As a background, in John chapter 8, Jesus was accused by the Jews of having a demon because Jesus said that He is God.  The Jews tried to stone Him, but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple. In chapter 9, Jesus healed a blind man. The people investigated the blind man. In chapter 10, Jesus was telling the Jews that He was the Good Shepherd and He and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Stoning was allowed by the law at that time and it was like a public judgment.   Jesus eluded their grasp and He went away beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing. They stayed and many believed in Him there. The Jews were very angry at Jesus because He was exposing them, so they tried to kill Him by stoning Him.  

 

John 11: 1-16 is about the death and resurrection of Lazarus. “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”

 

“7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”

 

Jesus was telling them to go back to Judea. Now it’s time to go back, and of course, they saw it as highly dangerous.  So they reminded Him that He just escaped stoning and it makes no sense to go there again, to which He answered with a very interesting proverb.  Verses 9 and 10, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?  If anyone walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble.  That is, nothing bad happens to him because he is in the light and he can see what he is doing and where he is going.  But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles.  Bad things happen because the light is not in him.” 

Jesus is talking about His life. Daytime is our life here on earth while nighttime is death. His life and His death were ordained just like daytime and nighttime. It is fixed and determined. You can’t lengthen the daylight; you can’t shorten the daylight. No friend can lengthen the daylight; no enemy can shorten the daylight.  It is what it is, and it is fixed by God; and so is Jesus’ life.  Jesus was saying to His disciples, “And in that light of life which God has ordained for Me, I will not stumble.  That is to say, nothing will happen to Me that is outside the plan of God.” 

Each day is ordained by God.  The time allotted for Jesus to accomplish His earthly ministry is also ordained.   It is fixed by God.  It can’t be lengthened by any precautionary measures.  This is why the disciples were asking Jesus to lengthen His stay on earth, but they cannot because God had ordained His life.   One cannot hide somewhere in a cave and escape conflict to lengthen daytime.   

From my own personal standpoint, I really believe and I have confidence in this promise of God.   I can’t do anything.  Neither can anybody else lengthen my life.  God is in control.   When I was 4 years old, I met a near death car accident.  I was in front of the house at the sidewalk and a car hit me.  The car was not running fast.  I went under the car and the car dragged me for a hundred meters.  When I was taken to the hospital, I was told that I was fortunate to be alive. My only injury was that my right leg went inside my thigh.

There were other incidents to show that God ordained my life.  I once fell from a metal scaffolding.  Another fall was from a wooden frame that broke my right leg bones and I had several cuts from rusted metal.  Twice, I almost drowned.  Four times, I was grazed by bullets.  Driving my motorcycle, I was hit twice by a cement mixer; three times by a car at the back and one time, at my right side. Several times, I was thrown ahead of my motorcycle because the vehicle in front of me suddenly stopped.  I also had an eye accident when I was hammering a nail. Part of the nail chipped off and the metal hit my right eye and got imbedded and it had to be removed by surgery.

In John 12:24, it says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat fall to the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  From a thousand varieties of seeds, Christ chooses a grain of wheat which is very familiar to the disciples.  The grain needs to be buried underground so life can spring forth.  It has to die literally and it has to decompose because its component is the initial food of the germ. When it is strong enough to grab the soil, it will sustain the seed.  

In the Gospel of John, in chapters 13 to 17, Jesus mentions several occasions where He prepared His disciples for His death.  Christ died according to the Scriptures.   His death was not a sad misadventure, but it was something God destined for Him for the sins of mankind.  The Romans presented the death of Jesus as that of a rebel, a man guilty of treason. 

There are Scriptures to show that Christ fulfilled prophecies about His death. Actually, there are more than 300 prophecies in the Bible about Christ’s death.  I will refer to a few.   Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.   In Psalm 22:16, “Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through.”  We can the fulfilment in John 20:25.  Psalm 22:17 say that the Messiah’s bones will not be broken and we can see this in John 19:33.   Psalm 22:18 says that men will cast lots for Messiah’s clothing, which is seen in Matthew 27:35.

In Isaiah 53, known as the “Suffering Servant” prophecy, verse 3 says that the Messiah will be rejected by His people.  We can see this in Luke 13:34.  In Isaiah 53:5–9, it says that the Messiah will be killed as a sacrifice for the sins of His people.  This will be seen fulfilled in 2 Corinthians 5:21.  In Isaiah 53:7, “Messiah will be silent in front of His accusers,” and 1 Peter 2:23 shows this fulfilled.  In Isaiah 53:9, it says that the Messiah will be buried with the rich.  Matthew 27:57–60 shows the fulfilment of this verse. In Isaiah 53:12, it says that the Messiah will be with criminals in His death, and we can see this fulfilled in Mark 15:27.   In Isaiah 53also says that the Messiah would be “cut off out of the land of the living,” meaning the He will die.

Jesus’ death was not accidental, coincidental and not intentional.  It is according to the Scriptures. Jesus did not influence people to fulfil prophecy.  He did not call the guards to cast lots for His garment so He can fulfil a prophecy. Jesus’ death was ordained by God.  

 

One more prophecy was the Jewish Passover sacrifice and it coincided with Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. The dates on which Jesus was taken by the Roman authorities, and then slain, also coincided precisely with the Jewish Passover. Jesus became literally and symbolically the Passover Lamb. 

In the Scriptures in Matthew 27:50, Mark 15: 37, Luke 23: 46, John 19: 30, it says that Christ is dead, and He breathed His last or He gave up His spirit.   What is the purpose of Christ’s death?   One was to glorify God the Father.  In John 17, the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus was saying that everything that He did, His obedience, was all for the glory of God.   In John 9: 3 which was about the blind man that was healed, Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  In John 11: 4, “4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Another purpose of Christ’s death is to pay for our sins.  Christ’s atoning death is a central tenet of the faith. In Romans 5:6, “6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” In Romans 5: 8, “8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In Romans 8:32, “32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  

1 Corinthians 8:11, “11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.”  InEphesians 5:2, “2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Galatians. 1:4, “4 Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

 

Jesus did not die because He is a good example.  He did not die because He was a nice martyr.  Jesus Christ died for our sins; and He took upon Himself our sins and He carried our sins on the cross.  Even though He bore all of our sins on the cross, He remained sinless. One apostolic Father commented that Jesus was submerged into sin and even if He was, He did not know sin and He did not commit a single sin.

 

We need to know these things because the society that we live in today tries to erase these things.   A few months ago, I walked into a mall and I met young people who just watched the movie “Heneral Luna” and I heard them talking about one character named Apolinario Mabini whom they apparently did not know because they were asking questions why he was always sitted during the whole movie. It may not be that Filipino heroes are not being taught now in schools.  

 

Most of our youth live in a Christian family, and they go to a Christian school, and they have Christian friends and it seems that sin is not talked about.  In our society, the concept of sin has been changed.  Sin has been changed to illness, sickness, addictions, bad habits, and adolescence stage.  It is also called compulsion, dependence, obsessions, disorders, anomalies, and syndrome. A person can curse and no one would say that it is a sin because it was a habit of that person to do so.  As long as people feel good about themselves, even if they commit sin, it is okay.   A famous Olympic male athlete made transgender history by identifying himself as a woman and no one said what he did was a sin. 

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