Article #15 on the Passion of Jesus Christ
(Matt. 27:33-50, Mk. 15:22-37, Lk. 23:33-49, Jn. 19:17-37)
This is where the earthly pilgrimage of the Christ comes to an end. The Man lived a perfect life. Every thought, word, and deed for an entire lifetime was flawless until the very end. Even so, Jesus Christ died a perfect death. Celestial beings watched with bated breath as the Son of God took those final steps up the lonely hill called Golgatha. Simon the Cyrene staggered backward in awe at what was about to happen. Here, the weight of the Cross was unshouldered, but the soul of Jesus Christ was no less burdened! Every sensible experience of divine wrath was about to intensify to a maximum degree of glory on the Cross. Nevertheless, not everyone could see it (Isa. 53:3). Not everyone wants to see it.
Watching, Seeing, Beholding, & Looking!
“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men: So shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” - Isaiah 52:13-15
The Cross is the spectacle of all ages! At once, upon encountering it, most people are unable to see the beauty of it. This is the tragic reality (1 Cor. 1:18). Therefore, mystery and controversy surround this momentous occasion in every generation. Divine love yearns to disclose this mystery to all mankind! In fact, this is the very reason that the Evangelists are bringing this scene before us in Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” – 1 Tim. 3:16
A great multitude was gathered there that day. Some people were sitting down, while others were standing, and still more were passing by because of a major roadway nearby (Jn. 19:20). Nevertheless, everyone was compelled to gaze upon the great spectacle that was before them!
“And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” – Matt. 27:36-37
“And the people stood beholding.” – Lk. 23:35
“And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads…” – Matt. 27:39 (Mk. 15:29)
The massive crowd closely watched the physical process of the crucifixion. Remarkably, once the Man was erected before them, the spectacle had only just begun! Nobody went home as if there was nothing more to see. The multitude couldn’t take their eyes off the crucified One! Then the Chief Priests spoke up, hoping to undermine the messianic identity Jesus.
“Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the Cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” - Mark 15:32
The anticipation was strong among the people. Nobody knew what the famous miracle worker would say or do now. A strong chorus of blasphemy and mockery was unrelenting from the crowd. Nevertheless, the people were still troubled at the thought of something totally unexpected happening. The Son of God proceeded to utter words from the Cross a total of seven times, and the virtue of the same reverberated into eternity.
“Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said…” – Matt. 27:47 (Mk. 15:35)
“The rest said, Let be, let us see…” – Matt. 27:49
“Let alone, let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down.” - Mk. 15:36
“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw…” - Matt. 27:54 (Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47)
“And many women were there beholding afar off…” – Matt. 27:55 (Lk. 23:49)
“There were also women looking on afar off…” – Mk. 15:40
The spectacle of all ages didn’t prove to be a disappointment. Seeing is believing (Isa. 45:22, Heb. 12:2)! Nevertheless, the eye of the beholder must be spiritually unblinded (Matt. 13:16). The facts speak for themselves. Whatever was said and done in this momentous occasion made the difference. Literally, the countenances of the blasphemers were bowed down, and the believers that were present were blessed. The hours of looking, beholding, watching, and seeing paid off in the end for many souls! The same is true for everyone from generation to generation. Tarry before the Cross of Christ and it will likely be the same for you. Amazingly, many proud blasphemers became believers that day! There is converting power at the Cross.
“And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.” - Luke 23:48
“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I AM he, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” – John 8:28-29
You can afford time for this great sight! It is worthwhile. Nothing else is more important. The Creator of the eye is purposed to capture your fascination. Don’t ignore the divine appeal of prophecy any longer! “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:22).