Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P25 (12-07-20)
Let us now look more closely at the crucifixion, that period of time in history where Jesus died, was buried and three days later rose again. Many people focus so much on the birth of Christ, and nothing wrong with that, and we thank God for his birth. And we even have a holiday where that is the primary focus. But from God’s vantage point that is not the most important focus. God came to do something, that if we do not fully comprehend the meaning, we miss out, putting it mildly, on what we so desperately need, eternal life.
The death, burial and resurrection are the fundamental elements of the gospel, the message of good news, that Paul addressed in his letter to the Corinthians. The true dividing line of human history is the cross, dividing history from under the law, under an Old Covenant, before the cross, to being under grace, under a New Covenant with mankind, after the cross. God has established a new will, a new covenant, with man, with an eternal inheritance, to those who are in his will, and that by faith in Him, receiving what He came to give you, eternal life.
Zooming in now on what Kind David had written in the Psalms a thousand years before these events should unfold, and be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, as recorded by Matthew and Mark, disciples of Christ Jesus and eyewitnesses of these prophetic events. David records the manner of death Jesus would die, by being hung on a cross. No period of time in the long history of the Jews was there ever a crucifixion. People in days past, who were criminals, whose sentence was death, were stoned to death. Then, some other details recorded by David, that the Messiah would cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” are fulfilled precisely as written down through David!
That cry of Jesus before he gave his last breath has perplexed many people. Why would Jesus say that? To fully understand what David is saying, let us focus on God’s design in the creation of man, how man is made in the image of God, created with a body, soul and a spirit, with visible and invisible parts. Then let us look at what happened to creation, to Adam and Eve specifically, who chose to sin. They chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in direct violation of God’s warning, as we read in Genesis, that the day you eat of it you shall die. Adam and Eve chose to live independently from God, to determine for themselves what is good and evil, what is right and wrong, and the day they did, they died.
So what happened? Adam and Eve died that day. Did they die physically that day? No. Adam died to the one who left him, who is the Spirit of God who was once living in them. They lost the ability to commune with the living God. That sin, that choice of Adam, has now affected the entire human race so that all people who are born in Adam are born dead spiritually, without the Spirit of God living in them.
We also know God is love. What did God set out to do? He set out to reverse the cause of man’s death, which is sin, by becoming sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. He had to become a man like us. Being God, who is Spirit, but indwelling human flesh, he could voluntarily lay down his life for us. Being God, being born of a virgin, he did not inherit the fallen nature of Adam. But being God, He is not tempted by sin, and acts only in accordance with who He is, perfect love and love is the fulfillment of the law, love does its neighbor no wrong and love never fails. But being human, he is subject to die, to die like all men, but not because of his sin, for he has none, but by taking upon our sin for us.
So Jesus, referred to as the second Adam, could live a perfect life, modeling for us what it means to live like a man, but by choosing not to use His divine nature, and as a man, to be totally dependent upon the Father, He showed us, who are not God, the pattern of how we were designed to live, to live by faith. He never ceased to be God, and is the exact representation of God in human form. And observing perfect love, we might desire to be reunited to the one who left us when sin entered the world.
So what did God have to do? In his humanity, he had to die a death like ours, so that the penalty of sin, which is death, could be paid in full for all men. Then with sin dealt with, forever for all men, he can be raised to new life, so as to offer His Spirit to come live in us, to those who use their free will to choose to let God live in him, to let God be in control of their life, thereby reversing the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden.
When we do, and are born again spiritually, we become a new kind of creation, a new life that can never die, because the Spirit of God always lives in us to intercede for us. Yes, man has sin-indwelling flesh but the spirit, the invisible part of man is joined to the Holy Spirit, lives forever, and will be united with a new body just as Jesus received a new body after His resurrection.
So, will you choose to receive God’s life in Christ Jesus? That is what reverses the most serious problem facing all of mankind, being dead spiritually, and that is only corrected by life, and not any life, but the only person who has life to give that we need, called eternal life.
As a person who has come to some degree of maturity in Christ, that we really come to realize that as great as the birth of Christ Jesus, and we thank God for His birth, but it is the cross and the resurrection, that three day period, that are the most important days in the history of the world. Those three days, involved at the crucifixion, burial, death and resurrection, is the central point of focus for the sake of all humanity as far as God is concerned.
The important message of the death, burial and resurrection is of such importance for reflection.
Song by Isaac Watts, pub. 1707
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
All things seem to be a loss in comparison to this. So we realize also that, as strange as it might seem, even though you would have to conclude that the vast majority of the world, when you take the total population of the world, that only a very small percentage of people, in comparison with the totality of the population of the world, literally recognized Jesus as who He is, God. You would have a relatively small population of the world who would even recognize him period, and most as no more than a prophet. To many religions of the world, he is only a prophet along with Buddha and Mohammad and all the rest of them. But to even recognize Him as the Son of God is a small population. But to recognize Him as God and have Him in your heart as Lord and Savior, it is just a thimble-full of people in comparison to the population of the world.
As strange as that seems, the calendars of the world are divided by B.C,, before Christ, and A.D., anum domini, in the year of our Lord. That is strange to me. Here is Christ recognized, and in many cases, just in the division in our calendars, and yet never recognized as who he is. Yet man has seen fit, generations ago, to divide the calendar by His life. The interesting thing about that, from man’s vantage point, we normally, when we hear the word B.C., we think of before Christ. We normally equate that with his birth, and we think of B.C. as before Christ was born, and A.D., following that, the year of our Lord.
But from God’s perspective, it is a totally different perspective altogether than from man’s perspective. B.C. is before the cross. In other words, the cross is the dividing line of all human history, from God’s vantage point. It was at the cross. It was the way God was dealing with man, was divided forever, prior to that, under the Old Covenant, and after that, under the New Covenant. From God’s vantage point, of dealing with His humanity, all of human existence was dealt with at that cross and was divided at that cross.
So the B.C. is literally before the cross. And then I kind of jokingly say that A.D. is that Italian word for “after [d]the cross”. That is the way human history is divided from God’s vantage point. It tells us that in Hebrews 9:16.
16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
So, to our listeners, we hope you have a will. Living in the world in which we live, you better have one, or else the government will have one for you. So if you have not taken care of that business, to take care of that in some way, shape or form. You can do it cheaply if you look around. You need a will because if you don’t and you die, your inheritance will be determined by the government and not by your family.
It is the same thing here. Wills are not exclusive or new to this country. They were in existence before the time of Christ. So the New Covenant that went into effect had to go into effect after he died. So his death had to be proven. His death and burial was the proving of that. Normally when a person is buried, it is pretty obvious someone is dead. That is why you bury people.
So when Christ was living, he fulfilled the Old Covenant. His death provided purification for us who could not fulfill the law. So Christ walking in perfect love throughout his entire life, came to this earth, took upon Himself our earthsuit, showed us not only what God is like but what man was supposed to be like. Even though I can stare as to what God is like, I cannot be like God for I am not and never will be. So He showed me what man is to be like, not what I can be. If God designed me to be a man, then there is a possibility of living like a man. That is how Christ lived on this earth, in total dependency upon the Father. So He said, “As the Father sent me, so I send you.”
So He gave us the pattern of what the secret is to the life of a man, the dependency on his creator whereby God in the man is totally indispensable to the humanity of the man and God in a man is absolutely indispensable to the true functioning of a man. So for a man to function in accordance with the way God intended man to function can only be brought about by dependency upon the Creator.
Just as a car, in order to function, it must be dependent upon gas that is in it. For me to function, I am going to have to depend on God who is in me. Jesus came to earth for that purpose, not only to show us God, but to show us what man is to be like. So it is a marvelous picture of what this whole thing was about.
So through his life, walking in love, fulfilling the law, and then his death at a cross is where he upheld the law because the wages of sin is death and someone had to die for us. His burial proved his death, and his resurrection is what gives us the opportunity for the life we possess this very day.
We resume our study in A Closer Look at Jesus Christ, in Chapter 7: A Magnified Look at the Crucifixion.
Before we turn to Psalm 22, let us provide further background information as to the makeup of mankind for greater understanding. We need to realize it was through the physical life of Christ Jesus on this earth that the law was fulfilled. The law was given to man, and a man had to represent mankind, and Jesus came to be a representative of humanity, so as to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. So he fulfilled the law for us, and therefore, died for the penalty of our sins, for us who could not fulfill it. Then he died and was was buried and three days later was raised from the dead.
There are many ramifications at this cross. That is where we have to realize the makeup of man. Here was God in an earthsuit. We are made up of the physical, the visible part of man, the part you and I can see. Then we have invisible parts we cannot see. We have the elements of the soul, which is the mind, will and emotions. The will can be certainly expressed and we can see it manifest through our bodies. Our mind has a little more difficulty being expressed, but sometimes you can see that. Your emotions are expressed all the time, in the way we feel and perceive things.
Then there is also the spiritual part of man. That invisible part of man is the real you. We keep thinking the real you is what we see and are looking at right now. But Bob is more than what I see with skin and bones, with a nose, a mouth and ears, and thank God for that. Again, we all know our bodies. If we live long enough, it is going to look like a shriveled up prune, and wil fall in a grave. That is going to stay here. Flesh and blood will never inherit the kingdom of God.
The real you is what cannot be seen. The real you is what is going on and is being reflected through your body. That is why we have the tendency to judge people by exteriors. That is not the real you. That is what you look at.
We have to understand that when God created man in His own image, it was not in the image of a body. God is not a body. God is Spirit and you must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
God is not sitting around with eyeballs and ears. He is Spirit. When He created man, He created him. He created him in his image means He gave His Spirit to man. That Spirit in man is indispensable to his humanity and was able to be reflecting the very nature of God in and through a man. Before the fall, if someone wanted to know what God is like, he could have looked at Adam and Adam would have been a reflection of His love and His personality. After the fall, that became a very pitiful reflection of who he gave his heart to, and that was Satan.
Today, if we are born again, we do have the capability to reflect the nature of God. It should be at all times, but unfortunately, because of indwelling sin, it certainly is not. But we should be a reflection of the God who lives in us now. It does not make us God. Man will never be God. Let no one con you into that theology, that when we have Christ living in us, that we are little gods. Yet people are teaching that. They say, “So if there is anything I say, then it must be from God. So if I cuss you out, it must be from God.” That is ludicrous. We are not little gods. Anyone who thinks we do not have indwelling sin in our bodies is deceived. That also is ludicrous. They ought to be interviewing their wife and let their wife interview them. And if not, I will interview them. It ought to be plain enough that we have sin indwelling us.
I do not believe we have two natures. Ponder over this scripture.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. That is my new nature. But I am housed in a body that still contains sin. That body is going to the grave. It is not going to heaven. It is going to the grave. Indwelling sin is going to ensure that is where it will go. So there is a conflict within man on this earth, the conflict between the Spirit and the flesh we are housed in.
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Now Jesus did not have that conflict, being born of a virgin. His body did not have indwelling sin in it. So there was not a conflict here, and he walked in perfect dependency on his Father the entire time he was here on earth, which is not unusual for God to do. So everything he did and said was a total reflection of who He was, who is God. So that understanding of that, there is a dilemma that takes place with people when they read Psalm 22, written around 1000 years before Christ. I am saying what I am saying so we can come to grips with this fact that there is this human part of us, but there is also the spiritual part of us. And if you are born again, God’s Spirit lives in your soul. If you aren’t, then you have a soul, but it is not indwelt with God. But that is the aspect of man. This body of ours is one part, our humanity is one part and our spirit is something different. A total different entity altogether.
The same is true in Christ. Christ has a man-made physical body. It was born of a virgin but it was a physical body. But the real Jesus, the spiritual part of Him, is God. He is God in a human earthsuit. He is God in an earthsuit, but I am a man indwelt by God. I am an earthsuit indwelt by God. He is God clothed in an earthsuit. Total difference there.
Psalm 22 was written hundreds of years before the life of Christ, yet it contains an amazing detailed prophecy of what literally took place at a cross. From my understanding, a 1000 years B.C. was far beyond the Roman rule who brought in death by crucifixion. So it makes it even more amazing in the description of death by crucifixion before there was such a thing as a death by crucifixion. The Jews method of killing someone through capital punishment was stoning him to death, not hanging on a cross. Crucifixion was brought in by the Romans. Yet here is a detailed prophecy and a detailed picture of a death by crucifixion. I believe that God desired no one to miss the point that this was a prophecy about his crucifixion. Therefore at the end of three hours of darkness that occurred while he hung on that cross, he cried out, as what was recorded in Psalms.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
This cry of Jesus mystifies people. Did God leave him? Was he questioning God? What happened? Let us look at those prophecies as recorded in both Matthew and Mark.
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[Eloi, Eloi] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[Psalm 22:1]
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
He was crying out “Eli” or “Eloi” but they heard him say “Elijah”.So they said that he is calling “Elijah”.
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Now Mark recorded the same deal in a little different verbiage.
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[Psalm 22:1]
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
Mark added not to what was said, but did a more full understanding of what was said. “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,”
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus literally became sin for us. You had God in an earthsuit, sinless God, the one who knew no sin, suddenly taking upon Himself the sins of the entire world. The sins of the entire world! Every sloppy thing that you and I have ever thought, said or done from the beginning of mankind until eternity, he took upon himself. It is like a little girl in Sunday school, when I was a brand new Christian, who asked me a question. She asked, “How could Jesus be in the garden of Gethsemane sweating great drops of blood? What caused that? Was he fearful of death?”
43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
I responded, “No that could not be. There are many criminals in an electric chair who do not sweat as it were great drops of blood.” I asked her, “If you knew you were going to die in an electric chair, do you think you would be sweating as it were great drops of blood?” She thought about it for a moment and said, “I do not think so”. “I do not think so either. But if you, as a young girl, but if you knew tomorrow that you were to go out into a field and be molested and raped by a hundred perverts, do you think you would sweat great drops of blood?”. She said, “without question”.
That is what Jesus had to go through. It was not his physical death causing agony in the spirit of Jesus. It was the fact of knowing, here is God, who has never known sin, experientially, or any other shape or form, who has to become sin for you and me. He did that for you and me! He did that for those listening right now. He did not have to do that.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For a person to go and die for a person, and yes, possibly we could do that. I think a dedicated father could probably do that for his child. But for someone who never knew sin to take upon all the perverted things that have ever been thought, done or said in the world for you and for me? That is an unthinkable thought! There is no motivation at all that man can begin to grab a hold of that except for an unbelievable love that is called agape love.
As we continue here looking at all of this, the Lord Jesus Christ, when he hung on this cross, you are going to see at the end of this, his cry as recorded by Mark, “with a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last”. Jesus yielded his Spirit up to the Father. Just as when Adam sinned, that Spirit of God had to be withdrawn from him. God the Father and God the Son in counsel of the godhead, said, “on the day, Adam, that you eat thereof, you shall surely die”.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
In essence God said to Adam, “I am going to take the life of God from you whenever you decide you do not need it. You can eat every tree you want in the garden of Eden but the one in the center, the one of knowledge of good and evil, you must not eat. For the day you do will be the day you will die.” You have died when you do not need God to determine right from wrong, good from evil. That day the Spirit of God left Adam and left Adam on his own. Since you want to be on your own, so you are being left on your own. So his human spirit was now being programmed by the world, not by God, but by people, places and things.
On the day that he ate thereof he died a death. Again, he did not die bodily and soulishly. He died spiritually, death being the absence of life. Therefore, his human spirit was dead to who left him and that was God’s life living in him. His human spirit was not some kind of dead flabby thing. It is very much alive to the world but dead to God, who left him.
Now Jesus, in his humanity, was in the same situation, whereby the Spirit of God left him. The Spirit is God, the real Jesus. That is the invisible. Jesus is God. His humanity, the human part of him, was again going to be separated from his true being, from God. So the humanity of Jesus, the human part of Jesus, was separated from God, just like you and I were separated from God when we were born into this world.
We will never experience what Jesus did on the cross because it is impossible for you and me, who have been born again, to be separated from God. We will never be separated from Him. He did that for us. Being born again from the cross on, we are a different breed of humanity that has ever been placed on earth. We are the only people, including Jesus, who cannot lose life, once it was given to us, all of us. Adam was created with a life that could be lost through sin. Jesus as man, born of a virgin, different from us, but born in such a way that he too would be capable of dying through sin, not of his own, but of ours.
So if we understand that, the humanity of Jesus, that on the day that he became sin for us, it says that he breathed his last. The human part of him, he died. That spiritual part, he entered into the presence of God. Just as Jesus and the Father had to withdraw the Holy Spirit from Adam when he sinned, therefore the Holy Spirit and the Father had to withdraw the Spirit from Christ the man. His own spirit had to be yielded to the Father. Jesus said, “no man could take my life from me”. Because it had to be done, but Jesus said, “no one can take my life from me”. He yielded His life to the Father. “Father, in thy hands I commend my spirit. I give it to you.”
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
I believe, and I have no biblical basis for that, but I believe that Jesus, rather than having the heart of the Father, having to withdraw His Spirit from Jesus, that Jesus offered it to Him. Now, with this it says he died. What died? Well, when the Son of God departed from Jesus, did that Spirit die? Of course not. That is God’s Spirit. It does not die. What died? The human part of Jesus. That which he got from his mom and the Holy Spirit. So that humanity part of him died. Before that occurred, He was separated. The Spirit of God separated from His human spirit. He died a death like ours. His body died just like ours. So humanity, the human part of Jesus, died. But the real Jesus is absent from the body and present with the Lord, only to receive a new resurrected body in three days after his death.
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