Blog/Lesson Twelve Who IS Jesus? Part Five
Jesus said, “No one will take my life, I will lay it down and I will take it up again.” As the Son of man or out of Jesus’s humanity or mind, He had free will and chose to lay down His life. At any point, he could have called ten thousand angels to come and rescue Him. But God’s Love within him for you and me; and to bring the whole human race back to God caused him to endure the horrifying pain of the events that were ahead of him.
As the Son of God; or his Spirit/ Deity, He raised himself from the dead. In one verse, Jesus says I will take up my on life, the Father in Heaven has given me that power, yet in another verse, the Bible says the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. Both are correct, because the Spirit in Jesus Christ is the same Holy Spirit or Spirit of God in Heaven. We serve one God who works in three ways, Deity in the Father in Heaven, Deity in Christ the Son and Deity in us the Holy Spirit:
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: (who haven’t received Christ yet; or aren’t saved yet) them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (Parenthesis are mine.)
Joh 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
Joh 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:15-18)
Speaking of His own body as the temple of God, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) Yet many verses say that God raised Jesus from the dead:
Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he (Jesus) did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; (Acts 10:39-40)
By putting these verses together we see that the Spirit of God or Deity in Jesus raised him up. Last week we discussed Jesus giving his spirit back to God Deity in Heaven the Father right before he died, so he could take on the sins of all mankind and die as a sacrifice not to God but to the wrath of the Law of Sin and Death. In a later lesson, we will discuss and show Scriptures explaining: that His soul (mind, will, and emotions) was taken to hell, His Spirit joined back to His soul and he preached to those souls held in the prison of Hades while his body lay dead in the tomb. (I have a entire chapter covering this subject in my new book: The Truth About God/ He Doesn’t Do Evil That Good May Come, Ch. 12, The Rest Of the Easter Story, and is Available now on Amazon.)
Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10)
To understand the Love of God for you and me, we need to go to Jewish historians and consider the customs and laws of the death by crucifixion and have a mental picture of the sufferings of Christ.
Calvary and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the very heart of Christianity, because it is through Jesus Christ that we are reconciled back to God. Jesus is the promised Messiah and is the only door to eternal life in Paradise Heaven, where God will be all and in all. We must all be reminded of Calvary lest we lose our vision for our mission.
Josh McDowell, once an atheist on a journey to disprove an existing God and disannul Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God, actually found more proof from historians that agreed perfectly with the Bible, which was more than enough to convince him that Jesus was the messiah and God in the flesh. He dedicated his heart and life to Christ and has been a traveling representative of Campus Crusade for Christ, has been introducing skeptics to Jesus for more than 20 years and he has spoken to more than 8 million students and faculty in 74 countries. He is a graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary, and he has authored numerous bestselling books especially for the youth. A few are: Why Wait? What You Need to Know About the Teen Sexuality Crisis, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, More Than a Carpenter, Evidence for a Historical Jesus. These books are still classics and a great read for all people of faith.
I would like to share some of his historical findings from his book, A Ready Defense:
1)Cicero called death by crucifixion, “The most cruel and hideous of tortures,”
(Cicero, Vin Verrem, p. 64.)
2)Will Durant wrote, “Even the Romans…pited the victims.”
(Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ, New York: Simon Schuster, 1944)
3) Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who was an adviser to Titus during the
siege of Jerusalem, had observed many crucifixions and called them,
“The most wretched deaths.” ( Josephus, Flavius. De Bello Judaico, 7. 202-3.)
( Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, page 221)
The strips or whipping Jesus bore was for our all of our sickness and diseases was prophesied hundreds of years before Calvary.
These verses were among my Mother’s favorite, and memorized Scriptures that built her Faith to receive and sustain her healing from two different kinds of Cancer 24 years apart. From the Old Testament:
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:5-7, 12)
Jer 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. (Jeremiah 17:14)
Just what did Jesus suffer so we can be healed? Were Jesus’s stripes enough for your healing and mine? Absolutely!
The whip called a flagrum had long leather thongs of various lengths attached to a sturdy handle. Sharp, jagged pieces of bone and lead were woven into them. The Jews were limited by their law to 40 lashes. The Pharisees, with their emphasis on strict adherence to the law would limit their lashes to 39, so if they miscounted they would not break their law. The Romans had no such limitations. Out of rage and anger, sometimes the Romans could totally ignore the Jewish limitation. It is thought that Jesus got far more than 39 stripes.
In some accounts in history, it was recorded that many died from the whipping and weren’t hung on the cross. There has never been a movie that has truly shown the reality of this cruel beating. Some say these bodies were unrecognizable. Yes this is graphic, but isn’t this generation accustomed to seeing the most graphic in today’s modern movie theater?
Let us look at Calvary from the medical perspective: Dr. C. Truman Davis, who has meticulously studied crucifixion from the medical view, describes the effects of the Roman flagrum used in punishment by whipping:
The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across the skin only. Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, Producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of tornm, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisionerr is near death, the beating is finally stopped. (Davis, C.Truman. “The Crucifixion f Jesus.” Arizona Medicine. March 1965, p. 185.)
Eusebius, athird-century historia, confirms Dr. Davis’s description when he writes: “ The suffer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.” (Eusebius. “The Epistle of the Church in Smyrna.” Trials and Crusifixion of Christ. A. P. stout, ed. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1886.)
It is hard to believe the cruelty of this era of punishment. After the beating, if the prisoner was still alive, they were made to carry their own cross up to be crucified:
" Dr. Pierre Barbet points out that ‘they began to use a long piece of wood, which was used for barring doors and was called the patibulum.
(Barbet, pierre. A Doctor at Calvary.) New York: P.S. Kennedy & Sons, 1953.)
The Patibulum weighed approximately 110 poundsand was stripped to the
victim’s shoulders.Dr. Truman Davis, the M. D. Whom Josh quoted earlier describes what happens to the human body after a short time of exposure on the cross:
"As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles,
knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps
comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the
pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable
to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus
fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally,
carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the bloodstream and the
cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself
upward to exhale and bring in the life giving oxygen." (Davis, C. Truman ibid.)
And Jesus had nails driven through His precious hands and feet! How could He push himself up for relief? Some Theologians have taught that the Crucifixion with nails was legendary; that is until a skeleton from that era of time was found in a tomb north of Jerusalem near Mt. Scopus in June of 1968:
" A large 7-inch spike had been driven through the heel bone, and both legs had been fractured. Haas reported: “Both the heel bones were found transfixed by a large iron nail. The shins were found intentionally broken. Death caused by crucifixion.” (Haas, N. “Anthropological Observations on the skeletal Remains From Giv’ at ha-Mivtar,” Isreal Exploration Journal 20 1970) From “A Ready Defense” by Josh McDowell/ compiled by Bill Wilson." copyright 1993,page 222.
Who is Jesus? Jesus was God come down in a human body, who suffered in that human body as a sacrifice for you and me to give all mankind who will receive Him eternal life in the presence of God, in His new Heaven and New Earth; God’s paradise forever!
If you haven’t received him as your personal Savior, He is waiting, knocking on your heart’s door.
Will you let Him in today?