24 March 2005

The Christ is Crucified

The Christ is Crucified

Albert Schweitzer quote:

There is silence all around. The Baptist appears, and cries, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Soon after that comes Jesus, and in the knowledge that he is the coming Son of Man lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and he throws himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes him. Instead of bringing in the eschatological conditions, he has destroyed them. The wheel rolls onward, and the mangled body of the one immeasurably great man, who was strong enough to think of himself as the spiritual rule of mankind and to bend history to his purpose is hanging upon it still. That is his victory and his reign.

To Schweitzer, Jesus was an idealist revolutionary who thought it possible to sway the world to believe that a future kingdom was coming that would deliver all humanity. Unfortunately for Jesus, according to Schweitzer, the world crushed him under its wheel and Jesus died in empty despair.

Schweitzer was right in one regard, Jesus did come to bring in a kingdom. Jesus often spoke of His right to rule. But Schweitzer was very wrong on another point—Jesus death was not the end of his dreams, but the coronation of His rule, for Jesus’ hour of glory began at the cross.

It was in His death that Jesus’ kingship began. As we track through the passage, we will note the many indications of Jesus’ regal position.

LION and the LAMB

Jn 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Jn 12:27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Jn 17:1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,

Jn 12:13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”
Jn 19:19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Jn 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jn 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
As we track through the next two chapter, notice Jesus as King in control, directing the events, and the giving up of Himself as the Lamb.

Notice, Him as king by:

Choosing the Place of Destiny


Adam began life in garden, Chrst, second Adam ended there
Eden Adam sinned, Gethsemane Jesus overcame it
Eden, Adam fell; Gethsemane, Jesus conquered
Eden, Adam hid himself; Gethsemane, Jesus presented self
Eden, sword drawn; Garden, sword was sheathed (adapted from R. Kent Hughes, p. 414)

Challenge to Soldiers vv. 4-7

18:4–7 The picture of Jesus presented in this part of the story is one of a commanding figure who was in charge of the events that were transpiring. John states with unreserved confidence that Jesus knew everything that was about to happen. This statement is not merely a postresurrection perspective on the part of John as in 2:22 and elsewhere. Rather, it is meant to assert Jesus’ understanding ahead of time concerning the events that were moving inevitably to his determined “hour.”

The fact is that Jesus stepped forward (“came forth”) from among the disciples and asked the probing question, “Who are you seeking?” This question is undoubtedly meant as an indication that John was highlighting “the voluntariness” of Jesus in accepting his arrest.

I heartily advise no one to encounter the wrong side of this mystery, for if the incarnate mystery could make an arresting band fall to the ground, what can the ultimate mystery do to mere disobedient humans? God did not and does not play games concerning his Son. The psalmist says:

Ps 2:12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Choosing the Cup
11. Jesus, however, said to Peter, Put the sword into the sheath. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?

Jesus sharply reprimands his willful disciple, and tells him to sheathe his sword.

Confession Before Pilate 18:28-19:15

v. 33 “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Pilate asks incredulously of Jesus, “Are you the king?”

Jesus claims a spiritual kingship that isn’t run in ways that look like earthly rule. Naturally Pilate’s understanding of “king,” as applied to Jesus, falls far short of reality.

A king of the earth uses force, Jesus calls for a rule of meekness
An earthly king looks for power, honor and glory; Jesus gives up His glory to save his subjects and finds his honor in death
Earthly kinds are chosen by might and influence; Jesus was a man that had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him (Isaiah 53:2)
Jesus therefore, having explained what his kingdom is not, now declares what it is: his kingdom is the Kingdom of Truth.

Crucified as the Lamb of God

John brings together the two ideas of the King of Jews dying as the Lamb of God.

Calling Out His death

In John’s Gospel, you find a number of pictures of our Lord’s death: the slaying of the lamb (John 1:29); the destroying of the temple (John 2:19); the lifting up of the serpent (John 3:14); the shepherd laying down his life for the sheep (John 10:11–18); and the planting of the seed in the ground (John 12:20–25). These pictures make it clear that Jesus’ death was not an accident; it was a divine appointment. He was not murdered in the strictest sense: He willingly gave His life for us. His death was an atonement, not just an example. He actually accomplished the work of redemption on the cross.
His death was voluntary: He willingly dismissed His spirit (John 19:30; and note 10:17–18). He “gave Himself” (Gal. 2:20). He offered Himself as a ransom (Mark 10:45), as a sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2), and as a propitiation for sin (1 John 2:2). In Luke 9:31, His death is called a “decease,” which in the Greek is “exodus,” suggesting the Passover lamb and the deliverance from bondage. It will take eternity to reveal all that happened when Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Jn 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”