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Lesson 24
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Going to Golgotha (15:21-22)

Jesus Crucified (15:23-28)

Jesus Mocked (15:29-36)

Jesus Dies (15:37-41)

Jesus Buried (15:42-47)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Cross, insults, mocked, King of the Jews, King of Israel, forsaken, Son of God, women

II.    General Analysis

1. Forsaken by God (Ps 22:1; Isa 53:4, 6); rejected and ridiculed (Ps 22:7-8,17; Isa 53:3); torture and persecution (Ps 22:12-13; Isa 53:7-8); physical agony (Ps 22:14-15); pierced (Ps 22:16; Isa 53:5); dividing His garments (Ps 22:18); buried (Isa 53:9); (Note that Jesus’ resurrection, glory, and salvation are also prophesied in Ps 22:19-31 and Isa 53:10-12)

2. Jesus was tempted throughout His ministry, even while He was on the cross. The devil attacked Him with physical torture (flogging, crucifixion) and mental anguish (forsaken, ridiculed). That is how we are assured that He knows our weakness (Heb 4:15). When we rely on the Lord Jesus, we can overcome our suffering, like He did.

III. Segment Analysis

1a. Because Simon was “compelled” (21) to carry the cross, he was not a willing participant. He was just passing by, and did not expect to get involved. He probably did not consider it an honor to carry the cross, a symbol of shame (cf. Lesson 14, Did You Know 4). Perhaps he was just a curious bystander. Being from far away (cf. Did You Know 1), he might never have heard of Jesus. Or, perhaps he was a disciple of Christ who (like Peter) wanted to remain anonymous, but somehow caught the attention of the Roman soldiers.

1b. From the beginning, Jesus set His own wishes aside. Everything He did was for the good of others. He obeyed God’s will for Him to suffer and die on the cross, even though His human instincts told Him not to drink the bitter cup. Sometimes, work is placed upon our shoulders, even though we are unwilling. We want to hide because we feel like we did not ask for the responsibility. In those times especially, we must learn from Jesus, who prayed to the Father for the wisdom and strength to finish His work. When we put our faith in the almighty God, He will make our burdens light (Mt 11:28-29).

2. In both cases, there was a commotion. Many people followed Jesus. However, whereas they shouted “Hosanna!” when He entered Jerusalem, they now cursed him on the way to Golgotha. Before, they wanted to crown Him king. Now, they mocked Him as “The King of the Jews.” They were easily influenced by the chief priests and the scribes. They forgot about Jesus’ words and miracles. All they wanted was to watch Him die a painful and shameful death on the cross.

3a. Either Jesus would not rely on human means to reduce His pain, or His pain was too great for medicine to have any effect. Also, Jesus did not want to dull his senses because He still had work to do. Even as He was hanging on the cross, He continued to show His love (to His tormentors and His mother) and to save souls (the robber who repented).

4. It was a declaration of Jesus’ “guilt” as well as a mockery to His claim. However, our Lord Jesus has proved that he is not only the King of the Jews, but the King of kings who triumphs over evil (cf. 1Tim 6:15-16; Rev 17:14; 19:15-16). The written notice “The King of the Jews” and the cross were meant to demean Jesus, but they have become a symbol of hope and power for Christians. When we are saved, we boast in nothing except for the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).

5. If we turn away from the Lord Jesus after we’ve tasted His grace, it is as if we are crucifying and disgracing Him all over again. We’d be no better than the Jews who, after having received healing and mercy from Jesus, repaid Him by nailing Him on the cross.

6a. Distorted and laughed at Jesus’ words about rebuilding the temple in three days (29); dared Him to come down from the cross (30,32); mocked Him that He could not save Himself (31); mocked His title of Christ and king (32); jokingly waited for Elijah to come save Jesus (36)

6b. In this passage, twice the people misunderstood or misheard Jesus, and laughed at Him. First, they blindly repeated the false claims on what Jesus had said regarding the temple (cf. Lesson 23, Question 7). Second, when Jesus cried out to God (“Eloi”), they thought He was calling for Elijah. They thought Jesus was just a failed prophet less than Elijah (Mk 8:28). They repeatedly challenged Him to come down from the cross, not knowing that they were speaking against the will of God. Their hearts were so hardened that even the three-hour darkness before Jesus’ death did not faze them (33, 35-36). They simply refused to repent.

7. No, the chief priests and the scribes would not have believed. They said they would believe only because Jesus seemed doomed on the cross. A further proof of their unbelief is their cover-up after Jesus’ resurrection (Mt 28:11-15). Like Jesus said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, because they rejected the word of God, they would not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead (Lk 16:30-31).

8. Jesus didn’t come down from the cross for the same reason He did not ask the Father to send twelve legions of angels to protect Him (cf. Mt 26:53-54). After Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, He resolved to fulfill the Scriptures (Mk 14:49). His earthly ministry was finished; nothing would be accomplished by staying longer. If Jesus didn’t suffer and die, how could He have resurrected to prove that He has triumphed over sin and death? If he had chosen to save Himself, today we would have no hope of salvation.

9. The people rejected the idea that they would be saved through the cross, a symbol of shame. They refused to believe, even though Jesus had clearly revealed the truth to them. They trusted in their own wisdom and rejected Jesus as foolish. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise” (1Cor 1:27). Because our wisdom is nothing when compared to God’s infinite wisdom, we must humbly believe in His words.

10. When one of the robbers repented, Jesus forgave Him (Lk 23:40-43). He also forgave the people who had rejected Him (Lk 23:34). “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6-8). Through His example, Christ teaches us to forgive regardless of whether or not it was asked. This was Paul’s plea to Philemon to forgive Onesimus (Phm 15-18, 21).

11. The robber who later repented probably had first based his opinion of Jesus on what other people said. But when he saw for himself who Jesus is, he knew that the others were wrong. Jesus’ words of forgiveness and love (Lk 23:34, 40-43; Jn 19:25-27) convinced Him to believe. Today, a person might have misconceptions about our faith. Our words and actions must show the love of Christ, so that they too will repent and believe in Jesus.

12a. During Jesus’ last three hours, darkness came over the whole land (33). When He died, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom (38). There were others recorded in Mt 27:51-52.

12b. These signs showed the spiritual power and significance of Jesus’ death on the cross. The darkness was a sign of mourning for Jesus’ agony (Am 8:9). The torn curtain symbolized how Jesus broke His body so that we can enter the

Most Holy Place
, to be able to directly receive God’s forgiveness.

13. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to His “Abba, Father.” However, in the moment of His greatest agony, Jesus was severed from His Father. He suffered the wages of sin—eternal death, forsaken by God (Rom 6:23). On the cross, Jesus no longer felt His Father’s presence. When He carried the sins of all mankind, He was abandoned. When He cried out, He felt as though God did not answer (Ps 22:2). The darkness over the land symbolized how His spirit suffered.

14a. Unlike the people who were set to crucify Jesus, the centurion was sensitive to what he saw and heard. With only a few hours of firsthand experience of Jesus, he became convinced that Jesus was the Son of God. He saw how Jesus forgave those who persecuted Him. He must have realized that the darkness across the land meant something. He heard Jesus’ bitter cry to God. Jesus’ power and love compelled him to exclaim the truth he now believed.

14b. The centurion’s understanding of Jesus was incomplete. He thought that it was the end, and did not realize that Jesus would soon rise again. Jesus is alive today. He is the Son of God!

In terms of faith, the centurion was ahead of the Jews (including the chief priests and scribes); he saw what Jesus did and believed. However, if that was the extent of his understanding, he might have lamented not knowing Jesus sooner and passed up a chance to know Christ better. When we experience the power of the Lord Jesus, we must continue to grow in spiritual wisdom. The more we know, the more we are sure of what we believe. The more we believe, the more God will teach us.

15. Jesus’ death is the most powerful example of love (1Jn 3:16). He died to wash away our sins, so that we can come to God with a clear conscience (Heb 10:22). If we are truly convinced that Christ died for us, we would no longer live for ourselves (2Cor 5:14-15). We must follow Christ’s example and love our brothers (1Jn 3:17-19). If we deliberately continue to sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, then we will be judged (Heb 10:26-27, 29).

17. Jesus served with all His might. He put all His energy into His ministry—teaching, healing, forgiving sins, etc. On the cross, He was finally drained of His last strength. The physical torture was too much. The spiritual severance from God stripped Him of all hope. No one could have survived long under those circumstances.

Jesus’ short time on the cross might also indicate God’s mercy when we suffer. The heavenly Father does not allow anyone to suffer more than necessary (1Cor 10:13). When we’ve “fought the good fight” (2Tim 4:7) for the Lord, we need not fear death. It is a blessing to die in the Lord because we no longer have to suffer in a world of sin (cf. Lk 16:20-22; 1Kgs 14:12-13). There will be a “crown of righteousness” (2Tim 4:8) waiting for us in heaven, where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Rev 21:4).

18. He “boldly” (43 NIV) asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. He offered a new tomb, some linen cloth (46), and a large quantity of spices (Jn 19:39). He and Nicodemus personally embalmed Jesus’ body (Jn 19:39-40). Both of them had been disciples of Christ in secret (Nicodemus came to Jesus at night [Jn 3:1-2]), but now both were not afraid to proclaim their faith. Sometimes it is a “risk” to put our faith into action. People will know that we are Christians. Sometimes it’s for the better. Sometimes it’s for the worse. We might risk embarrassment before the unbelievers. We might have to sacrifice our time, effort, money, etc. But James reminds us, “faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:26).

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