JESUS PRAYS AT GETHSEMANE, HIS TRIAL, EXECUTION, AND RESURRECTION

After  leaving the place where they had eaten the  Passover  meal, Jesus lead his disciples to the Mount of Olives where he  waited for  his arrest. As they went to the Mount, they came to  a  place called  Gethsemane, and Jesus asked eight of his  disciples  to  wait while  he  took  Peter, James, and John with him  to keep watch while he prayed.

As  the  four left the others and walked along  the  path,  Jesus became  very depressed and apprehensive as he thought  about  the events that would shortly take place.

Agonizing Prayer

"And  he  withdrew from them about a stone's  cast,  and  kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if you are willing, remove this cup  from me:  nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.  And he came  to the disciples, and found them asleep,  and  said  to Peter,  What, could you not watch with me one  hour?  Watch  and pray, that you enter not  into temptation:  the spirit indeed  is willing, but  the flesh is weak. He went away again  the  second time,  and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not  pass away  from me, except I drink it, your will be done. And he  came and  found them asleep again:  for their eyes were heavy. And  he left  them,   and  went away again, and prayed  the  third  time, saying the same words" (Lk.22:41-46; Matt.26:40-36 Para.).

Jesus asked his Father three times to stop the events that  would lead to his death. But why would Jesus ask his Father to  abandon what  had  been  planned before the creation of  the  earth?  The answer  is  that Jesus did not want to experience the  agony  and pain of the torturous death that he knew was just hours away  if there were another way to accomplish his mission.

Who Was Jesus?

In  order to understand why Jesus was so concerned about his  impending  death,  we must remember who he was. This  man  was  God incarnate; he was the Creator of humanity. He had been an immortal  spirit-being who possessed the highest  form  of  existence (life  that springs forth from itself never dying  or  decaying). Jesus had never personally experienced the agony and sorrow that precedes a painful death; however, he had seen others suffer  and die  during the centuries before his birth as a human,  and  he was  well  acquainted  with death during  his  human experience. Therefore, he  was justifiably apprehensive and did not want  to die if there were another way humanity could be saved.

An Angel Appears

"And  there appeared an angel to him  from heaven,  strengthening him" (Lk.22:43 KJV).

In  preparation  for his three and a half  year  ministry,  Jesus fasted before the Father for forty days (Matt.4:1-11). At the end of  this  fast, angels came and ministered to him.  Although  the scriptures do not say what this angelic ministry  entailed, it can be assumed that not only were Jesus' physical needs  supplied but also he was encouraged to go forward and complete his mission.

Verse 43 shows an  occurrence similar to the one that  happened at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Again, we are not told  what the angel did but  we can assume the angel came to  encourage Jesus and discuss the things that would shortly come to pass.

The Blood of Agony

"And being in an agony  he prayed more earnestly:  and his  sweat was  as it were great drops of blood falling down to the  ground" (Lk.22:44 KJV).

As  Jesus continued to speak to his Father in prayer  and  think about  the reality of what was going to happen to him, the  human side of his nature began to exert more and more pressure upon his thoughts.  Remember that Jesus was human and about  to  face the greatest enemy of humans—death. Jesus was not going to die peacefully,  he would have his spiritual character put  to the test  through humiliating torture. Undoubtedly, he  thought  about why  he had come to earth, the great importance of  his  mission, the  tremendous  risk  that he was taking being  human,  and  the reality of what would happen if he failed this last test.

There  is a condition called haematidrosis that can afflict  a person when  mental agony becomes so great that it  overwhelms  the  body's nervous system. This condition causes the subcutaneous capillaries  that lie just under the skin to dilate  and  rupture into the sweat glands which causes blood to be expelled with sweat.

It  is  impossible  for any human to  comprehend  the  tremendous mental pressure, agony, and anguish that Jesus experienced as  he spoke with his Father, because no human has ever been an immortal being and faced with the decisions that Jesus was faced with.

If Jesus failed to maintain his righteousness before God in  this final  test of faith, he would have ceased to exist  forever. Moreover, humanity would have ceased to exist, because there would be no sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin; therefore, each human would have to die forever for violating the law of God.

The  commitment that Jesus made when he gave up  his  immortality and became a human placed him in the same condition as all of humanity;  he had to keep and practice his Father's  law  perfectly in order to gain salvation, which he did throughout his life.

Up to this point in his life, Jesus was worthy to be given eternal and immortal life, and because he had obtained salvation, he did not have  to die for humanity; however, if he did not give his sinless life as the  perfect sacrifice for humanity, humanity  would have no  hope of salvation.

These among other things were on the mind of Jesus as he spoke to his Father in prayer.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

John who was one of those whom Jesus took with him to watch as he prayed was inspired to record the  part of Jesus' prayer in which he  asked the Father to show favor for two specific groups of people: the eleven disciples who had remained faithful to him up to  that point in time, and those who would become his  followers after his death and resurrection.

JOHN 17:1-26 KJV

"These  words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven,  and said,  Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your  Son also may glorify you:" (v1).

Jesus  was now ready to finish his mission and sacrifice his  life for the sins of humanity.

"As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should  give eternal  life to as many as you have given him. And this is  life eternal,  that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (vs.2-3).

At  this point in time, there were very few people whom the Father had chosen to believe his message concerning who he was, who his Son was, and how to enter the Family and Kingdom  of God.

"I  have glorified you  on the earth: I have  finished  the  work which  you gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify you me  with your  own  self with the glory which I had with  you before  the world was" (vs.4-5).

Here, Jesus asks God the Father to return him to his former  state of existence as the immortal Creator God in the Kingdom of God.

"I have manifested your name to the men which you gave to me  out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them to me;  and  they have kept your word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever  you have given me are of you. For I have given to them  the words which you gave me; and they have received them,  and have known  surely that I came out from you, and they  have believed that you did send me" (vs.6-8).

Jesus  had fulfilled his mission to prepare the eleven men whom the Father had called to be leaders in his plan of salvation and he had taught them the truth concerning the God family and their plan for humanity.

"I  pray for them:  I pray not for the world, but for them  which you  have given me; for they are yours. And all mine  are  yours, and yours  are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am  no more   in  the world, but these are in the world, and I  come  to you.  Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with  them in the world, I kept them in your name:  those that you gave me I have  kept, and none of them is lost, but the son  of  perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled" (vs.9-12).

Here, Jesus specifically asks God the Father  to  protect  the  eleven from harm in order that they too may become a  part of the God Family.

"And  now come I to you; and these things  I speak in the  world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them  your word; and the world have hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not  that you should  take them out of the world, but that you should  keep them  from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am  not of the world" (vs.13-16).

Because  these  eleven had been  selected by the Father  for  the purpose of learning about the Family of God and his purpose for humanity,  they were considered a part of the spiritual family  of God as Christ was. Therefore, these people needed God the Father to protect them from the  evil that rules the earth.

"Sanctify  them  through your truth: your word is truth.  As  you have sent me  into the world, even so have I also sent them  into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself,  that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (vs.17-19).

Jesus asks that these eleven be set apart for the holy purpose of carrying  on the work of preaching and teaching God's  truth  and his  coming Kingdom, which will bring peace and  establish  God's rule  on  earth.  He then asks that the  same  consideration  be afforded  to  all those  who, in the future, would believe  in  him through the efforts of these eleven.

"Neither  pray I for these  alone, but for them also which  shall believe  on me through their word; That they all may be  one;  as you,  Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be  one in us:  that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave  me I have given them; that they may be one, even  as we are one: I in them, and you in me,  that they may  be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that  you  have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me" (vs.20-23).

Here, Jesus speaks of all those whom the Father has called and will call to  be  in the first resurrection. He also expresses his  desire  for their success, so that they may also experience the awesome glory of life as a son in the Family of God:

"Father, I will that they also,  whom you have given me, be  with me  where  I am; that they may behold my glory,  which  you  have given me: for you loved me  before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world have not known you:  but I have known you,  and these  have known that you have sent me.  And  I  have declared  to them your name, and will declare it:  that the  love wherewith you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (vs.24-26).

The Garden

After finishing his prayers to his Father, Jesus allowed the disciples to  sleep a little longer. Then, hearing a crowd  approaching  and knowing  that the time of his betrayal was at hand, he  woke  the eleven  and they went over the brook Cedron into a garden to  wait for  his  betrayal and arrest. See Matt.26:45-46;  Mk.14:41-42; Jn.18:1.

THE BETRAYAL

"Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is  betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going:  behold, he  is at  hand that does betray me. And while he yet spoke, lo, Judas, one  of the twelve, came, and with him a  great  multitude  with swords  and  staves,  from the chief priests and  elders  of  the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever   I shall  kiss,  that  same  is  he:   hold  him   fast" (Matt.26:45-48 KJV).

"When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into  which he  entered,  and his disciples. And Judas also,  which betrayed him, knew  the place:  for Jesus often resorted there  with  his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from  the chief priests and Pharisees, comes there with  lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should  come upon him, went forth, and said to them, Whom do  you seek? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth" (Jn.18:1-5 KJV).

The "I AM"

"Jesus said to them, I AM . . . As soon as he had said to them, I  AM, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked  he them  again,  Whom seek you?  And they said, Jesus  of Nazareth" (Jn.18:5-7 KJV).

Jesus  plainly told those who came to arrest him that he was  "I AM". There is no doubt by their actions, these people  understood Jesus said he was the Creator God—the I AM. This announcement was so  startling to them that they fell to the ground for fear of what he  might do to them if he were indeed God.

"Jesus answered, I have told you that I AM: if therefore you seek me,  let these go their way: That the saying might be  fulfilled, which said, Of them which you gave me have I lost none" (Jn.18:8-9 KJV).

Here, Jesus speaks of the prophecy in Psalms 109:6-8 concerning the loyal  disciples  and the one who would  betray  him.  See  also Jn.17:12; Acts 1:20.

Peter Uses His Sword

"Then  Simon  Peter having a sword drew it, and struck  the  high priest's  servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's  name was  Malchus" (Jn.18:10 KJV). " And he [Jesus] touched his  ear, and healed him" (Lk.22:51 KJV).

In  defense of Jesus,  Peter pulled his sword and struck  one  of the  high priest's servants on the head cutting off  his ear. Seeing what Peter had done, Jesus touched the  man's ear  and healed the wound. Even while being betrayed, Jesus  shows his  great  empathy, compassion, concern, and love by healing  a person who had come to cause him harm.

"Then  Jesus said to Peter, put your sword into its  sheath:  the cup  which  the  Father  has given me,  Shall  I  not  drink  it?" (Jn.18:11). "For all who take the sword shall  perish  with the sword. Or do you think that I am not able to call on  my Father,  and he will place beside me more than twelve legions  of angels?  How then should the scripture be fulfilled,  that  it must happen this way?" (Matt.26:52-54).

"In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, Have you come out to  take me  with swords and clubs, as against a robber? I sat daily  with you, teaching you in the temple, and you did not lay hands on me. But this all is happening that the scriptures of the prophets may be  fulfilled. Then all the disciples, ran away,  forsaking  him" (Matt.26:55-5 Para.). See Matt.26:31; Mk.14:50; Zech.13:7.

Jesus Taken Prisoner

The  horror  of the night that Jesus was about to  spend  in  the hands of his captors is almost impossible to describe.  By  early morning,  the strong and healthy carpenter of Nazareth  would  be reduced   into a man who was weak,  bruised, bleeding and barely alive by merciless beating and torture.

"Then  the  band and the captain and officers of  the  Jews  took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father  in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that  same year" (Jn.18:12-13 KJV).

"Now  Annas  had sent him bound to Caiaphas  the  high  priest" (Jn.18:24 KJV).

THE TRIAL

Christ Condemned to Death by the High Priest

"And  the  chief priests and all the council sought  for  witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. For many  bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there  arose certain, and bare false  witness  against  him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with  hands,  and  within three days I will  build another  made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree  together" (Mk.14:55-59 KJV).

"False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things  that I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of  my soul" (Psa.35:11-12 KJV).

"And  the  high priest stood up in the midst,  and  asked  Jesus, saying,  Answer  you  nothing? what is it  which  these  witness against  you? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said to him, Are you the  Christ, the  Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and you shall  see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming  in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes,  and said,  What  need we any further witnesses? You  have  heard  the blasphemy:  what  think  you? And they all condemned  him  to  be guilty  of death"  (Mk.14:60-64 KJV).  See  also  Matt.26:59-65; Lk.22:66-71.

Unworthy of Death

Under  the Law of God, there must be at least two witnesses to a crime before a person can be convicted and punished. Because there were no witnesses to a crime, Jesus should have been released; however, Jesus knew the  prophecies concerning the Lamb of God, so he told them who he was and for what purpose he had come.

Jesus Sent to Pilate

Because  the  Jews were a captive people under the  rule  of  the Roman Empire, it was unlawful for the Sanhedrin to execute anyone found  guilty  of  violating their religious  law  without  first obtaining Roman approval. Therefore, they sent Jesus to  Pontius Pilate to be sentenced to death. However, after Pilate had spoken to  Jesus, he could find nothing that would be worthy  of  death and he wanted to release him:

"And  having called together the chief priest and rulers and  the people,  Pilate said to them, You have brought this man to me  as perverting  the people. And, behold, examining him before  you I found  nothing  blamable  in this man regarding  that  which  you charge against him. But neither did Herod; For I sent you up  to him, and, behold, nothing worthy of death is done by him. Therefore I will chastise him, and release him" (Lk.23:13-16 Para.).

"Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spoke again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said  to them  the third time, Why, what evil have he done?  I have found no cause of death in him:  I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might  be  crucified.  And the voices of them and  of the  chief priests prevailed"  (Lk.23:20-23 KJV).

"And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released  Barabbas to  them,  and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him,  to  be crucified.  And the soldiers led him away into the hall,  called Praetorium;  and  they  called together the whole  band.  And  they clothed  him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and  put it  about  his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King  of  the Jews!  And they smote him on the head with a reed, and  did  spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshiped him. And when they had mocked  him, they took off the purple from him, and put  his  own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him" (Mk.15:15-20 KJV).

The Roman Scourging

Roman  scourging was one of the most cruel and horrible kinds  of punishment  of that time and  was known as the "halfway  death,"  because those who were administering it were supposed to stop just before a person died from the punishment. The Roman scourging was so deadly that it was supposed to be administered by a  specially trained  man  called a lictor. The instrument of punishment  was called  a flagellum, and was a short piece of wood which had  several strips of leather attached to it on which were  tied  small pieces of bone, chain, or metal.  When  the lictor brought the flagellum down hard upon the victim, it  would bruise,  cut  and tear the flesh, causing internal  and  external bleeding.

Because  of  the severity of Roman scourging, it was  not  to  be administered  in  addition to another punishment, because the scourged   person would often die from his injuries.

The Broken Body

"Just as many were astonished over you—so much was the disfigurement  from man, his appearance and his form from sons of  man" (Isa.52:14 Para.).

The  beatings that Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman  soldier bruised and tore his flesh so much that it disfigured him to the point that he was unrecognizable as a man.

By His Stripes You Are Healed

"But  he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for  our lawlessness: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his wounds we ourselves are healed" (Isa.53:5 Para.).

The Hebrew words for wounded and bruised are 'halal' and  'daka' which mean  'to fatally wound', 'bore through', or  'pierce', and to  'be crushed',  'contrite', or 'broken'. Both of these words  foretell the kind of beating and torturous death that the Savior would  endure as the sacrifice for humanity.

After  Jesus was scourged, Pilate again brings Jesus  before  the Jews  and  tells  them that he can find no fault in him.  The scriptures record that Pilate tried to release Jesus three times. But,  each time he tried, the religious leaders and rulers of  the Jews refused to accept his decision and became so forceful in their demand for the execution of Jesus that they even denied the sovereignty of God as their King:

"Pilate therefore went forth again, and said to them, Behold,  I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and  the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, Behold the man!  When  the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they  cried  out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.  Pilate said to them, Take  you him,  and crucify him:  for I find no fault in  him"  (Jn.19:4-6 KJV).

"And from then on Pilate sought to release Jesus: but the Jews shouted, If you let this man go, you are not a friend of Caesar: whoever claims to be a king speaks against Caesars. When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus before him, and sat down in the judgement seat . . . and said to the Jews, Behold your king! But they shouted, Away with him, crucify him. Pilate said, Shall I crucify your king? And the chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar" (Jn.19:12-15 Para.).

Pilate Washes His Hands

"When  Pilate  saw that he was getting nowhere,  but  instead  an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in  front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this mans blood," he said. "it is your responsibility!" All the people answered, "Let his blood  be on us and our children!" (Matt.27:24-25 NIV).

The following  two things are of prophetic importance:

1. As a final act of denying any responsibility for the death  of Jesus, Pilate commanded that a bowl of water be brought to him so that he could wash his hands. This washing of hands that Pilate did was not a Roman  custom;  it was part of the law as recorded  by  Moses  in Deuteronomy chapter 21, and was done to proclaim innocence for  a murder for which no guilty party could be found. Pilate did this to show that neither he nor Rome were to be blamed for the death of Jesus.

2. When the people said, "let his blood be upon us and our  children," they accepted the responsibility for the murder of Jesus.

Christ Crucified on the Passover

"And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the  sixth hour:  and  he [Pilate] said to the Jews, Behold your  King!  But they  cried  out, Away, Away! Crucify him! Pilate said  to them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king  but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore to them  to  be crucified. And they [the solders and the Priests] took Jesus, and led him away" (Jn.19:14-16 KJV).

These  verses are extremely important because they document  that Jesus  would be executed on the same day that Passover lambs  were to being sacrificed.

On the Cross

While Jesus hung on the crucifixion tree and the people  watched, there  were a number of prophecies concerning the Messiah as  the  Lamb  of  God that were fulfilled (Only a few will be detailed here):

"And  when they were come to the place, which is called  Calvary, there  they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the  right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do . . ." (Lk.23:33-34 KJV).  See also Mk.15:27-28.

"And he was numbered with the transgressors; and bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors"  (Isa.53:12 KJV).

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,  saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  that is to say, My God, my God,  why have you forsaken me?" (Matt.27:46 KJV).

DEATH

Death  is  an experience that no person can totally  share  with another. Each must pass from this life to death unaccompanied  by friends  or  loved ones. Death is the most lonely  and  solitary experience that anyone can experience.

Although  there were many people watching the crucifixion,  Jesus was  totally  alone in his innermost thoughts; there was  no  one with  whom  he could share his pain, his agony,  or  his  thoughts––he was totally alone in his moment of death.

Jesus had always had the comfort of knowing that he had access to the Father; he could always call upon the limitless power of  the holy  spirit as he performed his ministry and he could command  the angels to defend and protect him. But now, because he had committed  to giving his life in exchange for the forgiveness of sin,  he was  as  any other human; he was without the power  to  stop  the progression  of events that would lead to his death.  Jesus  was going to die alone just as any other human.

As  his physical pain increased and the realization that  he  was totally alone sank deep within his consciousness, Jesus felt  the overpowering emotion of being alone. In this moment of great need of comfort and support he cried out to his Father for  encouragement:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Yes, the Father had forsaken him in the moment of his death.  Not even God the Father can accompany a person in death (Matt.22:32). The Father could not reach down in this moment of his son's greatest need and save him. If he had done this, Jesus would  not have  suffered death as other humans suffer death and he would not totally understand the human experience. But Jesus  did die as a human dies; therefore, we now have a high  priest  who truly understands us in every way.

Hebrews 2:9-10 KJV; 14-18 NIV

"But  we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than  the angles for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by  the grace of God should taste death for every man. For  it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all  things, in  bringing many sons to glory, to make the  captain  of their salvation perfect through suffering" (vs.9-10).

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in  their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds  the power  of death—that is, the Devil—and free those  who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death"  (vs.14-15).

"For surely it is not the angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.  For  this reason he had to be made like  his  brothers  in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make  atonement for the sins of the people" (vs.16-17).

"Because  he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able  to help  those  who are being tempted" (v18).  See  also  Heb.5:6-8; Phil.2:5-8.

The Unbroken Bones

John 19:31-37

"Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be  a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they ask Pilate to have the  legs broken and the bodies taken down" (v31 NIV).

It  is  important to understand why the Jews were in a  hurry  to have the bodies removed and buried.

Not only was that day the preparation for the Passover but also one of those rare times when the Passover ceremony, the first day  of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and the weekly Sabbath all fell on the same day.

During  that  time in history, the Jews believed that it would defile the Sabbath or a festival day  to leave a body  unburied on one of these days. Therefore, the Jews  were  very anxious to remove the bodies and bury them before sunset.

This hurried removal leads to the fulfillment of two more prophecies concerning Jesus as the Messiah and the Passover Lamb.

Jesus Stabbed to Death

"The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first  man who  had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the  other. But  when they came to Jesus and found that he was already  dead, they did not break his legs" (vs.32-33 NIV).

"But  one  of  the soldiers with a spear pierced  his  side,  and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record,  and his record is true: . . . that you might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone  of  him shall not be broken. And again  another  scripture says, They shall look on him whom they pierced" (vs.34-37 KJV).

These verses show that the prophetic symbolism of  the  Passover lamb's sacrificial blood and unbroken body were fulfilled in  the body of Jesus when he was crucified:

"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them,  saying, Drink you all of it; For this is my blood of the new  testament,  which  is  shed  for  many  for  the  remission  of  sins" (Matt.26:27-28 KJV).

"He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken"  (Psa.34:20 Para.).  See  also Ex.12:46; Num.9:12.  

The Father's Lamb

The death of Jesus is the final fulfillment of the prophecies  concerning God the Father's sacrificial Passover  Lamb.  The Israelites of the first Passover received physical salvation from  death because of the protective blood of the sacrificed lamb. The blood was a sign to God that those symbolically under it were  to receive his protection from the death angel. Now, those who accept the  sacrificial blood  of Jesus can claim  its  protection  from eternal death:

"Behold  the Lamb of God, which takes away the  sin  of  the world" (Jn.1:29 KJV). See also verse 36.

"For  even  Christ  our  passover  is  sacrificed  for   us" (1.Cor.5:7 KJV).

The Veil of Separation is Torn

"And  Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit.  And the  veil  of  the temple was torn in half from the  top  to  the bottom" (Mk.15:37-38 KJV).

"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar:  and they filled a sponge with vinegar,  and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his  mouth.  When Jesus  therefore  had received the vinegar, he said, It  is  finished:  and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost" (Jn.19:28-30 KJV).

"And  when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave  up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn  in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had  died were raised to life" (Matt.27:50-52 NIV).

Consider the enormous significance of this monumental  historical event. Picture Jesus' loud and painful cry  "it  is finished" (Jn.19:30) as the Roman solder plunges a spear deep into his side and his life blood drains to the ground. At the same instant, the  temple  veil  tears apart as a powerful earthquake  shakes Jerusalem. Furthermore, picture the high priest who, having just condemned Jesus to death the night before, was splashing the  blood of Passover lambs against the altar of God.

In  these scriptures, we see three other things of extreme  importance  to  the fulfillment of prophecyCthen, now,  and in  the future.

Curtain of Separation

The  tearing of the curtain of separation from top to bottom  forever  opens  the way for all humanity to  eventually  fellowship directly with God the Father.

This  curtain separated the holy place where the presence of  God dwelled on the mercy seat from everyone but the high priest. This curtain was a constant reminder to the Israelites that  their access to God depended on another physical human, and that this access was only granted through the physical works of the sacrificial system.

When Jesus cried out "it is finished" and the curtain tore,  the relationship between God and humanity was altered  forever.

This  is the moment in time that Jesus spoke of to the  woman  of Samaria when he foretold that the existing worship system  would be abolished, and that those who wanted to worship God would no longer need to travel to a specific location to worship:

"The  woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a  prophet. Our  fathers  worshiped  in this mountain, and you  say  that  in Jerusalem  is the place where it is necessary to  worship. Jesus said to  her, Woman believe me that an hour is coming  when  you will  worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in  Jerusalem  . . .. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the  true  worshipers  will worship  the  Father  in  spirit  and  truth" (Jn.4:19-23 Para.). See our study paper about the new creation for more details about worshiping God in spirit.

No longer would a physical man be required to offer animal sacrifices  for sins. Any who truly worship the Father can  now  stand before  him and present their own cause to him, knowing  that he will hear and consider their prayer because of the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ.

"Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in  the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called  the Circumcision  in  the flesh made by hands; That at the time  you were  without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth  of  Israel,  and strangers from the covenants of  promise,  having  no hope,  and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. For  he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken  down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in  his flesh  the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in  the ordinances;  for  to make in himself of two one of  new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Eph.2:11-16 KJV).

With the tearing of the curtain, all who worship God, whether  Jew or Gentile, have access to the throne of mercy by the one  and final  sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. See Heb.4:15-16; 6:18-19; 9:1-15; 10:19-22.

"For through him we both have access by one spirit to the Father. Now therefore you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of  the household of God" (Eph.2:18-19 KJV).

The Dead Raised

The  earthquake  and resurrection of the righteous  dead  at  the death of Jesus pertains to a number of prophetic events for that  time and the future.

This  event was evidence that God had fulfilled his promise  contained in the many prophecies about the redemption of humanity. A way  was  now open for all who would truly worship  God  to  have victory  over sin and death. This event also pointed  toward  the future when a great earthquake will shake the entire earth before the return of Christ to gather the righteous dead of all  ages to meet him in the air. See 1.Thes.4:16-17.

This resurrection of the dead shows the following:

The Future

Speaking  of the resurrection of the dead and the  transformation to  eternal and immortal life at the return of Jesus  Christ  the apostle Paul said:

"So  when  this  corruptible has put on  incorruption,  and  this mortal  shall have put on immortality, then shall be  brought  to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?  The  sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is  the  law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1.Cor.15:54-57 KJV). See Psa.98:1-2; Isa.25:8.

The Son of God

"Now  when the centurion, and they that were with  him,  watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done,  they feared   greatly,  saying  Truly  this  was the  Son   of   God" (Matt.27:54 Para.). See also Lk.23:47.

The Jews had rejected Christ as the Messiah and murdered him as  their fathers had murdered many others whom God had  sent  to teach  them  his laws and ways of life. To their shame, it  was  a Roman centurion, not an Israelite, who recognized and acknowledged  Jesus  as  the Son of  God. See  Psa.118:22-24;  Jer.8:9; Matt.13:57; 21:42.

SUMMARY

There are many important truths revealed in this Passover  study; however, the greatest of these truths is that the Creator God of all  humanity  loved his creation more than his  own  life and this immortal being who had existed throughout eternity willingly gave his life so we can escape punishment for our lawlessness.

Christ stood in our place and paid the penalty for our individual sin.  For this sacrifice, we owe him our life,  gratitude,  praise, and loyalty forever.

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w23