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GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR MANKIND


Chapter 1  


PASSOVER


1 John 3:4 defines sin: “4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Every law has penalties attached to it for its violation. Transgression of various laws incur physical, mental and spiritual penalties in the form of physical and mental pain, suffering, anguish and sometimes physical death; and if unrepented of, sin leads to eternal death.

God maintains the integrity of His law. Obedience to the law brings blessings and disobedience leads to death.

Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 5:12 says: “all [have] sinned…” Romans 6:23 adds: “For the wages of sin is death.” Thus, all of humanity because of its sins has earned the death penalty. Since God maintains the integrity of His law, every human being is worthy of death. The only way humanity could be redeemed from the death penalty would be if the death penalty for every human being could be substituted by the death of someone else. Jesus Christ, our Creator, the God of the Old Testament, whose life was of more value than all His creation put together, came as a human being to pay the death penalty on behalf of every human being, so that our sins could be forgiven and all of us could then qualify to receive the free gift of eternal life.

Since God loves all His intelligent creatures, whether spirit or flesh, He wants them all to live happy, joyous and accomplishment filled lives for eternity. He wants their lives to be free of pain and suffering. But every sin without fail produces pain, suffering and anguish. God hates sin so much because of its horrendous consequences that He wants to eliminate it altogether. 

The kind of world God ultimately wants is prophesied in Revelation 21: 3-4, “3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The only way God can have a world without tears, sorrow, crying, pain and death is by everyone becoming sinless. The only way that can happen is to impress on the minds of His intelligent creatures that the penalty for sin is death. If anyone sins, the death penalty will be applied to them. Before God grants any human being eternal life, He wants to make sure that he or she has learnt that lesson and has made a determination to never sin. All human beings are weak and all of us sin. We demonstrate our determination to never sin by striving with our whole being to overcome sin. Once we have convinced God of that, to help humans become sinless, God will grant them eternal life with their mental powers and other faculties multiplied trillions of times. Then we will have the mental capacity to analyze all scriptures and the benefit of all our life’s experiences to be able to apply God’s law perfectly to every situation in our lives so that we will never disobey it. That’s how God will usher in a joyous world without tears, sorrow, pain and suffering.

Therefore, the first step in God’s master plan for salvation of mankind is to redeem us from the death penalty. God’s first holy day, the Passover, pictures that first step. The Passover pictures God’s supreme act of love for all of humanity in the form of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment of the death penalty for humanity’s sins. Jesus Christ died in our place so that we could qualify to receive the free gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ has thus redeemed us from death and we have become God’s bought and paid for possession. We now belong to God.  

The instruction to keep the Passover in the Old Testament is stated in Leviticus 23:5: “5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover.”

In the New Testament, the instruction is stated in Luke 22:13-15: “13 And they went, and found as he [Jesus Chrsit] had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:”

Proof that Christians Are Required to Keep the Passover

In the Old Testament, the ancient Israelites were commanded to keep the Passover.  But are Christians also required to observe it today? To get the answer from the Bible, let’s first look at the Passover instructions in Exodus 12:4: “14 And this day [that is, the Passover] shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”

God told Israelites that this day would be a memorial for them. They were commanded to keep the Passover forever throughout their generations. We know that the Jews are only a part of the 12 tribes of Israel. The Americans, British, French, Swiss, Irish, the Scandinavian and Benelux counties are also all descendants of the other tribes of Israel, who are now all Christians. In the instruction in Exodus 12:14 all of them were commanded to keep the Passover forever, even though they have disobeyed the instruction for more than 2,700 years.      

Actually not only are Israelite nations required to keep the Jewish holy days forever, every one in the world can join the covenant with the true God. Then per the terms of that covenant, they will be required to keep the God’s holy days, including the Passover forever. Let’s see those instructions in the Bible. 

The annual Passover symbolized the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Paul referred to Jesus Christ as “our Passover” in 1 Corinthians 5:7: “7 Purge out therefore the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:” John the Baptist in John 1:29 called Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Did you catch that? The Lamb of God, that is Jesus Christ, takes away the sin of the entire world and not only the sin of Israelites. 

As lambs in ancient Israel were sacrificed for sin, Jesus made Himself the sacrifice to take away or forgive all of humanity’s sins. You see, the sacrifices ancient Israel made merely foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice was the real thing that took away the sins of the world, which the sacrifices of lambs, goats, bulls, doves could not do. Paul made this very clear in Hebrews 10:4, 12-14: “4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins…12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

As Paul says, the blood of bulls and goats could not take away the sins of the world, but Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice was offered once and for all to do that. Now there is no need for any animal sacrifices for sins. 

The Passover events at the time of the Exodus of ancient Israel paralleled most of the events that Jesus Christ would go through when He was sacrificed. Let us see some of these parallels.

1. The Passover sacrifice of the Old Testament of an unblemished male animal represented Jesus Christ as the perfect, sinless sacrifice for the sins of all of humanity.  Jesus Christ is the only human being who committed no sin. That is why He was the perfect, unblemished, sinless sacrifice.

2. The Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th of the first month. Jesus Christ was also crucified and died on the 14th of the month, the very day of the annual Passover feast in ancient Israel.

3.  The Bible teaches in Genesis 9:4 that a human being’s life is in his blood. It says: “4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Therefore, blood when poured out makes atonement for sin. When Jesus was crucified, His blood was poured out, when a Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear. Thus as the blood of the lamb saved the Israelite firstborn from death in Egypt, the blood of Jesus Christ was poured out to save humanity from the consequence of sin which is eternal death. 

4. Ancient Israel was in bondage to Egypt. Egypt was a type of sin. Today Christians are in bondage to sin. At the Passover, Egypt’s firstborn was slain as a result of which Pharaoh released the Israelites. But the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelite firstborn from death. In the same way the Christian and every other human being is under the death penalty because of sin. But the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God forgives sin and protects the Christian from the death penalty.

Thus we see that there are many parallels between the sacrifice of lambs during Passover in ancient Israel and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Both Jesus and the apostle Paul made it clear that the Passover is to continue as a Christian observance. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” So Christians are to follow the example of Paul as he followed Jesus Christ. If Jesus and Paul kept the Passover, then Christians are also to keep it forever.

Luke 2:41-42 tells us that Jesus kept the Passover as a child: “41 His [that is Jesus’] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.” 

John 2:13 tells us that Jesus as an adult kept the Passover: “13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”

Paul imitated Jesus Christ and also kept the Passover. He writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: “23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.”

Eating the bread and drinking the wine in the cup that Paul mentions are the new Passover symbols Jesus instituted. Paul says that he received this from the Lord Jesus Christ and delivered the custom of keeping the Passover the way Jesus kept it to the Church members.   

Jesus instituted new Passover symbols and practices to teach Christians important truths about Himself and God's plan of salvation. He instituted the foot washing ceremony as a part of the Passover service, and commanded us to follow His example.  This is stated in John 13:14-15: “13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” The foot washing ceremony is an annual reminder of the importance of humble service to fellow human beings.


The unleavened bread we partake of during the Passover is a symbol of the broken body of Jesus Christ and the excruciating death He suffered for forgiveness of our sins, as well as our physical healing. He said in John 6:48-51:"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." Just as bread sustains us physically, symbolically eating the unleavened bread symbolizes letting Jesus Christ live in us through the holy spirit to sustain us spiritually. We should now live an entirely new life, in total obedience to God’s law and overcoming sin.

The purpose of partaking of a small amount of wine as a symbol of the shed blood of Jesus Christ is to deeply impress on our mind that Jesus Christ’s blood was shed for the forgiveness of all the world’s sins.

From these Scriptures we see that not only did Jesus and the apostles keep the Passover, Jesus also commanded the disciples to follow His example, and Paul told the Christians [which included non-Israelites] to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Therefore, Christians and all human beings are required to observe the Passover annually as Jesus and the apostles did. It reminds us that God forgives our sins and makes eternal life possible for us in His kingdom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Passover.

HOW JESUS SUFFERED

We now know that Jesus Christ died to pay the death penalty on behalf of every human being. But why did He have to die a most cruel death and suffer so much? God could have insured that He died by being quickly beheaded, without much suffering? But God allowed His Son Jesus to suffer horribly. To understand why, let’s first see how Jesus suffered during the approximately last 21 hours of his life.

In Exodus 12, ancient Israelites were commanded to set aside lambs for the Passover on the 10th day of the first month. When Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of the month in His last Passover, He was set aside for sacrifice. Therefore, His mind was heavy because He knew the suffering He would have to go through.

God’s day lasts from sunset to sunset. At the end of the 13 day of Nissan and the beginning of the 14th day, Jesus and His disciples sat down for the Passover, which the population was going to keep the next day just before sunset. These were very busy 2-3 hours for Jesus. His heart was extremely heavy knowing what horrendous suffering He was soon going to go through.

First they had a regular passover meal with lamb or goat according to the Old Testament instructions. Then Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, explaining that He was setting Christians an example to humbly serve fellow human beings. Then He gave them a piece of unleavened bread, explaining it symbolized His broken body for the sins of mankind, making eternal life possible for us. Then they took a sip of wine from the cup, and He explained its symbolism as shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Then Jesus Christ taught them for about an hour. Much of what Jesus taught them is written in John’s gospel chapters 13-17.

During those hours, Jesus had to deal very patiently with the carnality of the disciples, who did not yet understand what He would be soon going through. He had to deal with Peter first refusing to let Him wash his feet, and then asking that his hands and his head should also be washed. He had to deal with the betrayal of Judas. The disciples’ minds were also on which one of them should be the greatest in God’s kingdom. He also knew that the disciples were going to abandon Him and flee during the time of His greatest trial on earth. When Peter said he would be willing to die for Jesus, He had to tell him that he would deny Him 3 times. Thus, these were very heavy and very busy 2-3 hours for Jesus.

GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE

After the Passover, Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn and went to the Garden of Gethsemane in the Mount of Olives. They spent perhaps 3 hours there, from about 9 pm to midnight. Jesus knew that the time of His greatest trial on earth had come. As God of the Old Testament He, or perhaps God the Father had foretold His unimaginable sufferings to the prophets who recorded them as prophecies. He Knew He had to endure it all without sin because the future of humanity depended on it.

When Jesus’ mind was in great agony, the best thing He knew to do under such circumstances was to pray to God the Father. He spent the 2-3 hours in the garden in agonizing earnest prayer. Luke describes Jesus’ agony as He prayed: Luke 22:44: “44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Jesus Christ prayed to the Father if it was possible in any way to do away with the suffering He was going to go through. But He wanted to do the Father’s will and not His own. He prayed three times in the same manner. These were not 15 second prayers each time. He prayed earnestly perhaps for an hour. Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and told them to watch and pray lest they fall into temptation. He went and prayed the same way in anguish for perhaps another half an hour or so and came back to the disciples and found them still sleeping. Because of the extreme distress He was in, He went and prayed the third time. His agony was such that He sweated drops of sweat as large as drops of blood. Then an angel came down to strengthen Him. Jesus then knew that there was no way that His suffering could pass away, and accepted His Father’s will.

BETRAYED BY JUDAS

As soon as Jesus ended His prayers, about midnight, a multitude of people and temple officers sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees along with Judas, found Him and the disciples and arrested Him. Judas pointed Him out to the multitude with a kiss. Being betrayed with a kiss caused further sorrow. Peter then took a sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. But Jesus healed that servant. Even the miracle had no effect on the multitude. At that moment, Jesus’ disciples, except John forsook Him and fled for their lives. But Peter later showed up at the palace of the High Priest during the trial.

Jesus walked a few miles and was brought first to Annas the father-in-law of Caiaphas the High Priest. Annas questioned Him and then bound Him and sent Him to Caiaphas’ palace, where the chief priests, elders and the scribes had gathered. They held a mock trial there with false witnesses whose testimony did not agree with one another. No guilt was found in Jesus Christ. Finally the Chief Priest asked Him if He was the Christ? When Jesus told him He was, that was the testimony they used to convict Him of blasphemy and condemn Him to death?

After Jesus’ was convicted, then the multitude around Him let loose. The people and officers standing by slapped Him in the face as hard as they could and spat on Him. Others stared at Him with mocking faces, laughed at Him and hurled insults and blasphemies at Him. They pushed and shoved Him around violently as they had opportunity to make Him feel as small as possible.

Luke describes how He was mistreated in Luke 22:63-65: “63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. 64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?" 65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.” He endured all this shame and reproach in His weakened condition with no sleep for about 21-22 hours by this time.

While they condemned Him at their mock trial, by early morning the Sanhedrin had gathered at the palace of the High Priest. The Sanhedrin confirmed the death sentence on Jesus.

Because of Roman law, it was not lawful for Jewish authorities to put a man to death. The death sentence had to be confirmed by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. So they bound Jesus and marched Him off to the Judgment Hall before Pontius Pilate. This could have been anytime from 5-6 a.m. By this time Jesus had not slept for perhaps 24 hours. He would also have slept fitfully the previous few days in anticipation of the agony He would have to go through.

JESUS BEFORE PONTIUS PILATE

Another trial was held by Pontius Pilate where the chief priests and the elders vehemently accused Him. But Jesus answered nothing in His defense. Pilate could find nothing worthy of death in Him. Then Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee, which was of Herod’s jurisdiction. At that time Herod the ruler of Galilee happened to be in Jerusalem. So Pilate sent Jesus to Herod to be examined if He was worthy of death. It would have been a harrowing experience to be marched in the streets of Jerusalem to first go before Annas, then Caiaphas the High Priest, then before Pontius Pilate and then to Herod. 

Herod questioned Jesus extensively, but Jesus answered Him not a word, while the chief priests and the scribes stood and viciously accused Him. Herod could find nothing worthy of death against Jesus. After His examination Luke states in Luke 23:11: “11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.” Jesus endured all the undeserved contempt, abuse and shame heaped on Him.

Pilate was then willing to release Jesus, but the chief priests, elders and the people cried not to release Jesus but to release Barabbas, a robber and a murderer. Pilate then ordered Jesus to be scourged.

SCOURGING OF JESUS

The scourging was administered by stripping the victim naked to expose his flesh for maximum effect. Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears in their book “Death by Love - The Cross of Jesus Christ” describe the scourging in these terms:

“Scourging itself was such a painful event that many people died from it without even making it to their cross. Jesus' hands would have been chained above his head to expose his back and legs to an executioner's whip called a cat-o'-nine-tails. The whip was a series of long leather straps. At the end of some of the straps were heavy balls of metal intended to tenderize the body of a victim, like a chef tenderizes a steak by beating it. Some of the straps had hooks made of either metal or bone that would have sunk deeply into the shoulders, back, buttocks, and legs of the victim. Once the hooks had sunk deeply into the tenderized flesh, the executioner would rip the skin, muscle, tendons, and even bones off the victim as he shouted in agony, shook violently, and bled heavily. Hundreds of years prior, the prophet Isaiah predicted the results of Jesus' scourging: "Many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind" (Isa. 52:14).

The soldiers who administered the scourging were experienced men at their jobs. They knew how to administer the scourging to bring the victim within an inch of death, but stopping just short of death. Jesus because of His peak physical condition would have suffered more than most men during the scourging. After Jesus was scourged, John describes what happened next in Matthew 26:27-31: “27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him.“

Just imagine, Jesus’ flesh had been shred into ribbons, then they press down a crown of thorns on his head with the thorns entering the scalp, causing shooting pain; and then they beat Him on the head with a stick, further pressing the thorns into the scalp. The pain would have been unbearable. He would have felt numb with all the pain, and the insults and blasphemies being continuously shouted at Him.

After the scourging, beating and mocking, the soldiers brought Jesus back before Pilate. When the chief priests, elders and the multitude kept shouting for Him to be crucified, Pilate then gave in and ordered Him to be crucified around 9.00 a.m.

THE CRUCIFIXION

For his crucifixion, the victim was required to carry his own cross. But Jesus was in such a weakened condition, and exhausted from lack of sleep that He was unable to carry His own cross. So the soldiers found a strong man of Cyrene named Simon and compelled him to carry the cross.

Crucifixion was such a horribly painful death that the ancient Jewish historian Josephus called it "the most wretched of deaths.” The pain the victim had to endure was so terrible that a word “excruciating” was invented to describe it. Excruciating literally means "from the cross."

Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears in their book “Death by Love - The Cross of Jesus Christ” describe the pain of crucifixion this way:

“The pain of crucifixion is due in part to the fact that it is a prolonged and agonizing death by asphyxiation. Crucified people could hang on the cross for days, passing in and out of consciousness as their lungs struggled to breathe, while laboring under the weight of their body. It was not uncommon for those being crucified to slump on the cross in an effort to empty their lungs of air and thereby hasten their death.

“None of this was done in dignified privacy but rather in open, public places. It would be like nailing a bloodied, naked man above the front entrance to your local mall. Crowds would gather around the victims to mock them as they sweated in the sun, bled, and became incontinent from the pain that could last many days.”

Another prophecy in Isaiah 52:14 provides more graphic details: “His form, disfigured, lost all human likeness; his appearance [was] so changed he no longer looked like a man” (Revised English Bible). Do you grasp what this prophecy of Jesus’ suffering is telling us? It says that He was so badly beaten, so bloodied and maimed, that He was virtually unrecognizable as a human being.

King David captures the stress and mental anguish Jesus suffered on the cross in Psalm 22. David begins the Psalm by saying: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” Then He describes how Jesus felt on the cross and throughout His whole ordeal in verses 6-8: “6 But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 "He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"

The word used for worm, towla, (No. 8438 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) in this psalm is the scarlet worm which was crushed to make crimson dye for dying clothes. That is how Jesus felt on the cross, as a crushed worm, as His life was being crushed out of Him. Truly no one has been more reproached, mocked, ridiculed and despised by the common people, the religious leaders of the Jews and the Roman rulers and soldiers than was Jesus during those 15 hours.

David wrote the very words the chief priests and the elders and the people would say about Him while He was on the cross. Matthew 27:39-44 says: “39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." 41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' " 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.”

Jesus did not suffer this reproach from human beings only. Satan and the demons were there as well. The gospel writers could not describe this because they could not see this mocking. But David recorded them in Psalm 22:12-21.

He writes in verses 12-13: “12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 13 They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion.”

The bulls and strong bulls of Bashan is a reference to powerful demons, some of who have faces like oxen. Raging and a roaring lion is none other than Satan himself. While Jesus was on the cross, Satan and the demons were not only inspiring human beings to reproach, mock, blaspheme and shame Jesus Christ, they themselves were tormenting and mocking Him. They gaped at Him with contempt to discourage Him all throughout His ordeal in a last ditch effort to cause Him to sin so that God’s plan of salvation for humanity would fail.

David continues to describe Jesus’ physical and emotional distress on the cross: “14 I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.”

Jesus Christ’s body was wracked with pain because His bones had been pulled out of the joints. He felt that all his energy and strength had been drained out of Him, His heart melted within Him because of the emotional strain, His tongue clung to His jaws because of the extreme thirst caused by massive loss of blood.

Then David continues the prophecy about the kinds of people that would be arrayed against Jesus: “16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; 17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. 18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

Jesus Christ was crucified with seven inch iron nails driven through the palms of His hands and His feet in order to nail Him to the cross. He was numb with shock at seeing His own bones exposed where His flesh had been ripped away due to the scourging. He hung on the cross for about 6 hours, all the time struggling to breathe. When it would all be over by about 3 pm in the afternoon, He would not have slept for 33-35 hours.

The dogs is a reference to the Gentile Romans; the congregation of the wicked is a reference to the chief priests, elders and the Jewish multitudes. All parts of this prophecy were fulfilled. Jesus knew all this would happen to Him because either God the Father or He inspired this prophecy through David in the first place. Perhaps now we can understand why Jesus sweated great drops of sweat like blood in anguish when He anticipated this suffering when praying to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

David continues the prophecy further in Psalm 22:19-21: “19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.”

While suffering on the cross Jesus would have continued to repeat this prayer to God throughout His ordeal to spare Him from the power of the dog, meaning the Gentile Romans, the lion’s mouth, meaning Satan, and the horns of the wild oxen, meaning powerful demons. Jesus was vulnerable to sin in the moments of His greatest weakness on the cross and Satan and the demons would be trying their worst in a last ditch effort to cause Him to sin. Jesus was confident that His prayer would be answered for David recorded: “You have answered Me.” Jesus was delivered from the sword when He died without sin and was resurrected to immortal life.

While on the cross, Jesus felt the presence of God the Father which sustained Him. However, then He received the greatest shock, when the Father turned away His face from Him and walked away, forsaking Him. Perhaps the prophecy in Psalm 22 was inspired by God the Father and Jesus may not have known all the details that the Father would forsake Him while on the cross. God the Father hates sin and walks away from the sinner. So when Jesus had taken on the sins of the world on the cross on Himself, He had become sin and God the Father turned and walked away from Him. In deep anguish and shock He cried out “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” 

Almost immediately after that Jesus life was cut short by the deed of a Roman soldier.

John describes this in John 19:34: “34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” 

The Roman soldier was expert at killing and knew the quickest way to kill a man. He took his spear and thrust it through Jesus’ body to pierce His heart so that all the blood in His heart and the water in His body flowed out of Him. The blood that flowed out of Him was shed for the sins of mankind.

WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE SO HORRIBLY

Jesus suffered a very cruel and excruciatingly painful death. His death could have been quick and relatively painless, with one stroke of the sword to the neck and some blood would have poured out from His body. God could easily have insured that. Why then did He have to die such an excruciatingly painful death?”

Isaiah the prophet provides us the answers. He writes in Isaiah 53:3-8:“3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” That is the reason Jesus died in great grief and sorrow. He bore grief and carried sorrows on our behalf, which we would have had to suffer as a result of God’s judgment for our sins.

Isaiah continues: “Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him…”

Jesus suffered because of our sins. Our sins have alienated us from God. But He took the chastisement or beating on our behalf to reconcile us to God and be at peace with Him throughout eternity.

Isaiah continues further: “And by His stripes we are healed.”

This means that the brutal beatings and scourging Jesus suffered makes supernatural healing of our bodies from sickness and disease possible. Human body is not designed to become sick. Sickness, disease and death is the penalty for violation of God’s physical laws. Jesus Christ paid that penalty on our behalf by being subjected to the brutal beatings and scourging. Since the penalty for broken physical laws has been paid for all of us, God can then supernaturally heal us. Thus the beatings and scourging of Jesus Christ make our supernatural physical healing from sickness and disease possible. Without healing we would die and not have eternal life.

Then Isaiah continues to further describe how Jesus would suffer for our sins in verses 6-8: “6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all…He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

JESUS SUFFERED ON OUR BEHALF

Isaiah the prophet thus provides the answer to the question why Jesus Christ had to die a horribly cruel death, but all pre-planned by God. He had to be the perfect sacrifice for us, to pay every aspect of the penalty for all our sins.

Jesus died to pay the death penalty on our behalf which sin has brought on us. He thus makes forgiveness of our sins possible, making eternal life possible as God’s sons. God the Father hates sin so much that He forsakes the sinner. Her forsook Jesus on the cross when He was about to die, as Jesus Himself shouted in Matthew 27:46: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Since Jesus was forsaken on our behalf when all our sins were laid on Him, God no longer needs to forsake us. We can be reconciled to Him and live in peace with Him for eternity.

Many of us have committed unspeakable crimes for which we deserve the worst form of shame, ignominy and reproach. But the perpetrators, which includes each and every one of us, will be spared the shame, mental and emotional suffering that would result when our sins are exposed and we are judged. This occurs at the second resurrection when all of humanity is resurrected to physical life again in God’s kingdom to learn God’s way of life and receive their chance for salvation. But Jesus Christ will tell humans that He has borne all the shame and reproach also on their behalf. If they repent and change their ways, He will not allow anyone to subject them to guilt, shame and emotional suffering because He paid this part of the penalty also on our behalf.

Thus, there was no alternative to the Word emptying Himself of His divinity and all privileges and coming to earth in the flesh as Jesus Christ to demonstrate that God does not compromise with sin, and the penalty for sin is death. But God loves His creation so much that He was willing to let His Son lay down His life to pay that penalty. 

There was also no alternative to Jesus dying a horribly painful death along with suffering shame and reproach. He suffered all aspects of the penalty of every kind of sin; all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual suffering, on our behalf. Thus His death and suffering were a complete sacrifice on our behalf in every way.



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