Jesus' Last Days - All The Way To The Cross

Today's post is the continuation of yesterday's look into Jesus' last days on earth. To read the first part, click here.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. Matthew 27:24-28

Jesus already knew He would be mocked this way. He knew their spite, dressing Him up like fake royalty. But He also knew that all this would come full circle, and the robe would mean everything.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11

Centuries before Jesus Christ came to earth, Isaiah was writing about the garments of salvation the Savior would bring, the robe of righteousness and jewels for the bride. All the evil associated with the scarlet robe of the soldiers would soon be decimated by the King of kings and Lord of lords.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon 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! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. Matthew 27:29-30

The loving hands of Jesus made those thorns. They created the vine that they were ripped from. He knows the purpose of every living thing that has ever been and ever will be. He knows how you and I can be used, He knows how everything will work together for His good, and He knew how the soldiers would use those woven vines (that He created) with evil intentions. And still He made them – He didn't have to, but He did.

And that reed. Another of the Lord's creations being used against Him. It stood along the river banks until the moment it was chosen as a weapon in the hands of a soldier. Imagine our Lord watching that reed grow tall and strong, knowing its future and its use.
And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. Matthew 27:31-32

We've mentioned twice already that Jesus knew the people in His life long before they met in person. Can you imagine Jesus Christ seeing Simon face to face for the first time? He had watched him be born, grow up and make his way to the city that very day. Jesus knew that Simon would be there at that very moment, but imagine them looking each other in the eye. What must they each have been thinking?

And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, Matthew 27:33

Jesus knew from the beginning of time that this would be the place of His crucifixion. Of course He did - He created that hill, that grass, that sand, that landscape.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. Genesis 1:9-13

God spoke and the waters parted to reveal the dry land. He saw that it was good – all of it. Even that one hill that He could see from His Heavenly throne. The one where they would crucify His Son. 

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. Matthew 27:34-35

Jesus knew that Scripture must be fulfilled again. He may have looked down from the cross with a mixture of sadness and satisfaction – watching the necessary evil happen just as He had said it would. While He was fulfilling prophecy and dying for our sins, men drank and gambled at His feet. It meant nothing to them at that moment, but soon they would understand.

And sitting down they watched him there; Matthew 27:36

Jesus knew that all of the pieces were falling into place – the drink, the garments, the people, the cross itself. Jesus knew the very tree that would be used, He knew it from the very seed, He knew the very day that it began to grow
And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Matthew 27:37

Jesus already knew the words that would be written and placed above Him. He created language and writing and gave us the ability to use words to form thoughts. And here was the accusation in words all could read.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3

The Word knew the words in the beginning, they weren't random and they weren't just written by coincidence. Words have the most powerful meaning, and Jesus knew the words that would describe the Word.

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Matthew 27:38-44

Why should His last moments be different than during His life? Jesus was surrounded by unrighteous hearts and He personally knew every one of them. He knew the guards and their disbelief, the thieves and their crimes, the mocking priests, scribes and elders and their hatred. He knew it all, and still He allowed the evil to continue.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 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 hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; Matthew 27:45-51

Jesus had watched as the temple veil was made according to specifications. He told Moses...

And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place. Exodus 26:31-34

Later He told Solomon...

And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. 2 Chronicles 3:14

Jesus knew its demise was coming when it was first created. As the stitches were sewn and the finished work hung, He knew it would end up in two ripped pieces on the floor.

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 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. Matthew 27:52-54

Jesus knew what it would take for these soldiers to believe. They hadn't believe anything about His life, but they would understand upon His death. Where they had been cold and hard against Him before, the miracle before them was required for them to believe in the Son of God. Nothing short of miraculous could have changed those hearts.

And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Matthew 27:55-61

Jesus even knew the chain of events for His own funeral. He knew the disciples would flee, the women would stay and Joseph would come. He knew the location of the tomb, even if we don't. He knew about the linen cloth and the enormous stone placed in front of the entrance.

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. Matthew 27:62-66

Jesus knew there would be question about His death, burial and resurrection. Everything He did had been questioned all along the way, so why not that stone, supposedly there to keep Jesus in? He knew their doubts and their fears, but even that obstacle was nothing in the hands of the almighty Son of God.

In each step along the way, Jesus turned things meant to harm, injure and destroy into something joyful. They were created by His loving hands, used for evil by human hands and ultimately became symbols and signs of love and hope to Jesus' followers. 

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:20

Doesn't that sound like what Jesus Christ did with each of these objects and people? They were supposed to be destructive and evil, but Jesus turned them into a miraculous victory. Joseph's words were inspired by the Lord. In the end, the Truth more than prevailed. It conquered. And Jesus knew it would.

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