Category: Crucifixion

Meditating on Christ’s sufferings

Given the reticence and reserve with which the NT dwells on the physical aspects of Christ’s sufferings, it is certainly possible for Christians themselves to dwell too much on them.

F.F. Bruce comments on this subject in his fascinating book, Answers To Questions (p249f).

He contrasts this, by Charles Wesley…

1. O Love divine, what has thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s coeternal Son
bore all my sins upon the tree.…

Flavel on Jesus’ cry of dereliction

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46)

Here, says John Flavel, ‘are words that might rend the hardest heart.’

The manner of the complaint

Note what our Lord complains of. ‘It is not of the cruel tortures he felt in his body, nor of the scoffs and reproaches of his name; he mentions not a word of these, they were all swallowed up in the sufferings within, as the river is swallowed up in the sea, or the lesser flame in the greater.’

What this desertion means

‘Divine desertion generally considered, is God’s withdrawing himself from any, not as to his essence, that fills heaven and earth, and constantly remains the same; but it is the withdrawment of his favour, grace, and love: when these are gone, God is said to be gone.…

Jesus before the Sanhedrin – sermon notes

Matthew 26:57-68

This sermon was preached in two parts.  The first part was followed by a time of sung and spoken confession.

This Powerpoint presentation was used:-

Part 1 – Four portraits

(a) Caiaphas – perverted justice.

‘Looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death,’ v59.

Looking for the expedient solution – Jn 11:49f “It is better that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

(b) Witnesses – twisted truth.…

Jesus’ cry of dereliction

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; see also Matthew 27:46)

Six hours after he was nailed to his cross, the dying Jesus shouted out these awesome words.  They are quoted from Psalm 22, showing that what Jesus suffered is not without some kind of parallel in the lives of others.

‘This is the hardest of all the hard sayings.…

The Day the Revolution Began

I’ve been going through Tom Wright’s important new book The Day the Revolution Began: Rethinking the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion (SPCK, 2016) with a fine tooth-comb.  Here I offer a synopsis of what I think Wright is saying.

Part One: Introduction

1. A Vitally Important Scandal

In appearance, the death of Jesus was just another tragic failure.  In reality, it launched the most important revolution the world has ever seen.  From now on, everything would be different.  …

The shadow of Calvary – sermon notes

Mark 14:32-42

It took place in Gethsemane, an olive grove at the foot of the Mount of Olives.

It happened after supper, and before Judas identified Jesus with a kiss and the soldiers arrested him.

Jesus had a few short hours in which to pour out his soul to his heavenly Father.

‘The shadow of Calvary’.  A place of

1. Anguish

V33 – ‘He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.’  To the point of death, v34.…

The Pilate inscription

In 1961 an Italian archaeologist, Antonio Frova, discovered an inscription at Caesarea Maritima on a stone slab which at the time of the discovery was being used as a section of steps leading into the Caesarea theatre.  The inscription in Latin contained four lines, three of which are partially readable.  Roughly translated they are as follows:-

Pontius Pilate
Prefect of Judea

The inscribed stone was probably used originally in the foundation for a Tiberium (a temple for the worship of the emperor Tiberius) and then reused later in the discovered location. …

He stooped to conquer

‘Irony’ means using words which have the opposite meaning to that which is usually intended.  It is a powerful device, and can sharpen up our understanding of people and events by showing us who ‘gets it’ and who ‘doesn’t get it’.

Irony is not only a verbal device.  There is also ‘dramatic irony’, in which the ‘real’ meaning of an entire event may be the opposite of its assumed, or apparent, meaning.

The account of Jesus’ crucifixion as recorded in Gospel of Matthew (Mt 27:27-51) is dripping with irony. …