The Passion and Victory of Jesus Christ
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 4/11/04
John 19:16 to 20:21
History is punctuated with key events, both good and bad, that change the course of nations and even the world. A little more than eight years before I was born President Franklin Roosevelt, referring to December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed the Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii said, "It was a day that will live in infamy." There can be no doubt that as a result of this day, the history of Japan and the entire world was changed forever.
Earlier this year I was eating in the revolving restaurant overlooking Dealey Plaza and the very area where President John F. Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963. I remember well where I was when I heard the about the shooting. That day changed our nation.
Another picture etched in my mind is November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall came crashing down. It signaled the end of the oppression of the people's of Eastern Europe. One year later Pastor Darrow and I, along with our wives, were visiting with a Pastor friend in what had been East Germany. While there were no fences or walls, when we drove across what had formerly been the border crossing it was like losing 40 years in an instant. We went form the 80’s to the 40’s! I have two pieces of the Berlin Wall that I prize.
Then, who here can forget that infamous day, September 11, 2001, when America suffered a brutal terrorist attack? It certainly has changed the course of this nation.
But I turn your attention to an event, a person and a day that has changed the course of all civilization. That is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There is no other day in history that rises to the level of the day that The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified! On one hand it was a day of extreme evil and on the other hand, it was a day of triumph because the Lamb of God took our sins to the Cross and they were nailed with Him there.
John 19:17 "And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:" The word Golgotha – golgoya is a translation of the Hebrew word which means skull. The Greek word for skull is kranion - kranion (kran-ee’-on), however, the translators adapted the Latin word calvaria, for skull in our KJV, calling it Calvary. In fact, we only find the English word "Calvary" one time in our Bible - Luke 23:33 "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."
Golgotha/Calvary was a well know place not far outside the city gate of Jerusalem (Hebrews 13:12). Many historians believe it looked like a dead man’s skull (see the picture of Gordon’s Calvary). Further, it was Roman practice to allow the bodies of those crucified to rot on their crosses, therefore many skulls and bones littered the area because thousands of criminals had been crucified there.
John 19:18 "Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." Those three words do not begin to convey the horror of crucifixion. It was an act more horrible than anything you and I can imagine! But why did Christ suffer such agony? 1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" (see also Colossians 1:20-22).
The crucifixion of Christ unleashed the power of redemption. When Jesus Christ our Savior spoke His last word from the Cross and "gave up the ghost" redemption had been secured for all who will put their faith in Him! What was the last word of our Savior according to John’s account? It was tetelestai (tetelestai). Turn with me to John 19:30 "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." This was a cry of victory in the hour of defeat. It means paid in full! Jesus Christ was the precious lamb of God who paid for our sins by his death on the Cross. 1 Peter 1:18-20 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." (see 1 John 2:2). Christ’s death on the cross sets all who will receive Him by faith free from damnation. It sets you free from the guilt, penalty, power and one day the presence of sin! Romans 5:9 says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
His Death & Burial
Throughout history, there have been Christ haters and skeptics who have sought to create doubt concerning the death of Christ. However, eye witnesses confirm the physical death of Christ.
First, consider the testimony of the Apostle John who records in verse 30, "he…gave up the ghost" - paredwken to pneuma (paredoken to pneuma). This is a phrase expressive of death. The Saviour freely surrendered his soul and spirit unto his Father. Second, let’s look at the testimony of the soldiers. Turn to John 19:32-33 "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:" (see Psalm 34:20). To be extra sure Christ was dead, the soldier pierced His side with his spear (v. 34)
Third, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus got Pilate’s permission to take away the body of Jesus, prepare it and bury it in Josephs’ own tomb. I can tell you this. Pilate would not have released the body of Jesus if he was not sure He was dead. Joseph and Nicodemus would not have packed in the embalming spices and wound up the body of Jesus if they were not sure He was dead. We read all about this in verses 38-42. The Good Shepherd gave his life for the sheep (John 10:11). Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Turn with me to Luke 24:1-8 "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words…"
Jesus Christ literally, physically and bodily arose from the dead, never to die again. Christ is the first and only person at this point who has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16). My Lexicon says the word means deathlessness. However, Christ is also called "the first fruits of them that slept." Therefore, others, other believers to be more specific, will one day be raised to immortality (1 Corinthians 15: 20-26).
So, why is Christ’s resurrection so important? Being
God in the flesh, Christ had the power to lay down His life and then take
it back again (read John
10:17-18). The resurrection is proof that Jesus Christ was the Son of
God. We read this in Romans 1:4 "And declared to be the
Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the
resurrection from the dead:" We know that God accepted Christ’s
payment for sin because of His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:17-23),
Jesus Christ is ALIVE! You will note, if you have followed this message
closely that we have covered the death, burial and resurrection of the
Lord Jesus Christ. This is the essence of the Gospel (1 Corinthians