The Crucifying of Jesus
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Herod the Great tried to kill Jesus before he was even born, thinking that Jesus was going to usurp his position as the Roman client king of Judea. In his mad attempt to kill Jesus, he massacred all the innocent babies in Bethlehem under the age of two years old because he was told by the chief priests and scribes that Bethlehem was where the Messiah would be born.
Jesus had a destiny to fulfill and Herod was trying to abort his God-ordained destiny because of some ill perceived threat to his position, but Jesus' destiny far exceeded the parameters of a natural kingdom in this world, a world that was then and is now teetering over the very edge of annihilation.
Jesus was a spiritual bridge between this finite world and the eternal world where God dwells. If we then walk over this bridge into eternity by faith, believing that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, we then can receive the gift of eternal life. In this bridge we find redemption, forgiveness and salvation for our souls.
Herod's minute rulership was of little concern to Jesus and had no impact on his destiny, yet this unenlightened embodiment of evil sought to destroy the life of an innocent unborn child, the Son of God.
Jesus was preparing himself for ministry, and in the process he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, positioning himself to become a sacrificial offering for the salvation of the whole world. Jesus was on the pathway to his highest purpose, to be crucified on the cross of severe affliction because he loved the world that was created by him.
Jesus had a confrontation with Satan who tried to tempt him into sinning, an impossibility. Stepping over Satan and into his destiny, Jesus proceeded down his thorny path towards a hill called Golgotha.
Jesus sought only to do good by healing the sick, and raising the dead; miracle after miracle was performed by "God with us", nevertheless, the Pharisees tried to destroy him, accusing their God of being the prince of devils, so blinded by sin and rebellion were they that they could not, or refused to acknowledge that Jesus was their promised Messiah, come into the world to save their souls from the destruction of sin.
Jesus knew all things, thus he knew that the elders, chief priests and the scribes would cause him to suffer many things, and that they would kill him.
But Jesus also knew that he was the "Resurrection and the Life", that on the third day he would be raised from the dead, a little oversight of his enemies, who actually thought that they could thwart the will of God, and kill the Son of God who was ordained with purpose before the foundation of the world. Even Peter, a disciple, rebuked Jesus when he informed them that he was going to die, not discerning the spiritual ramifications of what Jesus was actually telling him.
Judas, another disciple, betrayed Jesus to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver, evidently unbeknownst to him, fulfilling biblical prophesy. "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver" (Zechariah 11:12).
The very presence of Jesus caused the leaders of the Church or Synagogue to perceive their true condition of spiritual corruptness and moral depravity, therefore they hated him because he pulled the cloak off their hidden sins.
So we have God in the flesh, Jesus born into a sin sick world, yet this world hated him without a cause, this world hated the Father and Creator, and it also hated the Son of God who was sent into the world, that the world, through him, might be saved.
But Jesus fulfilled his purpose anyway, inspite of the opposition he faced, he moved steadily towards his destination; Calvary, where he was crucified. Jesus informs his disciples that if the world hated him that they would hate them as well. Nothing has really changed. Christians are still being persecuted by those who attempt to cloak their sins behind walls of deceit, those who only want to appear to be righteous, but are in reality overflowing with deeds that will lead unerringly to the death and destruction of their eternal souls.
"Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Psalm 44:22).
Rather than repent and set their lives in order according to the Word of God, the haters of Jesus found it easier to simply kill the One who reminded them of their fall into sinful debasement. They were constantly pointing the finger at him, so to speak, accusing him of all manner of misbehavior, when in fact they needed to only look in the mirror, and view their own reflections staring back at them, which would have informed them, had they cared to know the truth, that they were only projecting their sins onto Jesus, making him out to be something that he was not, for he was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, sent by God specifically to them that they might have an opportunity to inherit the Kingdom of God, if they would but repent of their sins.
They opted instead to cause him pain, suffering and the humiliation of a public crucifixion where the whole world watched in horror, that the man who had performed so many miracles among them was now hanging from a cross, dying a death that he did not earn, because he was innocent of all the charges they brought against him, which was nothing but a ruse to vent their hatred of him, simply because his holy presence reflected back upon them the truth that revealed their fall into utter debauchery.
Jesus was the mirror they looked upon and saw their souls that had spiraled down into the deep caverns of hell. Imagine looking into the eyes of God and knowing that he knows everything that there is to know about you, and with the boldness of complete rebellion, instead of honoring God in the flesh, they sought his complete demise, and in so doing condemned their eternal souls to a permanent hell, cut off from all the promises of God because they refused to humble themselves, and obey the God who created them by his divine love.
But like the Pharisees, scribes and elders, today's church leaders who persecute the true Christians among them, display a deliberate obtuseness as to their innermost reasonings for displaying such hatred; their own self-hatred and the desire to destroy, kill and humiliated the ones who persistently remind them of their blatant sins.
The Holy Spirit that dwells in us is God, so in fact, what is happening is a replay of history, Christ is still being crucified by those who have rejected his divine love, in the form of trying to subvert the will of God among his servants through overt emotional and spiritual crucifixion.
The method of their madness stems from the fact that they are intimidated by the presence of the Lord in his true disciples by the Holy Spirit, no more or less than Herod the Great was intimidated by the birth of the Messiah, based on a fallacy that Jesus was going to rob him of some irrelevant nothing. His mission was higher than their finite minds could comprehend. They could not discern the hour of their visitation, no more than the children of rebellion today can discern the hour of their comeuppance.
Sinners are comfortable hiding behind their cloaks of darkness, and bitterly resent anyone shining the light into their contrived darkness. They simply want to continue in their sin under the guise or facade of righteous, moving stealthily among the people of God with one goal in mind, to silence the threat of exposure of their secret, sinful, liaisons of shame that are committed behind the closed doors of disobedience.
So they choose to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ anew, not really comprehending that what they are doing is entering into a war with God. "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God" (Acts 5:38-39).