Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.
If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Some areas I have grown more patient. I feel like I've gotten better about being patient in some areas. Some areas I'm not.
Like, I still feel like two minutes on the microwave is a really long time. But in other areas, I'm actually pretty comfortable to be patient. One thing I have actually looked, started to look forward to is spending time in the car alone. Not with small children in the backseat.
Definitely not. But being able to drive in the car for a prolonged period of time. I live in Orange County and I drive out to Riverside and on my office days I come out here. I've got about 45 minutes in the car by myself to do whatever I want. So I find myself talking to God. I find myself praying. I find myself listening to podcasts that I want to listen to. I find myself listening to worship music and worshiping the Lord punctuated by slight moments of road rage and then back to worshiping the Lord, especially on the 91 freeway.
But I find myself still being impatient about certain things. Recently, I was playing a video game with my son, Chris. He's 10 years old and we turn on the video game console to play this game.
He's been begging me to play for a while and we turn it on. And the first thing we're greeted with is a 45 gigabyte system update that we have to do. Now, 45 gigabyte, I mean, it's just like it's a huge file.
It's going to take forever. Now, because I'm a nerd and in many ways I'm an overgrown child, I wanted to have the absolute fastest Internet for cases like this. So I've got one gig down download speeds. OK, so that's pretty fast.
If you know what that is, it's pretty good. And so I'm happy with it. And so I was telling my son, oh, it's 45 gigs. But by the time it gets through our router to our video game console, it ends up being like 400 megabytes down. So it's not as fast. But still, it's really fast.
I remember growing up in the days of dial up modems, 28 K, 56 K. Somebody picks up the phone, you get disconnected. It would take 24 hours to pirate. I mean, download a movie off of LimeWire. And so I've learned to be patient and realize this is so fast. So this download, it tells us it's going to be taking about 15 minutes to download a 45 gig file in 15 minutes. OK, it's pretty good. Not as good as I'd like it to be, but pretty good. My son, Christopher, when he hears this news, you would think that somebody stuck him with a knife.
He is just in pain. Oh, it's going to take that's so long. I'm like, are you kidding me right now? Like what I grew up with compared to this, it would take forever watching images load on a computer screen that would go like line by line by line. And so in some ways, I've learned to become more patient. Otherwise, I'm still impatient. But being impatient, that's nothing new, is it? People have always been impatient. People have always been impatient. Two thousand years ago, people were impatient with God. They're impatient with God.
They were waiting. The Hebrew people, the Jewish people, they were waiting in anticipation of God sending the Messiah. They believe the prophecies. They saw the need more than ever.
They want to be. They wanted to be delivered from Roman occupation and to have Jerusalem and Israel be restored to the former powerhouse in the in the world that it used to be. Now they're under Roman occupation and they wanted a Messiah more than ever. They said to the Lord, how long until Messiah will come? The apostle Paul gives us this very good insight. He says in Galatians 4,4, but when the time was just right, God sent his son. When the time was just right. I think that's a word for many of us. We're waiting for things to happen in our lives.
We want to get there really quick. It could be marriage. It could be getting accepted into that college. It could be getting having children. It could be getting that raise at work and we're just we're ready for it right now. Lord, when is this going to happen? When the time is just right. When you're ready, God is going to meet that need. God is going to answer that prayer.
He is going to show you what he is going to do in your life. But when the time was just right, God sent his son, Jesus, and he began his earthly ministry. He began his public ministry, physical ministry here on Earth. We believe the ministry of Jesus continues to this very day.
But the physical earthly ministry of Jesus lasted for about three years. And Jesus, when he was on the face of the Earth, my goodness, could you imagine the things that he did, the teachings he gave, the prophecies that he fulfilled, the people that he touched, the healings that he was able to bring about, the enlightening and the truth that he exposed, the light that he was in the world. And as Jesus' physical life on Earth came to a close at the end of that three years, his popularity was at its absolute peak. Everybody knew who Jesus was.
Everybody wanted a piece of him. Everybody wanted to see him perform some sign, some miracle. Everybody was talking about how we're pretty sure this guy is the Messiah. Many already believed it.
Many were being convinced of it every single day. And Jesus, as we now come to the crucifixion, had just performed his magnum opus, the greatest miracle he had done in public view to date. It was the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus rose a man from the dead in front of many people.
There were witnesses. Now, Jesus rose somebody from the dead earlier in his ministry, a little girl, Tabitha. She had been dead, and he said to her, little girl, arise. Now, he strictly commanded the family to not tell anybody about this. And he didn't want anybody to know about the miracle because Jesus' time had not yet come. He didn't want everybody to know the things that he was capable of because he knew as soon as people found out the miracles that he could perform, the clock was going to begin ticking.
And he knew there was only one place it would end up once that clock began to tick, and it was in his own death. It was in his crucifixion. And so Jesus performs this miracle. His friend Lazarus had died. Mary and Martha sent word to him, Jesus, your friend Lazarus is dead. Jesus comes after delaying his coming. After two days, he finally shows up. Lazarus has been dead for four days now. Jesus, you didn't just miss the opportunity to heal him. You missed the funeral. You showed up late.
Where were you, Lord? We just learned this last Sunday. And Lazarus, dead in the tomb for four days. This was a big deal because in the Jewish tradition, they believed that the spirit of a person, the soul of a person was actually nearby the body for three days. So Jesus intentionally waited four days to say even like, hey, beyond the shadow of a doubt, this guy is like super dead to the point where Lazarus was starting to stink in the tomb.
Rigor mortis had began to take place. Certainly the body had begun to decompose, and Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave. And Lazarus came hopping out of that tomb. This was the absolute craziest miracle people had seen.
Tons of witnesses saw it, and word began to spread. People wanted to know, Jesus, when are you going to establish your kingdom? You just performed these miracles.
You just did these incredible things. When are you going to overthrow the Romans? They wanted to know when Jesus was going to restore Jerusalem and Israel to the former powerful nation it once was. But the first Jesus revolution was not going to be a political one.
It was ushering in a whole new way to be human. Jesus came not to wear a crown of precious stones, but a crown of thorns. He came not to sit upon a throne of gold, but a cross of wood.
This was all according to God's plan. And unbeknownst to his disciples and his friends, the moment they had been waiting for had finally arrived. Jesus was going to finish what he had started. We're going to be reading together in John's gospel in chapter 19. If you would like to turn in your Bibles there or read along with us, we might have the scriptures on the screen.
If not, you could read along with me in the New King James Version. We're going to be looking at John 19 starting in verse 17. The king on a cross and he bearing his cross went out to a place called the place, went out to a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross and the writing was Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. And then many of the Jews who read this title for the place where Jesus was crucified near the city. And it was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Therefore, the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, do not write the king of the Jews, but write, he said, I am the king of the Jews.
And Pilate answered, I have written what I have written. And so, Lord, as we look now at this testimony of the way you died, the way you conducted yourself, the things that you said, the love that you had for us, the forgiveness that you showed, even in the midst of excruciating pain. Jesus, help us to learn from your example. Help us to learn that greater love has no man than this, the one who would lay down his life for his friends. Jesus, we want to lay our lives down to you. We want you to be the Lord of our life. And so as we look at this account now, we pray that you would speak to us. You would convict us and convince us of sin. And you would reveal to us the way that you would have us to live. We pray all of this in Jesus name. Amen. So as we look for just a couple of verses, the death that Jesus endured, I want you to think for a moment about your own death.
That's right. I want you to think about your own death. Many years from now, what kind of conditions would you want to face death in? I think myself, I would like to be in a nice clean room, maybe a familiar bedroom, my own bedroom. I'd like to be surrounded by loved ones.
I'd like it to be well lit. I'd like there to be a breeze blowing in from the window. I'd like to see the faces of my family. I'd like to see my wife, my children, my grandchildren, the people that I care about.
I'd like to hear about how I made an impact in their lives. I'd like it to be a nice beautiful transition, right, peaceful, breathing my last breath. I think that's most people would like to have a peaceful transition into the next life. This was the very opposite of what Jesus faced. This was the very opposite experience of what crucifixion was. The crucifixion, crucifixion itself, it was not created by the Romans.
It was created by the Persians. But the Romans perfected it, you could say. They made it out to be the most painful, shameful, and horrible way for a person to die possible.
Everything they could come up with, they threw at it. The crucifixion, I'm going to point out to you today, was four things. Number one, the crucifixion was public. Number two, it was painful. Number three, it was prophesied. And number four, it was payment for our sins. It was public, it was painful, it was prophesied, and it was payment.
The first thing we're going to look at is public together. Jesus, the crucifixion he had, the death that he experienced was very public. We don't want to die in front of a bunch of people we don't know.
We want to be surrounded by loved ones when we pass into this next life. Jesus was surrounded by strangers, angry people spitting on him, cursing him, challenging him, gawking at his naked and disfigured body. He was marched through the city carrying his own cross along a highly visible route, ensuring the maximum amount of people would see the agony of Jesus, the angry mob in tow hurling all the false accusations against him. This was done also during the absolute rush hour traffic of millions of people that would be coming to Jerusalem that weekend in celebration of the Passover, the time that the Jewish people remember when God delivered them out of Egypt from Rome, excuse me, from the Egyptian captivity. There were slaves there, and God delivered them. And so they remember, and they would celebrate, and they would go to Jerusalem, and they still do to this day, and they go and they worship God for it. And so millions of people would be flocking to Jerusalem, and so Jesus was crucified on the most public road, entering to the most public gate on the most popular weekend of the year.
For our context here in Riverside, we could think of the lighting at the Mission Inn, right? Just absolute packed with people. It's crazy. You don't go down there unless you just want to be stuck in traffic forever. Or for us down in Orange County, think of Newport Beach on the peninsula on the 4th of July, right? Just pandemonium.
You don't want to go anywhere near there if you don't like crowds. This is the kind of craziness and swelling with people that we could believe that Jesus had to die in front of. Scholars say that up to a million people, a million pilgrims, would venture into Jerusalem for the Passover celebration.
And so that was a huge bump up from the traditional normal population that lived there year round. And so just tons and tons of people, and they all would have seen Jesus being crucified on this cross. Many would have heard about him in the local area. Certainly his name had been carried outside of just the local area of Judea, and they would have known that there was this prophet Jesus. Oh, who is he?
Maybe we'll get to hear something about him. Certainly enough and sure enough, there he was being crucified on the side of the road. It was public, and this is not the image we would have in our minds of a peaceful death. Number two, the crucifixion was painful.
It was painful. We tend to romanticize the cross today. We have crosses we wear around our necks. We have tattoos that we put on our body of the cross. We have nice polished koa wood versions of the cross in our homes. We hang on our walls, and that's all okay.
There's nothing wrong with that. But the cross that Jesus was crucified was not art. It was not beautiful. It was a tool used to put someone to death, and it would have been rough, unfinished timber, stained with the blood of other dead criminals. As we look at John's account in verse 18, he tells us about crucifixion. This is all he says in verse 18, there they crucified him. That's all we read in the Gospels about crucifixion.
It's almost shocking how little description is given. All four Gospels pass by the crucifixion somewhat quickly. And the reason for that is because when the Gospels were written, there was no explanation needed.
There was no explanation needed. By the time Jesus was on the scene, over 30,000 people had been crucified by the Romans in and around just Judea. If your crime was worthy of capital punishment, the Romans would crucify you. It was their go-to method. It was a way of Rome telling anybody and everybody that would see what was happening there, don't mess with Rome.
Don't mess with us. At the time that John was writing this, crosses with dead men or dying on them was a very common sight. Crucifixion was not efficient.
It was not humane. It existed to maximize pain and stretch out the death for as long as possible. Now don't forget, Jesus was already at the brink of what a human body could take prior to his arrival at Calvary, at Skull Hill, at Golgotha, because of the scourging he endured at Pilate's command, the crown of thorns. They also would have pushed onto his head, would have caused blood to drip into his eyes and hair. His beard was ripped from his face, causing severe swelling and bruising. So when they finally arrived at the place for Jesus to be crucified, the cross would be assembled and the prisoner would be made to lay on their back where their arms would be stretched out. Now Jesus in his life would have nailed many times nails as a carpenter, but this would be the first time that he watched as nails were driven through his own hands and feet, one in each hand and one through the center of both of his feet.
As the cross was raised off the ground, it would be slid into a hole that had been dug, causing all of his weight to come down onto his fresh wounds. Contrary to what you might think, the cause of death from crucifixion was not bleeding to death. It was not a hemorrhage of some kind. It was asphyxiation. Yes, you would suffocate. You wouldn't be able to breathe. One doctor said this, hanging by your arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.
Air can be drawn into the lungs, but it cannot be exhaled. And so you would have to step up. There would be a step under the feet of anybody being crucified, and you would push all of your weight down onto your feet to extend your knees to be able to take in a breath of air and exhale and then bring in a new breath of air and then slump back down.
You would have to step up, shifting all of that weight, ripping your hands, ripping your feet, tearing those holes bigger each time, more excruciating than the last. The word today used to describe pain on another level, and it is excruciating. It is the word excruciating. It comes from the Latin word excruciatus or literally out of the cross.
That's literally what our word excruciating means today. It is referred, it is based on crucifixion itself. Crucifixion is the defining word for pain. And from the moment he was arrested on the Mount of Olives to the scourging to the crucifixion itself, it was painful.
So we see it was public, and we see it was painful. Let's look now at John 19, starting in verse 23, and we'll continue reading here. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garment and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic.
Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said, therefore, among themselves, let us not tear it, but cast lots for it. Whose it shall be, that the Scripture may be fulfilled, John says, that they divided my garments among them, and for my clothes they cast lots.
Therefore the soldiers did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by, he said to his mother, woman, behold your son. And then he said to the disciple, behold your mother.
And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, he said, I thirst, I thirst. And that brings us to point number three, it was prophesied. The crucifixion of Jesus was prophesied. Jesus knew all along his life was leading up to the cross. This is why we see him saying at various times, hey, keep this miracle to yourself, my time has not yet come. The time Jesus was referring to, as I mentioned earlier, was the crucifixion. He knew once his ministry went public and everybody began to give him attention, that the Jewish leaders and the Romans, the clock would begin to count down at a rapid pace.
Everything happened just as God said that it was. Verse 24 tells us that the Scripture might be fulfilled, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. This is referring to the soldiers who flipped coins or threw dice or cast lots for Jesus' clothing. And what Jesus is talking or excuse me, what John is talking about here and giving us this insight is what King David said in Psalm 22, along with many specific details about the crucifixion of Jesus. Hundreds of years, I might add, before this practice was invented, including the thirst that you experience while on the cross.
In the Bible, there are over 300 prophecies that exist actually just in the Old Testament that specify everything from the life, the birth, the death, the resurrection, the ministry and the second coming of the Jewish Messiah, all of them fulfilled in the life of Jesus, each and every one of them. The crucifixion of Jesus was prophesied. And that brings us to number four, John 19, 29 to 37, it says, Now a vessel of sour wine was sitting there, and they filled a sponge with the wine. They put it on a hyssop, and they put it to his mouth. And so when Jesus received the sour wine, he said, It is finished.
And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. Therefore, because it was the preparation day that the bodies should not remain on the cross, on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath was a high day, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, that they might be taken away. Now, crucifixions, they could last for days.
They could last for days. These men, depending on their strength, they could just keep going up and down on that cross and taking breaths of air, and they could last for days. And so in order to expedite the process, the Romans would take a club, and they would break the legs of the men, of the criminals on the cross, so they would no longer be able to stand up and breathe. With legs broken, they couldn't prop themselves up, and the death would quickly follow as a result of asphyxiation.
Look back at verse 32. And so the soldiers came, and they broke the legs of the first and the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with the spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who is seen has testified, and his testimony is true.
And he knows that he is telling the truth so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be filled. Not one of his bones shall be broken. And again, another Scripture says, they shall look on him whom they have pierced, so the prophecies may be fulfilled. Guys, Jesus came to die. Jesus came to die. We've looked at how Jesus died, and now we're going to look, why did Jesus die?
Why did he have to die? The fact is, those soft little hands fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb were made so that nails could be driven through them. Those little baby feet, pink and not able to walk yet, would one day stagger up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant's head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it.
That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die. His very life was payment for our sin. We look at verse 30, it says, So when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, It is finished.
And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. The word that Jesus would have uttered from the cross would have been, Tetelestai, Tetelestai. And that is a Greek word that simply means it is finished. It's done. Now, it would have been a word that Jesus would have been familiar with because it was a word that a tradesman would often use, whether they were a Finnish carpenter, a stonemason, a mechanic.
I don't know if they had mechanics back then, but it's a word we would have used similarly today. We would have called the customer on the phone, Hey, bud, the job is complete. It's all wrapped up. Everything is done.
Tetelestai, you can come on and pick up the finished product. Now, Jesus was saying, The work that I came to complete, the job that I came to do, Tetelestai, it is finished. Nothing more needs to be done to ransom my people from hell. Jesus said, It is finished. The centurion who was in charge of this whole deal, the robe put on Jesus, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the crucifixion, the thing that he was overseeing the whole thing, this centurion, he said this in another gospel, Mark 15, 39. So when the centurion who stood opposite him saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, Truly, this man was the Son of God. Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do when he was being nailed to that cross. Now, he didn't just mean the men who pounded the nails.
He didn't just mean the Jewish leaders who lied about him on trumped-up charges and got him to be put to death. He was talking about you and me. He was talking about all of us. He was talking about all of us because we needed to be forgiven, and that is what the crucifixion accomplished on the cross for us.
Amen? The night before Jesus was crucified, he was in an upstairs room with his disciples, and we read in Matthew's gospel, as they were eating, Jesus took bread, he blessed it, and he broke it, and he gave it to the disciples, and he said to them, Take, eat, this is my body. And then he took the cup, and he gave thanks, and he gave it to them, saying, Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenants, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. Jesus tells us, Do this in remembrance of me. And so today, as we remember Good Friday, as we look back at the horrible experience that Jesus endured because of his love for us, Jesus commands us, Remember. Remember what I did for you.
Reflect. Think about these things that I did in your place. Jesus paid a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. We are guilty for our sin.
We wouldn't be able to get to heaven on our own, but because Jesus loves us, he came and paid it in our place. Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
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