*The Death of Christ for Us*
The death of Christ is treated with dignity and respect by the Gospel writers.
Details concerning the physical aspects of Christ’s death are often emphasized by Bible teachers; however, many of the gruesome details of Roman crucifixion are absent from the pages of Scripture.
2. It is always best to emphasize what the Bible emphasizes.
This evening, as we remember the death of Christ, we will closely follow the account of Matthew.
*The Suffering of the Savior (27.27-44)*
Transition: As we remember the death of Christ for us, we remember His suffering */outside the camp/* and */upon the cross/*.
*/Outside the Camp (27.27-32)/*
“/Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on 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!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.
And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name.
Him they compelled to bear His cross.
/” (Matthew 27:27–32, NKJV)
Jesus suffered great abuse at the hands of unbelieving men.
The members of the Sanhedrin, Herod’s soldiers, Pilate, and his soldiers all add to the incredible suffering of Christ.
Our text states that the soldiers of Pilate, the governor, took Jesus into the Praetorium.
This is where Pilate lived.
More than likely, the soldiers took Jesus into an open courtyard within the residence.
The soldiers mocked the claims of Christ being a king.
The scarlet robe, and the crown of thorns, and the reed scepter obviously point up this fact.
They mockingly bow the knee before Him with empty words of homage: “Hail, King of the Jews!”
The mockery gives way to physical abuse.
They took the reed and continuously beat Him on the head that held the crown.
They tore off the robe and led Him away to be crucified.
The text states that “they came out.”
The writer of Hebrews notes:
“/We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned *outside the camp*.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, *suffered outside the gate*.
Therefore let us go forth to Him, *outside the camp*, bearing His reproach.
For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
/” (Hebrews 13:10–16, NKJV)
Matthew notes that “they came out.”
That is, outside the city of Jerusalem.
Jesus suffered outside the gate!
Even as Simon, we should go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Since the beating of Christ was severe, Simon was compelled to carry the cross for the Lord Jesus.
We identify with Christ by bearing the cross of suffering even today.
Picture yourself as Simon of Cyrene.
If men hated Christ, the perfect Son of God, then we can be sure that they will hate us as well.
Only salvation will change hearts at enmity toward God, and we have this ministry of reconciliation.
Roman soldiers compelled Simon, but the love of Christ compels us…
“/Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and *has given us the ministry of reconciliation*, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and *has committed to us the word of reconciliation*.
/” (2 Corinthians 5:17–19, NKJV)
*/Upon the Cross (27.33-44)/*
“/And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink.
But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.
And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
/” (Matthew 27:33–37, NKJV)
Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, has a Latin equivalent: Calvary (meaning skull or cranium; see Luke 23.33).
No one knows for certain why the place was called “the skull”.
Jerome said that it was a common place of execution and many skulls were strewn around the site.
Some hold that since it was a place of execution, skull was used figuratively as a symbol of death.
Still others say that the place of crucifixion was a hill that had the natural shape of a skull.
However, there is no evidence provided that helps the Bible reader determine dogmatically why the place was called Golgotha or Calvary.
So, all we know is that it was outside the city.
The soldiers tried to give Jesus sour wine mingled with gall just before the crucifixion.
Gall is myrrh (which makes the gift of the wise men a heartrending scene).
The concoction was meant to provide relief from the pain the victim was about to experience.
Matthew states that Jesus would not drink it.
“/They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
/” (Psalm 69:21, NKJV)
The prophecy stated in the Psalm provides the reason for why Jesus refused to drink.
He fulfilled the prophecy, but also Psalm 69 provides the context of suffering under cruelty and mockery.
“When Jesus tasted the wine and discovered that it was bitter, he refused to drink it.”
Matthew states simply in v. 35, “They crucified Him.”
The practice is well-known to most of our hearers this evening.
Spikes were driven by a heavy mallet through the wrists and feet of Jesus.
A board provided support for the feet.
His feet were probably three or four feet above ground level.
The soldiers remained to watch over Jesus according to v. 36.
They passed the time by gambling for the clothing of Jesus.
This fulfilled yet another prophecy in Psalm 22.
“/They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.
/” (Psalm 22:18, NKJV)
Finally, the soldiers put up over Jesus’ head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The irony of this mockery is that it was absolutely true.
Jesus, the true King of the Jews, was crucified by men He created.
The world viewed and still views this as the death of another criminal, but it was the death of Christ for us!
For His suffering, Jesus did not seek vengeance; He loved and forgave those who put Him upon the cross of suffering and shame.
There are times when we are callus toward evil just as the soldiers and detractors at the foot of the cross were.
We need sensitivity to righteousness and sin, good and evil.
Such spiritual sensitivity comes through feeding on the Word of God and praying for grace to see things the way they really are.
We lack a sensitivity that is needed today.
It is precisely the reason we fall to temptation and sin.
Pray and feed upon the Word of God!
It is the only hope we have to endure suffering.
“/Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!
If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”