The Dark Archangel - Satan - had been defeated in his first confrontation with the King who was fully God (but voluntarily not utilizing His abilities as God Philippians 2:5-8) and fully Man. Nevertheless, He was a Man with the fullness of the power of God the Holy Spirit in His life! Satan knew that man must sin before He can be killed - for death is the minimum wage of sin (Romans 6:23). No sin, no death, and no elimination of this enemy!
Realizing that his rule over the world was now in jeopardy, Satan swiftly launched a relentless campaign to trap Him in sin that He might be killed. This continued over the course of the next three and a half years with Satan stirring up people to attempt killing him on numerous occasions. (2) Not that they could (John 10:17,18) – but rather the situation might be extreme enough to elicit a sin response from Jesus. (Job 2:4) Then He could kill Him! However, Jesus either eluded or walked out of each of Satan’s traps.
Then in what seemed to Satan an odd turn of events, Jesus walked right into Satan’s supreme trap by going to Jerusalem knowing that they were plotting to take His life (Matthew 20:18). Satan blinded by greed at this opportunity enters Judas to ensure that the trap is set correctly so as to allow no escape for this King of the Jews (Luke 22:3-6). Jesus is captured (1), falsely accused in an improper trial during the night, whipped and beaten until His body was NOT full of bruises and wounds but rather ONE massive bruise and wound from the crown of His head to the soles of His feet. Pilate then grants permission for Jesus to be crucified at 6:00 AM (John 19:14 – the sixth hour of Roman time) on Thursday morning, the 14th of Nisan. Four Roman soldiers carry out the crucifixion order. (John 19:23)
He was then offered wine mixed with myrrh to drink in order to ease His pain and suffering (Mark 15:23). Psalms 69:21) However, Jesus refused it as He came to bear all of our pain and suffering! (Isaiah 53:3,4) Jesus went all the way for us, have we gone all the way for Him? Selah. He was then crucified by being nailed to a wooden cross at 9:00 AM. (Mark 15:25 – the third hour of Jewish time). These nails represented our sin - it was our sin that affixed Jesus to the cross! These nails pierced His body and would leave indelible scars that in a manner of speaking recorded our names on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16. John 20:25-27)
At 9:00 AM on the 14th of Nisan (Numbers 28:16), in the temple a Passover lamb was led up the steps to the altar and tied there.
The King - Jesus - whose body was pierced by nails, nails which held him to a wooden cross looked down upon those that had crucified Him (Psalms 88).
Realize, when Jesus slumped down the weight of His body would be placed on the nails in His hands (i.e., wrist area) causing excruciating pain to radiate throughout the nerves of his arms. When He would push up to exhale it would temporarily relieve the pain in His arms but cause a similar fiery torment in His legs from the nail affixing His feet. Over time His arms would become exhausted, and their muscles would start to cramp preventing Him from lifting Himself to exhale. However, then carbon dioxide would build up in His bloodstream causing the muscle cramps to partially subside. Then He could then lift Himself up to exhale until the muscle cramps returned paralyzing His arms, again. (3) This cycle will repeat itself for the six hours Jesus hangs on the cross. Realize, Jesus has had no sleep for about 24 hours, no liquids or food, ruthlessly interrogated, and severely beaten with His flesh shredded from the crown of His head to the souls of His feet before being crucified.
Then pushing up to exhale and talk, Jesus says the first of seven statements from the cross. In three simple words Jesus released the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of God: Father forgive them... (Luke 23:34).
Next, Jesus tells the believing thief that “today” they would both be in Paradise together (Luke 23:43). At noon darkness covers the land until 3:00 PM (Matthew 27:45. Mark 15:33. Luke 23:44 – sixth to ninth hour of Jewish time). Satan unleashes the fullness of his evil demons and fallen angels (Psalms 22:12,13,16,20,21), the fullness of sin, and its consequences upon Jesus. He who has never sinned takes the full punishment for our sin (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus who never had before experienced sin becomes one with our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and in a manner of speaking - the lamb becomes a serpent so that all who will look to His bearing away our sin will be saved (John 1:29. Numbers 21:9. John 3:14,15. 1 Peter 2:24. Hebrews 9:26-28).
No wonder Jesus asked God His Father three times if there was some other way than entering into the covenant of death and becoming sin (Matthew 26:39,42,44) (4). No, this was not the action of an insane person - merely the act of someone that was consumed by love for the race of man that He had created (John 3:16. Romans 5:8).
At 3:00 PM, Jesus cries out with a loud voice – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46. Mark 15:34). Jesus is actually quoting Psalms 22, but Satan does not realize this at that time. (5) Then Jesus drank of the plain vinegar (Matthew 27:48. Mark 15:36. Luke 23:36. John 19:29,30) symbolically drinking of the cup of God's wrath for us sinners. Again, He had entered into our covenant with death that Adam made with Satan in the garden of Eden thus becoming our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), our representative or mediator in this covenant of death to take all of our punishment.
Satan’s ears perked up, has He finally broken under the weight of the suffering? Could it be that this one has sinned and God has abandoned Him? (Isaiah 53:4) Satan knew God does not forsake the righteous (Psalms 37:25) and yet He says He has been forsaken! Satan blinded by greed at the thought of eliminating his most deadly foe moves in for the kill…
Jesus commits His Spirit to God, declares loudly “It is finished” (6) (John 19:30. Psalms 22:31) and breathes out His last breath (Matthew 27:50. Mark 15:37. Luke 23:46) thus laying down His life (John 15:13) by dying of a broken heart (Psalms 22:14). Recall, since He had never sinned He could not be killed; however, He could voluntarily lay down His life. (John 10:17,18) That is, Jesus was not obedient to death but rather to the point of death. Jesus always had the authority over His life (John 10:15,17,18, John 15:13). However, He chose to be obedient to our Heavenly Father by voluntarily releasing His spirit and dying on the Cross (Luke 23:46). Later the water mixed with blood from His side that was pierced would provide evidence that His heart had ruptured (John 19:34). Almost all things under the law were cleansed by blood (Hebrews 9:22); however, some were cleansed by water. Fitting that our Savior who loved the world would die of a broken heart for you and me! (Luke 19:41-44. John 3:16. Romans 5:8) The scapegoat that was killed and its blood sprinkled over and in front of the mercy on the Day of Atonment figuratively represented Jesus substitutionary death on the cross for our sin and sins (Leviticus 16:15-19)
At 3:00 PM, in the temple the High Priest sacrificed the Passover Lamb and declared to the people “it is finished.”
Thinking Jesus had sinned, Satan takes Jesus’ Spirit to the lowest part of Hades – the place from which no one or thing had ever escaped - the Abyss (Romans 10:7. Matthew 12:39,40). The scapegoat that was sent into the wilderness to be destroyed on the Day of Atonement was figuratively representing Jesus being taken into the Abyss in Hades by Azazel (i.e., Satan) (Leviticus 16:5-10;20-22). An angel of God escorts the believing thief to another chamber in Hades called Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise (1) (Compare Luke 16:22). In Paradise, the thief relates to those there (e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, etc.) the events that have just taken place on Earth at Calvary - the place of the crucifixion. Even as Lazarus had, a short time earlier, relayed the fact that the King was on Earth when he spent four days in Paradise - until King Jesus' voice had brought him back up to Earth! (John 11) The occupants of Paradise observed the promised one descend into the Abyss (the Abyss is the barrier or void that separated Paradise from Hell, Luke 16:26).
Jesus, God Himself, descends into the void bearing with Him our sin - justice has been served in full for man's rebellion on the cross of Calvary (Isaiah 53:5-11). What hope is there now left for humanity with their champion no longer living on Earth and confined to the Abyss?
Satan must have exclaimed that he has stopped the one that was to break His lordship over the World (Genesis 3:15)! Can anyone stop him now...?
At Calvary, it is a little after 3:00 PM with the Jewish day being over at 6:00 PM. In Paradise, the believing thief recalled what Jesus had said to him while on the cross - "Today" (i.e., before 6:00 PM Luke 23:43) He would join him in Paradise. How can this be since Jesus is in the Abyss? But then again he thought, while his eyes darted back to the Abyss, Jesus never lies...
To be continued(1)…
Links to the entire series:
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Attempts on Jesus' life:
Matthew 2:16 - As a child, Herod tried to kill Him.
Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6 - Pharisees held a council with the Herodians to discuss destroying Jesus because He healed a man on the Sabbath day.
Luke 4:28-30 – Jews attempted to throw Him off the hill because of His sermon.
John 5:16 - The Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him for healing the impotent man on the Sabbath day.
John 5:18 - Jews sought to kill Jesus because He claimed equality with God.
John 7:30-32 - The Jewish plot to arrest Jesus with intent to kill Him for claiming He was from God.
John 7:25 - It was common knowledge that the Jews sought to kill Jesus.
John 7:40-44 - Some people desired to arrest Jesus with intent to kill Him.
John 8:59 - Jews attempted to kill Jesus by stoning Him for claiming that He was God.
John 10:31 - The Jews again attempt to kill Jesus by stoning for claiming His Deity.
John 10:39 - The Jews sought to take Jesus for proving His Deity.
John 11:47 - The chief priests and Pharisees plot against Jesus.
John 11:53-54 - The Jews make a determined effort to kill Jesus.
John 11:55-57 - The Jews sought Jesus even at the Passover Feast.
John 12:9-11 - The Jews even desire to kill Lazarus because of their hatred for Jesus.
John 18:3,10,12 - Jesus was arrested by Jewish soldiers.
John 18:13-14 - Jesus was tried by Jewish leaders who had already decided on his guilt.
John 18:36 - Jesus acknowledges that it was the Jews who would kill Him.
John 18:38-40;19:1-7;12-15 - The Jews are adamant in their desire to kill Jesus.
John 19:11 - Jesus acknowledges a lesser and a greater sin in those who condemned Him to death.
John 19:16-18 - The Jews led Jesus away to be crucified.
(3) The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View by C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S. The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering (spiritual, soulish and physical) of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion.
(4) "Our Lord prayed to be saved from the Cross if there was such a possibility and it was within the will of God. Not that He was unwilling to suffer for lost sinners, but His holy soul shrank very properly and naturally from the terrible ordeal of being made sin and of having His Father turn away His face. It was the revulsion of His holy soul from that awful thing called sin, and the natural yearning of His heart for unbroken fellowship with the Father that wrung from His lips that prayer. There in Gethsemane He prayed to be saved from all of this." Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 17, pp. 30–31). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
(5) "It is believed, and with good reason, that our Lord uttered the entire twenty-second Psalm while hanging on the Cross. It is His own description of what took place there. Verses 1–13 speak of His heart sufferings; those due to His abandonment by God in verses 1–6, those due to the fact that mankind spurned Him in verses 7–13. His physical sufferings are described in verses 14–18. His prayer for resurrection is recorded in verses 19–21, and His thanksgiving for answered prayer in verses 22–31." Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10, p. 100). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.