c. 1632

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HOW JESUS TURNED THIS DEFEAT INTO THE MOST GLORIOUS VICTORY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN (Luke 23:26-35 MSG)

As they led him off, they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?”

Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution.

When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, and the other on his left.

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!”

At the time of Jesus death, crucifixion was considered the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the Roman Empire.  It was considered so horrible that it was used by the Romans only for slaves, those from the provinces under their control, and the lowest types of criminals.  It was not to be used for a Roman citizen.  This is in accord with the biblical account of Christ’s death and with church tradition, which asserts that Peter was also crucified, but Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded.

Crucifixion as a means of execution probably grew out of the practice of displaying the heads of captured enemies or criminals on a wooden stake, like those used to build a wall or erect fortifications.  Later, entire bodies were impaled.  By Jesus time, crucifixion was a common sight.

Although methods of crucifixion seem to have varied throughout the Roman Empire, through biblical and historical accounts the basic pattern is known.  The condemned person was first scourged with a flagellum, a whip of leather thongs with bits of metal or bone attached.  This whipping greatly weakened the victim, who then had to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution.  A sign specifying the crime was often placed around the criminal’s neck or on the cross.  The person was stripped naked, laid on the ground with the crossbeam under his shoulders, and tied or nailed to it.  Nailing made the victim die quicker, as it did Jesus, whom the Jewish officials wanted dead before the Sabbath.  The crossbeam was lifted and secured to a post so that the person’s feet were hanging just off the ground.  Some archaeologists think a pin or wooden block was placed halfway up the post to provide a seat for the body so that the nails would not tear open the wounds, causing the body to fall.  The feet also could be nailed or tied to the post.

Although the pain was excruciating, some victims survived on the cross for days.  As in the case of the two criminals crucified with Jesus, the legs of a crucified person were sometimes broken to make the sufferer die.  This caused massive shock, followed by loss of circulation and heart failure.

Although completely innocent of all sin, Jesus suffered the most horrible, disgraceful punishment known.  But His agonizing death was not an ordinary death, for it was not the final chapter.  Jesus turned this apparent defeat into the most glorious victory the world has ever known.  At the Cross, He suffered for the sins of the world.  Then after His resurrection from the dead three days later, Jesus empowered His disciples with a new message, the Good News that He had finally defeated the power of sin and death.  Through the Cross, Jesus offers salvation to all who will believe in Him.

Now listen to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things.

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49 KJV)

As this story clearly shows, there is power in the word for those who believe.  God never makes a promise that he cannot fulfilled.  It is up to you to always stand on God’s promise, believe it and watch God work in your life.  When the light seems to be the dimmest and the enemy is attacking you on all fronts it is time to stand still and watch God work.  With God there is nothing that is impossible.  God is truth, he is also the light, when you know the truth, not what you perceive is the truth, but what God has spoken of as truth, you can rest assured that you will have peace in your life, and your soul will be free to experience the manifestation of that truth and the light that God has promised.  No weapon that the enemy may train its sights on you with, can penetrate the armor that God places around you.  You are a child of God, and God will never allow any harm to come to those who keep his word, stand on faith, and not be swayed like the motions of the ocean, always going back and forth.

Now know this, God wants you to experience victory over all aspects of your life.  He allowed himself to experience a horrible death on the cross in order that you might enjoy the fruits of life.  He defeated sin and death in order that you may have eternal life.  What more can anyone ask for, to know that if you believe in the word, except the word as ruler of your life, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you can have victory over the world.

Now in closing, let me state that believers today should always look to the cross in understanding God’s plan and purpose for their lives.  The cross is no joke; it is the reality of Christ’s death for your victory over the world.  You can continue to live in this world, partying and having fun, proclaiming that you are a Christian, but remember, your actions speak louder than your words.  Jesus was not pretending when he allowed himself to be executed for our sins.  We should obey the Lord in every detail as we seek to live a Christian life as we help those that are lost in Christ, find their way and understanding of the Heart of the cross and what salvation truly means in their lives.  If we truly want to know how to live a perfect life and experience victory over the enemy attacks on our well being, then I say to you right here in now, turn away from the world and look to Jesus as the perfect example.

I minister to you today from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity.  I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

 

 

 

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