The scene of crucifixion was one of immense drama, one beheld by the friends and enemies of Christ alike.  It was also the converging point of many passages of Scripture, which foretold the suffering and death of Christ.  His own disciples did not understand it, but the prophets had warned them that Christ must needs suffer that the sins of His people might be forgiven.  Matthew mentions a few, though not all, of the prophecies being fulfilled at the cross.  The soldiers took His garment, and gambled for the ownership of it, thinking it better that one of them have the whole robe than that it be divided in pieces.  This answered to the prophecy of David in Psalm 22:18, when he said that his enemies divided his garments among them, and cast lots upon his vesture.  The Bible never records that such an event happened in David’s lifetime, but it did occur at the crucifixion of his royal Son.  Matthew also records, after mentioning the title Pilate placed over His head on the cross naming Him the king of the Jews, that two thieves were crucified with Him, one on the right hand and the other on His left.  This also was done in answer to a prophecy of Isaiah, that though He Himself was innocent of any sin, He would be numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).  That God would permit His Anointed to be crucified in such ignominious company proves again that He was at that moment counted as a vile sinner, fully deserving of all the anguish that had come upon Him because of the imputation of sin to His person.

In addition to the shame and agony of crucifixion, to the heartless gambling of the soldiers beneath Him, to the company of thieves on the crosses at either hand, Jesus was also subjected to the mockery and ridicule of His bitter enemies.  It is difficult enough to suffer when we receive the sympathy and well wishes of our fellow men, but when they mock and taunt us in our anguish, that is a knife which cuts to the very marrow.  Thus Jesus, in the midst of unspeakable anguish, was subjected to the cruel taunting of His enemies, as they threw His very goodness, and His own sweet doctrine, back in His face.  They challenged Him, Who had claimed ability to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, to save Himself if He were possessed of such great power.  If He were the Son of God, what were He doing nailed to a rugged cross?  Surely God’s own Son could deliver Himself from the nails and the wood.  Little did they know, that Jesus could not deliver Himself, because He was under the judgment of God as a Substitute for His people’s sin.  Were He to descend from the cross and destroy His tormentors, the work of redemption would not be finished, and God’s purpose of salvation would remain unaccomplished.  Though they knew it not, Christ’s enemies spoke truth when they averred that He could not deliver Himself from the cross.

 

Advertisements