Jesus, when He had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: having said thus, He gave up the ghost.
We stand around the cross of Jesus and we see the dying Christ.
What shall we do?
Shall we weep for Him?
No. Remember Christ’s rebuke of the daughters of Jerusalem. If we weep at all, let us weep because of our terrible sin and guilt which made this spectacle necessary.
Besides, what you see here at the Cross of Calvary is the most beautiful THING you will see unto all eternity.
There is a great white throne in heaven, and in the midst of that throne John saw SOMEONE who beggars description. That’s why John simply likens Him to the most precious thing he knew: the jasper stone most precious, which is like our present diamond stones.
And in the midst of that manifestation of Jehovah stands the Lamb of God, standing as if slain.
In other words, Jehovah will take care of it in eternity that no one ever forgets the most beautiful THING He ever revealed, namely, Jesus Christ, the, Son of the living God, who went to hell for such worms as you and I.
Yes, we are going to see the dying of the Christ.
Well, that death of Jesus was a most terrible death. There is no other death like this death.
The three hours of darkness are now passed: the culmination of His death. And what a death!
A horrible death for He was the LIFE! He was the Holy One of Israel. He was the personification of Innocence. When we go to hell, we will at once feel that we belong there. Our person, our body, our soul, our spirit, our everything belongs in hell. Because we are corrupt and evil from our youth.
But Jesus is as holy as God is holy. And He was treated like the worst of the worst.
Death is separation of that which belongs together. Well, if there was anyone who belonged in the bosom of the Father it was Jesus. But a few minutes ago He cried pitifully: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!
Death is punishment for sin. Death is therefore hell. And its extent is eternal. That brings to mind another phase of the suffering of Jesus.
When we go to hell, we stay there unto all eternity.
But when Jesus suffered hell on earth, He completed that hell in thirty-three years. That is to say, He concentrated all the eternal suffering in a comparatively short period of time.
And there is another concentration which spelled suffering for Jesus: He concentrated all the suffering of the elect and placed it on His own head. He suffered alone for all His people.
The wicked suffer hell too, but each suffers for his own sin, and there is a difference. The closer we were to Jesus and the church, the worse will be our punishment, but each sinner suffers for his own sin, and not for anybody else.
But Jesus suffered alone for millions.
What horrors for Jesus!
Well, He bows the weary head, and gave up the ghost.
And that is terrible for the world, and for Satan.
It is the bruising of the head of the devil, and it is the condemnation of the world.
In that Cross the world is judged and condemned.
It is evident in the signs which accompany the death of Jesus: the earth quakes, the rocks are rent and the graves are opened. The world is condemned.
They show it too. Look at them: there they go! They beat their breasts and flee, the cowards.
How is the dying of Jesus the condemnation of the world?
There were many years when I heard that statement and did not understand it.
Let me show you.
The whole world, that is, the Romans, the Greeks, the Barbarians, the passersby, and the church condemned Jesus, hung Him on the accursed tree, derided Him, sneered at Him, spit upon Him, and laughed Him to scorn. Even the church was party to all that. It is like Isaiah said: We hid as it were our faces from Him!
Now here is the point: when you do that to a beautiful, attractive, comely, lovely, holy, righteous and perfect BEING, you condemn yourself. You show what kind of person you are.
And the whole EVENT was public property.
The whole world and the church were publicly condemned on the day that Jesus the Innocent died on the Cross.
That is the reason why Jesus Christ is set for a fall to many in Israel.
The carnal Israel is also condemned.
As a nation she is annihilated. And Jerusalem went to heaven when Jesus died.
But Jesus’ death was also a glorious death.
We hear much about public worship.
Well, the cross is the most beautiful public worship this sorry world has ever seen.
And you know how public it was. There were the Romans, the Greeks, the Barbarians, the passersby, the cream of the Israelitish nation, and the true church of Jesus.
And it WAS worship. It was the most beautiful worship you can imagine. It was the revelation of the loving obedience of Jesus to the Father.
Adam and Eve were obedient too in the period when they stood in original righteousness. But that obedience was as easy as falling of a log.
But Jesus stood in the bottom of eternal death, with devils and men taunting Him, and with the tornadoes of God’s wrath howling around Him. And in the midst of those horrors He cried out: I love Thee, O My God!
What glorious death of Jesus!
Henceforth He may lay clown His weary head in the bosom of the Father. And He did.
Henceforth He will walk the way of exaltation. He will receive a Name that is above all names in this world and in the one to come.
And it is also a fruitful death.
Take your cue from that centurion: Truly, this was the Son of God!
Oh yes, Jesus’ death is fruitful for the church of all the ages.
Millions are reaping the fruit of Calvary.
Some in the Old Testament saw His day ages before it happened: Abraham.
There was an exclusion, a terrible exclusion for 4000 years. Yes, people were saved, but they were either the holy line from Adam over Henoch to Noah, or the patriarchs and the Israel of God.
But how about the untold millions that lived in Africa, Europe, Asia, and on the isles of the sea? They came and lived for a little while and went to hell.
But after Jesus’ death the middle wall of partition was broken clown, and the Gospel marches on throughout the whole world.
Oh, that centurion! He is the first fruit of the harvest of the world.
And God gave His sign of that happy event: He tore the veil from the top to the bottom. Listen to Hebrews 10:19, 20: “Having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say His flesh—let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . .”
Fruitful death of Jesus?
In the sweet bye and bye the whole church of God will arise from the dead, and will be gathered in the heavenly Jerusalem.
And the sign of that thrice happy event is also shown at the scene of the dying Christ.
When He bows the head and gives up the ghost, the graves are opened and many of the bodies of the saints which slept arose, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Oh, they are the watch of honor for Jesus, and they are the types of the great Resurrection Day.
They are the types of the glorification of the Church of God, of the saints that fell asleep for 4000 years.
By the death of Jesus the way is opened for the manifestation of the eternal Covenant. God all and in all!
Also fruitful for Himself, for He is going to inherit the joy that was set before Him when He entered upon the way of eternal suffering. But: He has reached the end of that way, and henceforth there is only joy and pleasure for all eternity.
And all the saints will enter into the Holy City.
Yes, the earth quakes and the rocks are rent.
It reminds us of God’s prophecy: Once more I will shake all things, saith the Lord! And then will come the immovable world where there will never be earthquakes anymore.
At present all things are shaky, unstable, moving in every direction. But then, an unshakable world where righteousness will dwell.
Shall we weep at the sight of the dying Christ?
But we will sing, we will joy in the completed work of God’s salvation.
Is it a wonder that our fathers call the day GOOD FRIDAY?