“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
From that time forth!
What does this mean?
It means this: before this time Jesus had taught the people, and He had spoken in parables, mysteries, similes, figures, etc., instructing them into the mysteries of the Kingdom.
It was His mandate, from the Father, to declare God!
And He did.
But from this time forth Jesus would shew them, that is, He would give them the evidence, the proof of the main program of the suffering Servant of Jehovah.
And that proof, that evidence would come from the Holy Scriptures.
And that program would comprise, first of all, His advent to Jerusalem.
Contrary to our expectations, He did not frequent Jerusalem too much. He would rather live, walk and talk in lowly Galilee. Some poet heard of this and sang of The Stranger of Galilee.
And that was also according to the Holy Scriptures.
Many years back Isaiah had prophesied of this: Isa. 9:1“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.”
There, in Galilee, was the place He called His home. There He loved to walk and to talk and to teach and to heal the thousands. And from there He chose His disciples, with the exception of one: Judas Iscariot, who came from Juda.
Yes, Christ also taught in Jerusalem, but that was the exception to the rule.
But all that was about to be changed. His last days He would spend in Jerusalem, the City of the great King where the Temple of Jehovah stood, the heart of the Holy Nation.
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sunk in iniquity! Like unto a den of robbers.
You are supposed to be the embodiment of the Love and Friendship of Jehovah-God, and the idea of the loving obedience of God’s people and the loving Sovereignty of God, but instead you are the awful pit where prophets, wise men, and scribes are killed and crucified, and some of them are scourged in their synagogues, and further persecuted from city to city. But always under the guidance of Jerusalem.
But Jesus shewed unto His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem!
Degenerate Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee!
A little later the Holy Ghost will say of you: “and their dead bodies (that is, the prophets of God) shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord is crucified.”
And it failed to improve itself throughout the succeeding ages.
Today Jerusalem is the Headquarters of the Babylonian World-empire, the great Whore, whose name is MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Look it up, if you will. It is the name which the Holy Ghost gives unto her in Revelation 14:5.
To that Jerusalem Jesus must go.
Note that must.
There is an awful quality in that must. There are no two ways about it. At one time even Jesus prayed about the possibility of another way: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine be done.”
And the answer? Here it is: NO!!!! You must drink that cup!
However, an angel appeared from heaven to strengthen Him.
Beloved reader, that must is God’s unchangeable counsel concerning His Son and your salvation.
The great tragedy must take place.
Christ must die the most shameful death there, and nowhere else.
He must die without the great City Jerusalem.
He must shed His blood there!
And that Blood shall reconcile the true Jerusalem to God. And that program shall comprise in the second place, Christ’s suffering of the leaders of Jerusalem.
The fishers of Galilee were made fishers of men.
The women of Galilee left their households behind them and followed the Master wherever He went.
The children of Galilee were blessed by Jesus.
Thousands of sick were healed in Galilee.
And there His greatest miracles were performed.
But Jerusalem shall kill the Lamb of God. And it shall not be the scum of Jerusalem. Oh no.
It shall be the best and the honored, the elect men and outstanding scholars and doctors of the law.
Here are the names recorded by the Holy Ghost: the elders, and chief priests, and scribes.
Without controversy, the elders are the best, the cream of the crop, in all lands, in all history, in every community. Nobody dreams of seating the scum in the elders’ seat.
Elders are carefully chosen by the best men we have.
They are the rulers of the church of God.
An elder stands for wisdom and power and strength. In their counsels, deliberations, advice and decision they are entirely just, impartial and true.
The chief priests are the sweetest of men. They stand for all that is lovely, beautiful and attractive. Their whole life is given over to concern for the misery and suffering of the flock. They weep with those that weep. Is there anything sweeter than that?
They are the men of the Love of God!
And the scribes?
They are specialists of a kind.
They are the specialists of the Word of God.
Scribes are men who are soaked with the Word of God. Their whole life is taken up with the study of God’s Self-Expression, the Holy Scriptures.
You can put it another way: Scribes are men who specialize in the knowledge of God’s heart! The opening Heart of God is the Holy Scripture.
What an assembly! Elders, chief priests and scribes!
But what horror! Jesus must suffer many things of them! By them the loveliest THING (Luke 1:35) the world shall ever see, is scourged, mocked, derided, spit upon, accursed, condemned, delivered to the worldly power, and finally killed on the awful cross of Golgotha.
Jesus cried, first of all, through David: “Yea, for Thy sake am I killed all the day long; I am counted as a sheep for the slaughter.”
Later, much later, Paul heard that voice, and applied it to himself and the whole true church of God.
And since then, wherever the true church of God appears, they are treated the same way.
Just reveal the Beauty and the Glory of God, and men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of vile and evil things about you for God’s sake.
However, when that happens, do not despair. But, rather, rejoice, and be very glad, for such was done primarily to Jesus, and to you for Jesus’ sake.
Partake of Jesus’ suffering, and . . . you will also partake in His glory.
For that is the third part of God’s program which must come to pass.
Although it seemed as though all was lost when Jesus hung on the accursed tree, He, nevertheless, obtained a glorious victory.
All the foregoing, no matter how horrible, was eternally necessary.
Jesus is the great Vicar, Substitute. Jesus is the Substitute for the elect church, which in itself is damn-worthy.
And Jesus takes over all their damn-worthiness and in their stead treads the weary pathway to everlasting death and condemnation.
And the elders, chief priests and scribes are the agents of God. Look up Acts 4:27, 25.
Necessary, I said. It was the only way of God’s wisdom. Only through the horrible spectacle of Golgotha could God come to the highest glory of His name. It took that Cross to reveal just how lovely and attractive our God is.
Looking at that bleeding Lamb unto all eternity it will not be too long to tell of His praises and to tell of His dory.
The cross of Jesus tells us of a lovingkindness that beggars description. Imagine, God Himself goes to hell for such worms as we are.
God does not need us at all. He is the Self-Sufficient in Himself. He needs no world, no angels, no elect men, no heavenly music and chorus of millions of voices in order to enjoy Himself unto all eternity.
He has His everlasting Covenant life in Himself, and is happy.
God was happy in eternity before the world was.
He does not need the creature.
But He wanted to show to untold millions how limitless is His love and lovingkindness. He wanted to make His Name and His power known, and so He willed the wicked and the devils and the hosts with their devilish howling about that Cross and that Suffering Servant of Jehovah. He wanted the Blood of the Innocent as a Testimony of the everlasting power of His love.
Oh yes, we see it, we love it, we adore it, and we sing of it. And we shall never grow tired of telling Him how we love Him.
And so our Jesus rose from the dead, and took our glorified new nature smith Him to heaven. And He works in heaven, and shall work until all the saints are safe and time ended.
In your suffering, shame and reproach, remember: God loves you!