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The Truth of the Cross - Chapter 7
Benjamin Yim  2016-07-08 13:05:57, 조회 : 874, 추천 : 216

The Truth of the Cross
R. C. Sproul
Chapter 7 - The Suffering Servant

        Hello to another beautiful day that has been given to us by God! Today, we will continue with our book, The Truth of the Cross, by the author R. C. Sproul. We look at chapter 7, The Suffering Servant.

        Up until this point, we have spoken a lot of ways of viewing the crucifixion of Christ. We have said that the very atonement of Christ can be understood in the debt that was paid, the reconciliation of our relationship with God, the judgment of a crime, and as payment of ransom. However, when we look at the Bible account, these views of crucifixion has nothing to do with the actual event.

        Now, what do I mean by this? When we turn to the Scriptures, specifically surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we find participants and the story of what they were witnessing. Those who were involved and those who watched it happen understood the crucifixion of Christ in various ways.

        Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who brought the idea of Jesus' execution, viewed Jesus' death as a political movement. He reasoned that if the Jewish leaders allowed Jesus to be executed, they could soothe the Romans and maintain a peaceful relationship during the imperial occupation of Judea.

        The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, whom we know so well of, gave his assessment as to what was occurring after he interrogated Christ. In Luke 23:4, amongst many who wanted the death of Christ, Pontius Pilate announces, "I find no fault in this Man." In the legal standpoint, Pontius Pilate could not find any charges against Jesus Christ. However, because he wished to appease the people, he decided to let the people have their way with this innocent man.

        During the crucifixion, there were many who stood at the foot of the cross. For Mary, the mother of Jesus, the crucifixion was a terrifying torment. As she watched her Son die, it must have been a sword piercing her soul. As for Jesus' disciples, seeing their leader die, put them all into hopelessness. Then there was the crowds of ordinary people who were furious with Jesus because they believed He had let them down. They expected of Him to lead a great change within the nation, but at the end, it seemed as if he died before he even got to start. These people saw Jesus' death as just punishment for a pretender of being the Messiah.         

        However, there were some who knew more about that day. A Roman centurion observed the Lord's agony and the manner of His death, which he said in Mark 15:39, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!" There was also the two criminals who were besides Jesus in the crucifixion. One had joined in mocking Christ, while the other responded that Jesus was an innocent man and asked of Him to let him enter the kingdom.  

        One conclusion that can be made is that, while these witness accounts are significant in helping us understand what were the circumstances around Jesus' crucifixion, these witness accounts tell us nothing of what it actually meant. A true understanding of the crucifixion cannot be reached by simply watching the event occur. And so, neither can we fully grasp the cross by simply reading a record of the event. There is a need for someone to tell us the meaning behind the facts so that we will not miss the significance of the cross.

        It is for this exact reason that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to teach His apostles the truth about His work, so that they may preach it in their own day and record it in the inspired books for future generations. The New Testament epistles provide for us a clear and well-explained interpretation of the meaning and significance of the crucifixion. Not only does it explain the event itself, but also provides for us the meaning and significance of that event.

        And yet, we need to realize that God didn't only provide for an after-the-fact interpretations of the crucifixion. For hundreds of years, before Jesus was born on earth, God gave His people more than enough prophecies about the Messiah Who would come and told them about the work that was to be accomplished. Jesus' crucifixion isn't something that came out of the blue, but rather something that was built up from long ago history. God had set certain things in motion ages before, and those processes reached its finale with the death of Christ. Many will stand by the fact that the Old Testament very much so points towards the cross!

        And with that knowledge, in the crucifixion of Christ, many of those who watched Jesus being lifted up on the cross SHOULD have been able to understand what they were seeing. And yet, even the apostles failed to recognize what was happening before them. It was only after the Spirit came did they realize and were able to connect the dots. This is why in the book of Acts and the many epistles we see reference being made to the Old Testament, so the people can understand that the Messiah of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ who was born, died, and risen once more!

        One place we can find such a use of the Scriptures by the disciples is founded in the book of Acts, where Philip the deacon is able to proclaim the gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch with the help of the Holy Spirit. It begins in Acts 8:26:

        Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south         along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all of her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

        This man, a royal treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia, has been to Jerusalem to worship and is now heading back home in his chariot. It is at this point that the Holy Spirit leads Philip to the man and tells Philip to chase after the chariot to speak with this man. Philip then hears the Ethiopian reading aloud from the book of Isaiah, which Philip asks the man whether he understands what he is reading.

        And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth."

        So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say         this, of himself or of some other man?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to         some water. And the eunuch said, "See here is water. What hinders me         from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

        This narrative in the book of Acts clearly shows us that the understanding of the death of Christ in the New Testament comes from Old Testament prophecy. The eunuch asks of Philip whom Isaiah is speaking, whether the prophet is speaking about himself or someone else, and Philip replies that the prophet is speaking of Jesus. And to many this may sound unbelievable because the prophecy made by Isaiah is from hundreds of years ago, before the birth of Jesus Christ on earth, and yet the prophecy even speaks of Jesus' death. And we read of the effectiveness of such guidance because in a short period of time, as soon as they see water, the Ethiopian asks of Philip for a baptism, which could have only been done with some interpretation and guidance. This Ethiopian's conversion began with an application of an Old Testament text to the person and work of Christ.

        And when we read the Old Testament, there are many prophesies that tell us of Jesus' death and what it actually means. And in each of these prophecies, God provides for us clues about His intention to send One Who would take the place of His people in order to make satisfaction to God.

        This concludes chapter 7, The Suffering Servant, in which I hope you were able to understand that Jesus' death is not something out from the sky, but something that was always told to God's people, and even us now. And yet, at the very face of it, many people disregarded the many clues and hints that God dropped for the sake of His People. Let us look at both the Old Testament and the New Testament, so we don't become like the people who were at the face of Jesus' cross and didn't understand, as well as being like Philip, bringing the Good News to many of those who have yet to understand the beautiful work that has been done by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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1  The Truth of the Cross - Contents    Benjamin Yim 2016/04/21 187 631

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