Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
He came into
just like the prophecies said He would and the whole town lit
up. Jerusalem was
filling up with Passover pilgrims and they joined the locals in
lining the steep street that led down from the top of the Mt. of
Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and then across the Kidron
valley to the East gate of the Temple.
They laid their outer garments and branches from nearby
palm trees across the street and sang,
the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the LORD (Psalm 118:25-26). Hosanna
in the highest!”
This is the only day He ever let the crowds
do that. Always
before He had told them to be quiet or had disappeared from
among them. But on
this day things were different.
They were singing the Psalm reserved for the arrival of
the Messiah and when the Pharisees told Him to stop them, He
refused, telling them that nothing could stop this from
happening (Luke 19:39-40).
On this day He was fulfilling a prophecy from Daniel 9
as well as the one from Zechariah 9.
“Know and understand this: From the
issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the
Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’
and sixty-two ‘sevens.” (Daniel 9:25)
A “seven” was a period of seven years.
7 sevens plus 62 sevens equals 69 sevens or 483 years.
On the day He rode into the city it had been exactly 483
years since the Persian King Artaxerxes had authorized Nehemiah
to go to Jerusalem
and rebuild it (Nehemiah 2:1-9). As Jesus approached the
city He told the
people that Jerusalem would be destroyed because their
leaders didn't recognize the time of God's visitation (Luke
His arrival made the religious leaders very
nervous. Ever since
He had raised Lazarus from the dead they'd been looking for a
way to kill Him (John 11:45-53) and now He was here in
their midst. They had to do something fast because everybody was
talking about Him.
In desperation they agreed to let one of His followers betray
Him for money.
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he
who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm
Jesus had reserved a room in which He and His
disciples could observe the Passover.
Immediately afterward Judas left
to complete his act of betrayal.
He would bring the soldiers to the
Garden of Gethsemane where he knew Jesus would be,
and point Him out to them.
The other disciples remained with the Lord and received
His teaching on the New Covenant.
It was shortly after sunset so the day had just begun.
Before it was over, He would be arrested, tried, convicted,
sentenced to death, executed and buried.
All on Passover.
After the meal they sang a song.
By tradition it was also part of Psalm 118.
the builders rejected has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
It's impossible to imagine how the Lord must
have felt, knowing what was coming as He sang.
Hebrews 12:2 says it was the joy set before Him
that helped Him endure the cross.
The source of that joy was the knowledge that He
redeeming us by paying the penalty for our sins.
It took the life of a sinless man to rescue us from death
and He considered the outcome to be well worth the price He had
to pay. After the
song they went out to the
Garden of Gethsemane.
A little while later Judas arrived with the
soldiers to arrest
Him. Jesus convinced
them to just take Him and let the others go.
Only Peter and John followed behind Him while the others
He had said this would happen, quoting Zechariah 13:7.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who is close to me!” declares the LORD Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
When the chief priests made their deal with
Judas they didn't realize they would be fulfilling a prophecy
from Zechariah 11 in conspicuous detail.
I told them, “If you think it best, give
me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces
LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at
which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and
threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter (Zechariah
The price was the same, the location of the
transaction was the same, even the ultimate recipient was the
same. After Judas had betrayed the Lord, he was filled with
remorse because of what he had done.
He returned the money by throwing it at the chief priests
in the Temple
This caused them a problem.
They couldn't take it back into the treasury because it
was tainted. Since they were responsible for burying any
travelers who died in the city, they used the money to buy a
field they could turn into a burial ground. The man they bought
the field from was a potter by trade (Matt. 27:6-7).
After trials before the High Priest and King
Herod, Jesus was condemned to death.
But the Jews had
lost the authority to carry out an execution so they held
Him over until they could see Pilate in the morning to make it
spent the rest of the night alone in the darkness, shackled in a
dungeon beneath the High Priest's residence.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot
escape; my eyes are dim with grief. (Psalm 88:8-9)
As Pilate listened to their accusations, he
realized the charges were politically motivated and
He decided to see if having Jesus scourged would satisfy
them and sent Him to be beaten and flogged with whips.
Surely he took up our infirmities and
carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
Pilate's attempts to save Jesus failed, and
after his offer to set Jesus free was rejected, he washed his
hands of the matter and sent Him off to be crucified. During all
this time, Jesus didn't protest His innocence or offer any kind
of defense. He knew He wasn't dying for His crimes, but for
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought
us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all,
like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own
way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was
oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was
led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her
shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah
By nine o'clock in the morning Jesus had been
nailed to the cross and consigned to die the most agonizing form
of death ever devised. They had offered Him some wine vinegar
laced with gall to
lessen the pain, but He refused it.
He had told His disciples He wouldn't drink wine again
until the Kingdom had come.
gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. (Psalm
He hung there for several hours slowly
suffocating without complaining about the excruciating pain but
then something happened that changed everything.
Having taken upon Himself all the sins of mankind, He
actually became the physical embodiment of sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
The Father could no longer bear to look at Him and turned
away. As He did He
took the light from the world and at noon it became like night.
"And on that day," declares the Lord
GOD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth
in broad daylight” (Amos 8:9)
Separation from His Father is something
Jesus had never experienced and could not have anticipated, and
it was so much worse than the physical pain that He finally
cried out in anguish.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken
me?” (Psalm 22:1)
Psalm 22, written 1000 years earlier,
is a first person account of what it feels like to be crucified
and contains several details specific to the Lord's ordeal.
I am poured out like water, and all my
bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has
melted away within me.
My strength is dried up
like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs have surrounded
me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my
hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments
among them and cast lots for my clothing. (Psalm
Finally, after spending 6 hours in a
consuming fog of pain that none of us will ever experience, He
died. In the last
act of His life, He asked for and received a drink of wine.
He did this knowing that the work He had come to do had
been completed. The
Scriptures had been fulfilled. Having paid the price for our
sins He knew the Kingdom of God
had come to Earth.
The drink of wine He took is our proof of this because He had
sworn not to drink of the fruit of the vine again until it did.
Then He said,
“It is finished” and died (John 19:28-30). The
price for all the sins of mankind had been paid in full.
Light returned to the Earth.
hours later, the Chief Priests
asked Pilate to allow the soldiers to hasten the deaths
of the men being crucified. At sunset the first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread would begin and it was a special Sabbath on
which no work could be done (Exodus 12:16).
They wanted the men dead and off their crosses before the
Sabbath began. Since crucifixion is ultimately a death by
suffocation, breaking the men's legs would prevent even their
limited breathing and they would quickly die.
When the soldiers came to Jesus He was already dead so
they didn't break His legs, but stabbed Him in the heart
“(The Passover Lamb)must be eaten inside
one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break
any of the bones. (Exodus 12:46)
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (Psalm
Typically, crucified men were denied
burial. Their dead
bodies were simply thrown on the city's garbage dump where wild
dogs consumed them.
But one of the richest men in the area petitioned Pilate for the
body of Jesus and laid it in his own tomb near the site of the
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)
But that was not the end of it. Three days
and three nights later, before His body even began to decompose,
He rose from the grave, fully and eternally alive.
You will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (Psalm 16:10)
It was proof positive that His death had
paid the full penalty due for the sins of mankind. He was the
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
It was also the unmistakable sign of Jonah.
He was Israel's
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him
and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a
guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life
and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will
justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
On the night of His arrest, Jesus had
prayed that if there was any other way to redeem mankind, He
wanted to be released from His commitment to die for us.
prayed that not His will but the Father's will be done.
(The Hebrew word translated knowledge here also means
perception or discernment.
The Lord perceived that His Father's will was correct and
chose to follow it rather than His own.)
This passage from Isaiah shows us that
there was no other way.
It was the Father's will for the Son to die so we could
live. But it was
also His will that the Son be resurrected because without the
resurrection, there would be no proof that they had been
successful in redeeming us.
This is why Paul said we have to believe in our heart
that God raised Jesus from the dead in order to be saved (Romans
10:9). The Resurrection is
proof that all our sins have been taken away.
The fact that He conquered death is proof that we will
too. Therefore, belief in a bodily resurrection from the dead is
absolutely essential to our salvation.
Writing to the Ephesians Paul said, “I
pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in
order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the
riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power
is like the working of his mighty strength,
he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated
him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every
title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in
the one to come” (Ephesians 1:18-21).
And God raised us up with Christ and
seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in
order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable
riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ
Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6-7)
The resurrection is the synergistic
combination of power and love.
Greater than the Creation or the Exodus, which required
only power; greater even than the birth of the Messiah, which
required only love,
it's God's crowning achievement. Resurrection Sunday was nothing
less than the greatest day in the history of human existence. He
is risen! 04-23-11