Jesus Christ Prison Ministry

Book of John 

with Commentary

The Denial

Part 9

Jesus, our Creator, the One who sustains us daily in all that we do, loved us so much He was not willing to deny us and leave us to live and die in the misery, pain and suffering of sin. He was willing to come to this insignificant planet in order to take the penalty for our sins. But sinful men wanted it their own way. They were not willing to give their sinful lives to Jesus. They built churches and religious systems in order to handle sin their own way. True, there was a religious system designed and required by God, but it was not for our salvation. It was designed to point us to the plan of salvation. However, the people took control of the religious system and instead of looking to the One who designed it, they made the system their “god” and perverted it, making a pagan system out of it. It was much easier to go through the religious motions than to go through the hard work of changing the heart. Selfishness, greed, desire for wealth, fame and power took the place of love, service and sacrifice. The religious system pointed to the One who would come to save them. But instead of looking to the One, they looked to themselves and praised the church system.

The church system produces hate, gossip, rebellion and divisions. I know one person who spends hundreds of dollars copying gossip videos to send to people. These videos gossip about churches, people and doctrine. None of the information he is putting out points people to Jesus. It only produces hate, rebellion, divisions and gossip. But he thinks he is working for God. Most religious organizations, and people who claim to be “Christian”, think they are doing it “God’s way”. But in reality, God did not ask them to do what they are doing. They are doing what they want to do because it satisfies their pride, ego and self-esteem. Like Cain, they are offering their own self-righteous service. God has asked us to simply go and teach people to live in obedience to what He has commanded: to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. To gossip about the trinity, the “name” of Jesus, what foods to eat, feast days, 5G and who in the church is doing this or that is all sin. God has dictated and directed the book “Change Your Life Biblically” in order to bring those who love Jesus back into unity with Him and His truth. Only those who live in obedience to it will be in Heaven.

Jesus came to point out the true way, the only way to return to God’s original plan for them. In order to get eternal life, they had to live in obedience with the laws of that eternal life. But they were not willing. The religious system, designed by God to bring people back to their loving Creator, was turned against God, denied Him and was now planning to destroy Him. The church knew that either it had to destroy God, or He would destroy their church; they could not live in harmony. The temple system God set up was not a church system. It was a system designed to explain the plan of salvation. The church system was a system developed by man to control man. Church is the “anti-Christ” system. It stands in “the place of” Christ. The religious system God set up was to show each individual person how he could serve and worship God individually. Church pointed the individual to its collective self; God’s system pointed the individual to God. The church made man a slave to man and sin; God’s system made man free of sin and a “son of God”.

“Christ’s mission was not understood by the people of His time. The manner of His coming was not in accordance with their expectations. The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy (system). Its imposing services were of divine appointment. They were designed to teach the people that at the time appointed One would come to whom those ceremonies pointed. But the Jews had exalted the forms and ceremonies and had lost sight of their object. The traditions, maxims, and enactments of men hid from them the lessons which God intended to convey. These maxims and traditions became an obstacle to their understanding and practice of true religion. And when the Reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfillment of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. They rejected the antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies.” COL 34. Christ was the “antitype”, church is the “antichrist”.

After thirty-three and a half years the church could no longer tolerate her God. Like Lucifer in Heaven, the church lifted itself above God and wanted to be God. It was not willing to bow and submit to the supremacy of the Creator. It had taken on the attributes of Lucifer. The universe could now see the true outworking of the character of Lucifer. His selfish way of living only brings pain, destruction and death. The selfless character of Jesus only brings joy, blessings and life. But the church was not willing to give up its power, pride and wealth. Jesus gave it all up for them. They refused to follow His example and decided to keep it all for themselves. It was time for the church to attack the “Virus” that was threatening its life.

John 18:1 to John 19:42

After Jesus had said this, he went with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 

Earlier we read where the Greeks came seeking Jesus to learn from Him. The church came to Jesus seeking to destroy Him. Jesus left and went to talk to His Father. The church gathered a crowd to kill Him. Jesus gathered His disciples in love and peace. The church came in anger with murder in their hearts.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place because Jesus often met there with his disciples.  So Judas took a detachment of soldiers and some officers from the high priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 

So many have “come” to this ministry with their hate, “torches and weapons”. They do not want the Light of the world teaching them that their way of living is sinful and unacceptable to God. No, they bring their own “self-lights” of sins, pride, money, church, opinions and whatever else fulfills their egos and feelings.

Then Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen, went forward and asked them, “Who are you looking for?” 

Poor, silly little humans. God knows everything. And yet, we think that somehow, we can hide our plans, sins and feelings from God. Every thought, every act, every feeling is being recorded. Someday we are going to have to face our life’s record, unless, that is, you have changed your life, forsaken your sins and lived as Jesus commands: the sinless, Ten Commandment life - perfectly. Then you will not face your life’s record of sins, but the loving face of your Redeemer: Jesus.

How sad they came looking for Jesus to destroy Him. They should have come looking for Jesus in order to change their sinful lives. They should have left their church in search of Jesus and His truth. Instead, they went on a church mission of building a church of lies, denial and death.

They answered him, “Jesus from Nazareth.” Jesus told them, “I AM.” Judas, the man who betrayed him, was standing with them. 

It was the “I AM” who delivered the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage. It was the “I AM” who led their ancestors safely through the terrible desert for 40 years. It was the “I AM” who led them safely into the promised land and defeated their enemies. But they did not want to accept Jesus as their “I AM”. No, He was simply “Jesus from Nazareth”.

When Jesus told them, “I AM,” they backed away and fell to the ground. 

There will come a day when all sinners will stand before the “I AM” and at His voice they will all fall to the ground and proclaim that He is just in destroying them. They lived a life of selfishness, church, hate and rebellion against the “I AM”. They would not be happy in Heaven where all are in harmony with the loving Laws of God. They have spent their lives sitting in church rebelling against those laws and are forever set in their rebellion.

So he asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus from Nazareth.” 

Over and over again Jesus had given them opportunity after opportunity to acknowledge Him as their God. But the hard head sitting on a stiff neck atop a stubborn heart refused to yield. How sad.

Jesus replied, “I told you that I am the one, so if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 

The church was looking for the Messiah. Jesus told them, “I am the One”. But they denied Him and refused to accept His truth. Even now, there is no selfishness in Jesus’ heart. He is willing to give His life for their sins. Yet, they would rather take His life in order to keep their church of sins. However, Jesus does look out for His disciples and attempts to spare them from what is about to fall on Him. Jesus is always willing to be our substitute. We need to follow His example.

This was to fulfill what he had said, “I did not lose a single one of those you gave me.” 

Jesus lived His life in complete obedience to the Word of God. He is the example of all who are going to Heaven. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior will be seen walking in His footsteps. They will not be seen sitting in church. They will not be building for this world. They will be living and building characters for the world to come.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shouldn’t I drink the cup that the Father has given me?” 

I don’t know, should He? Are you willing to drink the cup the Father has given you? By looking at those who go to church, I don’t think so. Not one command or statement Jesus made concerning our required journey to get into Heaven is obeyed by church members. Jesus commanded us to get out and go into all the world and teach people to be obedient to His commands. But instead, we sit in church with our mouths closed, listening to a human blather on and on about nothing, while the world around us is dying. Jesus commands us to live His perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, but we prefer living in our sins while sitting in church. If you do stand up in your church and speak the teachings of Jesus, I can assure you, they will do to you as they did to Jesus. Are you ready to suffer for Jesus?

Then the soldiers, along with their commander and the Jewish officers, arrested Jesus and tied him up.  First they brought him to Annas, because he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.  Caiaphas was the person who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one man die for the people. 

It was the Sadducees who were always to sit as “high priest”. They were the descendants of Aaron. “According to Abraham Geiger, the Sadducaical sect of Judaism drew their name from Zadok, the first High Priest of ancient Israel to serve in the First Temple, with the leaders of the sect proposed as the Kohanim (priests, the “sons of Zadok”, descendants of Eleazar, son of Aaron).” Wikipedia

How sad. How far the priests had fallen. They should have been the first to acknowledge Jesus as the rightful owner of the temple. They should have been the ones to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. If they had looked into, instead of at, the temple system, they would have seen the sinless life of Jesus portrayed. They should have seen in Jesus the ultimate High Priest. But the system became their “god” and they were in no mood to give up their power, wealth and influence that came with it.

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Since the other disciple was known to the high priest, he accompanied Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. Peter, however, stood outside the gate. So this other disciple who was known to the high priest went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter inside. The young woman at the gate asked Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples, too, are you?” “I am not,” he replied. 

John truly loved Jesus. He followed Jesus right into the church “pit-of-evil”. He was willing to accept whatever came to Jesus as his own. He was not going to deny His Lord and Master.

It was the church that first denied Jesus as the Messiah. It started with Zechariah. The church refused to accept his testimony that the son born to him would be the forerunner of the Messiah. Then, about a year later, the church refused to accept the testimony of the shepherds. Two years later, the Magi came to town looking for the “King of the Jews” and this was unacceptable to the church. They were not willing to accept Jesus as the rightful owner of the “vineyard”. That was followed by the slaughter of hundreds of boys. Thirty years later there was the testimony of John the Baptist. But no, the church leaders would not accept anything that did not originate from church leadership.

At this time, Peter is given an opportunity to acknowledge Jesus as his Master. However, Peter was not yet ready to give his life for Jesus. Peter still had way too much pride, ego and church in him to surrender to Jesus as his Master. He was willing to follow as long as he got what he wanted. He was willing to follow as long as his ambitions were fulfilled. But as he looked around him, he began to realize that those ambitions were not playing out as he had fantasized. Maybe it was time to deny that he knew Jesus.

And so it will be with those who go to church. What eventually saved Peter was the fact that he had left the church three years before and had spent those years traveling with and listening to Jesus. His love for Jesus grew and grew over those years. Therefore, now when the test came, even though he denied him at this time, his love for Jesus would overcome that denial and he would eventually be willing to die for Jesus as his Messiah.

If you are sitting in church, you also will become as those who denied Jesus. But if you leave your church now, going to Jesus, falling in love with Him by living in obedience to Him, when the time comes, your love for Jesus will overcome your human tendencies and you will be willing to die for Jesus. Get out now, time is running out.

Meanwhile, the servants and officers were standing around a charcoal fire they had built and were warming themselves because it was cold. Peter was also standing with them, keeping himself warm. 

There are way too many church members standing around a warm, comfortable church. It is “cold” outside and they might have to “sacrifice” if they acknowledge Jesus in a cold world of sin. No, it is much nicer sitting around the warm church fire while true Christians are, like John, standing with Jesus in the heat of battle.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his own teaching. 

He should have been bowing down before Jesus asking how to get eternal life. He had witnessed the sinless, commandment keeping life of Jesus and knew there was no sin in Him. His life was spotless, pure and noble. He was righteous while the high priest, and the whole church system that was now arraigned against Jesus, was sick, sinful and defiled.

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogue or in the Temple, where all Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret.  Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I said. These are the people who know what I said.” 

I have often wondered about “stealth” in the church. Should we be “sneaky” and sly in our work for the Lord? How many put out material in secret so as not to be seen. Their false pride and made-up humility is all sinful. The Lord let me reflect on Scripture and I realized that God never used intrigue, stealth or secrecy in His dealings with man. From Genesis to Revelation He has always been public, forthright, up-front and open. I wondered why. Then the Spirit explained, if “Christians” used anything other than truth, honesty, openness and forthrightness in their dealings with the world, they may win a local “battle”, but the glory would go to themselves or their church and they would lose the war. On the other hand, living as God commands, as Jesus lived, will always bring glory to God, even in apparent defeat. We must live as Jesus lived. Never should “winning” the argument be the object. The object must always be the same for us as it was for Jesus, living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life to bring glory and honor to God. That is true victory! Even in death.

When he said this, one of the officers standing nearby slapped Jesus on the face and demanded, “Is that any way to answer the high priest?” 

Power, force and authority are far more important to churches than love, justice and truth, right?

Jesus answered him, “If I have said anything wrong, tell me what it was. But if I have told the truth, why do you hit me?” 

I ask the same question to those who are always trying to “hit me”. I don’t understand why the churches, pastors and religious people hate me and this ministry when all I do is teach the teachings of Jesus. What is wrong with telling the truth? Maybe truth and their churches are not in agreement? It is much easier going to church than living the truth. How Catholic.

Then Annas sent him, with his hands tied, to Caiaphas the high priest. 

Yes, let us make sure we tie his hands in order to demonstrate what a criminal Jesus is. After all, the show is far more important than the truth, right? His hands are tied, he must be a criminal. Men in handcuffs and in “jumpsuits” are shown in the media and therefore they must be “criminals”, right? A person levels a charge and a complaint against another and it must be true, right? Innocent till proven guilty is no longer “truth”.   Justice and truth have been completely swept away in the world by the media, mob rule and innuendos.

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. Some people asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples, too, are you?” He denied it by saying, “I am not!” 

Are you out confessing your relationship with Jesus? Or, are you denying your Lord by sitting in a warm church? How have you confessed your “faith” lately? Have you passed out the book, “Change Your Life Biblically” recently? Do you carry it with you when out traveling? In your truck? In your car? In the saddlebags on your motorcycle?

Then one of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “I saw you in the garden with Jesus, didn’t I?”  Peter again denied it, and immediately a rooster crowed. 

I wonder how long the “rooster” will have to crow in our lives before we wake up and realize how often we have been denying Jesus in our lives. If we don’t wake up soon, the rooster will stop crowing, the Son will rise, and we will be lost.

Then Jesus was led from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters early in the morning. The Jews did not go into the headquarters, to avoid becoming unclean and unable to eat the Passover meal. 

Ok, ok, I understand, we have church to get to, we don’t want to get our “Sabbath best” dirty, now do we? Yes, going to church with a dirty, sin-sick soul is much easier to hide than a dirty pair of clothes or car. Let us go through our ceremonial washings and cleansings so we can be accepted at church, but let us not worry about our dirty characters. Be sure you keep your eyes straight ahead when driving so you don’t see the homeless, hungry and naked along the side of the road. Better step on the gas so we get to church on time. We don’t want to miss what the pastor has to say.

So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What accusation are you bringing against this man?” 

Ouch! Pilate, that is not fair. You are not supposed to ask that question. When the church brings you a man tied up and condemned, you are supposed to play the game and wave your hand over the problem and let us “clean” the dirt out of our church. How dare the civil government look too closely into our church activities. When the church organizations pick a candidate for office, don’t ask questions, just put him in. When the church board kicks a person out of the congregation, the congregation is just to accept it.

They answered him, “If he weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.” 

Pilate, just stop bothering yourself with “justice” and all that nonsense and let us handle it. We say He is a criminal; He’s a criminal. Now, give us the right to handle it according to our church policy.

Pilate told them, “You take him and try him according to your Law.” The Jews told him, “It is not legal for us to put anyone to death.” 

Oh, thank you Pilate, that is exactly what we want, but, since we can’t put this very terrible terrorist to death, we just need you to sign off on our judgment.

This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die. 

Pilate wasn’t dumb. In fact, he was well aware of Jewish law. For the church to condemn a person to death, there was really only one reason for that. And He was well aware of the hatred the church had for Jesus. After all, like himself, they were afraid of anyone coming along who might take their power and authority away from them. So, for them to want to kill Jesus, He had to claim to be a “king”.

So Pilate went back into the governor’s headquarters, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “Are you asking this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about me?” 

We have the same problem today. Many talk about Jesus as King, or Messiah or God. But few are asking the question because they actually want to know. Usually there is a hidden agenda for their question. But it has nothing to do with truth and changing their lives.

Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? It is your own nation and high priests who have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 

Pilate wasn’t interested in “truth”. He was looking for a way out. He needed some excuse to “legally” justify handing Him back over to the Jews or letting Him go. He had other, more important things to do. His week-end plans were being interrupted and he was not pleased, so let’s hurry this along so I can get out of town.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here.” 

Oh, oh. Now we have a problem. “King of the Jews” is one thing, but a true king with a real kingdom, that now becomes a problem for the Roman Empire. Pilate now has to take this seriously. This is no longer just a religious annoyance, the Roman Emperor might not like having a real king disturbing the kingdom.  

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born for this, and I came into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is committed to the truth listens to my voice.” 

Pilate is thinking, what kind of king is this? Pilate is used to making judgments, but rarely were they done according to “truth”. No, there was always something more, like money, power, politics and whatever else would bring glory to him. Now he is confronted with something more terrifying than anything he has ever come up against: truth. Should he listen to the voice of Jesus? Are you listening to His voice? Or are you listening to the voices of your church and the church mob?

Pilate asked him, “What is ‘truth’?” After he said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 

The Spirit of God was striving with Pilate. What should he do? Should he actually rule for truth and justice? That would be very problematic for his political future. He needs an escape. The leaders want Jesus out of the way. But the people, as far as Pilate had heard, were in love with Jesus. After all, it had been less than a week since the people had paraded Jesus into Jerusalem shouting acclimations in his honor. Jesus had healed their sick, cured their diseases, raised their dead. Maybe by appealing to the people he will be able to assuage his conscience and let Jesus go.

But you have a custom that I release one person for you at Passover. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?” 

What justice! Let us not release an innocent person, no, let us have a custom whereby we simply release someone we want. Someone who pacifies the mob.

At this, they shouted out again, “Not this fellow, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary. 

Barabbas means, “Jeshua son of Abba”. Now the people had a real choice. They could pick Jesus, Jeshua the “Son of God” or they could pick “Jeshua son of Abba” a revolutionary. Barabbas was a murderer. He was one who was “helping” the Jews get their freedom from the Romans. What did Jesus do? Nothing of the sort. Jesus was going around talking about freedom from sin. He actually taught people to turn the other cheek and live in obedience to Roman authority. What if this “imaginary” heaven wasn’t real after all? Barabbas was going around talking about freedom from the Romans and setting up a real Jewish kingdom. He was a “real” man. A real “fighter” for the church. Ok, we choose Barabbas.

Today, most people are choosing Barabbas and their churches. When it comes right down to it, our actions speak way louder than our sitting in church. Everything we do is about choosing Barabbas and this world. We may espouse our belief in Heaven, church doctrine and Jesus, but when it comes right down to it, we choose this “real” world over the “imaginary” heaven every time.

Barabbas would have been flogged, beaten, whipped, scourged and crucified. Jesus took His place. Jesus was living out His belief system. There was no “imaginary” heaven in His thinking. He believed and was willing to die for that belief.

Then Pilate had Jesus taken away and whipped.  The soldiers twisted some thorns into a victor’s crown, put it on his head, and threw a purple robe on him.  They kept coming up to him and saying, “Long live the king of the Jews!” Then they began to slap him on the face. 

“A victor’s crown”. How little they understood. Yes, Jesus was the victor. He was the victor over sin, over this world and over His own feelings. He practiced self-control and discipline. He would let nothing come between Him and His assigned duty to His Father. I think Pilate was hoping the mob would find their heart after seeing the cruelty applied to Jesus. He knew Jesus had only done good.

Pilate went outside again and told the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  Then Jesus came outside, wearing the victor’s crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate told them, “Here is the man!” 

Have you looked upon “the Man”? Have you turned away from your church, the mob and the worldly things in your life to truly look into the face of “the Man”? Do you really know Him? Or has your religious life been only about church and superficial activities and beliefs that have nothing to do with your eternal life? Maybe it is time to turn a deaf ear to the church, the mob and look only to Jesus.

When the high priests and the officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate told them, “You take him and crucify him. I find no basis for a charge against him.”  The Jews answered Pilate, “We have a law, and according to that Law he must die because he made himself out to be the Son of God.” 

A “king of the Jews”, OK, a bit annoying, but that could be tolerated. A king of a real kingdom which was no threat to the Roman Empire, that too could be dealt with. But a real live “God” walking around on earth, now that was something else entirely. Pilate was a Roman and trained in the knowledge of “gods” and how they could be easily angered. If you didn’t appease the “gods” terrible things could happen to you. This was more frightening than a king. What if Jesus was a “son of a god” come to test him? This could be very dangerous.

When Pilate heard this, he became even more afraid.  Returning to his headquarters, he asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer him. 

Was this the god Jupiter? Was He Apollo? Could He be the son of Zeus? If He was Mars, the god of war, Pilate might not want to tangle with Him.

So Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to speak to me? You realize, don’t you, that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?” 

Which of the “gods” was this? Was He a lesser god than my patron god? Do I have authority over Him? Who is He?

Jesus answered him, “You have no authority over me at all, except what was given to you from above. That’s why the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”  From then on, Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you release this fellow, you’re not a friend of Caesar! Anyone who claims to be a king is defying Caesar!” 

Do I try to release one who is claiming to be an imaginary “god”, or do I side with what is real and tangible, Caesar? Every day, you and I make the same decisions. Every thought, every act is decided by our understanding of who Jesus is and the choices we are making. Do you really believe in Jesus? Or just a “name”?

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat down on the judgment seat in a place called The Pavement, which in Hebrew is called Gabbatha.  Now it was the Preparation Day for the Passover, about noon. He told the Jews, “Here is your king!” 

He decided that if Jesus were a “real” god, He would fight for His life and His kingdom as all the gods in mythology had done. No, He is just a good fool claiming to be a “king”. That I can deal with. Besides, it is now Friday and Pilate has had a long week. He is tired and ready for the “week-end”. Let’s move this along and get it over with.

Then they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Should I crucify your king?” The high priests responded, “We have no king but Caesar!” 

How true that was. The church did not want God as their King. They did not want a King who commanded their loyalty and obedience without their say in the matter. Human kings they could sway, as they had done with Pilate, but God, no, we don’t want God as our King. We want someone we can vote into office or out of office as it pleases us. We want a church system that will give us what we want.

Then Pilate handed him over to be crucified, and they took Jesus away. 

Too often in our lives we hand “Him over to be crucified”. We just love this world and our churches far too much to keep “Him” in our lives. We are so afraid He might not approve of what we are doing. Therefore, we build our churches and vote in those who will approve of our sinful lives. Why are we so afraid of the One who loves us, wants what is best for us and was willing to die for us?

Carrying the cross all by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 

“All by Himself”. Jesus carried the burden of our sins “all by Himself”. All had left Him. There were no soothing hands to comfort and encourage Him. All believed He had failed in His mission. They thought He was the biggest “loser”. If only He had listened to the church and done what He was told by the authorities, maybe His life would have been “successful”. Are you willing to walk the path Jesus walked all by yourself? The wonderful thing is, you won’t be all by yourself. Jesus will never forsake you. He will always stand by your side if you live in obedience to His commands. I have experienced this in my life. He is always here with me, working with me, teaching me, instructing me, helping me to accomplish the work He has given me. I love Him so much. I will continue to give Him, as I have done, my life.

“‘The sower went forth to sow’ (R.V.). In the East the state of affairs was so unsettled, and there was so great danger from violence that the people dwelt chiefly in walled towns, and the husbandmen went forth daily to their labor outside the walls. So Christ, the heavenly Sower, went forth to sow. He left His home of security and peace, left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was, left His position upon the throne of the universe. He went forth, a suffering, tempted man; went forth in solitude, to sow in tears, to water with His blood, the seed of life for a world lost.

His servants in like manner must go forth to sow. When called to become a sower of the seed of truth, Abraham was bidden, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.’ Genesis 12:1. ‘And he went out, not knowing whither he went.’ Hebrews 11:8. So to the apostle Paul, praying in the temple (church) at Jerusalem, came the message from God, ‘Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ Acts 22:21. So those who are called to unite with Christ must leave all, in order to follow Him. Old associations must be broken up, plans of life relinquished, earthly hopes surrendered. In toil and tears, in solitude, and through sacrifice, must the seed be sown.” COL 36.

I pray you will also get up, get out and begin working for Jesus. You must leave your church as Paul did, as well as “old associations must be broken up, plans of life relinquished, earthly hopes surrendered leave it all” “in order to follow Him”.

There they crucified him, along with two others, one on each side of him with Jesus in the middle. 

Jesus was not a coward. He never ran from His responsibilities and duties. He stood His ground and was always in the middle of the “fight”. All may forsake Him, but He was in the middle of the controversy, reaching out with both hands to save sinners on all sides. What are you doing? Oh yes, going to church?

Pilate wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus from Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 

Jesus and Pilate were the only two, up to this point in the conflict, who had not lied. Jesus, of course, would not lie to save His life. Your life and my life were more important than His life. Pilate spoke the truth, he found no guilt in Jesus and Jesus was from Nazareth and He was the “King of the Jews”.

Many who go to church claim that Jesus was from Nazareth and that He is “King of the Jews”. However, like Pilate, they refuse to live in obedience to Him. Recognizing the fact and accepting it into your life as truth are two very different paths. They lead in two very different directions.

Many Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 

Most today are still reading the “facts” about Jesus, but few are surrendering their lives to those “facts”. Bible facts will not save you. You can know them all and still be lost. Unless you turn those “facts” into “truths” in your life, you cannot see Heaven. Eternal life can only come by accepting the “truth” into your life and living it. Jesus is the Living Truth. Unless you are living as He lived, you are lost.

Then the Jewish high priests told Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this fellow said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’

Even today, most denominations, churches and pastors want to change the truth. They hate the truth. They do what Peter said, “Some things in them (Paul’s letters) are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, leading to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:16. Peter knew. He was there that night and he did see and hear a lot of distorting and misleading testimony. He was one who took part in those deceptions and denials. He knew what he was talking about. Does your church, denomination or pastor know what they are talking about? Probably not. The church is still denying Jesus in truth.

Pilate replied, “What I have written I have written.” 

Pilate knew whereof he had written. Not many who write under the authority of their denominations, churches or religions know what they are writing. Jesus knew what He was speaking. He said, “I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:50. What is your pastor, church or denomination teaching you? Just what the Father commands? To live the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life? I think not! They write and speak what the church and denomination demands.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier, and took his cloak as well. The cloak was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.  So they told each other, “Let’s not tear it. Instead, let’s throw dice to see who gets it.” This was to fulfill the Scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they threw dice.” So that is what the soldiers did. 

How is your “dignity”? Would you allow them to strip you naked, take your clothes and put you on a cross? What are you doing now with your life to prove you don’t covet your clothes, your car, your house, your money, your church? How is your ego? Do you covet your opinions and church doctrine? Are you willing to be stripped of your church, opinions and beliefs for the good of other’s salvation? Are you willing to lay them all down and re-think your beliefs in light of the teachings of Jesus who commanded us to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life?

Meanwhile, standing near Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 

Too few will be saved. Out of thousands who probably accepted Jesus as a prophet, a good man or even the Messiah, less than a dozen publicly acknowledged their association with Jesus. Are you “hiding” your beliefs in church? Are you standing with Jesus by His cross? Have you shouldered the cross today?

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he kept loving standing there, he told his mother, “Dear lady, here is your son.”  Then he told the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. 

The life of Christ was total surrender to the will of His Father. There was not a thread of selfishness in any thought or feeling. There was no pity-party on His part. There was no, “Look at poor Me”. There was no “you have violated My rights!” Only love. He thought of His mother and knew that John would love her as He loved her. Do you think of others when your wants or desires are not met?

After this, when Jesus realized that everything was now completed, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture), “I’m thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was standing there, so they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  After Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. 

He gave the world one last chance to show pity, love and kindness. The world failed, and the work Jesus came to do was finished. The plan of salvation was not finished, only the “human” sacrificial life of Christ was finished. That part of the plan of salvation was now complete. The atonement had been paid. The “Lamb of God” had been sacrificed for the sins of the world. But not one person will be saved unless they accept that sacrifice into their own lives and live it. They must live as Jesus lived, perfect, sinless and commandment keeping in order for the sacrifice of Christ to atone for their sins.

There will come a day when Jesus will stand up and say, “It is done”. At that point the plan of salvation will be totally completed and there will be no more atonement for sinners. At the death of Christ, the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom showing that the sacrifices, temple rituals, feasts days and services that pointed to the “Lamb of God” were now “finished”. But when Jesus steps out from the Most Holy Place in Heaven and declares, “It is done”, there will be no more High Priest to plead for sinful man. If you have not stopped sinning, learning to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, you will be destroyed. From the time Christ steps out of the Most Holy Place to the time He comes to take His people back to Heaven, there will be seven months of terrible catastrophic events on earth. Unless you are living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life of Jesus, you will not be able to make it through that time and will be lost.

Since it was the Preparation Day, the Jews did not want to leave the bodies on the crosses during the Sabbath, because that was a particularly important Sabbath. So they asked Pilate to have the men’s legs broken and the bodies removed. 

How sad. The show was more important than the truth. The show must go on. The Sabbath services and rituals must not be tainted by truth. If they had known truth, they would have shut the temple doors and walked away from it all, knelt before Jesus and surrendered to Him their lives. No, let us clean up our dirty work and put on a show of serving God. Going to church was more important than cleaning up the heart. How is your heart?

So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and then of the other man who had been crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 

The criminals were not dead. That is why their legs were broken. They were probably put back up on their cross on the 1st day of the week, Sunday, to continue their punishment of suffering. Jesus died of a broken heart. It was sin that killed Him. Your sin, my sin. We must stop sinning. Hebrews is very plain that if we continue in sin, after knowing the truth, the sacrifice of Jesus will do us no good. Hebrews 10:26.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water immediately came out. 

What is in your heart? Greed, hate, coveting, anger, pride? Or has the blood of your heart been cleansed by the Living Water of love, kindness, forgiveness, sacrifice and obedience to Jesus?

The one who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows he is telling the truth so that you, too, may believe, because these things happened so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “None of his bones will be pierced.” broken.” In addition, another passage of Scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they pierced."

You killed Jesus! You pierced His heart with your sins. Will you “Look on the One” whom you have pierced and stop living the lie you are living in your church? Will you get out of your church, stand up and begin testifying to the truth as John did? Will you believe and change your life?

Later on, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus (though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews), asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, and he came and removed his body. 

Are you “afraid of the Jews”? Do you love your membership in your church more than truth? More than Jesus? Finally, Joseph of Arimathea stood up, cast aside his pride, his fear and his need to have the church accept him, and became a man. He took back his dignity, which the church had taken away, and went to get Jesus.

Nicodemus, the man who had first come to Jesus at night, also arrived, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds. 

Nicodemus must have been weeping over the fact that He had missed out on so many opportunities to be with Jesus, listen to Jesus and have Him (the Son of God) as a Friend. All he could do now was bring myrrh and aloes for a dead body. Will you wait? Will you continue to miss out on the blessings of walking with the Son of God. Is your church that important to you?

They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths along with spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.  A garden was located in the place where he was crucified, and in that garden was a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day, and because the tomb was nearby, they put Jesus there. 

The Jewish Preparation Day was Friday. That was the day the Jews prepared for the Sabbath. Jesus prepared for the Sabbath by completing His duty and then “rested” over the Sabbath in obedience to the Ten Commandments. Jesus never broke the Ten Commandments, not even in death. Are you putting Jesus in a “tomb” because you are afraid to stand up in your church and proclaim Him as your living Friend? How many tombs do you have in your life where you are hiding Jesus? Now, while you still have time, take hold of the living Jesus and show Him to the world. Take Him out of the tomb you have placed Him in and put Him into your life and live as He commands you: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. Then the Life of Jesus will radiate from you to all around, and you will walk with Jesus and the Redeemed on streets of gold.

Continue to part 10