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May 18, 2008 AM


JNO 19:38-42

INTRO: Matthew's account of the crucifixion tells us that darkness was "over all the land" from noon until 3 o'clock in the afternoon (Mt 27:45,46). It was about that time, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, that Jesus died. His dying so quickly was unusual. Crucifixion often left a victim alive for days ... perhaps as long as a week. So unusual was such a quick death that even Pilate "marvelled if he were already dead" (Mk 15:44). The dead bodies of crucified victims were not usually treated with respect. They might well have been unceremoniously thrown into the Valley of Hinnom. In the case of Jesus, however, Isaiah had reminded us that Jesus' death involved not only the wicked (the malefactors) but also the rich (Isa 53:9). Indeed, the burial of Jesus was far different from that which was typical of the crucified.

    1. Jno 19:31,32 - "...bodies should not remain upon the cross..."
      1. Deut 21:22,23 - the Jews asked that Pilate observe "their" law
      2. the next day was the Sabbath of the Passover week - the religious leaders did not want to violate this stipulation of the law
    2. In order to hasten death, soldiers would break the legs of crucified victims
      1. this hastened death since victims could no longer "push up" for breath
      2. but they found Jesus to be dead already
    3. Ps 34:20 - That His bones were not broken fulfilled prophecy
      1. but notice, too, Num 9:12 - of the Passover lamb
      2. Jesus, our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7), most assuredly implied by John
    4. Zech 12:10 - That His side was pierced also fulfills prophecy
      1. all sorts of things have been suggested by "blood and water"
      2. the one thing I know for certain, however, is that these are events which were not under Jesus' control - and certify that He is the Messiah of prophecy
    1. Jno 19:38-42 - "...a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid"
      1. Matthew tells us this was Joseph's own tomb (Mt 27:60)
      2. Joseph also brought a fine linen cloth to swath the body of Jesus
      3. Nicodemus brought spices to layer into the swathing cloth
    2. But what about these two men?
      1. well known disciples were poor people who could not have so provided
      2. both were apparently secretly disciples - and of the Sanhedrin - wealthy
      3. I can only imagine their feelings having failed to confess Him - but I remember Jno 12:32 - see Mk 15:43 ... "went in boldly unto Pilate"
    3. The "belief" of His disciples?
      1. Lk 23:55-24:1 - they came to the tomb to complete burial customs
      2. all indications are that they believed He was dead
      3. they had no conviction concerning the resurrection, and they had seen Him die!
    1. Mt 27:62-66 - "...lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away..."
      1. it is interesting to me that they remembered what Jesus had said
      2. and they wanted nothing to occur which could give His disciples any way to claim that He was raised from the dead
    2. Two things were done - a "watch" and the sealing of the tomb
      1. a "watch" consisted of 4 to 16 soldiers - trained and well armed
      2. I have so often thought of Pilate's words, "make it as sure as ye can" - did he have any confidence that Jesus was Who He claimed to be? probably not - but suppose He was? then all of the Roman guards, seals and stones could not keep Jesus in the tomb!
    1. Mt 27:60 - "...he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre..."
      1. how large was the stone? it must have been very large
      2. Mk 16:1-3 - a concern? how would they get the stone rolled away?
    2. Mk 15:47 - "...beheld where he was laid"
      1. they had to be certain of the place of the tomb ... would return Sunday
      2. "beheld" is not the word for a casual glance!

CLOSE: His enemies are concerned that some rumor could begin claiming His resurrection. His dearest friends are not even thinking of resurrection ... only of final burial preparations. And I am thinking, "I'm so glad this is not the end of the story."

Cecil A. Hutson

18 May 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)