Facing the Cross

March 23, 2018 0 Comments

As we are just 10 days away from Easter, I thought it would be timely and appropriate to bring you a Bible study on the cross, and how Jesus faced death. I have always been amazed how Jesus, "knowing all things that should be accomplished" (Jn. 19:28), faced His death with bravery and determination. In the words of Isaiah: "He set His face like a flint" (Isa. 50:7). His disciples were amazed, in John 7, that Jesus went up to Jerusalem, knowing that the Pharisees wanted to kill Him. Christ is the perfect pattern for us, not only on how to live, but also how to die.
Being the omniscient Son of God, Christ was aware of three things about his death: (1) when He would die, (2) how He would die, and (3) why He would die. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not able to know such things about our own death. Can you imagine what it would be like to live every day knowing when, and how, you were going to die?
FIRST, Jesus knew WHEN He would die. Four times in the Gospel of John Jesus said: "My hour is not yet come". You can find these statements in John 2:4; 7:6; 7:30; and 8:20. Satan sought to end the life of Jesus prematurely, before He could accomplish the plan of redemption, but to no avail. See Matt. 2:16; Luke 4:29; and John 7:30. Then, when you come to John 13:1 you read: "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end".
SECOND, Jesus knew HOW He would die. He used the term "lifted up" several times in referring to His death. He said to Nicodemus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14). In John 8:28 He told the unbelieving Pharisees, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He". And indeed, on the day of Pentecost, thousands of those same Jews did come to realize Christ was the Son of God and Savior of the world. And finally, in John 12:32, right before the crucifixion, Jesus said: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. This He said signifying WHAT DEATH HE WOULD DIE."
THIRD, Jesus knew exactly WHY He would die. For all of us, there is no real purpose to our dying (except that our life is over). But for Jesus, His death had a sovereign purpose--determined from the "foundation of the world". Jesus fully understood that purpose. He said: "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour? But for this purpose came I to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name." (John 12:27-28). Christ knew why He came, what His mission was, and precisely why He had to go to the cross. In His agonizing prayer in Gethsemane, He said, "Not my will, but Thy will be done".
So as we approach Easter, let us meditate on the awesome truth that Jesus faced His awful crucifixion with great courage and conviction. And let us be thankful that we do not live our lives under the awful cloud of knowing the details of our own death. Because of His death on the cross, we can have eternal life. Therefore, we too can face death with a divine perspective--that it is merely a doorway to heaven, that it is our time to GO HOME!

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.