BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 28, Day 2: Matthew 27:32-50

Summary of passage:  Simon from Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross for him as Jesus was too weak.  They went to Golgotha where Jesus was offered wine to drink which he refused.  They crucified him and divided up his clothes.  They kept watch over him and his crime (king of the Jews) was placed over his head.  Two robbers were crucified with him.  Passer-bys hurled insults at him, telling Jesus to come down from the cross with his powers and if he were the Son of God, they would believe him then.  The robbers insulted Jesus as well.

Jesus cried to God, asking why he has been forsaken.  The observers thought he was calling Elijah.  Then Jesus cried once more and died.

Questions:

3a)  Leviticus 4:12, 21:  The end of sin and burnt offerings.

Leviticus 4:28-29; 5:5:  The end of sin offerings and atonement by a priest.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23:  No one who is cursed any more who accept Jesus as their atonement sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 5:21:  Jesus took our sins so we are now righteous before God.

Hebrews 13:11-13:  Jesus’ blood made us holy

1 Peter 1:18-19:  Jesus’ blood redeemed us.

1 Peter 2:24:  Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.  By his wounds we have been healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All say the same thing essentially:  Jesus died for us and our sins so we can be with God.  This is unfathomable in its magnitude and comforting that I am saved even though I don’t deserve it.

4a)  This is difficult to conjecture without knowing whether Simon was a Jew, a believing Jew in Jesus, or a Roman or pagan.  He saw the people mocking Jesus and spitting on him.  He saw the anger towards Jesus.  He saw how Jesus was the walking dead, taking his last steps on this earth.  He saw Jesus’ blood everywhere from his wounds.  Hopefully, he felt sympathy for Jesus and thought how cruel people and the Romans are.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Truthfully, it doesn’t do anything for me.  Again, not enough information to say anything about Alexander and Rufus.  Were they good people or bad?  Does it matter?  We can’t honestly make a connection between Jesus’ death and Simon’s sons.  It would only be a conjecture.  And I myself prefer facts.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  How evil, indifferent, selfish, and callous man truly is.  How we all killed Jesus.  How we are all undeserving of the aftermath.  How without God we’d just be common animals living off of instincts.  With Jesus, there is hope.  Without Jesus, there is death.

Conclusions:  Disappointed to say the least in this lesson.  Nothing concrete.  Too much personal application.  Too much conjecture.  I weary of looking up verses that say the same thing.  Would have liked questions such as:  Why was Jesus’ clothes divided up?  What does it mean to mix wine with gall?  Why did Pilate put “King of the Jews” above Jesus?  Did Pilate himself believe Jesus to be King of the Jews?  Why did the people think Jesus was calling Elijah?  Why would they offer him wine vinegar?  Here, I would have liked to compare the other passages as well on Jesus’ crucifixion.

End Notes:  Jesus’ march to the place of crucifixion would have been horrendous and excruciatingly painful. The march served as a warning to others about what happened to those who committed crimes against Rome.  Typically, a Roman on horseback would have led the way, shouting out the crimes of those condemned.  They would have taken the longest route possible so that as many as possible could see (since there was no TV back then).

The victim was forced to carry the crossbar, usually naked, and usually tied to it.  This weighed any where from 75-125 pounds.  The place of crucifixion would be a popular thoroughfare so as many as possible would witness this scene in Jesus’ case Golgotha (known as Calvary in Latin).  This is a low hill outside of Jerusalem.

Crucifixion is an excruciating death (in fact our word excruciating means “of or out of the cross”).  Last week, I mentioned this site which has great photos of the crossbeam, the cross, the process of crucifixion, and the medical reasons behind death.  Four Roman soldiers were appointed to do the process who were skilled in the proper techniques.  View HERE

Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, describes crucifixion in amazing detail as well as all of Jesus’ life.

Roman citizens could not be crucified unless upon order of the emperor himself.  Romans considered themselves above such a heinous act.  That should give you some clue how horrendous crucifixion is.

Knowing exactly what Jesus endured can only deepen our love for our Savior.  Please take the time to learn more.

Much is made by BSF about Simon of Cyrene.  Cyrene is in Northern Africa and scholars believe he was probably in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, making him a Jew.  However, he could have been a trader or merchant as well.  He was definitely forced to bear the cross, probably unwillingly since who would want to carry a heavy beam for a stranger and feel the crowds’ anger.

Map of Cyrene in Libya:  http://www.combinedops.com/PHOTOS%20GENERAL/Eastmed%20Map.jpg

Golgotha, meaning Place of the Skulls, was the traditional place to crucify victims.  As dead bodies are considered ceremonially unclean, this took place outside of the city.

The wine mixed with gall was a pain-numbing, mind-numbing drink so the victims wouldn’t suffer quite so much.  It would be similar to drinking alcohol before amputation in the nineteenth century or local anesthesia today.  In Mark, this drink is outright declined.  Jesus chose to suffer completely for us.

The Roman soldiers, upon completion of the process, staying to make sure the victim died and no one rescued them.  In the past, some people did survive after being left for dead on the cross.

Jesus shows us how we can endure scorn:  silently and with love.

The sixth hour to the ninth hour was from noon to about 3 pm in Roman time.  An unusual darkness clouded the land. I imagine this as God’s sorrow and his wrath upon man.  Mark 15 tells us Jesus hung on the cross for about 6 hours.

Significance of Jesus’ cries:  Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1.  Right before death, Jesus experiences the taking upon of our sins and God looks upon Christ as if he is a sinner.  He feels God’s wrath upon man.  Jesus feels a partial separation from God.  In this moment, Jesus is grieved and cries out to God and asks why.  This is the only time in the Bible it is recorded that Jesus DOES NOT call God “Father”.

Paul makes it clear God never abandoned Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19).  But Jesus did experience sin and hate.  God laid our sins upon Jesus and he bore it.  And that is why he cried out.  God had briefly turned His face.

Note it’s the spiritual suffering that made Jesus cry out.  The physical suffering of his body he was silent. But he couldn’t take the brief moment of turning away of God.  I’m sure the angels in heaven were singing Jesus’ name.

Us stupid humans misunderstood Jesus and thought he was calling upon Elijah.  Will we ever understand?

Jesus was conscious to the end (most crucifixion victims lost consciousness or were too exhausted to speak) and was able to say a final word as John 19:30 tells us “It is finished”.  This is one word in Greek.

We must remember Jesus voluntarily died for our sins (“he gave up his spirit).  His life was not taken from him as ours is.  Jesus could never die unless he chose to die for it is sin that kills us.  He chose to bear our sins and forfeit his life.

Some say Jesus died of a broken heart.  I would say it broke but then was perfected by God in heaven!

In John 19 the priests throw a fit over the sign which read “King of the Jews”.  They protested to Pilate who said “What I have written, I have written.”  Sad how a pagan believes in Jesus and supposedly the closest men to God refuse.

I like Luke 23 who records some of Jesus’ final words and how some of these final words are spoken to women.  Luke also has my favorite quote from Jesus’ death “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  We are forgiven despite our ignorance and stupidity.  Very, very comforting.

Fun Fact:  One-third of all 4 Gospels are devoted to Jesus’ final week of life in Jerusalem.

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