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Crucified

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When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
Luke 23:33
It is difficult, over two thousand years after the fact, to imagine the horror of the moment as those closest to Jesus were forced to helplessly stand by as the spikes were driven through His hands and feet into the timber on which He would take His last breath in human form (Luke 23:44-46). His loved ones and disciples did not yet fully understand the meaning of what was taking place at the time. They were not yet able to understand that this evil deed of men was the result of divine purpose and planning for the salvation of all who would believe in the Christ. For us today, "how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3). "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
 
He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed.
Luke 23:52-53. 
After Jesus died and was taken down from the cross, He was laid to rest in a tomb provided by a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-54). Joseph happened to also be a member of the Sanhedrin, but was opposed to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Joseph secretly believed that Jesus was the Messiah according to Scripture, but feared the consequence of acknowledging his belief publicly (John 19:38). After Jesus died, Joseph went to Pilate secretly and requested the body of Jesus so that he might provide a proper burial.
 
SUNDAY IS COMING!
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Carrying The Cross

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Carrying He went out to what is called Skull Place, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
John 19:17 HCSB
 
When Jesus took up His cross, He was carrying more than wood. Unknown to the many spectators that day, Jesus was carrying the sins of mankind, facing the punishment those sins deserved, which He was about to suffer on man's behalf. Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 16:24, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." He also reveals that this is not an option: "...and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:38). Taking up our cross, an instrument of death, means dying to self in order to live as completely new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) in service and obedience to Christ. This means surrendering to God our will, our affections, our ambitions, and our desires. We are not to seek our own happiness as the supreme object, but be willing to renounce all and lay down our lives also, if required.
 
As they led Him away, they seized Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, and laid the cross on him to carry behind Jesus.
Luke 23:26 HCSB
 
Simon of Cyrene might be considered a victim of circumstance. He had most likely come to Jerusalem for the Passover festivities and probably knew little about the proceedings at hand. We know very little about Simon of Cyrene since he is not mentioned in the Bible after he helped to carry the cross upon which Jesus would be nailed (Luke 23:26). Ordered to help by the Roman soldiers, Simon did not resist, most likely fearing for his own life in light of the situation at hand. Unlike Jesus, who carried His cross willingly, Simon of Cyrene was "compelled" or forced to carry it. As Christians, we are to join Jesus in His suffering willingly, as Paul exhorts us, "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:8).
 
A large crowd of people followed Him, including women who were mourning and lamenting Him. Luke 23:27 HCSB
 
When Jesus encountered the weeping women and some of His disciples on His way to crucifixion, He cautioned them that they should not weep for Him, but that their concerns should be for themselves and the lives of their children considering the rising evil throughout Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31). The same caution is relevant for Christians today that we should be careful not to allow our concerns for this world to come before our devotion and obedience to God. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), and as citizens of heaven, our focus and attention should be there. 
 
Pastor Jeff
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