"Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:1-5)
This prophecy from the book of Isaiah encapsulates a summary of the sufferings of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, for us mankind on the cross. He suffered in different ways; that is to say, there were many dimensions to his suffering on the cross. If we understand the implications of each aspect, we can then be in a better position to appropriate the blessings and benefits that arise from them. Furthermore we can then apply and enforce their legal power on the earth, in our circumstances and in the propagation of the gospel of the kingdom of God in the nations.
The betrayal of Jesus has some significant things about it. Firstly, the transaction was between Judas Iscariot and the chief priests. (Matt.26: 14-16). Secondly, it was only after this transaction that he lost his personal liberty and therefore could be arrested. Thirdly, he was sold for thirty pieces of silver. This money was described in Matthew 27:6 as the price of blood - in other words blood money. Furthermore the piece of land it was used to buy was called, the field of blood, (v.8). This transaction was like Jesus being sold into slavery. He thereby paid for the whole matter of slavery with all of its implications. It is significant that the highest amount of damages due to the owner of a slave if an ox in an accident killed him, was thirty pieces of silver (Exodus 21:16).
The soldiers who were part of Pilate's palace guard and who formed part of the military garrison of Jerusalem played a significant role in the sufferings of Jesus. One of the things they did was to plait a crown of thorns and jam it on his head. It must have been indescribably painful! In enduring this, Jesus was paying for the curse that God put upon the ground in Genesis 3:16-18 as a result of man's sin. This aspect of his suffering needs to be understood and applied in the breaking of curses on the land, in redeeming land and to enforce the benefits of the sufferings of the Messiah when it comes to farming, laying foundations for buildings. Satan and the forces of darkness need to be told that their hold upon the land and ownership of it in any way has been paid for.
The prophet spoke of the stripes that the Roman soldiers inflicted upon him to the point where his visage was so marred that there was no beauty in him that we should desire him. They damaged his features extensively with those stripes. The stripes paid for our healing.
We see further references to attest to the severity and benefit of these stripes in Psalm 129:3, Isaiah 52:14 and 1 Peter 2:24.
In Deuteronomy 28:48 we read a summary of the curse of poverty resulting from sin. As part of his sufferings on the cross, Jesus did not eat anything from the Last Supper till the resurrection. He was thirsty and said as much on the cross. The soldiers took his clothes and gambled among themselves as to who would take them. He was therefore left naked. When he died, he did not even have a grave in which to be buried and the sepulcher owned by Joseph of Arimathaea had to be used. We see that he paid the price for poverty. It is indisputable that hunger, thirst and want of all things are the hallmarks of poverty. See John 19:28; Matthew 27:35; Matthew 27:57-60.
Jesus could have been stoned to death like Stephen, beheaded like John the Baptist or from the beatings he received. But he had to die the death of the cross because had to be made a curse for us mankind (Galatians 3:13-14).
If he had not died on the cross the blessings of Abraham could not have come upon the Gentiles. Furthermore the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would not have come.
In Matthew 27:45 we read that from the sixth to the ninth hour there was darkness all over the land. This lasted for three hours. The darkness was a manifestation of the effect of man's sin on creation. It also covered certain aspects of his suffering on the cross. It is to be remembered that one of the miracles in the spiritual warfare between Moses and the magicians of Egypt was the bringing on of darkness over the land for three days as a result of the pointing of the rod of Moses towards heaven at the command of God (Exodus 10:21-23). The Egyptians worshipped the sun, moon and stars, and in fact that the pyramids were built according to the pattern of some of the constellations in the heavens. When this miracle took place the magicians were so disoriented because they drew some of their powers from these elements. Pharaoh then agreed that the children of Israel would be allowed to go but leave their herds behind. This was to give us victory over the powers of the camp of Satan that is derived from the use of the elements in occultism, sorcery and prognostications. It needs to be observed and stated that the regions of the world where the gospel has not made much headway until recently fall into the 10/40 window where the prevalent religions have to do with the worship of the sun, moon and the stars.
While Jesus was on the cross, the veil in the temple that covered the entrance into the Holy of holies was rent from top to bottom. This veil restricted the access of everybody except the High Priest from entering in there except once a year on the Day of Atonement.
But because of the rending of this veil, we who believe in him have access to God. The hour when he gave up the ghost coincided with the hour when the priests would have been preparing for the slaughter of the Passover lamb, and the sudden rending of the veil would have served notice that something new had happened. The final and perfect sacrifice had been offered on the most powerful altar-the cross. And now a new order would be in operation. This is explained in Hebrews 10:19-22. " Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
" And the grave were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared unto many."(Matthew 27:52-53).
It is tremendously significant that while Jesus was on the cross the graves wherein many saints were buried opened without any digging tools. Their resurrection is a foretaste of what will happen when the event commonly described in Christian circles as the Rapture happens. Jesus had tasted death, overcome it and delivered us who all our lifetime were subject to the fear of death. It is significant that many of them arose. This was a selective resurrection. It was not an all-comers affair.
"And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the son of God." (Mark 15:39)
It is remarkable that this battle hardened army officer who had fought many campaigns from Rome to Jerusalem and had supervised the execution detail that crucified Jesus should be affected in this way. He had probably watched the trial and seen Jesus fall under the weight of the cross on the Via Dolorosa. He and some of his soldiers had quickly commandeered Simon of Cyrene, the African to carry that cross because no Jew could carry it once the Chief Priests had said they did not know Jesus. It was close to the holy day and even they the leaders did not enter Pilate's court as desperate as they were to see him dead because they did not want to be defiled.
He had watched the signs in the heavens as they went dark for three hours, listened to the words that Jesus spoke on the cross including his conversation with the thieves, his intercession to God for those who crucified him, the earthquake and the rending of the rocks. Something hit his battle- scarred soul and he confessed on the evidence before his eyes that Jesus was the Son of God. A Jew first and now a Gentile had confessed on the same day in the same place that Jesus is the son of God because of the evens on the cross.
"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." (Colossians 1:20-22)
As we read through the New Testament we discover that the blood of Jesus Christ that he shed on the cross has provided many blessings for us:
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