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His Stated Purpose

His Stated Purpose

Words of Faith 11-27-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 18:31-34

   Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. [32] He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. [33] On the third day he will rise again."

   [34] The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

 

         In the midst of Jesus' teaching, He periodically stopped and gave a reminder to the Twelve regarding the real mission that He was on. Jesus always knew just where He was going. The politics of Jerusalem did not overwhelm Him. He did not miscalculate.

       In our study of Luke, Jesus gives us some insight into His own understanding of His death. Jesus gathered the Twelve to tell them that He knew exactly what was going to happen. You may recall that Jesus has made two other predictions in Luke 9:21-22 and 13:32-33.

        Jesus sought to reveal an awareness of the pain that was ahead. Not only was He going to be handed over to the elders and teachers of the Law as He previously predicted, but to the Roman government which was able to do things that the Jewish ruling council could not do. He was not only "not going to avoid" the suffering that was ahead in Jerusalem, He was intentionally going there for that very purpose.

     Jesus stated it was His intention to go to Jerusalem so that He might deal with and win victory over five specific attacks upon Him. As He went forward as the Son of Man, fully human, there were five things that Jesus would face-- mocking, insults, spit, flogging, and death. We tend to just run through those as if they were the same, but each of these was a specific attack upon Him in which He waged battle on our behalf for our redemption and freedom.

       MOCKING was an attack upon the human spirit. The word means to play with, to dance about, to take sport with, to disparage, ridicule or trick. Nothing breaks down the human spirit quite like mocking with jeering, cruel laughter and ridicule. When the Bible says that Jesus was "mocked,” it does not mean that someone teased him. The mocking was terribly degrading and brutal. In the trial of Jesus, He was blindfolded and various ones would strike Him and say: "Prophesy! Who hit you?" (Matt. 26:67) We probably do not have all of the "mocking" recorded. We know that it came from both the soldiers and some of the Jewish elders.   The soldiers later put a purple robe on Jesus with a crown of thorns bowing to Him as a King and then striking Him on the head repeatedly.

       INSULTS. Beyond the mocking, people hurled insults at Jesus. We may think of the vulgar things people. Certainly an insult is an attack reputation or an attempt to soil a person and their image before others, but here the Greek is much more powerful than a simple verbal insult. The Greek word hubrizo means to run riot, to outrage, or mistreat in a way that invades another person's sphere. One scholar calls it a "wicked trespass of contempt accompanied by violence, rape and mistreatment.” The insult to Jesus likely included a variety of private physical abuses that were so horrific and demeaning that the Gospel writers could not even have recorded them. We don’t know the extent but we do know that it was common to pluck out the beard and the tear out the earlocks, the long curls worn by Jewish men. There likely were other "physical insults" to His body. These insults were an attempted attack on His very soul and an invasion of His most personal self.

       SPIT. To spit on a person was an attack upon their dignity and purity. The Greek word is a primitive one "ptuo.” In a culture that could be obsessed with ritual purity, it was a deeply vulgar act.

       FLOGGING was a brutal attack on the body.   The Greek word was specific to the Roman scourging but the word means to torture with a whip. This was something that the Jewish Sanhedrin could not have ever ordered. The Roman cat of nine tails was a uniquely cruel instrument of punishment. A short set of whips, "The Cat" had numerous shards of glass, bits of pottery, nails, and bone at the end of each whip. The shards would embed themselves into the victim's back, and then tear loose the flesh. Forty lashes were considered to be a death sentence because most would not survive. Thirty-nine lashes were counted to be less than a death sentence but was not by any means an act of compassion. Many would die of shock when flogged. "The Cat" was not at all clean and a victim would likely die of serious infection, loss of blood, and dehydration. The effect of this flogging was to remove most of the flesh from a man's back.

     KILLING HIM of course was an attack his human life. There is a final attack upon the physical life of Jesus. Because of the flogging, a person would have died within a few days even if attended to. But now they crucified Jesus. The Sanhedrin did not practice this sort of execution. It was a favor that could only be granted by the Roman government at the order of Pilate. It was a display of death that was intended to make an example and keep down rebellion.

       We cringe at the nails yet it is possible that He hardly felt them given the excruciating pain of the flogging. The great agony of crucifixion was death by suffocation. To die with lungs crying out for air as the strength to draw it fades to nothing is a horrible scene. This is the way that the breath of human life would finally be squeezed from Jesus. It is a wonder that Jesus was able to say much at all while he was upon the cross. When the soldier came to break his legs with a large mallet, Jesus was already dead.

       Jesus set out to endure all of this and then rise triumphant on the third day. He set out to battle these five attacks that come upon us. Jesus said: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" (Romans 15:3). He has triumphed over the attack upon your human spirit. He has taken the attack upon your soul that seeks to soil you. He endured the attack upon your dignity. He suffered the attack upon your body-- the ravages of disease, pain, tearing of your flesh. He faced the attack upon the very breath of your human life, the attempt to suffocate you. He defeated all these. There is no guarantee that these attacks will not come to us in some way, but they will not be victorious because Jesus has conquered them all.

      The disciples did not understand any of this at that time. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.  But we have no excuse. Jesus intended to do something in your life. Jesus intended to go to Jerusalem for you. Jesus intended to bring victory in the battles of life.

         Later, the Apostle Paul would call this the "fragrant offering" of Jesus. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephes. 5:1-2).

        Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you" (2 Cor. 4:7-12).

         Where are you today? Have you been attacked in your spirit by mocking? Have you been attacked in your soul by insult or invasion? Have you been attacked in your dignity, literally or figuratively spat upon? Have you been attacked in your body, tortured by disease or something threatens to tear at your flesh? Have you been attacked at the point of your very breath, your very life, suffocated by the world or the Enemy? The Good News is that Jesus has suffered these things that they may never overcome you.

 

       Lord Jesus, I give thanks for all that You endured for me but even more for the victory You won on my behalf. I give praise that Your death has been revealed in me but even more that Your life is at work in me. In Jesus' name.