...They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:31-37)
The death of Jesus has got to be the most powerful event that anyone has ever witnessed. Yet, when we read the scriptures of that event, we cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the people who put him to death.
How could they willingly put a just man to death? What role did the people really play on that day? What made the soldier think of piercing Jesus in the side?
As you read this story, please take into consideration that there is no way I can accurately describe the people or events surrounding that horrible day at Calvary. However, please allow me to use a little of my imagination to try and put it into perspective, for mankind hasn't changed. So I will do my best to capture their human reactions preceding and leading up to His death.
Also try to put yourself there as we journey back in time to the most powerful and needful act of compassion that has ever been done for any human being.
Let’s us look long enough to feel the pain and sense the atmosphere around that horrific day of Jesus and let us realize that "The Price Of A Pierce" had to take place so that Jesus could redeem us from sin with his blood.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep as God in all his sovereign power spoke the worlds into existence. His life giving word revealed His inner desire to create time, space and humanity.
God had a plan for mankind, and as He drew up these plans He was thinking how wonderful it would be that His very own creation would love Him with all their hearts, minds, soul and strength. God was consumed with this desire to love and be loved.
When it came time to create man, He was so anxious and full of joy. As He took his hands and formed man out of the dust of the ground, just like a gentle potter, He glowed with warmth and excitement. He may have just held that lifeless body in His hands and stared at it with wonder.
Then, the moment He was waiting for had arrived. He took a deep breath and with one gentle blow of His Spirit, breathed into this lifeless body the breath of life.
All of a sudden, the man he named Adam began to move around in his hands. You could see the joy and smile on God's face as Adam became a living soul. As God just watched in great joy; Adam looked his maker in His face and worshiped Him. The communion cannot be described, it was so wonderful.
As God gently let Adam go and he began to walk around beholding the beautiful paradise that he lived in. Adam looked at all the trees and animals with awe. Adam lifted his hands upward and told God how much he loved him. God and Adam began a dialogue of such unity that nothing in the world could ever break it up.
God also thought, "Adam is alone", I will make him a woman that will help and compliment him in the garden. God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and then He created Eve.
God looked at her with the same joy as He looked at Adam. Then He looked at both of them and thought, "This is very good.”
As God, Adam and Eve communed together, God had given them some commandments to follow. They could eat of every tree except the tree of good and evil. He would always come and fellowship with them, and love them, and take care of them. What could ever come between the perfect unity of love and compassion they all shared?
As Adam and Eve were in the garden a presence that they haven't felt before began to ascend on them. Eve, had drifted away from Adam and was being led by the presence toward the forbidden tree. Eve knew about this tree, but still she went near it anyways.
Then all of a sudden this presence speaks to her and tries to convince her that it was God that was talking to her. This presence had appeared as an angel of light. This presence, which felt like God convinced her that she was not going to die if she ate that fruit.
As the dialogue went on, she finally yielded to this temptation and ate the fruit. She then began to feel strange and uneasy. She began to perceive things differently then she had before. She felt a sense of knowledge, but yet defeat at the same time. In her excitement for her new found perceptions, she went and found Adam.
As she approached Adam, she was skipping with glee. She talked to him and tried to convince him that God was holding something back from them and how that she feels a sense of knowledge that she didn't have before. She was so convincing, but yet Adam was not sure what was happening. She kept urging him and finally he yielded to her and ate the fruit also.
As Adam was finishing the fruit, something happened to him. He began feeling very sad, a feeling he had never felt before. He kind of looked at Eve and wondered why she was naked. She looked back at him and then they looked at each other and stared. They began to feel very uncomfortable around each other; they even felt dirty. They went and grabbed some fig leaves and covered themselves. They looked at each other with shame and guilt. Something was desperately wrong!
Then a familiar presence comes in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve sense it coming towards them. As God gets closer and closer, they began feeling more guilt and shame as they start running away and then finally hiding in some bushes. As they hid in fear and guilt, they looked at each other and may have said to one another... "we are in big trouble."
As the couple hid in the bushes with fear, you could hear Adam tell Eve, "sshhhhh, there is God right over us." God spoke... "ADAM, ADAM, WHERE ART THOU." They shuddered in fear and stayed still for just a moment. But as God's presence got closer, they couldn't hide anymore. They stood up with their faces bowed down in shame.
God stood in silence as He became very sad, He was deeply hurt to see His creation so broken and fallen in shame and guilt. He turned his face for a moment to re-compose himself.
God spoke... "What have you done?" Adam's reply was, "the woman you gave me made me eat the fruit." God then asked Eve what did she do. She replied, "the serpent deceived me and I ate."
God in all of His love had to keep His word. He looked at them and told them that they were cursed and that they had to be expelled from the Garden. God told them that they must work for their food from now on. He then shed the blood of an animal and clothed Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve found themselves in deep sorrow for their transgression. They had sinned against God by disobeying what He commanded them.
The scripture teaches that the wages of sin is death and that every deed must be punished. Sin may seem pleasurable at the time, but when sinful desires are conceived, it will cause us to sin. Then when sin is finished with us, it will bring forth death.
So as God expelled them from the garden, you could hear Adam and Eve crying and pleading with God to let them stay. It touched God's heart, but He had to stick by His word, but God did have a plan!
When God cursed the serpent for his part in the fall of man, He spoke something very important to Satan, Adam and the entire human race.
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen 3:15)
The serpent heard God's word against him, but it only challenged the serpent even more. After all Satan had challenged God in the past before man was ever created. But God in all his power kicked Satan out of heaven and Satan has and will always be against God until his final destruction when he is thrown into the lake of fire.
Ever since the promise of God upon mankind in Genesis, God has had a mission to redeem man from their sins by way of blood sacrifice.
All through the Old Testament God has always had a plan for mankind's sins. Abraham and the patriarchs sacrificed the blood of animals to please God. Under Moses, the tabernacle plan was setup so that the people could have their sins remitted and rolled ahead on a yearly basis.
Ever since the beginning of time God has had a mission... and that is to redeem man through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. In the next chapter we are going to look at this man named Jesus and the life He lived and then the life He gave.
THE LIFE OF JESUS
Jesus, as a twelve year old lad, had told his mother that "He must be about his father's business." Jesus Christ knew why He was born and how He was eventually going to lay down his life in a torturous death.
Jesus was a man of good tidings and deeds. He preached the gospel and performed many miracles. He healed the sick, raised the dead and made the deaf to speak. He was a teacher of God's holy word. He truly had all power and authority to do God's will.
Burning in the heart of the Messiah, lay the reason why He was here, to come and redeem his creation. He had that same love and compassion that He had for Adam and Eve.
As He walked in the world of His day, He constantly looked into the eyes of his creation and told them... "I love you!" His mission was very clear, He came to seek and save them that were lost.
There was also a group of people in the time of Jesus that didn't like what Jesus was doing. The religious world around Him constantly argued and denounced His ministry. They would not accept that He was truly "God manifested in the flesh"; the one true God in the form of man.
These religious people often times would try to trick Jesus into doing bad things so they could accuse Him. They even tried to push Him off a cliff once. They were constantly tempting Him, but yet the more Jesus obeyed God, the angrier they would get. Even to the point that they were turning other people against Him.
There was an ever increasing hostility around Israel in those days against Jesus and what He taught. Chief priest, Pharisees and Sadducees were becoming very angry at what Jesus was doing. They began to scheme how they could catch Him and put Him to death.
It was not a place where there was a lot of peace. Jesus said "I came to bring a sword, not peace." Jesus came to bring salvation and God's plan was not their plan and it made them very upset.
THE DEATH OF JESUS
We know the scriptures foretold the death of Jesus Christ. The ultimate mission of God was to robe himself in flesh and pay the price for our sins. He was willing to subject himself to the violent death He was about to partake of.
Jesus had chosen twelve disciples to teach and to prepare them for the birth of the church. Jesus often tried to show his disciples that He was going to be killed on a tree and be in the grave for three days and then rise again. But something in them could not believe or conceive that Jesus was going to die. It made them sad and mad when Jesus told them.
As the tension began to mount in Jerusalem, Satan stepped up his tactics by convincing Judas to betray the Lord. He made a covenant with the chief priest to reveal who the Lord was. Judas allowed the hostile atmosphere to thrust him into a place he didn't know about. How could thirty pieces of silver mean so much to a disciple of the Lord?
As all the disciples sat with Jesus at the Passover, Satan entered into Judas and Jesus told him, "what thou doest, do thou quickly." Judas went where the devil had bidden him, not knowing that in just a few hours he would die a suicidal death.
Then Roman soldiers came into the garden that dark night as Judas showed them who Jesus was by planting a kiss on His cheek. Jesus with all His love and compassion called him "friend." The hostile atmosphere then got a hold of Peter as he cut off the ear of a man standing there.
When Jesus was arrested in the garden, the disciples fled from Him in fear. And as they led Jesus away, He looked at Judas with eyes of compassion. Judas felt something deep in his soul that began his fall.
As the trial of Jesus unfolded, the pain of Jesus began. The hatred amongst those Chief Priest was ever increasing. They slapped Jesus on the face, spit on Him and then put a purple robe on Him. One of the men thought, "I'll put this crown of thorns on Him because He says that he is a king." As they stood there and mocked Jesus, one of the men took a reed and hit Jesus on the head driving the thorns into his skull.
Pilate then brought Jesus out to the people and asked them, "shall I release unto you the King of the Jews?" As soon as the violent crowd heard this, they screamed and yelled "Give us Barabbas, give us Barabbas!" Then Pilate said, "Why, I find no fault in him." Yet the people cried again, "Away with this man, give us Barabbas."
As Jesus stood with blood streaming down his face and into his eyes, He could just barely see the crowd through the corner of His eye. Tears began to fall from His face as he thought within himself, "I love these people, I am willing to go through this pain because I love them."
Now Pilate grabbed Jesus and thrust Him to the edge of the balcony and told the crowd, "I find no fault with this man." The crowd became agitated and cried even more... "CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM!!" The crowd yelled and yelled as the hatred towards Jesus grew and grew.
Jesus in His weakened state was taken by the soldiers and led to Golgotha's hill. It was a hard walk for Jesus as He fell beneath the weight of the cross. The soldiers had ordered Simon a Cyrenian to help Jesus bare His cross.
The soldiers then took Jesus and tied Him with ropes to the cross to keep Him in place. One soldier took Jesus’ left hand and nailed it to the cross, then the right hand. The crowd could see Jesus' body jerk with pain as the nails went through his wrist. Then they took His feet and stacked them on top of each other and took another nail and began hammering His feet to the cross.
Jesus was now experiencing agonizing pain as His body began to reject the torture. As Jesus was laying on the cross, which was still laying on the ground, He turned His head towards the crowd and tried to look straight into their eyes. He may have thought within himself, "This is for them."
A few soldiers then took the cross of Jesus and set the cross straight up in the cross hole. As this cross was being lifted up, Jesus writhed in agonizing pain as the weight of His body started pulling on the parts of His body where the nails were fastened.
Now with the cross upright into the earth, the real pain began! He was bleeding and thirsty while the crowd was watching with mixed emotions.
After six hours of torturous agonizing pain, scraping His gashed wounds on the cross. Jesus hung there suspended, you could look into his eyes and see a determined man struggling to live. But if you looked deeper, you could see something divine taking place. Jesus got one more look at the crowd and said "it is finished!" He then took one more gasp of air and died.
When the head of Jesus bowed down one last time, I wonder if the crowd erupted into shouts of victory. Could it be, Satan had finally won?!
THE MIXED CROWD
What took place on Calvary that day was not a pretty sight. Gloom and despair had gripped those who followed Jesus as they watched Him hang in pain. As Jesus hung there lifeless and dead, the disciple’s only hope for life eternal had just passed away. They were in total bewilderment.
How could Jesus let them down, "What happened here?" they thought. Many of them left their jobs to follow him. They saw Him do many miracles. They just struggled with his departure.
Among the unbelieving people who were there, were those that were filled with hate and violence; they wanted Him to die! They mocked and laughed at Jesus as He hung there lifeless. Some of them looked on in silence, some in hatred and joy to the fact that He was dead.
Many of those people in that crowd had families that loved them. Many may have been healed by Jesus. I am sure a lot of them had seen all the miracles He had done. There was one man there that looked on wondering if Jesus really was the son of God.
What a day in history! The crowd had been a part of the most horrific event, yet they could not see who they were crucifying.
As it was getting dark that mid-afternoon day, the mixed multitude watched as they waited to see what was next. There was a soft rumble of talk as the crowd discussed this event.
A VISIT FROM A SOLDIER
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and [that] they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw [it] bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:31-37)
You could hear in the crowds some people talking and pointing at a soldier. They watched him as he was cleaning his spear. The soldier then had gotten a command that he was to go and break the bones of anyone who was still alive; for Jesus was crucified with two other people that day.
The soldier came to the first man and saw he was still alive. He then broke his legs so he could not keep himself up, he then would later die. He went to the other and did the same thing. The crowd didn't really care about these two other malefactors. They were more interested in what would happen to Jesus.
When the soldier came to Jesus, he saw that He was dead. He looked up into the face of that dead man and questioned what was really going on here. Then all of a sudden you could hear the crowd slowly start chanting "thrust him through, thrust him through."
He stood there looking at a man that loved with everything He had, a man that held their very lives in his hands, but didn't know it!
What did the soldier really see? A poor criminal or just another crucifixion? What was he thinking? Sure, they didn't break His legs because He was already dead, but what caused one soldier to think about a spear? Maybe it was common to drain the blood before burial?
Wasn't the death of Jesus enough? Hadn't He already given His life? He was beaten, slapped, spit upon, mocked and nailed to the cross! Wasn't that enough? What was this soldier thinking?
THE PRICE OF A PIERCE
There Jesus hung in complete darkness, dead and lifeless. As the crowd watched the soldier pulled out his spear and shined it one more time, the people began to get louder and louder. The soldier, holding the spear in his hands, looked at his spear then at Jesus, pondering what he should do next.
The crowd began to get even louder as they cheered and urged the soldier to stab him. The crowd began to really cheer and clap and scream to the soldier. The atmosphere was totally charged with hate and violence.
The soldier looked one more time at Jesus, then back to the crowd. He waited and paused. Maybe he had doubts. Then he held up the spear and looked at the crowd. They cheered very loudly!! And with one thrust... he did it! One hard thrust right into Jesus' side.
The soldier pulled the spear out and then blood and water began to pour out onto the ground running down Jesus' legs and then down the cross.
What did the people see? The crowd cheered and shouted in victory. Satan had bruised the heals of Jesus as the prophecy foretold. Satan had thought he had won a mighty victory!
As the people watched, the blood and water flowed down the hill as people began backing up. Did blood flow beneath their feet? Did they just trample on the blood? Did they know that the blood was for their sins?
As the blood finally stopped flowing from Jesus' side the crowd began to get very quiet. One by one they began to go home satisfied that they had done the will of God.
And at last, the soldier looking up at Jesus began to feel sad. He just stood there and looked at Jesus as the tears came to his eyes. He said within himself, "Truly this was the son of God." What kind of life did this soldier live after he had realized that he pierced the Lord?
WHAT WAS IT ALL FOR ANYWAYS?
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14)
Calvary, in all its gloom, suffering and shame, had a purpose. Many think that just the fact that Jesus died was enough! But Jesus' death would have never been complete without the piercing in His side. The greatest work of Calvary took place after Jesus was dead.
What was the death of Jesus for anyway? Why did Jesus have to pour out His blood? Where did the shedding of blood bring remission of sins?
Without Jesus coming to this world and willingly giving His life and blood as that perfect sacrificial lamb, we could never be forgiven of our filthy sins. It is the shedding of blood that remits our sins.
The power of Calvary had begun in a river of blood that soaked into the earth for all of mankind. The blood of Jesus was not cheap! He gave His last drop of blood just for us so we can be redeemed! Jesus was the one who got the final victory over Satan!
It was the piercing in His side that would bring forth the remission of our sins. The Lord had provided a way for us to have our sins forgiven and washed away. It is His grace and love for us that brought the true plan of salvation according to Acts 2:38. Salvation in His name can now be applied to every person that wants to come to Jesus.
But just like the crowd in that day, people trample and mock His blood today and refuse it's saving power. “ They shall look on Him, whom they pierced!”
Let us look on Him, not to kill, But to love and serve with all our hearts.