Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Tonight we remember the darkest hour and at the same time the culmination of the plan of salvation: The death of our Lord on the cross. We are in the place called the Skull, and in Hebrew, Golgotha.
In our text, St. John emphasized the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53 of his book. John says, "They crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the middle."
"Therefore, I will give him a part with the great ones, and with the strong ones he will divide the spoils; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was reckoned with transgressors; and He took the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors, "says Isaiah 53:12.
Also, says John, "And when the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took their garments and made four parts, for each soldier a part; and also his tunic, and the tunic was seamless, all woven from above. "
"They divided my garments among them, and they cast lots for my clothing," says Psalm 22:18.
However, these details only pointed to the most important truth written on the sign above the bloody head of Jesus in Hebrew, and in Greek, and in Latin: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The Romans did not invent crucifixion, but perfected it. In that time of Jesus, crucifixion was the special punishment for rebellious slaves, violent criminals and revolutionaries. The historian Josephus relates that during the war between Romans and Jews from the year 66 to 70 after Christ, the Roman executioners crucified up to 500 men daily.
The priests and leaders of the Jews delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate as a revolutionary, saying that he wanted the throne of the Roman emperor. But, Jesus was not a revolutionary. He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom, but to open the doors of heaven to men. Pilate knew that Jesus was not a threat to the empire, because the Lord told him, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). But, under pressure, Pilate sentenced Jesus to death on the cross.
The Romans used to write on a sign the crime for which the crucified man died. This sign was tied to the neck of the condemned or was nailed to the wood of the cross above the head. Pilate gave in to the desire of the priests and the advice of the Jews, but he mocked his beliefs on the Jesusí sign. "King of the Jews" is a title of the Messiah, because the prophets prophesied that the Messiah, the Savior of the world, would come from the lineage of King David.
"And the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Write not: The King of the Jews; but He said: I am King of the Jews. Pilate replied: What I have written, I have written.Ē
Pilate considered Jesus a harmless fool, and he wanted the Jews to feel that such a man was the proper king for them. But in all these things, the hand of God must be discerned. It was God's will to have this same title placed on the head of Jesus. This Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified by the Jews, is indeed the King of the Jews the Messiah of Israel. This Messiah was to bring salvation to all the people of the whole world, whose main languages were used here.
Jesus accomplished three things through His death on the cross. He showed the depth of Godís love for the world because the Father sacrificed His only Son to us. Also, because of His death, Jesus defeated and freed us from the power of the devil, from sin and death.
But above all, by the torture of the cross and by His bitter death, Jesus has fully expiated the transgressions of the world. And this fact must be made known to all the nations of the earth, so that they can place their trust in the Pascal Lamb who died on Calvary. In this gospel, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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