Hebrews 10: Part II- Consider Him Who Endured
Today on Easter Sunday, I want us ‘to consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ (Hebrews 12: 3)
We cannot fully comprehend the spiritual aspect of Christ’s suffering and shame as all of the sins of the world for all time were heaped upon Him. It was this vile cup He wanted to be taken from Him if possible; however, it was always the will of the Father Jesus desired, not His own will. He, who knew no sin, would be made sin for us. He would be forsaken by His Father that we might be forgiven.
Let’s consider what He endured physically:
- The physical trauma began in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus sweat great drops of blood. A rare physical phenomenon called Hematidrosis or ‘bloody sweat ‘occurred. This is the breaking of small capillaries in the sweat glands under tremendous emotional strain. (“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus speaking in Mark 14 in the Garden of Gethsemane. )
- He is arrested in the Garden and taken in the middle of the night to a hearing before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Soldiers strike him in the face when Jesus refuses to answer the High Priest.
- The soldiers blindfold Him and take turns hitting him in the face and asking him to identify who hit him. They also pluck his beard and spit in his face.
- In the early morning Jesus is carried to Praetorium to appear before Pilate. Pilate has been forewarned to have nothing to do with Jesus by his wife. He attempts to give the Jews the traditional right to have one prisoner freed. The crowd wants Bar-Abbas freed and Jesus crucified. Jesus’ face is beginning to swell from the blows he has received. Dried blood and spittle cover his face.
- The order to scourge Jesus comes next. The victim is stripped of his clothing. His hands are tied to a four foot post. This height assured the one administering the beating will have a stooped prisoner with his back, buttocks and legs exposed to the cruel whip, called a flagrum. This whip is described as the following: a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the end of each thong. The heavy whip is brought down repeatedly against Our Savior’s shoulders, backs and legs. We are told ‘he was striped for our iniquities.’ Here is a description of the damage it did: “At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into His tissues producing the first oozing of blood. The small lead balls first produced large deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. The blood begins to flow freely. Finally the skin of His back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is a mass of torn, bleeding tissue.”( The Crucifixion of Jesus” Dr. C. Truman Davis,) Finally it stops as the centurion determines the victim can tolerate no more and is near death.
- Untied from the post, Our Lord Jesus slumps to the ground. The soldiers throw a robe about His shoulders and place a stick in His hand as a scepter and fashion a crown of thorns they place upon His head and press down into Jesus’ scalp. They laugh at their Creator and mock Him with: Hail the king of the Jews! Can you visualize Our Lord Jesus as this moment? Remember what Abraham said in response to his son Isaac who asked his father, where is the lamb? And Abraham replied “God Himself will provide the Lamb.” And Abraham looked up and there was a ram, whose horns were caught in thicket of thorns. See Him there with the crown of thorns. I want us to consider what He endured to become the author and perfecter of our faith.
- The Lord Jesus was hardly recognizable now as His face swollen from the beating was covered with blood from the thorns in his scalp and forehead, covering his face now with spittle and blood. He is pulled upright and a cross beam thrust upon His shoulders. What did Isaiah prophesize? “The government shall be on his shoulders.” Thus the Lord Jesus begins his walk toward Golgotha. This is the purpose for which He came.
- At the crucifixion site a Roman crucifixion team awaited the prisoner. They were practiced in what they did, having done this scores of times before. The three man teams were efficient and brutal. After placing the cross beam on the ground, they swept Jesus feet out from under him and stretched his arms out and placed them upon the cross beam. The Roman soldier feels for a depression in the wrist. Here he will drive a heavy, squared iron nail through His wrist into the wood. When both arms are nailed they lift him upright.
- Then the left foot is then placed on top of the right foot and another nail is hammered into place in a position where we might lace up our shoes. The pain is excruciating. Now crucified and upright with the searing agony of the three heavy nails pinning Him to the cross, one cannot help but wondering how in the world did Jesus ask His Father to “ forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” This is Our Great High Priest negotiating the New Covenant with His Father. He died not just for our sins but for the sins of the world.
- As his arms fatigued and quite often the shoulders were dislocated as their body weight pulled them out of joint causing his pectoral muscles to cramp. With these cramps it becomes impossible for the pectoral muscles to exhale. He can draw air into his lungs, but cannot exhale. Jesus has to use his leg muscles to push up in order to get even a short breath. Pushing up against the spike driven into his feet is a pain we cannot imagine. This takes place for hours. His compressed heart is struggling to pump blood into the tissues; his lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp small gulps of air. He uses those to speak from the cross. Comforting his mother, forgiving a thief and then as darkness comes, he feels something we will not have experience: Jesus is forsaken by His Father as He takes on the sin of the world. Then the end comes and Jesus commends His spirit to His Father.
- To make sure of his death, a Roman soldier drove his lance through the space between Jesus’ ribs upward into His very heart. We are told from his side came blood and water. From the first Adam’s side God created Adam a bride. From His torn side, God the Father fashioned another bride for the Last Adam, the Church, and the Bride of Christ.
Can you visualize Him now? Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The moment Christ died and commended His Spirit to His Father something happened in Jerusalem and in the temple. A great earthquake came and the temple veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn from the top – down. The temple veil was made by God’s instruction of fine twined white linen which represented Jesus Christ’s sinless righteousness. This cloth was then dyed blue, scarlet and purple. The blue represents heaven. The scarlet represents His blood. And the purple – His Royalty.
The veil had also said to everyone but the High Priest- stay out. Now the veil was torn down and now a new way was opened so man could come into the presence of God. The thick veil which had been a barrier between the people and God had been torn down and opened a new way into the heavenly sanctuary where God dwells.
As a result we read in Hebrews 10: 19-25 of a threefold invitation. Remember we are citizens of heaven now and as such we have made a Declaration of Dependence upon our Lord Jesus, our Savior. Under a new covenant, we have formed not a more perfect union, but a union perfect forever. One of the rights we have been given is the freedom of speech, where we might enter the throne room of heaven and speak freely to God our Father. In fact God encourages us, His children, to call upon Him and He will in turn show us great and mighty things we know not. All of this and much more was accomplished when were accepted the gift of salvation. A gift which was free to us, but cost God the Father and our Lord Jesus, God the Son everything.
Here in these verses as result of what we celebrate on this Easter Sunday, Resurrection day, are three invitations from God. Remember the High Priest was the only one allowed before into the Most Holy of Holies. He came only once per year and only for a brief visit. We are now told we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We dwell in heaven and heaven dwells in us.
Here are the three invitations:
- Let us draw near to God. (vs. 22)
- Let us hold unswervingly ( fast) to the hope we profess.(vs23)
- Let us consider one another. (vs. 24-25)
LET US DRAW NEAR.
The tabernacle and the pattern of worship it revealed show us how we must prepare ourselves spiritually to fellowship with God. Remember we are a royal priesthood. There was the applying of blood and cleansing with water. Under the New Covenant, we must come to God with a pure heart and a clean conscience. This requires four conditions:
- A sincere heart. This is undivided allegiance. He is our king and to Him we pledge our loyalty.
- Full assurance of faith. No doubting, no double mindedness. Trusting Him with all our hearts. Half-heartedness will not work.
- Hearts sprinkled from a guilty conscience with the Blood of the Lamb. ‘No guilt in life, no fear of death, that’s the power of Christ in me.’
- Bodies washed with pure water. Jesus said you are cleansed by the word. Fellowship with God demands a pure heart and a clear conscience. Confess all known sin- the sooner the better.
HOLD UNSWERVINGLY (FAST) TO OUR PROFESSION OF HOPE
When our hope is fixed on Christ, we know we have a hope which will not disappoint. Why? Because our hope is in Christ; He is our hope and we can trust Him because of His faithfulness. He is faithful when we are not. We do not always understand what or why we are going through something, but I have two promises on which I can stand. First of all we know all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8: 28) Second, we have been promised, He will never place more on us than we can bear, but will with the temptation or test make a way to escape so we can bear it.(I Cor 10:13) God does not require us to understand His will, just to obey it. Jesus said to the disciples the Last Supper: “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13: 7) Have you noticed as you get older, you can look back and begin to understand some things you could not understand when they were happening to you.
CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER.
Consider means to think carefully about something. I quoted from Hebrews 12 in my title of today’s lesson, Consider Him (Lord Jesus) who endured. And we thought about what He endured for us, in order to save us from our sins. Here we are instructed to ‘consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds’ (NIV) and in the NKJV it reads: ‘consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.’ This invitation is tied directly to meeting together and encouraging one another as the Day of His coming is approaching. So the writer admonishes those who make a habit of forsaking assembling together. ( OUCH! Sorry your toes may have been stepped on- it wasn’t me who said it.)
When we assemble together it is not just on what we get- but what we contribute by our show of faithfulness. It is an encouragement to those who have prepared to praise God with their songs, and to teach and preach what they have studied that week.
So as we gather today to celebrate the most important three days in history from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday- let us draw near to God. Do you really understand He wants to meet with you, to walk with you and talk with you? The most important, all -powerful, sovereign, only wise God, Creator of everything has invited you to call on Him. He invites us to hold fast to the hope we profess. For the world wants to loosen our grip. Even now some of us are facing tests and trials in which it sometimes seems hopeless. The enemy is trying to loosen your grip on hope. And today God is calling upon you to consider, think about, how you can encourage others, and spur them to love and good works.
There are some people who need a word of encouragement. Need someone to come alongside and help them, pray for them and in doing so you will find your thought turning from thinking about yourself so much and thinking about others.
Consider what Our Lord endured for us. And then remember He did this for the JOY of becoming the author and perfecter of our faith.