Jesus Nailed to the Stake

 (Matthew 27:32-44)

To all the readers of this blog:

I will be away for the next two weeks until the end of April 2011 and unsure of internet access. I will attempt to keep posting during that time but cannot guarantee there will be a post every day. Thank you for reading my blog and I do hope you gain something useful. Now to today’s instalment…

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Jesus was led away to be nailed to the stake. I have used the term “stake” rather than “cross” for the Greek word is literally translated as stake and not cross. I am led to believe that this word was translated as “crux” in the Latin Vulgate and thus when the early translations into English were done they took the word “crux” and rendered it as “cross.” Whether the actual stake Jesus was nailed to had a transverse beam or not is not really known. Thus I will use the term “stake” as it was written in the original Greek.

When a person was put to death in this manner it was normal customer and practice in those times to also nail up the charge or list of charges against them. This was to show the basis for the execution. In the case of Jesus the “charge” that was written was, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Now while they meant it to be mockery and a denouncement of Jesus, it was in actual fact the truth. They did not know it at the time, or rather refused to accept it as truth, but it was indeed the truth. He was both King of kings and Lord of lords.

All who saw him thus displayed derided and reviled him. Even the two thieves who were likewise executed with him derided him, and yet t hey too were suffering the same punishment. Such is the foolishness of men. In one of the other versions of these events we see one of the robbers come to his senses. He said to the other robber that they too were in the same situation as Jesus and yet Jesus had done no wrong. He repented of his actions and asked the Lord to remember him when he came into his Kingdom, which the Lord said he would do. Many people use this situation as a point of hope to make a deathbed confession and thus be saved.

Anyone who thinks such as this is living in a fool’s paradise. Who apart from God knows the timing or manner of their death? Who knows whether they will even have the chance to make a deathbed confession? And if they have lived a life of sin and this confession is just a mockery or a slim hope of not suffering for their sins, will it even be accepted by the Lord? God knows the hearts of all mankind and will render to each according to their faith and works. If anyone thinks there is a “get out of jail free card” by making a deathbed confession is kidding themselves. The old saying that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time does not apply to God. You cannot fool God ANY of the time.

Jesus suffered humiliation right up to the point of his death. It was as if the devil wanted to wring out every ounce of suffering, derision and humiliation against the Lord that he could. And well he might, for in the death of Jesus, Satan was defeated and the Lord victorious. In the death of Jesus the New Covenant came into force and through Jesus’ death man was able to be set free from sin, death and all forms of bondage. The devil is the master of bondage and so in the death of Jesus those bonds were not just loosened, they were shattered.

In spite of the humiliation of Jesus or rather because of his humiliation we should give thanks. Without his death we would still walk in sin and under the power and bondage of the law. But in his death we are set free if we come to him and accept his freedom through faith in the power of his blood and through entering into this death in baptism. Praise be to God for his gift.

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