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18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
54.-What has been accomplished in Christ?
ANSWER: Sin had been condemned in his death on the cross, and the righteousness of God has been declared and exhibited to all the world in the shedding of his blood.
55.-How could sin be condemned in Christ who was sinless? and how could the righteousness of God be declared in the blood-shedding of a righteous man?
ANSWER: Because being born of Adam's condemned race, and partaking of their condemned nature, Christ was made subject, equally with them to the consequences of Adam's transgression. Therefore his public execution was a public exhibition of what was due to a man from God.
It pleased God to require this before inviting men to reconciliation through the man in whom this vindication should take place.
The Christadelphian Instructor.
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Three elderly women, standing by the cross, witnessed that almost unendurable scene of agony and shame, with hopeless bewilderment and disappointed faith. Faith and Hope had fled, but Love remained.
And then there was Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is clearly the leading and most active spirit among the faithful group of women. For three days -- the most momentous three days of history -- Mary Magdalene is the most prominent actor in the whole divine plan.
How strange and beautiful that this fearless devoted woman should suddenly come briefly into brilliant prominence and, then as quickly fade forever from the record! She filled one essential, central role in the great sweep of history, and then retired to womanly obscurity.
Mary Magdalene -- the last at the cross, and the first at the tomb. And her devotion was rewarded -- she was the first to see the Lord.
Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest Thou
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
At the betrayal in the garden, nine disciples flee and we hear no more about them until after the resurrection.
The other two, John and Peter, after first fleeing with the rest, turned and followed the crowd to the High Priest's house. John was known at the High Priest's house, and therefore must have been known to be a disciple of Jesus. The High Priests maidservant remembered seeing Peter with Jesus; she surely would have remembered seeing John with him, as she knew John. This is a point in John's favour. He went right in along with Jesus, knowing he would be recognized. We find John outstanding all through these events.
After Peter's denial, he too, like the rest of the apostles, drops out of the picture until after the resurrection. There is no mention of Peter or of any of the rest at the cross -- only John and the women. All the women closest to Jesus are mentioned by name by Matthew, Mark and John, as being there.
John stood at the foot of the cross, with Jesus' mother, and received the commission to take care of her.
...When we come right down to the very heart of the events of these three days -- around which all history revolves -- we come to two people -- Mary Magdalene and John the beloved disciple.
True, John at first fled. "They ALL forsook him and fled." It had to be that way. The flesh must learn the deep wisdom of its weakness -- its utter, powerless dependence upon God. But John recovered himself immediately.
Peter "followed afar off," drawn by an irresistible love, but held back by the dragging feet of a terrible, trembling fear.
But John, we are told, "went in with Jesus into the palace of the High Priest"; then later went out and brought in Peter. It was John who said, "Perfect love casteth out fear."
John was the last to whom Jesus spoke in the hour of death: "Behold thy mother."
Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest Thou
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea, we have never heard before, and never hear of him again. We are told he was rich, he was a counsellor, that is, one of the ruling body of the nation -- like a member of Congress or of Parliament, that he was a good and righteous man who looked for the Kingdom of God, that he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews.
Up to this point he had never publicly revealed his allegiance. He had lived a double life -- an inner, private life and an outer, public one.
There is a great lesson and a great comfort in the example of Joseph. He was rich and influential -- he had much to lose in following Jesus, and up to this point he had not been able to face the open choice.
But when Jesus was dead, when all hope seemed ended, he gathered together a Faith and a Courage that stand out with almost unique brilliance, and went boldly to Pilate, requesting the body of Jesus! Something now so moved and took hold of this fearful man that he stood up boldly and alone before both the Romans and his whole nation and publicly allied himself with the cause of Christ, just when that cause had come into direct collision with both Jews and Romans and seemed to have ended in utter disaster.
We wonder whether, and at what point, Joseph realized that he was fulfilling that strange, unlikely prophecy of Isaiah 53 --
"He shall make his grave with the rich."
Truly a prophecy which -- up until the moment Joseph stepped forth -- seemed impossible of fulfillment under the circumstances.
How marvellous are the ways of God! Let Joseph be a perpetual inspiration to all who have ever hesitated under any circumstances to speak out for Christ because of fear.
Joseph laid the body in his own new tomb -- a tomb wherein never man had lain. In the fittingness of things, it could be no other way. This event was not only unique in all history -- it was the very center of all history.