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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.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Till the Lord Jesus, however, sits on his throne as "King of the Jews" (John 18:33-39; 19:12-19), the providential direction of human affairs is committed to the Elohim; who are termed the angels of the little ones who believe in Jesus" (Matt. 18:3-6,10), because they minister to their profit, in causing all things among the nations to work together for their ultimate good.

When that remarkable change in the constitution of things is brought to pass, when Jesus having received the sovereignty, the angels shall do homage to him, there will be a great national jubilee throughout the earth.

Elpis Israel 2.3.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Comparing Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 with John 19:25 almost certainly establishes Salome as the sister of Mary. This would make James and John the cousins of Jesus. The only other alternatives are --

Mary's sister is mentioned once, (John 19:25) but not named, or ever referred to elsewhere.

Mary's sister was also named Mary, and was the wife of Cleophas.

In either case, Salome would be omitted from one record where she appears in the other two. In the first case, someone else is mentioned in her place who is never mentioned again. In the second case, there were two sisters, both named Mary. All this seems very unlikely, so we conclude that Salome was "his (Jesus') mother's sister" of John 19:25.

It was Salome who approached Jesus with the request that her two sons, James and John, sit on Jesus' right and left hands in the Kingdom.

 We will have a better and kinder view of Salome if we remember in connection with this incident that she was one of the faithful band of women who followed Jesus wherever he went, ministering unto him in loving devotion of their own substance. *

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. *

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." *

30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the spirit.

"All things were now accomplished," so that the Mosaic handwriting was blotted out, being nailed with Him to the cross, and taken out of the way as a rule of life.

The Lord Jesus "rested from His labours" on the seventh day in the silent tomb, and "His disciples rested according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56). He abode in His place, and did not go out of it until the sabbath was at an end" (Mark 16:1). But, on the eighth day, styled also the first day, God gave Him liberty (Matt. 28:2).

Elpis Israel 1.2.

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

He fell into a deep sleep; and, while thus unconscious and insensible, His side was opened by a spear, and forthwith rushed blood and water (John 19:33-34). Being awoke out of His sleep, He was built up a spiritual body, flesh and bones; and, by His ascension, presented to the Father as the federal representative of His ecclesia.

... Thus, the ecclesia is figuratively taken out of the side of her Lord; for every member of it believes in the remission of sins through His shed blood; and they all believe in the real resurrection of His flesh and bones, for their justification unto life by a similar revival from the dead. "Your bodies are the members," or flesh and bones, "of Christ and he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:15-17). "I have espoused you to one husband," says Paul, "that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).

Elpis Israel 1.2.

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. *

* Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest Thou

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

The other man was Nicodemus -- likewise a counselor -- two of the highest men in the nation. And, like Joseph, he had apparently up to this point been held back by fear from open discipleship. Unlike Joseph, he appears twice before in the record.

At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, Nicodemus comes to him by night, confessing his recognition that Jesus was a teacher sent from God.

Though he chides him for lack of understanding basic spiritual truth, though holding a position as the teacher of Israel, still Jesus speaks to him many things of depth and beauty like we find revealed nowhere else. He knew what was in man, and he could doubtless see in Nicodemus the nucleus of a faith that would overcome all fear.

Consider the well-known passages of eternal promise and beauty that Jesus spoke alone to this Jewish leader who sought him in the night. The event is recorded in John 3 --

"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth. So is every one that is born of the Spirit."

"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven."

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up."

"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

"This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light."

For all this we are indebted to Jesus' private conversation with this man Nicodemus in the quiet of the night. And Jesus ended the interview with this gentle rebuke, doubtless long-remembered with much heart-searching and self-examination, and which bore glorious fruit so long after --

"He that doeth Truth cometh to the Light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

Nicodemus was at last to come in the open daylight -- in full public gaze -- to manifest his allegiance to Light and Truth. *

40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

All this, from the death of Jesus on the cross -- the begging of the body from Pilate, the removal from the cross, the burial and the preparation of spices, had to happen between three o'clock and six o'clock on Friday afternoon, before the Sabbath began.

There has always been controversy concerning what day of the week Jesus was crucified. Many, on the basis of a full three-day interpretation, and by a double-Sabbath theory (Passover Sabbath and weekly Sabbath), move the crucifixion back to Thursday and some even Wednesday.

But bro. Thomas' beautiful exposition of the Son of Man fulfilling the work given him to do by the Friday night, "resting according to the commandment" during the Sabbath, and arising the first day of a new week to a new life and a new work, strongly inclines us to the simple view that the crucifixion was on Friday. *

* Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest Thou