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Christian Biblical Studies
Scripture citations are to the Authorised Version (KJV) unless noted otherwise.
Recapitulation: ‘sanctions’ denote a formal decree, originally of an ecclesiastical nature, favourable – ratifying or authorising some course of action; or unfavourable – prohibiting some course of action, under penalty. In modern parlance the word invariably carries the latter, negative, connotation. Sanctions are of various kinds: religious, legal, social, economic.
The previous instalment focused on King David. We now dwell on Christ, the antitype of David (Psa. 22: 1). As with most biblical types and antitypes, the latter is a larger and higher fulfilment of the former. In a study of Christ, the anointed Jesus, we find the most perfect subject, the centre of God’s Plan, the One set forth as our Exemplar, the one and only Saviour.
3. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. . . 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
In the betraying and taking of Jesus we see the forbearance of God, who permitted to unfold the plan He had devised – that Jesus would become the lamb slain from before the foundation of earth (Rev. 13: 8). For as much as it pained the Father to see His Son degraded and thumped, He allowed Pilate’s soldiers control.
In Dean Farrar’s masterly volume, The Life of Christ (1881), p. 431, we read:
In civilised nations all is done that can be done to spare every needless suffering to a man condemned to death; but among the Romans insult and derision were the customary preliminaries to the last agony. The et pereuntibus addita ludibria [‘in their deaths they were made the subjects of sport’] of Tacitus might stand for their general practice. Such a custom furnished a specimen of that worst and lowest form of human wickedness which delights to inflict pain, which feels an inhuman pleasure in gloating over the agonies of another, even when he has done no wrong. The mere spectacle of agony is agreeable to the degraded soul. The low vile soldiery of the Prætorium – not Romans, who might have had more sense of the inborn dignity of the silent sufferer, but mostly the mere mercenary scum and dregs of the provinces – led Him into their barrack-room, and there mocked, in their savage hatred, the King whom they had tortured. It added keenness to their enjoyment to have in their power One who was of Jewish birth, of innocent life, of noblest bearing. The opportunity broke so agreeably the coarse monotony of their life, that they summoned all of the cohort who were disengaged to witness their brutal sport. In sight of these hardened ruffians they went through the whole heartless ceremony of a mock coronation, a mock investiture, a mock homage. Around the brows of Jesus, in wanton mimicry of the Emperor’s laurel, they twisted a green wreath of thorny leaves; in His tied and trembling hands they placed a reed for sceptre; from His torn and bleeding shoulders they stripped the white robe with which Herod had mocked Him – which must now have been all soaked with blood – and flung on Him an old scarlet paludament – some cast-off war cloak, with its purple laticlave, from the Prætorian wardrobe. This, with feigned solemnity, they buckled over His right shoulder, with its glittering fibula [a clasp]; and then – each with his derisive homage of bended knee – each with his infamous spitting – each with the blow over the head from the reed sceptre, which His bound hands could not hold – they kept passing before Him with their mock salutation of “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Now comes the ultimate sorrow:-
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? - (Matt. 27: 45, 46)
Dying as ransom for the sinner, Jesus the sinless, was required to become sin in order to redeem the sinner (2 Cor. 5: 21). That He would be totally forsaken by His Father to effect this transaction had been hidden from Jesus – hence His agonised WHY?!But now, from out of that bottomless void of eternal darkness into which his mind had sunk, Jesus now rallies, answers His own agonised question, and recovers His assurance.
His understanding returns: –
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith . . . It is finished: and he bowed his head and [died].
- (John 19: 28-30; emphases added.)
To be continued
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