Page 9 - November 2019 - Truth & Tidings
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of crucifixion to survive their ordeal if   the Father had given Him to do. And He
        they were taken down while still alive.   finished it. From the center cross had rung
        Obviously, that would be disastrous, and   forth a loud cry that reverberates down the
        so Pilate “calling unto him the centurion   ages and will echo for all eternity: “It is
        he asked  him whether  he had  been   finished.” What a wonder is this, that in
        any while dead” (Mar 15:44 KJV). The   just six hours, an infinite and eternal work
        centurion confirmed it, leaving no room   could be accomplished, in impeccable
        for doubt. The centurions who carried   and unimprovable perfection. What an
        out crucifixions were trained specialists –   offering this was. What sufferings He
        there was no risk of their mistaking mere   endured. What a price He paid. And the
        loss of consciousness for death. Pilate   sacrifice having been offered, the price
        granted Joseph his permission almost   paid, and the work finished, there was
        absentmindedly, still amazed that it could   nothing left to suffer, and so the Savior
        be over so soon.                      died.
          Pilate marveled, but he only grasped a   Pilate knew nothing of the obedience
        fraction of the true wonder of what had   of a perfect servant. Philippians 2:8 tells
        happened. The real marvel was not that   us that the Lord Jesus “became obedient
        the Lord Jesus was already dead; the   unto death, even the death of the cross”
        real marvel was the reason why He was   (KJV). That meant something radically
        already dead. There was a timetable in   different for the Savior than it could ever
        operation that Pilate knew nothing about.   mean for us. There have been servants of
        It was a timetable ordained even before   God who were obedient unto death, in
        time existed and, in total ignorance of its   the sense that their obedience led them
        existence, the Jewish rulers, Pilate, and the   up to death. We are all obedient to death
        centurions all moved in accordance with   – apart from the Rapture every one of us
        it. The Man on the center cross was the   will have to succumb to the arrest of what
        spotless Lamb of God “foreknown before   Shakespeare called “this fell sergeant.”
        the foundation of the world” (1Pe 1:20   But only the Savior was obedient “to the
        NET), and His sacrifice had been divinely   point of death” (NET, ESV). Our obedience
        planned from eternity.                must always stop short of death, because
          Pilate knew nothing of the wonder of a   death for us is involuntary. But the Savior
        divine timetable. He was equally ignorant   was different. He had “the authority to lay
        of the wonder of a finished work. Every   [His life] down, and … the authority to
        other man who had hung on a cross had   take it back again” (Joh 10:18 NET). When
        been a victim, enduring what he was   Pilate wondered, he wondered not at some
        powerless to resist. For them the cross   accident of physiology but at the greatest
        was an awful punishment, the cruel    act of obedience that this world has ever
        instrument of an agonizing death. But the   – and will ever – see. It was not weakness
        Savior had spoken of the cross as a work   He marveled at, but unparalleled power.
        to be completed (Joh 17:4). In the moments   Pilate marveled that He was dead
        that passed as He hung on the cross He   already, but we wonder that He died at all.
        was no passive sufferer; He was actively   The great fact of that death and its immense
        undertaking and perfectly accomplishing   significance will make us wonder – and
        the comprehensive and eternal work that   worship – for all eternity.

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