Day 26 – Can you see?
Luke 23:47-49(NLT) When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
Matthew 27:51-54(NKJV) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” 55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Mark 15:37-39(NLT) And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” 40 Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. 41 They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Jesus has breathed His final breath, He is dead. I struggle to even write these words. I struggle to write them because I know Sunday happened. But without Friday, Sunday never would be possible. Without Friday we would not have access to the presence of God. Without Friday, there is no forgiveness, there is no freedom for the sinner. Thank God for Friday! See the scene around the cross. Three different groups of people are mentioned by Matthew, Mark and Luke. The centurion and the soldiers who were guarding Jesus are mentioned first. Luke mentions the crowd that came to see the crucifixion. Then lastly Jesus’ followers, especially the women who ministered to Jesus during His ministry.
Three different groups of people brought together by the Crucifixion of Jesus. They are all there for different reasons. The centurion and company are there to see that the sentence is completely carried out. The crowds are there because they’ve come to see the spectacle of Jesus on the cross. The followers of Jesus are there in total disbelief, they have come to mourn. Each group focused on Jesus albeit for different reasons. Jesus means different things to all of them. To the centurion, He is a failed revolutionary. To the crowd, He is a failed Messiah. To His followers He is hope gone awry.
Matthew in his writing style gives us kind of an overview. He mixes the present and the future. He tells us that Jesus dies, the veil was ripped, an earthquake happens and rocks are split. Then he fast forwards to Sunday and speaks about the resurrection of some of the saints that came out of their graves after Jesus was raised. He goes from the cross, to the Temple, to the tomb and back to the cross. Then he mentions the centurion and soldiers and how terrified they were.
The crowd on the other hand only saw Jesus as a meal ticket. John 6:24-26(NLT) So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.
A huge crowd followed Jesus because of all the miracles and healings. He climbs a hill and sits down with His disciples around Him. John writes and says; “It is close to Passover”. Jesus knows what He is going to do but He tests Phillip by asking him where they can buy bread to feed all these people. We know what happens, Jesus feeds the crowd with a young boy’s lunch. The crowd is so happy they want to force Him to be their King. So He left. Jesus knows that the only reason the crowd is following, is because of what He can give them. Jesus tells them that they have no understanding of what the miracle actually means. They brag about the Manna, when the true Bread from heaven is in their midst. Jesus is simply a means to an end for them. Now at the cross, their feeling is; “Blow out the lamp, the party is over.” They leave the cross with deep sorrow.
The followers of Jesus are in complete shock. We know they shouldn’t be but they are. The words “It is finished” meant that all their hopes, all their dreams, all their aspirations, are ending on a Roman cross. The writers of the gospels all remarked that they are standing at a distance. Luke says; “But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.” Matthew says; “And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar. Mark says; “Some women were there, watching from a distance” To say that they are disillusioned, would be trite. They are standing at a distance, trying to reconcile the Jesus they ministered with for three years and the Jesus that is now hanging, dead on the cross. It reminds us again of a conversation Jesus had with Phillip, the same guy He tested with the miracle of the fish and loaves. John 14:8-9(NLT) Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Is it possible to be around Jesus and not really know Jesus? How many times did He tell them that this was His destiny? He also told them, see you on Sunday and gave them the address for the party. Matthew 26:32(NLT) But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Now at the cross, they are staring from a distance and leave with regret.
The centurion is simply there to do a job. He has no agenda but to do what needs to be done. He has to be the one to make sure that Jesus dies. He is not mourning like the crowd. Unlike the disciples, he is not at a distance grieving with regret. He is the closest to the cross. Mark says, the centurion is facing Jesus and he sees how Jesus dies. The next shout at the cross is from a sinner’s mouth. “Truly this was the Son of God!” When the veil is torn and the rocks are split, the centurion and his gang are riddled with fear. Why? I believe he has a revelation. All throughout Scripture, when heaven intercepts earth, whether by angelic visitation or by God’s presence the first response is always fear! It is the sinner, closest to the Savior, that sees Him for Who He truly is. The centurion does not leave in sorrow, neither does he leave with regret, he simply worships.
How is it that the sinner worships, the crowd cries and the disciples stare? You need a revelation at the cross to be able to worship. If you simply look at the cross without the revelation of the cross you will only be able to mourn. Jesus will only be a tragedy to you. If you stand at a distance you will only be disappointed. You have to come to the cross to see. You have to come with no agenda. The closer you are to the cross, the more likely for you to see, Who is on the cross. How close to the cross are you?
Praise is an act of gratitude because of what I have received. Worship is an act of awe because of what has been revealed. Before you leave the cross make sure you have the revelation of Who was on that cross. When you do, you won’t leave with sorrow, you won’t leave with regret, you will simply worship and confess, this is the Son of God!
Who He is to you, will determine how you view the future. Who is He to you?
Who is He to You?
To the Father He was the sacrifice that had to be made.
To the chief priests and elders He was a blasphemer that needed to be silenced.
To Judas He was greed to be satisfied.
To Peter He was a betrayal to be regretted.
To Pontius Pilate He was a nuisance to be rid of.
To Pilate’s wife He was a mistake to be avoided.
To Herod He was a threat to a throne.
To the people He was a heretic to be crucified.
To Barabbas He was a get out of jail card to be exploited.
To the soldiers he was a prisoner to be abused
To Simon of Cyrene He was a cross-needed to be carried.
To the first thief on the cross, He was a man to be mocked.
To the second thief He was the hope of a last chance.
To John He was the Savior to remain with.
To Mary His mother He was a Son to be mourned.
To Mary of Magdalene He was redemption to be held onto.
To Joseph of Armithea He was a friend to be buried.
To the guards He was a dead man to be guarded.
To the grave He was the King that could not be held.
To the angel He was the Living Lord that was risen.
To us He is God who makes the impossible possible!
The cross speaks and asks a final question: Who is He to you, today?
- Take a moment and stand in awe at the foot of the cross.
- Worship Him for Who He is.
- Pray that the cross will never be common to you but forever a revelation.
- Ask the Lord to touch people who you know need a revelation of Jesus.