Good evening to you. This five-part series is based on the Crucifixion of Christ as presented in the Book of Matthew with illumination from other gospels. It presents the ten stages of Christ’s suffering. Though it is one post, due to its length, it is divided into 5 parts, with each having two stages. Part I: Stage I. Christ’s agony began in the Garden of Gethsemane and Stage 2: Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. Part 2 consists of Stage3, Judas repented but not to God, and Stage Stage 4, Jesus was scourged. Part 3 consists of Stages 5, A Scarlet robe and a crown of thorns, and Stage 6, They led him away to crucify Him. Part 4 contains Stages 7, They crucified Him, and Stage 8 They reviled Him. Part 5 concludes the post with Stage 9, Why Hast Thou forsaken me?, Stage 10 Jesus cried again and the Epilogue.
Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior, suffered, bled, and died so that you and I might have a right to the Tree of Life. In the Book of Matthew, chapters 26 and 27, we are presented with the details of His horrific experience. Let us explore His suffering as it unfolded.
Stage 1. Christ’s agony began in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Matthew 26:37-39 presents Christ as He began to be sorrowful in the Garden of Gethsemane. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
As the weight of what Jesus was about to experience began to settle upon Him, He began to sweat like great drops of blood. Luke 22:44 says:
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Three times, in Matt. 26:39, 42, and 44, Christ cried out to His Father, requesting that the cup he had to drink from be removed from Him.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Each time that Christ prayed, it was evident that His spirit was willing, but his human flesh was weak and had to be brought into submission to the will of God. Christ’s experience guides us when we are faced with a situation in which our will is attempting to struggle against the will of God. We must pray until our will yields to God’s will, just as Jesus did.
It is doubtful that Jesus’ request that the cup is removed from Him concerned His physical death. He had made it very clear on several occasions that He was resolved to die for the sins of man. Two examples are found in Mark 10:33-34 and Luke 9:51.
Mark 10:33-34 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:
34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
It is more probable that His prayer had to do with His separation from His Heavenly Father, the ultimate punishment for sin. His human flesh did come into subjection to the Will of His Father when He prayed,” nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He fully submitted to undergo both physical and spiritual separation from His Father so that humanity could be saved. Hebrew 5:7 says:
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
His father heard his prayer, and Jesus was able to receive God’s grace and assistance in undergoing His appointed suffering. We must remember that God will always be with us as we experience the appointed suffering that we must endure.
Following the submission of His will to His Father, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, taken before Caiaphas, and deserted by His disciples. The second stage of Jesus’ suffering ensued.
Stage 2: Jesus’ betrayal and arrest
Judas, the betrayer of our Lord and Savior, betrayed Him with a kiss. Jesus’s statement to Judas was so warm and touching when Judas approached Him. His words, in Matt. 26:50 were:
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
Knowing full well that Judas had betrayed Him, Jesus still called him a friend. What manner of love and caring did our Lord and Savior show to him? If Judas had repented and asked for forgiveness rather than committing suicide, he could have been saved. Instead, he committed himself to Hell forever. It is also remarkable that amid all that the Roman soldiers were doing, Jesus continued to show love and care towards them. When Peter cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus put the ear back on and healed the man.
John 18:10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
Luke 22:51-53 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Why was this not enough to show that Jesus was indeed the son of God? Why did no man exclaim, “Wait a minute? Jesus just reattached Malchus’ ear. This had to be a miracle!” All of them should have fallen on their knees before the Son of God.
After Jesus was arrested, he was abandoned by His disciples. Even Peter refused to be associated with Him, although he did stay close to see what would happen next. Jesus was brought first before Annas, then Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and son-in-law of Annas, along with the Jewish council, called the Sanhedrin.
John 18:13-14 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Following that, Jesus was blindfolded, mocked repeatedly, spat on, and struck in the face. Caiaphas insisted that He tell Him whether or not He was the Son of God. False witnesses were sought out to put Jesus to death, and two false witnesses were eventually found who spoke against Him. Initially, Jesus held his peace, but he finally spoke and said, in Matthew 26:64
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
It was then that they decided that His words were blasphemous and that He was worthy of death.
(Part 2, Stages 3 and 4 are found in the next post).