Easter 2011 I: The Servant’s Heartbeat
by Shawn Brasseaux
[17 April 2011]
In Genesis chapter 22, God wants to test Abraham’s faith, so He tells Abraham: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (verse 2). Abraham’s faith motivates him to do exactly what God has said. He intends on killing his son Isaac. As Abraham and Isaac travel to Moriah, Isaac inquires, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham, a man of faith, replies (verse 8): “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”
He and Isaac continue up the mountainside until God tells them to stop and build an altar there. Abraham binds Isaac, and “[lays] him on the altar upon the wood” (verse 9). Just moments before Abraham kills Isaac, one of God’s angels calls out from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham,” and Abraham freezes. The angel tells Abraham not to kill Isaac. In fact, a ram has its horns caught in the nearby thicket, so Abraham takes the ram and offers it in Isaac’s place (verse 13).
Verse 14 tells us that Abraham names the place “JEHOVAH-jireh,” or “the LORD will provide.” Indeed, the LORD has provided.
A father willing to sacrifice his son, his only begotten son. A son willing to die because his father wanted him to die. A God willing to provide Himself a lamb.
* * *
Fast-forward 2,000 years. In the garden of Gethsemane, a man can be heard weeping and praying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Again, we hear: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (verse 42). He repeats it a third time (verse 44).
The Lord Jesus’ soul is “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (verse 38). The sufferings of the cross are just hours away, and the Lord Jesus knows every detail of the moments that will come to pass. At this point, we cannot imagine the tremendous emotional and spiritual agony the Lord Jesus is experiencing. He is praying with such intensity that blood is dripping from His forehead. The Lord Jesus is so weak that an angel comes and strengthens Him (Luke 22:44,45).
Three times, the Lord Jesus Christ prayed to His heavenly Father, and each time He prayed for His Father’s will to be done. What is the “cup” of which the Lord Jesus spoke in Gethsemane? In Revelation 14:9,10, we read of lost people who will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and [they] shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:”
God will judge the lost of the ages by sending them to a place that burns with fire and brimstone. This is what the Bible calls the “second death” (Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8). All lost people will be separated from God forever and ever, and they will be tormented in the lake of fire forever and ever. What a horrible place, but no one has to go there!!! On Calvary’s cross, the Lord Jesus Christ drank of this “cup” of God His Father’s righteous indignation (wrath). God the Father’s wrath, which we deserved, was poured out on Jesus Christ at Calvary.
In Matthew 27:46, just hours after praying in Gethsemane, Jesus cried out while hanging on Calvary’s cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? This is like the second death we just described moments ago, is it not? God the Father and God the Holy Spirit have abandoned God the Son on the cross. Jesus Christ is now all alone. In the lake of fire, forever and ever, we all should be crying out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ took our place, and we can be saved through Him.
Medical science tells us crucified individuals experience asphyxiation (suffocation), which is ultimately the cause of death. Try to imagine the enormous blood loss that the Lord Jesus had. His bones are out of joint. His beard has been ripped off. He has been shamefully entreated, and His almost nude body is now hanging on Calvary’s tree. The Jews and Romans are gawking and mocking. The Bible describes the Lord Jesus’ horrible state in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.
But, there is a spiritual suffering. Our Lord Jesus Christ experienced more than just physical pain on Calvary. The Bible says Christ’s soul was sacrificed as an offering for our sins (Isaiah 53:10). At Calvary, God the Father forsook His Son, turning His back on Him (Matthew 27:46). For that reason, there was a great, spiritual darkness over the land (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).
Why? Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, “who knew no sin, was made sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Jesus Christ willingly took upon Himself our punishment. “Christ died for our sins,” the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3.
In the everlasting flames of the lake of fire, the souls of the damned will always cry out, “I thirst” (Luke 16:24)! On the cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ yelled, “I thirst” (John 19:28)! The souls in the lake of fire are far removed from God’s presence (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Jesus Christ was far removed from God’s presence while He hung on Calvary’s tree (Psalm 22:1). The lost in the lake of fire experience the second death, where sin degenerates their soul to become worms (Mark 9:44,46,48). A transformation in Christ’s soul on Calvary was like the second death, where Jesus Christ said, “I am a worm, and no man” (Psalm 22:6). Jesus Christ suffered God’s wrath, so we can be saved from God’s wrath in the lake of fire!
When Jesus Christ prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39), He was actually praying for God the Father’s will to be accomplished. Jesus Christ was the obedient Servant. The Lord Jesus Christ died for us because He loved us and because He loved His Father.
The Bible teaches that God created mankind in innocence. Once Adam (the first man) chose to join the satanic policy of evil, mankind fell into sin, and death entered creation (Romans 5:12). God as a man would rescue mankind from sin and death, restoring creation unto Himself. Jesus Christ, the God-man, shed His innocent blood and died for the sins of the world. “The first man [Adam] is of the earth, earthy; the second man [Christ Jesus] is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47 KJV).
God the Father’s will was to restore creation unto Himself, and Jesus submitted to His Father’s will. He would redeem Israel first (Luke 1:68, 77), and then He would redeem all the peoples of the world (1 Timothy 2:6). Christ said, speaking of Himself, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister [serve], and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Christ Jesus was God the Father’s humble Son, but also His Servant.
The Lord Jesus let His people Israel crucify Him so that His shed blood would reconcile you and me with God the Father. No greater love can be found than at Calvary’s cross. On Calvary’s cross, the Lord Jesus Christ’s loving heartbeat is growing quietly. His breath is becoming shallower. He bows His head, and dismisses His soul and spirit from its body.
Israel’s King… the Lord of heaven and earth… God’s obedient Servant and Son, is dead. The Servant’s heartbeat stops.
Consider Philippians 2:5-11 KJV:
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
* * *
Okay, so getting back to Abraham and Isaac, which we discussed at the beginning. The account of Abraham offering Isaac is one of the most explicit types (previews, foreshadows) of the cross of Calvary. Let us refer to Hebrews 11:17-19 KJV for the explanation:
“17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
Just as Abraham had offered his “only begotten son,” Isaac, so God the Father offered His “only begotten Son,” Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Jesus Christ carried His wooden cross, just like Isaac carried the wood for his sacrifice. Jesus Christ never argued with His Father, but trusted His Father knew best. Isaac, like Christ, was willing to give up his life to please his father.
A Father willing to sacrifice His Son, His only begotten Son. A God willing to provide Himself a lamb. A Son willing to die because His Father wanted Him to die. Indeed, the LORD has provided. He has provided Himself.
Easter 2011 II: The Risen Saviour’s Heartbeat
by Shawn Brasseaux
[24 April 2011]
In Exodus chapter 17, we find the nation Israel just weeks after her exodus from Egypt and her subsequent crossing the Red Sea. Suddenly, the thirsty Israelites begin to murmur so God instructs Moses to strike the rock in Horeb, explaining to Moses that water will issue forth from the rock (verses 5 and 6).
Amalak, a descendent of Esau (Jacob’s brother), is an enemy of Israel. In this dusty, arid region of the world, the Amalakites wage war with Israel for the water (verse 8). As Joshua gathers Jewish men to fight the Amalakites, Moses, Aaron, and Hur go to the hilltop. Moses, with the rod of God in his hand, holds up his hand, and Israel prevails; but, when Moses puts his hand down, the Amalakites start to win the battle (verse 11). Moses’ hands grow tired, so Hur and Aaron must hold up Moses’ hands and Israel eventually defeats the Amalakites (verses 12 and 13).
Verse 15 tells us that Moses builds an altar, naming it “JEHOVAH-nissi,” or “the LORD is our hero.” Indeed, the LORD is their hero.
A battle being waged, good versus evil. A war with the enemy. A God who fought on Israel’s behalf and won. Their hero.
* * *
About 1500 years later, the Apostle Paul writes 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Gospel of Grace, the only Gospel that can save us: “Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ’s literal, physical resurrection is the most critical Bible doctrine. History’s religious leaders are dead, but it is HISTORICAL FACT that Jesus Christ is not! In this study, we want to examine this issue of the finished cross work of Jesus Christ and how it affects us all these centuries later.
Back in Genesis chapter 3, Adam plunged the human race in sin, misery, and death (Romans 5:12). Since then, mankind has been under Satan’s influence, controlled by “the power of darkness,” and dead in sins and trespasses (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 2:1,2). Now that sin entered, physical and spiritual death would consume man. Satan held the human race captive, and there was only one Person able and willing to help: God Almighty.
In Genesis 3:15, God promised the seed of the woman, mankind’s redeemer, someone who would rescue mankind from the bondage of Satan and sin. And so, 2000 years ago, God became a man, Jesus Christ. It was the only way to redeem the human race, and the price of all man’s sin would be paid. What was the price? The sinless blood and life of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Still, God kept in mind that Satan would do everything he could do to prevent God’s plan from being accomplished. God, in all His wisdom, kept a secret.
In 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 KJV, the Apostle Paul describes what happened:
“6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
The devil reasoned that if he would kill Jesus Christ, God’s plan would be ruined, so Satan, the evil religious leaders of Israel, and the evil Roman officials saw to it that Jesus Christ would be put to death. In Psalm 2:1-3 KJV, we find the Old Testament prophesying the conspiracy to kill Jesus Christ:
“1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Jesus Christ], saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
Betrayed by a friend, forsaken by all, Jesus Christ hangs on Calvary’s cross. Satan and his minions have assembled around the cross, and are now mocking and ridiculing the Lord Jesus, but He says nothing to them. His heavenly Father turns His back on Him. He is all alone. His apostles and followers stand before Him in shock. The mighty King of the Jews, the LORD God of the Old Testament, is hanging on a cross and now dying! Why did He let them do this to Him?
Jesus declared on Calvary’s cross, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). After that, He gives up the ghost. Jesus Christ is now dead. The servant’s heartbeat stops. The devil’s plan seems as though it has been accomplished, and Satan shouts for joy. At this point, the apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ are confused, amazed, and scared. They know not what to do. What will happen to Israel’s kingdom now that their Messiah-King has died?
The body of Jesus Christ is taken down from the cross, and laid in a tomb, and remains lifeless for three days and three nights. On that glorious Sunday morning after the crucifixion, Satan was horrified to discover Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! As he heard the risen Saviour’s heartbeat, Satan threw a temper tantrum. The angel declares, “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6).
To Satan’s dismay, Christ’s crucifixion did not hinder God’s plan, it accomplished God’s plan. Israel’s King was alive. Through Calvary, God actually defeated Satan. God kept Calvary’s meaning secret from Satan, and by “the taking the wise in his own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19), God defeated Satan. Satan’s plan had backfired! Had Satan really known the wisdom of God regarding the cross of Calvary, Satan “would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).
Furthermore, in order to keep the apostles from preventing the crucifixion of Christ, God hid Calvary from their knowledge too (Mark 8:31-33; Luke 18:31-34; John 20:9). Although Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 clearly predicted the sufferings and death of Christ, God made absolutely sure Satan had no idea what Calvary would really accomplish, and God made sure the apostles allowed the crucifixion.
On that glorious Sunday morning, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, victorious over Satan, hell, and the grave! Romans 1:4 says: “And [Jesus was] declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”
But, it is not until we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry that we learn what Christ really accomplished on Calvary’s cross. Let us look at the benefits of the cross in 2 Corinthians 5:18,19: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Hebrews 2:14 tells us that Jesus Christ “through death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Through Calvary, God actually defeated Satan. Calvary is the means whereby God can save us from Satan’s agenda and the satanic slave market of sin and death! When you place your faith exclusively in the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day, God will save you from the everlasting penalty of sin, the devil’s lake of fire.
Through the finished cross work of Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). It is through the shed blood of Christ that we can be saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9), and it is through Christ’s resurrection that we can have a right standing before God (Romans 4:25). Why? Jesus Christ “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Our sins are buried with Christ’s body in the tomb, hid with Christ in God forever (Colossians 3:3). Jesus Christ has rescued us from self-righteousness, religious bondage, sin, fear, and guilt!
Today, the Bible says that on the right hand of God the Father, in heaven, there sits a man (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). The Lord Jesus Christ is making intercession for us unto our heavenly Father; He alone is the mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ takes God by the hand, and man by the hand, and joins them in unbroken fellowship!
But, there is more good news for us, and more bad news for Satan! Because Jesus Christ has been resurrected, we too will be bodily resurrected one day. Let us refer to 1 Corinthians 15, the Bible’s great resurrection chapter, to appreciate Christ’s resurrection:
“13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
Had Christ never resurrected, our faith would be worthless and our preaching would be worthless (verse 14). If Christ did not resurrect, we are still in our sins, destined for hell (verse 17)! If Christ did not resurrect, we have no hope after death (verse 19). But Christ did resurrect from the dead. In fact, over 500 people witnessed the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6).
The Lord Jesus Christ said in Revelation 1:17,18: “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Jesus Christ, the great JEHOVAH of Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 48:12, is alive for evermore! Through His finished work on Calvary’s cross, Jesus Christ “spoiled principalities and powers [Satan’s agenda],” making “a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Satan thought he defeated God when he killed Christ, but Satan actually defeated himself. Jesus Christ is alive forever and ever!
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:14 KJV: “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.” “Death is swallowed up in victory….But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54,57).
* * *
So, getting back to Exodus chapter 17. The thirsty Jews drank from the rock in Horeb. In 1 Corinthians 10:1,4, the Apostle Paul explains: “…all our fathers [the nation Israel]… did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” The Rock in Horeb was the Lord Jesus Christ!
The life-sustaining water that flowed from Christ for the thirsty Israelites is just like the everlasting salvation that is flowing from Christ today! Indeed, the LORD is our hero.
A battle being waged, good versus evil. A war with the enemy. A God who fought on our behalf and won. Our hero.
Was it really “Good Friday?” No, it was not. While I used to teach a Wednesday crucifixion, it has come to my understanding that Christ was crucified on Thursday, not Friday. Matthew 12:39,40 teach that Jesus Christ was dead three days and three nights. A Friday crucifixion would only allot three days and two nights, or one night short of the prophecy. Jesus Christ died Thursday afternoon at 3 (day one and night one), He remained dead Friday (day two and night two) and Saturday (day three and night three), and resurrected Sunday morning.