The Road to Calvary
III. The Road To Calvary
The last week of Christ's life before His crucifixion, saw many prophecies fulfilled and demonstrated the compassion of Jesus upon both His friends and enemies.
A. The Triumphal Entry
Fulfilling Zechariah 9:9, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. This is commonly called His "Triumphal Entry," and is found in Matthew 21:1-17, with parallel accounts in Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:29-40. As Jesus and His disciples came near Jerusalem, He sent two of them to a nearby village, with instructions to return with a colt they would find. Jesus instructed him that, if anyone said anything to them, they were to respond, "The Lord hath need of them," whereupon they would be allowed to take the animal. The disciples did so placing their clothing on the back of the colt and setting Jesus thereon. A great crowd of people greeted them, spreading their garments in the path of the colt. Others placed the branches of trees on the ground for the colt to walk on. Multitudes cried, "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!" As the procession came into Jerusalem, the people were moved and the cry went up, "Who is this?" "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee," responded the multitude. It would be but a few days until the inhabitants of the same city that cried, "Hosanna to the son of David," would be screaming, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
B.The Last Supper
The next event which occurred during the week before the crucifixion is known as the Last Supper. The record of this event is seen in Matthew 26:17-29, with parallel passages in Mark 14:12-26 and Luke 22:7-23. Every year, on a certain day, the lews kept the Feast of the Passover, in remembrance of their deliverance from Egyptian slavery. During the week before Jesus was crucified, at the Passover meal, Jesus instituted something new to the disciples:
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:26-28).
Jesus revealed to His disciples that this meal was to take on a new meaning. It was to be called the Lord's Supper in the New Testament church. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us (I Corinthians 5:7). Paul explained the new meaning in I Corinthians 11:23-26.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (I Corinthians 11:26).
* The bread represents Christ's body.
* The fruit of the vine symbolizes His blood.
This ordinance is to be observed "as oft as ye drink it," and should continue until the Lord's return.
Before Jesus introduced this new meaning of the Passover, He said, "Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." The disciples were very sorrowful, and began to ask, "Lord, is it I?" Jesus responded, "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me." Judas, then, asked, "Master, it is I?" Jesus replied, "Thou hast said." Judas then left the room, and went out to consummate his betrayal of Jesus (John 13:26-30).
Following the supper, Jesus and His disciples came to the Garden of Gethsemane. He told eight of His disciples to remain behind while He went to pray. He then took Peter, James and John with him and went a little farther into the garden. He asked them to watch with Him. He was becoming very sorrowful and heavy at the prospect of His approaching betrayal and crucifixion. Jesus went about a stone's throw from these three and fell on His face. He began to pray, "0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." When He returned to Peter, James, and John, He found them asleep! "What!" Jesus said to Peter, "Could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:40-41).
Sometime later, after much prayer, He woke them with these fateful words: "Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me" (Matthew 26:46). While Jesus was still speaking, Judas came with a great multitude which was armed with swords and staves. Judas came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, master." Judas then kissed Him. This was the prearranged signal to identify Christ to the mob. Jesus said to Judas, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" They then took Jesus away.
E. The Trial
Jesus' trial was a mockery (Matthew 26:57-69). He was led to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and elders were gathered. Arrangements had been made for false witnesses to testify against Jesus, so that He might be put to death. As far as the high priest was concerned, Jesus had sealed His fate. He tore his garment, and said, "He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy?" He asked the others, "What think ye?" They agreed, "He is guilty of death." They then spit in Jesus' face, hit Him, and smote Him with the palms of their hands. They jeered, "Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?" Following these tragic events, Jesus was led from the house of Caiaphas to Pilate (John 18:28-40; 19:1-15). Pilate queried, "What accusation bring ye against this man?" Pilate was the Roman governor over judea, and responsible to carry out the death penalty on criminals. After questioning Jesus, Pilate went out of the judgment hall and said to the Jews, "I find in him no fault at all. But ye have acustom, that I should release unto you one at the passover. Will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" "Not this man," they cried, "but Barabbas." Barabbas was a robber, insurrectionist and murderer (Mark 15:7). The crowd in their frenzy rejected the Son of God and chose a criminal.
F. Jesus Beaten
As a result of their request, Pilate took Jesus and had Him scourged, or beaten. Little did these Jews know, nor did Pilate know, that their very actions were fulfilling prophecies given by holy men of God many years previously. The prophet Isaiah, in that great predictive chapter where, in so much vivid detail, described the crucifixion of the Messiah. He said, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). The stripes that Jesus took at the hand of Pilate's men paid the price for our healing. Many years later. Peter said, "Who his own self bare our sins, . . .by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24). The total redemption, both from all sin, and all sickness, is seen in Psalm 103:3: "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth ail thy diseases!" The price that Jesus paid was not a partial price, for some diseases, but a complete price for all.
Healing of the sick is one of the signs that follow believers. Jesus said, "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name. . .they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:17-18). Jesus gave instructions for the healing of believers: "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up" (James 5:14-15). It is God's will to heal the sick. All that is required is faith in the price Jesus paid, and obedience to the Word of God.