Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 12, Qtr 2-05

<center><bold>Special Insights No. 12


<bold>Second Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark”

(Produced by the editorial board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)</bold>

<bold>Insights to Lesson 12: “Tried and Crucified”</bold>

</center>The emphasis for this week’s lesson is on the three closing
scenes of Christ’s life on earth: Jesus (1) before the Sanhedrin, (2)
before Pilate, and (3) on the cross.

The first part of this “Insight” is presented in outline form as we
trace the so-called court proceedings conducted by the highest
religious authority of Judea and by the government of Rome when Jesus
was arraigned and condemned.

Following the outline we will consider, in more detail, Christ and Him
crucified and its significance with regard to the end-time message of
justification by faith. Both church and state “trashed” liberty of
conscience in their treatment of Jesus, the author of this freedom.

I. Jesus is denounced by the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:55-65)

A. Arraignment before this august assembly.

1. Frantic efforts to indict Jesus on false charges.

a. Witnesses were assembled to bring several false testimonies
against Him.

b. Futile were the efforts to incriminate Jesus. The witness
program was in confusion because no testimony agreed with the others.

B. When asked about His divinity, under solemn oath, by the high
priest, Jesus affirmed it.

C. The sitting members of this sanctimonious Supreme Court agreed
that Jesus should be put to death as a blasphemer.<italic>

</italic> D. Jesus was blindfolded, spit upon, struck, and ridiculed
by those Supreme Court justices who put on a senseless circus-like
performance. Instead of affirming the principle of presumption of
innocence, as given in the Old Testament legal system, this principle
of heaven was denied. Christ was presumed guilty by an inquisitorial

E. Because that farce of a trial was conducted at night it was
illegal by Jewish law. So, Jesus had to be held over till morning to
make it “legal.” They did so by putting him in prison until daylight.
“The guards received him with blows” as they took Him off to the
guardhouse (Mark 14:65, RSV). The next morning they fulfilled Isaiah
53:8 in that “He was taken from prison” and formally, but
fraudulently, charged with crimes against the church and the state.

II. Under the influence of church leaders Jesus was put on trial a
second time by the state and sentenced to death by means of
crucifixion (Mark 15:1-25).

A. The conspiracy: the Sanhedrin placed Jesus in chains and brought
Him before Pilate.

B. Pilate became confused and asked Jesus if He is King of the Jews.
Jesus answered in the affirmative: “It is as you say” (Mark 15:2).

1. False charges by the Pharisees. They accused Jesus of many
crimes; Jesus made no reply.

2. It was Pilate’s custom to release one Jewish prisoner each year
at Passover.

3. The mob in that mass of confusion demanded two things: the
deliverance of a murderer and the death of Jesus.

4. Pilate ordered that Jesus be flogged.

5. Jesus is handed over to the Roman soldiers.

6. He is mocked, mistreated, and finally crucified.


<bold>Christ and Him Crucified

</bold></center>Our Lord quietly suffered and did not fight back, a
lesson that Mark’s readers would need to learn as they faced official
persecution. We, likewise, need to learn the same (1 Peter 2:21–24).

While we do not know the exact place where Jesus was crucified, it was
outside the city walls, the place of rejection. This also signified
that He died for the sins of the world (Heb. 13:11–13; John 11:48-52).
With this in mind, we proceed with Mark’s historical perspective of
Christ’s trial and execution. Along with the other Gospel writers,
Mark does not give us a description of crucifixion for this is not
necessary. The aim of those writers is not to arouse our pity, but to
assure our faith. Most of their readers had witnessed crucifixions, so
any details would have been unnecessary.

Crucifixion was such a detestable thing that it was not discussed in
decent society. It was one of the most horrible methods of execution
ever devised by man. (Read Psalm 22 for a description of some of the
mental agonies our Lord’s suffered as He was crucified.)

The condemned usually wore a placard that declared their offense.
Pilate wrote the one that Jesus may have worn. It was later hung above
Him on the cross. It read: “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the
Jews.” The Jewish leaders protested, but Pilate for once stood his
ground (John 19:19–22). That placard was written in three
languages—Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. It preached the universal gospel
of Christ and Him crucified. The King of Kings must die for His

Nature, likewise, proclaimed the gospel. The sun refused to shine.
This spoke of the darkness that engulfed the mind of Jesus. The
heaving earth and the rent rocks testified to the convulsions of agony
that ripped through His mind and heart--that we might be saved.

Not only was there darkness over the land and in the mind of Jesus.
There was a deeper spiritual darkness in the minds and hearts of the
people who crucified Him (2 Cor. 4:3–6; John 3:16–21; 12:35–41). They
did not know they had killed the Lord of glory, their Redeemer.

It was at noon when that miraculous darkness came over the land, and
all creation sympathized with the Creator as He suffered. This was not
some natural phenomenon, such as an eclipse. It would not be possible
to have an eclipse during full moon at Passover. By means of this
darkness, God was saying something to the people. For one thing, the
Jews would certainly think about the first Passover. The ninth plague
in Egypt was a three-day darkness, followed by the last plague, the
death of the firstborn (Ex. 10:22–11:9).

The darkness at Calvary was an announcement that God’s Beloved Son,
the Lamb of God, was giving His life for the sins of His people and
for those of the world. In His death we have life; in His darkness we
receive the rays of righteousness (2 Cor 4:6).


<bold>Let’s fast-forward 1857 years and beyond.

</bold></center>In words that we can not fully fathom, we are told
that if Jesus had been present at Minneapolis, in 1888, He would have
been treated “in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated”
Him (<italic>The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials</italic>, p. 1479). How
can this be? First, Jesus comes to us in the proclamation of a
message--the gospel. If the gospel is rejected, so is Jesus. Second,
when God’s chosen messengers are mistreated, Jesus is abused and
crucified afresh. Why was and is this so?

The message of the cross searches our hearts and reproves our hidden
sins we love. Like Ahab, it is our tendency to throw blame on the
messenger for troubling us (1 Kings 18:17). When rebuked by God
through messages He sends us, let us not respond in retaliation as did
both religious and civil authorities to Jesus.

In rejecting God's chosen instruments, Christ is rejected and the
Spirit of God is insulted. Just as when the Sanhedrin rejected Christ
they rejected the Foundation of their faith, so likewise when
leadership in Minneapolis rejected the message of Jones and Waggoner,
they rejected Jesus, the Foundation of their Advent faith. How is it
with you and with me? How do we respond to God’s heaven sent messages

Not only did the Sanhedrin reject Christ themselves, but they took the
most unfair means to prejudice the people against Him, deceiving them
by false reports and gross misrepresentations. History shows that
these practices did not end then.

The message of Christ and Him crucified has always been unpopular to
the natural heart. For some it is mere folly, while for others it is a
stumbling stone. Nevertheless, we must “preach Christ crucified” even
though this may be “a stumbling block” to some and “foolishness” to
others. To those who respond to God’s call, Christ is “the power of
God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:23, 24).

Jesus went before both church and state where He was tried and
crucified. He went before His beloved church in Minneapolis where
again He was tried and crucified in the message and in the messengers
sent by heaven. Will this be repeated? “While it seems astonishing to
us that the Jews rejected Christ, we ourselves will act out the same
thing if we refuse the light for this time” (Manuscript Releases, vol.
3, p. 79).


<bold>So, what about you and me?

</bold></center>Will we put Jesus on trial and crucify Him afresh in
the end-time? or shall we fulfill His heart longing in that we will be
brought to the foot of the cross in heartfelt repentance for what we
do to Him? As we respond with sorrow and in faith to the pull of the
cross, believing that He forgives, we will be restored, renewed, and
strengthened to hear and to obey His voice.

At the ninth hour, Jesus expressed the agony of His soul when He cried
out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:33-34). When
the Father forsook Him there was such mental and emotional anguish
that it caused His heart to rupture. Our sins were the cause of this
excruciating experience. Both the Father and the Son suffered and sank
under the weight of our sin and guilt. These Heavenly Persons had
never been in a like circumstance ever before.

Back in the days of eternity they laid out a plan that would entail
untold sufferings within Themselves as they would risk everything in
order to save a race who would will to sin. They entered into a solemn
covenant to redeem us, no matter what it might cost Them, at some
future time. The time had been set by God in His atomic clock, and
“when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son . . .
to redeem those who were under the law . . .” (Gal. 4:4-5).

In our Redeemer’s saying on Calvary, “My God, My God, Why have You
forsaken Me?” we observe two things. The first is the faith of Jesus,
which spoke first and twice, “My God, My God.” Secondly, we notice
that Jesus also gave voice to His feelings when he cried with a loud
cry, “Why have You forsaken Me!?”

From these observations we learn that the faith of Jesus spoke first,
and it spoke twice, while His feelings spoke last and only once. Jesus
believed, not only in the absence of feelings but against them. This
is “the faith of Jesus.” This is the faith we are to “keep,”
especially in these last days. This is the “third angel’s message in
verity” (<italic>Advent Review and Sabbath Herald</italic>, April 1,
1890). This is our justification--by the faith of Jesus.

In his rebuke to Peter, Paul clearly joined justification with the
faith of Jesus: “a man is . . . justified . . . by the faith of Jesus
Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ . . .” (Gal. 2:16, KJV).

Justification “by the faith of Jesus” is the message God would have
brought to “Loud Cry” proportions in fulfillment of Revelation 18:1
had it been accepted at Minneapolis. As far back as 1852, in reference
to the mighty power of the message of the coming Bridegroom in the
summer of 1844, Ellen White wrote concerning the multiplied power of
the latter rain: “I saw the latter rain was coming as the midnight
cry, and with ten times the power” (<italic>Spalding and Magan
Collection</italic>, p. 4).

Luther considered personal justification by faith “the article upon
which the church stands or falls.” Reformational Protestantism is
pictured in the book of Revelation as falling and in time will be
completely “fallen” (Rev. 14:8; 18:1). This must be consequential to
the fact that they have fallen away from the “article” of
justification by faith. We, at a personal level, must understand that
it is this “article” upon which we stand or fall also. Christ in the
“loud cry” message of justification by faith, in the end-time setting
of the cleansing of the sanctuary, will be renounced, resisted and
rejected as He was in person when He was “Tried and Crucified” by both
church and state, as recorded by Mark in this week’s lesson.

<flushright>--<italic>Gerald L. Finneman

</italic></flushright>[Note: Bible texts are from the NKJV unless
otherwise noted.]


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