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THE DAY JESUS DIED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, April 13, 2014

“Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:16-18).


The day Jesus died on the Cross was the fourth most important day in the history of the human race. The first was the day when God created the first man. The second was the day of the Fall, when man sinned and brought death and ruin into the world. The third was the day when the Flood began in the time of Noah. But the fourth most important day was the day Christ died on the Cross, on a hill just outside the city walls of Jerusalem.

The day that Christ died on the Cross the whole course of human history was changed – forever! Human lives were changed by the thousands. Souls were converted, and the world was never to be the same. Tonight we will look back at the day Christ died and notice four great events that happened.

I. First, darkness fell on that day.

The Bible says:

“Now from the sixth hour [noon] there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour [three in the afternoon]” (Matthew 27:45).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee says:

Our Lord was put on the Cross at the third hour, which would be nine o’clock in the morning. By twelve noon, man had done all he could to the Son of God. Then at the noon hour, darkness settled down, and that Cross became an altar on which the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world was offered (Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume IV, p. 148).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that darkness fell “over all the land” from noon until three o’clock, when Jesus died. Dr. John MacArthur, though wrong on the Blood of Christ, was right when he spoke of this darkness:

This could not have been caused by an eclipse, because the Jews used a lunar calendar, and Passover always fell on the full moon, making an eclipse out of the question. This was a supernatural darkness (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Luke 23:44).

The supernatural darkness, that came across the land when Christ died, reminds us of the twelfth miracle that occurred under Moses before the children of Israel left Egypt:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt…” (Exodus 10:21-22).

God sent that darkness in the time of Moses. And God sent the same darkness over all the land as Jesus died on the Cross. As Dr. Watts put it: 

Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the Mighty Maker, died For man, the creature’s sin.
   (“Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

II. Second, the veil was rent in the Temple on that day.

The Bible says,

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51).

Inside the Temple there was a huge, thick curtain. Dr. John R. Rice tells us about the Temple:

We are told that the sanctuary, or temple proper, was about ninety feet long, thirty feet wide and ninety feet high…The sanctuary was divided into two parts. The first sixty feet was the Holy Place…A great veil separated the Holy Place from the other one-third of the building, the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place (Dr. John R. Rice, The King of the Jews: A Commentary on Matthew, Sword of the Lord, 1955, p. 479).

Dr. Rice went on to point out that no one could go into the Holy of Holies except the high priest. And the high priest could only go in there once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Then Dr. Rice said:

When Christ died on the Cross, therefore, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain [two] from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51). Being torn, beginning at the top, was an indication that God Himself [tore] the veil…When the veil was torn down, then every barrier between God and man was removed for those willing to come through [Christ] (ibid., page 480).

III. Third, an earthquake struck on that day.

The Bible says,

“The earth did quake, and the rocks rent [were split]”
       (Matthew 27:51).

This earthquake may have been involved in the tearing of the veil. I think it was. But as Edersheim pointed out, “Although the earthquake might furnish the physical basis, the rent of the Temple veil was…really made by the hand of God” (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Eerdmans, 1945, volume II, p. 611). Edersheim pointed out that the veil was the thickness of the palm of a man’s hand (about 2½ inches thick). “If the veil was at all such as is described in the Talmud, it could not have been rent in twain by a mere earthquake” (ibid.).

The tearing of the veil came just at the time “when, at the evening sacrifice, the officiating priesthood entered into the Holy Place, either to burn incense or to do other service there” (ibid.). The tearing of the veil made a terrific impression on these Jewish priests. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie says that one “result of this supernatural tearing of the veil is recorded in Acts 6:7, where we are told, ‘A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith’” (cf. Ryrie Study Bible, note on Matthew 27:51).

When Christ died, the veil was torn in two. You can now come to God, because Christ is the mediator. No veil stands between you and God now. Jesus is between you and God. Come to Jesus and He will take you directly into God’s presence.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).

IV. Fourth, Jesus spoke from the Cross on that day.

Temple guards arrested Jesus on a false charge. They dragged him to the high priest, they spit in His face and beat His face with their fists. Because the Jews had no official power, they took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate questioned Jesus, and pronounced Him innocent and tried to save His life. He had Jesus scourged, thinking that would satisfy the chief priests. The soldiers scourged His back, they wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him. Pilate brought Him forth to show the people how He had been beaten, thinking they would have pity on Jesus. Pilate said to them, “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). When the chief priests saw Him they screamed, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “You take him and crucify him; for I find no fault in him.” The Jewish leaders cried out, “If you let this man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests cried out, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then Pilate delivered Jesus to the soldiers, and they led Him away to be crucified.

Jesus suffered great pain and horrible agony while nailed to the Cross. But as He was suffering He said these words,

The First Saying - Forgiveness

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:33-34).

That is the reason Jesus went to the Cross – to forgive our sins. Jesus deliberately went to the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

The Second Saying – Salvation

“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).

Jesus died on the Cross to save sinners. The first sinner He saved was the believing thief on the cross next to Him (traditionally known as Dismas). Many people think they can learn to be saved. But this thief didn’t learn much of anything. He simply trusted Jesus. Others think they have to have a certain feeling or an inner change. But the thief had none of that. He simply trusted Jesus.

The Third Saying – Affection

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:25-27).

Jesus told John to take care of His mother. Jesus wants us to care for each other in the fellowship of the local church.

The Fourth Saying – Propitiation

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).

Jesus’ anguished cry shows that He was separated from God the Father as He became the propitiatory sacrifice for our sin.

The Fifth Saying – Suffering

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth” (John 19:28-29).

This shows the great suffering Jesus went through to pay the penalty for our sins.

The Sixth Saying – Atonement

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

Everything needed for our salvation was now finished. There is nothing left for a lost person to do but trust Jesus.

The Seventh Saying – Commitment to the Father

“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).

A rough centurion had seen many crucifixions. His heart was hardened. But he had never seen anyone die the way Jesus did. The centurion looked up to the dead body of Jesus hanging on the Cross. With tears running down his cheeks, the centurion said,

“Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).

May you trust the Son of God and be saved from your sin by His sacrifice and by His Blood. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Mark 15:25-39.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“A Crown of Thorns” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993;
altered by the Pastor).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE DAY JESUS DIED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:16-18).

I.   First, darkness fell on that day, Matthew 27:45; Exodus 10:21-22.

II.  Second, the veil was rent in the Temple on that day,
Matthew 27:51a.

III. Third, an earthquake struck on that day, Matthew 27:51b;
I Timothy 2:5.

IV. Fourth, Jesus spoke from the Cross on that day, John 19:4;
Luke 23:33-34, 39-43; John 19:25-27; Matthew 27:45-46;
John 19:28-29, 30; Luke 23:46; Mark 15:39.