Monday, May 14, 2018

What Jesus Did Not Do on the Cross

Have you every stopped to consider what Jesus could have done, but didn't do during his passion and crucifixion? Let's look at that together, and let's broaden the scope of this to include all that happened from the night he was betrayed until his death on the cross.

He Did Not Exclude Judas
Although Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him, He didn't exclude him from the Passover Meal in the upper room. He still washed the feet of Judas, still ate the Last Supper with him, and still handed Judas a piece of bread after he had dipped it in the sop. There was a Hebrew tradition whereby a host gave the bread he had dipped to an honored guest as a sign of affection. After the bread was dipped, it was supposed to be given to someone you love.

Here is the gospel record:

Washing Judas' Feet
"Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (Joh 13:1-5)

"Jesus said to him, 'He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.' For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, 'Not all of you are clean.'" (Joh 13:10-11)

Handing Judas the Morsel of Bread
"When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.' The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, 'Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.' He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, 'Lord, who is it?' Jesus then answered, 'That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.' So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, 'What you do, do quickly.'" (Joh 13:21-27)

" is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'" (Jn 13:18).

He Did Not Prevent Judas from Betrayal
During the Passover meal, Jesus did not prevent Judas from going out and betraying Him to the chief priests. On the contrary, He told him, 'What you do, do quickly.'" (Joh 13:27)

He Did Not Sleep Nor Fail to Pray
After the Passover meal, once they had gone to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus did not take His ease and catch some needed sleep, knowing He was going to have to be up all night on trial before the high priest and Sanhedrin, and then endure flogging, and be forced to carry a heavy cross all the way to Calvary. He did not succumb to drowsiness as the disciples did, although He probably had every bit as much a reason to do so as they did. He did not sink into depression, but prayed fervently. Scripture says:

Matthew's Gospel
"Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.' And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.' And He 'came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.' He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.' Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!'" (Mat 26:36-46)

Luke's Gospel
"When He arrived at the place, He said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.' And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, 'Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.' Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.'" (Luk 22:40-46)

He Did Not Refuse to Drink the Cup
As I have just highlighted, Jesus did not refuse to drink the bitter cup the Father gave Him to drink. Rather He said, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."(Lk 22:42).

He Did Not Prevent His Arrest
When Judas came into the garden of Gethsemane, guiding a detachment of soldiers, along with the chief priests and Pharisees, Jesus didn't make a break for it and start running. He didn't call on His disciples to strike with their swords. He did not call on His Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to rescue Him. Rather He courageously asked who they were looking for and identified Himself as the One they were seeking to arrest. And when Peter struck with his sword, Jesus ordered him to put it back into its sheath. He was determined to drink the cup the Father had given Him to drink. Scripture states:

John's Gospel
"When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said to them, 'I am He.' And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, 'Whom do you seek?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,' to fulfill the word which He spoke, 'Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.' Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, 'Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?'" (Joh 18:1-11)

Matthew's Gospel
"While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.' Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, 'Hail, Rabbi!' and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, 'Friend, do what you have come for.' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?'" (Mat 26:47-54)

He Did Not Fail to Testify to His Identity
If anyone does not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, they should consider that He did not fail to testify to this fact during his mock trial, even when He knew it would ensure His death at the hands of his accusers. Likewise, He did not fail to testify to being the Messiah and the King of the Jews. Scripture states:

He Did Not Fail to Testify to His Divinity
"And they all said, 'Are You the Son of God, then?' And He said to them, 'Yes, I am.' Then they said, 'What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.'" (Luk 22:70-71)

He Did Not Fail to Testify to Being the Messiah
"Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" And Jesus said, 'I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.' Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, 'What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?' And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death." (Mar 14:60-64)

He Did Not Fail to Testify to Being King of the Jews
"Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, 'Are You the King of the Jews?' And Jesus said to him, 'It is as you say.'" (Mat 27:11)

He Did Not Defend Himself
Although He could have easily defended against the false charges brought against Him, He did not do so.

Before the Chief Priests and Council
"For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent. Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 'We heard Him say, "I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands."' Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent. The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, 'Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?' But He kept silent and did not answer." (Mar 14:56-61)

Before Pilate
"And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate said to Him, 'Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?' And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed." (Mat 27:12-14)

Before Herod
"Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently." (Luk 23:8-10)

He Did Not Retaliate
The Lord had plenty of opportunities to retaliate and hurl curses or profanities at his enemies, but he didn't do so, not even a single word. They mocked Him, beat Him, flogged Him, cursed Him, spit in His face, and hurled insults at Him. Yet He did not revile them, not did He utter a single threat. Peter states: "When they hurled their insults at him, He did not retaliate; when he suffered, He made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Pe 2:23, NIV).

Caviezel in the Roman flogging scene
James Caviezel, who played the part of Jesus in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, described what he went through during the production of the movie. When the actors playing the Roman soldiers were flogging him at the post, he had a special shield on his back to protect him from their whips that had sharp objects tied to the end of the cords. But as one of them lunged forward and whipped him, one of the cords came around and the sharp object dug into his back and ripped it open*. He said that at that moment he uttered a curse word at them for doing that. If we admit it, we are all capable of doing the very same thing James Caviezel did at the flogging post. But the Lord Jesus didn't utter a single profanity or insult at His tormentors.

He Did Not Hold a Grudge
The Lord could have held a grudge against His enemies, but He didn't do that. Rather He forgave them and prayed for them. Scripture states: "When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.' And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves." (Luk 23:33-34)

He Did Not Harbor Hatred
The Lord did not harbor any hatred toward anyone, but He loved them. He said prior to His crucifixion, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (Jn 15:13).

The apostle Paul wrote, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8, NIV). The apostle John wrote: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." (1 Jn 3:16).

He Did Not Sin
We know for certain that the Lord did not commit any sin on the cross, because the Bible tells us so. It says:

"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth." (1Pe 2:21-22)

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15)

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2Co 5:21)

He Did Not Save Himself
While Jesus hung on the cross, many people taunted Him to save Himself and prove that He was the Christ as He claimed to be. Although He could have called upon the Father to save Him and come down from the cross, He did not do so. He willingly gave His life for us, so that we could be saved. Scripture states:

"And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, 'He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.' The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, 'If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!' Now there was also an inscription above Him, 'THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.' One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, 'Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!'" (Luk 23:35-39)

He Did Not Fail to Save Sinners
When the one criminal beside Him was hurling abuse at Him, the other one rebuked him and declared that they as criminals were suffering justly and receiving their deserved sentence, and proclaimed the Lord's innocence. He also acknowledged the Lordship of Christ when he asked Jesus to remember him when He would come into His kingdom. The Lord did not fail to forgive that sinner and save His soul, giving him assurance that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day.

"But the other answered, and rebuking him said, 'Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he was saying, 'Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!' And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'" (Luk 23:40-43)

The reason He died on the cross was to save sinners. The criminal on the cross represented you and me. He died to save us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (Joh 3:16)

He Did Not Accept Pity
Although there was a crowd of women who were mourning and weeping for Him, He did not allow them to do so. He told them not to weep for Him, but for themselves. He refused to accept pity. Luke's gospel states:

"And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, "Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed." Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "fall on us," and to the hills, "cover us." For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?'" (Luk 23:27-31)

He Did Not Weep or Cry
You won't find a single verse of Scripture that says Jesus cried or even wept on the cross. Have you ever considered that? Anyone else would have been crying from all the pain, rejection, sorrow, and suffering. But not the Lord! He didn't cry one tear for Himself. He knew that would only entertain the enemy and give the devil an opportunity. Rather He bravely took the punishment that we deserved and suffered in our place.

The apostle does say, "During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." (Heb 5:7, NIV). This refers to His prayers offered up with loud crying and tears, which I believe refers to His anguished prayers in the garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed. He won the victory in prayer the night before He went to the cross, and He certainly cried out loudly with tears in His private prayer time in the garden. But there is no evidence that he was weeping or sobbing or crying for Himself on the cross.

He Did Not Complain
Not only did He not cry, but never once did He complain about the injustice, pain, and hostility He was experiencing. Rather He endured it. Our shame and reproach He gladly bore. He endured the cross.

The apostle wrote, "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb 12:2-3)

He Did Not Receive Any Encouragement
As discouraging and depressing as His circumstances on the cross would be to anyone, as He hung there in death's dark veil, He did not receive any encouragement in the midst of it. Nobody there offered Him any. Nobody was there to say, "Praise You, Jesus! You're doing a great job! Hang in there! I love you and I'm praying for you."

He Did Not Take Pain Killers
Although He was offered wine mixed with myrrh, which meant that it was drugged with bitter narcotics that would stupefy Him and dull the pain, He did not drink it. Afterward He was offered something to drink without the drugs and He did accept it. But Jesus had determined to drink the bitter cup of suffering that the Father had given Him to drink, and He refused to accept anything that would lessen its full effects by reducing the pain or numbing His senses in order to forget His troubles.

"Then they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it." (Mk 15:23, NIV)

"There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it." (Mt 27:34, NIV)

He Did Not Receive Any Medical Attention
No only did the Lord refuse drugs to dull the pain, He did not receive medical attention of any kind during His passion and crucifixion. Although He had life threatening wounds, no one washed them, cleansed them, applied any kind of balm or ointment to them, nor did anyone bandage them or try to stop the bleeding. He did not receive even basic first aid.

He Did Not Give Up or Give In
As Jesus hung there on the cross for about six hours, one thing that is reasonably safe to assume is that the demons were there all around Him to taunt Him and try to get Him to give up and curse God. Their work in the invisible realm was quite evident by the things people were saying and doing to Him as He hung there. But He did not give up, He did not give in, and He did not give over to the enemy. He endured the cross!

He Did Not Fail to Lay Down His Life
The Lord Jesus was very clear that nobody took His life away from Him, not even on the cross. He was not a victim in the sense that anyone did anything to Him against His will. Rather, He laid down His life willingly.

He said, "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (Joh 10:17-18)

Notice how His death occurred: "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.' Having said this, He breathed His last." (Luk 23:44-46)

"Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." (Joh 19:30)

When all the work of atonement that the Father gave Him to do was finished, then He yielded His spirit into the Father's hands and breathed His last.

Putting it All Together
Therefore, based on Scripture, we have learned what Jesus did not do at any point on the night He was betrayed or during his passion and crucifixion. He did not exclude Judas His betrayer from the Passover meal, but washed his feet and handed him the morsel of bread as a show of affection. He did not prevent Judas from betraying Him, but ordered him to go and do what he had in mind to do. He did not sleep nor fail to pray nor refuse to drink the bitter cup of suffering that the Father gave Him to drink. He did not prevent His arrest. He did not fail to testify to His identity as God's Son, Messiah, and King. He did not defend Himself before the chief priests and Council, before Pilate, nor before Herod. He did not retaliate. He did not hold a grudge or harbor hatred. He committed no sin, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. He did not at any time seek to save Himself. He did not fail to save sinners, but ministered to the thief on the cross beside Him. He did not accept pity. He did not weep or cry. He did not complain, even though He did not receive any encouragement. He did not receive any medical attention, nor did He take any pain killers. He did not give up or give in. And finally He did not fail to lay down His life.

Who would not love Him after all that? Who would not worship and adore Him? This is your God, O Israel! So great is the love of God for us! So great and marvelous are all His deeds.

In all things, Jesus Christ is our perfect example. May we follow in His steps, as the apostle Peter said in his epistle. Likewise, as the apostle John said, "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (1 Jn 2:6).

Footnotes: 1) Actor James Caviezel was actually struck by the whip twice. The first instance knocked the wind out of him, and the second instance caused him to jerk his hands out of the shackles, scraping his hands up pretty badly. The laceration from the second whip lash that struck him left a 14-inch scar on his back. 2) This does not mean it is necessarily a sin to receive medical attention or take medicine. For more on this, please see Is it a Sin to Take Medicine?

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Image may be subject to copyright, used according to Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the sequel to it called Following in His Steps, as well as the following related articles: Crucified with Christ, Aim for PerfectionThe Obedience of Faith, Walking in the Perfect Will of GodFor the Glory of God Alone, Restored Truth, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Pleasing the Lord, Clean Hands and a Pure Heart, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, The Ways of Life, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Having a Servant's Heart, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Divorce -- Three Divine Revelations, Separation from the World, and Standing in the Gap. My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

1 comment:

  1. this is a good one...
    Please, Bro. Len, I have been trying to reach you for some time now, all to no avail, can you please let me know the platform through which i could have a dialogue with you?