THE CHARACTER OF JESUS
(PART 2)

 

PURPOSE

 

Today, we will continue in our study on the character of Jesus.

 

OPENER

 

Which Bible character (besides Jesus) do you most admire?

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LESSON

 

1.      JESUS IS FORGIVING.

 

Before Jesus died on the cross, we read in (Matthew 27:26, 31) that Jesus was flogged or scoured and then crucified.  Explain in detail what Jesus went through. 

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n        I want to take you back to the streets of Jerusalem and describe the pain and agony that Jesus endured and how He treated His executioners.

 

1.           First of all, the Bible says that Jesus was “flogged or scourged.”

 

2.           To prepare a man for scourging the victim was stripped of his clothing.  His hands were tied to an upright post above his head.  The back, buttocks, and legs were laid bare for beating.  This procedure exposed the greatest area possible to inflict as much pain as possible.

 

3.           The instrument used in scourging was a short whip called a flagrum.  It consisted of a handle, to which several cords or leather thongs were affixed, which were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal, to make the blow more painful and effective.

 

4.           C. Truman Davis, a medical doctor, describes the process of scourging on the body of Jesus:

 

The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand...The heavy whip is brought down again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.  At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only.  Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spuring arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by the many blows.  Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.  When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.  The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood.

 

5.           After Jesus was scourged, Matthew 27:27-31 tells us that the soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head (the scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the body which would cause a lot of bleeding) and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews.

 

6.           After that, from the place of scourging, Jesus started out on the 650 yard journey “bearing his own cross” enroute to Calvary.  The part of the cross that was carried was the patibulum, the horizontal part which weighed between 75 to 115 pounds.  Along the way, we read that Simon of Cyrene, a North African carried the cross of Jesus to Calvary.

 

7.           When Jesus finally arrived at Calvary, He was crucified.

 

8.           C. Truman Davis describes the crucifixion of Jesus:

 

The crucifixion begins.  Jesus is offered wine mixed with Myrrh, a mild pain relief mixture.  He refuses to drink.  Simon is order to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood.  The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist.  He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.  Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some movement.  The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the reading ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’ is nailed in place.  The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.  Jesus is now crucified.

 

As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain--the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.  As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet.  Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

 

At this point, another phenomenon occurs.  As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.  Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled.  Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.  Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside.  Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

 

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rendering cramps, searing pain as tissue is torn from His back as He moves up and down against the rough timber.  Then another agony begins.  A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills serum and begins to compress the heart.

 

It is now almost over--the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level--the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues--the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.  The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.  The body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues...His mission of atonement has been completed.  Finally He can allow his body to die.  With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.

 

9.           Isn’t your heart touched and moved to hear how Jesus died for you and me?

 

Although Jesus experienced intense pain and agony on the cross, according to (Luke 23:34), how did He respond to the people who were inflicting the pain?  

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n        From this detailed account of Jesus’ death, I want you to see that even though Jesus experienced intense pain and agony, in (Luke 23:34), while on the cross, Jesus asked God to forgive those people who were putting Him to death.

 

n        Although Jesus was experiencing an incredible amount of pain and anguish on the cross, He did not ask His Father to strike them dead but to forgive them.  He manifested no hatred, no ill-will, no animosity, no vengeance.  Instead, He forgave them.

 

According to (Mark 11:25), how important is it for Christians to forgive?  

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n        Forgiveness is very important, because if we do not forgive others, then God will not forgive us.

 

Right now in your life, are you harboring bitterness and anger against someone?  If so, what steps could you take to forgive?  

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n        If you are harboring bitterness and anger against someone, today is the perfect day to let go of your bitterness & anger and forgive the person or persons who treated you badly.  But you may want to say, “But Keith, they don’t deserve to be forgiven.”  But I say, “Did the people who put Jesus to death deserve to be forgiven?  No.  “Do we deserve to be forgiven by God when we sin against Him?  No.  But yet God still forgives us.

 

n        Forgiveness means that you pardon the people of their offenses.

 

a.       You give up all feelings of getting even.

b.       You let go of all the hurt that they have caused.

c.       You keep no record of wrongs. 

 

n        Forgiveness means it is over; it is complete; it is finished.  Forgiveness is a choice.  Don't allow one or two people ruin your life.

   

2.      JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE.

 

(John 8:29) sums of the obedient life of Jesus.  For Jesus said, “for I always do what pleases Him…” Describe the obedient life of Jesus.    

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n        Jesus left the comfort of heaven to come to earth to fulfill His Father's will.  Even though Jesus was the Lord of Lords, the king of kings, the savior of the world, He still humbled Himself and became obedient to His Father.  He came to earth as a servant although He had every right to come as a sovereign.  Every day that He walked this earth, He lived a life of obedience.  He submitted to the will of His father, and He gave His father the very best He had to offer.

 

n        Jesus died on the cross, brethren, not only to save mankind from their sins, but He died to please His father.  He loved His father so much that He was willing to walk to the cross in order to glorify Him.

 

&   “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work" (Jn. 4:34).

Are you living an obedient life to God?    

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What does God expect from us?    

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3.      JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF LOVE.

 

Read (John 13:1).  Describe the type of love that Jesus demonstrated towards His friends.   

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n        Jesus' whole life and ministry were bathed in love, tireless, outgoing unselfish love.  He loved His friends.  He loved them even though at times they disappointed Him (like the time they couldn't stay awake and keep watch while Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane Mk. 14:37).  He loved them even though at times they denied even knowing Him (like Peter).

 

n        Despite His friends lack of perfection and devotion, Jesus loved them with every fiber of His being.  For John 13:1 says, that Jesus "loved them to the end."

 

How much love and devotion do you extend to your friends?   

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n        Do you love them despite their shortcomings?  Are you loyal to them?  Do you treasure them the way Jesus treasured His friends?  His example should inspire us to shower more love to our friends.

 

In (Matthew 8:3), Jesus touched a man with leprosy and made him clean.  How was that act of kindness a demonstration of Christ’s love?  

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n        On one occasion, He touched a man with leprosy and made Him clean (Mt. 8:3).  How many of you purposely and knowingly reached out and hugged or touched a man or a women who has aids.  By Him touching a man with leprosy, would be like us touching a person with aids.  Jesus reached out to the sick, dying, and the diseased ridden people.

 

How long has it been since you have visited, hugged, and encouraged someone who is ill?  

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n        My friends Jesus' example should invigorate us to get out of these seats and spread our love to those in need.

 

Read (Matthew 5:43-48).  What types of people are Christians suppose to love?  

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n        We are to love the unlovable.  The one sentence that glows from this passage is the one that says, "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?"  You see it is easy to love those who love you back, but the Lord is telling us that we are to love those who do not love us back.  We are to love even our enemies.

 

n        If we are going to follow the Word of God, we have a choice to make.  Are we going to love our hate our enemies?  Even though Jesus endured many blows form His enemies, He never stopped loving them.

 

n        The love Jesus taught, the love He exhibited, was to be the supreme hallmark of His disciples.

 

&   “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn. 13:34, 35).

n        Tragically, we as His followers have fallen short of such love.  Yet, it is never too late to start Christening ourselves with the characteristic of love.  And Jesus actually did love with the highest love of all.  He loved, not some of the time; all of the time.  Not some people; but all people.  That is what Jesus was and is like.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      Jesus is kindhearted, empathetic, full of grace, forgiving, lived a life of obedience and love.

 

2.      Let us pray that God will help us to display these wonderful qualities in our lives.

 

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