Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19990505.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part LXXIX: Certifying Christianity Via Evidences Of Christ's ACTUAL DEATH Before His Resurrection
Lesson: Whether it was the secular "impartial" centurion or throngs of townspeople who saw Jesus expire or a secret disciple "coming out" at great cost to himself to bury Jesus or the way Jesus was prepared for burial or the actions of His sympathe tic supporters, ALL evidence Jesus had DIED!
- The Gospel we proclaim for people to believe unto salvation is built around the death and resurrection of Christ. One must believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead for salvation, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
- However, for such a gospel to be valid, Jesus needed really to die, for had He merely swooned or gone into a coma for a while, our Christian faith would be a false, artificial one!
- Luke's Gospel works to show the credibility of the Christian faith by also giving evidences that, prior to His resurrection, Jesus actually, completely physically died.
- Certifying Christianity Via Evidences Of Christ's ACTUAL DEATH Before His Resurrection.
- Luke's Gospel was written to give Theophilus insight on the credibility of the Christian faith, Luke 1:3-4.
- To show the validity of the resurrection of Christ, Luke records evidences that Jesus actually, fully died before telling us of the resurrection as follows (Luke 23:47-56):
- Evidence One - The centurion who administered Jesus' crucifixion testified as to His death, Luke 23:47.
- When Jesus dismissed His spirit to the Father on the cross, the centurion who was officially responsible for Christ's crucifixion said of Jesus, "Certainly this was a righteous man," Luke 23:47.
- The word for "was" here is ayn in the Greek Testament, which is the verb "to be" in the imperfect tense, UBS Greek New Testament, p. 312; The Analytical Greek Lexicon (Zondervan), p. 187.
- Since the imperfect tense in the Greek language conveys "continued action in past time" according to J. Gresham Machan's New Testament Greek for Beginners, p. 65, the centurion's Luke 23:47 assertion revealed that, in his official view, Jesus used to be living, but was then no longer alive!
- Evidence Two - All of the other witnesses who saw Jesus' expiration smote their breasts and returned to the city, giving evidence that they all felt He had expired and was beyond any more help, Luke 23:48.
- Evidence Three - A secret believer in the sanhedrin, at much personal cost to himself, publicly begged for the body of Jesus to bury Him, showing he was convinced Jesus had di ed, Luke 23:50-52:
- The sanhedrin felt that any Jew who called Jesus the Messiah would be excommunicated, John 9:22.
- Thus, for Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the sanhedrin to beg for Jesus' body was for him to put his membership on the sanhedrin and participation in the synagogue in jeopardy, Luke 23:50-52.
- Joseph would have been convinced Jesus was dead to thus dare to lose so much to bury Jesus!
- Evidence Four - Joseph wrapped Jesus' body in linen clothes after Jewish custom, and understanding Jewish burial practice with Joseph's motives showed that Joseph was sure Jesus was dead, Lk. 23:53:
- The Greek word for "wrapped" in Luke 23:53 (KJV) means to "wrap by winding tightly," Ryr. St. Bib., KJV, ftn to Luke 23:53; UBS Grk. N.T., p. 313 with Thayer's Grk.-Engl. Lex., p. 219. This followed the Jewish custom of preparing bodies for burial according to John 19:40.
- Josh McDowell's A Ready Defense, p. 225-226 explains this Jewish practice as dressing the body in at least three separate garments of white linen, then wrapping the body from the feet to the armpits in strips of cloth. Next, the arms were straightened and lowered against the torso, and the win ding continued and bound the arms to the body until the strips ended at the neck. The head was then wound in a separate wrapping of linen strips. Throughout the wrapping, myrrh was added, making the removal of these linen strips hard to do. Since this wrapping left the body helpless without others to unbind it were it to revive (see Lazarus' case in John 11:44), and since the one who wrapped Jesus' body sacrificed his station in life to do so because of His support for Jesus, Joseph was convinced Jesus was really dead or he would not have thus restricted His body!
- Evidence Five - Christ's other sympathetic supporters sadly viewed His burial and prepared to add more spices, something they would have done only if they were convinced He was dead, 23:54-56.
Application: The events following Jesus' expiration on the cross show that Jesus DIED at that time!