God Gave His Son

MEMORY VERSE: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —John 3:16

MATTHEW 27:35-50

GOD’S complete gift of his Son to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world entailed the permitting of his enemies to put him to death. Truly, this was a display of the Heavenly Father’s love, for without doubt the Father suffered keenly while Jesus hung dying on the cross. After all, Jesus was God’s dearly beloved Son, the most precious treasure of his heart.

Important points stand out in our lesson. One relates to the inscription which was set up over Jesus while on the cross: “This is Jesus the king of the Jews.” This inscription was put up at the behest of Pilate. Jesus had testified before Pilate that he was born to be a king; but apparently this Roman ruler did not take the claim seriously, for he declared that he found no fault in Jesus which made him worthy of death. Perhaps, therefore, the inscription was designed to be a mockery of the religious hatred of the Jews who had accused Jesus before Pilate that he claimed to be a king.

We are inclined to think, also, that Satan had much to do with the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death, and that this inscription was part of the “contradiction of sinners” against Jesus, as mentioned by Paul in Hebrews 12:3. We can see the hand of Satan in much that took place while Jesus was hanging on the cross. It will be recalled that Satan had offered Jesus the privilege of being the king of the whole world if he would fall down and worship him. Jesus did not yield to this temptation, and now Satan stirred up his enemies to shout, “If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross.”

Satan had also previously suggested to Jesus that he cast himself off from the pinnacle of the temple and thus prove that he was the Son of God, but Jesus resisted this temptation also. Now the people shouted to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” While Jesus had refused to prove his sonship by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, he was here given another chance: “Come down from the cross.”

The “chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save.” Jesus calmly accepted this “contradiction,” knowing that it was the Father’s will for him. But finally we hear the Master cry out in prayer, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This need not be taken as evidencing a lack of faith on Jesus’ part, neither misunderstanding. Actually, it is a quotation from Psalm 22:1, with which Jesus must have been fully acquainted.

As we study this entire 22nd Psalm we find that it refers to a number of things which Jesus saw taking place before him, such as the parting of his garments. He heard the words, “He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him.” (Ps. 22:8) As he noted what was taking place, and heard what was being said, he would be reminded by this prophetic psalm that it had all been foretold by God’s prophet, including his temporarily being forsaken by the Heavenly Father. To recognize this must have been a great consolation to the Master, and would in no small way enable him to utter from his heart that last prayer, “Into thy hands I commend my Spirit.”—Luke 23:46

As our lesson states, he “yielded up the ghost.” Here again the translators have failed us, in that they make this text read as though Jesus had a separate entity dwelling within him called a “soul” or a “ghost,” which he voluntarily released that it might wing its way to heaven. This is not the thought at all. The Greek original simply indicates that Jesus gave up his life, willingly laying it down in sacrifice as the world’s Redeemer.

Jesus committed his life into the hands, or control, of his Heavenly Father. He knew that he had been promised a resurrection from the dead, and he trusted his Father to fulfill his promise. How beautiful the prophetic prayer of Jesus: “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [sheol, the death condition]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”—Ps. 16:8-10


When was God’s gift of his Son completed?

Describe the “contradiction of sinners.”

How did Jesus give up the “ghost”?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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