The Cosmic Conspiracy, Part 11
The outer court of Pilate’s praetorium was jammed with a ravenous mob that had been gathered and indoctrinated by the Jewish religious leaders to believe that Jesus was a seditious fraud who was responsible for threatening the peaceful existence and autonomy of the Jewish State. If Jesus was not stopped, He would start an insurrection and the lowly peasant class would exalt Him as their king. To add fuel to the trumped up charges, the Jewish leaders had foisted the false testimony and corrupt outcome of their heresy trial onto the crowds and convinced them that Jesus was worthy of death due to His blatant blasphemy.
Surrounding this throng, Satan and his demon armies were drooling for the moment when they would finally sink their teeth and claws into Jesus and put an end to the ancient prophecy of being crushed by the “seed of the woman.” Satan now had everything in place to prove God wrong, thereby proving he was more crafty and powerful, and therefore would own the right to dethrone God. If there was ever a dark hour filled with the fullness of evil amassed in one place on the planet, it was then and there.
Myriads of angel army warriors were standing at the ready to swoop in and deliver Jesus if he so bid. Satan knew that if Jesus tapped out of this cosmic confrontation, he would win by forfeit. If Jesus were going to win this battle it would be a face to face showdown with no angelic interventions. The Son of God incarnated as the Son of Man must stand alone. No one, not even His disciples, was standing with Him. If He fails, the fate of humanity was eternally sealed in the grave of darkness, forever separated from their creator.
Jesus stood on the platform just a hair's breadth from death due to the savage scourging at the hands of the Roman torturers. Pilate, still finding no charge for which to sentence Jesus to death, devised a plan to save face (and his neck!) and appease the Jews at the same time. It was customary for the Roman governor to free one political prisoner each year as a sign of good will towards their subjects. Pilate pulls a convicted murderer, Barabbas, who was on death row, out before the crowd and offers to do a prisoner exchange.
Surely, the religious leaders and the upstanding citizens of Jerusalem would not want to release a treasonous murderer back onto the streets? Surely, the Jews could not be that bent on destroying this innocent man that they would risk Barabbas being on the loose to regather his force of insurrectionists threatening the lives of thousands of Jewish citizens when the Roman army descended on the city to quell the riots? Surely, the Jews could not be that crazed with hatred for this broken, frail, mere shell of a man, that they would risk all of that just to rid the earth of this nobody from nowhere?
Pilate takes his seat and presents these two prisoners to the crowd and speaks out, “Shall I release the murderer Barabbas to you or shall I release this innocent man, Jesus to you?” Without hesitation, an explosion roars from the horde, “Give us Barabbas!!” Pilate shoots back, “Then what of this man, Jesus?” Satan had the crowd in his lap just like a ventriloquist's dummy, and spoke through them, CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! Pilate tries once again to get them to see the illegality of their choice, but the crowd shouts all the louder.
To seal Jesus’ fate, the religious leaders give Pilate the out he is looking for. They put themselves forward and announce that they will take responsibility for Jesus’ death should any investigation be ordered because of this legal fiasco that was unfolding in Pilate’s court. They proclaim that the blood of Jesus (his death) is on their heads and on the heads of their children.
Satan was preparing a banquet for himself and his bloodthirsty demon army. First he would devour Jesus, the Son of God, and then for dessert he would gorge himself on the flesh and blood of God’s Chosen People. The Jews, as they willingly declared themselves responsible for killing Jesus, unwittingly were being led like sheep to the slaughter. Satan was fattening his religious flock for the day when he would devour them. (See the history of the events of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 for a graphic account of this slaughter).
There is no room in Satan’s cosmic conspiracy for used resources. Once Satan obtains what he wants through the people he uses to get it he will devour them with not the slightest hint of emotion. Pure evil has no conscience. Pure evil cannot see anything but the object of its lust. If pure evil is left unchecked it will by definition devour itself as there would be nothing left to devour. Pure evil cannot create life, but it can produce death. Pure EVIL is LIVE spelled backwards.
When the Jews shouted, “Crucify, him!”, they were actually calling down all of the curses of the Law (God’s Law given to the Jews by Moses) on Jesus. The book of Deuteronomy, which is a recounting of the Law of God for the nation of Israel before they were to enter the promised land, states that anyone who was convicted of a crime worthy of death, was executed, and then was hanged on a tree as the means of deterrent, was labeled, “The curse of God.”
In the context of the Law, a curse is the ultimate expression of God’s presence being removed from a person, or even a nation. When God’s presence is removed, evil is free to rush in and wreak havoc and cause all manor of destruction and death. A curse is not God’s angry, offended heart taking revenge on a reprobate, but rather the result of the offender willingly violating God’s Law of life, casting off the restraints, purposely pushing God out of the center, and acting out of personal autonomy to do whatever they want. A curse is the outcome of the will of man casting aside the will of God.
The results of this curse are horrific. Remember, if one casts off the pure Law of God, he is immediately cast into the realm of pure evil. There is no middle ground where humans can live out their existence as gods unto themselves. This is the grand deception of the cosmic conspiracy that has been in play since the Fall. As was stated earlier in this series, humanism (the height of honoring the worth and dignity of the human being apart from their creator) is a euphemism for Satanism. Every time we humans cast off God and cast out His precepts, we willingly subject ourselves to the curse.
To add elements of dramatic and graphic warnings, Moses outlines the blessings (the resultant rewards of living in harmony with God) and the curses (the resultant consequences of living in disharmony with God) in chapter 28 of Deuteronomy. Starting in verse 15, the list gets increasingly more disturbing. There are descriptions of human behavior so disgusting and repugnant that it defies imagination how humans could ever do such things. If being under a curse means being under the domain of Satan, then there is no boundary to how far evil will go.
The Jews in declaring that Jesus was cursed were committing the ultimate crime. They were declaring that God was accursed; that God was evil. This is exactly what Satan needed to do in order to dethrone God. If he could get a death sentence over Jesus for His claim to be God, all of the curses of God’s own law would have to be heaped upon His head and He would take the crushing weight of this curse in the form of a crucifixion - cursed is he who hangs on a tree.
The Jews were actually calling down the curses of their own Law on their heads all the while believing that killing Jesus was doing the will of God. The great deception had taken hold of the nation that was created and formed to be the carrier and protector of the Messiah. God’s people were about to kill God’s Son, just as Jesus had prophesied to the Jews of His day. But they had no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and no heart to receive their true King. Now it looked as though everything was in place for the cosmic conspiracy to reach its climax!
Pilate must have been unnerved by this intense heat of the hatred that was roaring from the Jews like the hungry flames of an unquenchable fire that was about to set the city aflame with a riot. How would he explain having to release a treasonous murderer back onto the streets? How would he explain putting an innocent man to death. In a last ditch effort to indemnify himself from what he knew he had to do, he washed his hands with water over a basin and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus and by so doing put the legal responsibility on the head of the Jews. The Jews were so intoxicated with the venom of pure evil that they shouted, So be it!, and thus sealed their fate. Jesus was handed over for execution. Barabbas, the treasonous murderer was released.
It seemed as though the cosmic conspiracy had just succeeded. A lie had triumphed over the truth. Perverted justice had prevailed over righteousness. Innocence was condemned and the guilty was pardoned. Evil was celebrated as good, and good was despised as if it were evil. The drug of deception had created a nation of addicts who had lost their collective minds and were now dependent on their drug dealer, Satan, for their next fix (we will see this come into play, soon). It seemed as though Satan had succeeded in turning everything against God. Jesus stood alone, condemned to death. Once Jesus was removed, Satan could fully rule the world - unopposed. The earth would become the staging ground for the next assault - storming the gates of Heaven and dethroning God.
A great cheer of victory must have exploded in the courtyard and reverberated out into the neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Crowds must have started to gather and line the streets in anticipation of some type of parade as the shouts and cheers sounded like something wonderful must have just happened. As the curious onlookers peered up and down the lanes to see what all the uproar was about, they saw what looked like a victorious procession heading towards them. The anticipation was growing. What great event had just taken place?
The cheers were soon mixed with what sounded like wailing. Confusion and consternation filled the atmosphere as the focal point of the commotion came into sight. What they saw must have been horrific. Jesus, who by now was probably unrecognizable from the swelling of his flesh from the brutal beating he received, was stumbling his way out of town carrying on his shoulders the bloodied horizontal beam of a Roman cross. Behind him were a Roman guard and the indignant, smug, and self-righteous accusers of the religious leadership. What they did not see was Satan sitting atop of the beam that Jesus carried just beaming with the pride of pure evil. This was Satan's triumphal procession. This was his parade.
The death march headed in the direction of a hill outside the city called Golgotha (the “place of the skull,” because of the shape of the hill). It was the place of execution, the place of death, and also the place of refuse and garbage. How fitting for Satan to add insult to injury by identifying God with death, destruction, and decay. As they reached the hill, the Roman executioners flung Jesus to the ground and slammed His hands down onto the beam that was stained with the blood of countless criminals before Him. They took large spikes and mercilessly pounded them through Jesus’ wrists into the wood of a tree that He would hang on. With every blow of the hammer Satan was howling with delight, and his ravenous pack of religious wolves were howling right along with him as they laughed, mocked, ridiculed, and provoked Jesus to do something about His death sentence. If Jesus was who He said He was, now was the time to prove it!
In agony, Jesus was hoisted up upon the upright beam that was planted in the ground just waiting for its next victim to hang upon until death came to finish the excruciating and humiliating Roman crucifixion. This was the ultimate slap in the face of God. This goes all the way back to the Fall of man and the curse placed upon the head of Satan. The Tree of Life in the center of the glorious garden that God so highly protected had now become the Tree of Death in the center of a garbage dump that Satan now hideously projected as his trophy of victory.
For three hours, Satan and his demons danced around the cross in gloating mockery. Pure evil had so blinded them that they did not see the light that was about to pierce the darkness that was swallowing the entire city in the pall of death. What happens next is the greatest display of the power of Pure Love and the unveiling of God’s heart in all of its glorious, unfathomable beauty.
So stay tuned, and tune in...
by Pastor Jim Anan