The King on a Cross
(Matt 27:32-44, Mark 15:21-32, Luke 23:26-43, John 19:17-24)
Note to readers:
Crucifixion was not an instant form of execution, but a prolonged process. It began with a flogging, then the prisoner had to carry the heavy wooden cross to the execution site. There they were then tied and/or nailed to the cross and left to die, which could take days depending on the condition of the victim.
So Jesus went out, bearing his cross, to the place called “The Place of a Skull”, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha and in Latin is called Calvary.
But [probably due to exhaustion from not only the flogging he had received, but the previous beatings] the soldiers commandeered a passerby, Simon of Cyrene (who was coming in from the country), the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry Jesus’ cross and to follow behind him.
And there followed Jesus a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep 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.’ [Hos#10:8] For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?'”
Two others, who were robbers, were also led away to be put to death with him. And at the third hour [9 AM], when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors.” [Is#53:12] And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'”
But Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom; so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” [Ps#22:18]
And those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; but he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God’, his ‘Chosen One.'”
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour vinegar wine mixed with gall [to numb the pain] and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” But when Jesus tasted it, he would not drink it.
One of the robbers next to Jesus blasphemed him, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” [Paradise being the place of the righteous dead in Sheol]
Jesus Dies on the Cross
(Matt 27:45-56, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:25-30)
Now when Jesus saw his mother, Mary, and the disciple whom he loved [thought to be John] standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. [With her husband Joseph having died earlier, Jesus wanted John to now take over looking after his mother]
Now from the sixth hour [noon] there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Ps#22:1] [read psalm 22 to understand why he said these words]
And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine [without the gall], and put it on a reed so as to give it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
But Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst.” So they put the sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished! Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” And he bowed his head, breathed his last, and gave up his spirit.
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were woken (and coming out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many). And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way Jesus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
And there were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were: Mary Magdalene; and Mary, the wife of Clopas, the mother of James the Less and of Joses (also called Joseph); and Salome, the mother of the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee saw these things.
Jesus’ Side is Pierced
Since it was the Day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that the legs of the three who were crucified might be broken [which causes the body to droop, suffocating the victim], that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first robber, and of the other who had been crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. [Only blood would flow from a live person]
He who saw it [John] has borne witness; his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth, that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not one of his bones will be broken.” [Ps#34:20] And again in another Scripture it says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” [Zech#12:10]
Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb
(Matt 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42)
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man. He was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, and had not consented to their decision and action. And he was looking for the kingdom of God.
When it was evening, he took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.
Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in a linen shroud with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
Now in the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. The tomb belonged to Joseph and he had cut it out of the rock himself. So they laid Jesus there and a great stone was rolled across the entrance of the tomb and they went away.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses had followed and had seen the tomb and how Jesus’ body was laid. So they returned home and prepared spices and ointments [for anointing on the day after the Sabbath]. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Pilate Sets a Guard at the Tomb
The next day, that is, the Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that deceiver said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’
Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.'”
Angel Rolls Back the Stone
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it.
Women Bring Spices to the Tomb at Dawn
(Matt 28:1, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1)
When the Sabbath was past, some women including: Mary Magdalene; Mary the mother of Joses; Joanna; and Salome, gathered the spices they had prepared, so that they might go and anoint Jesus.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And as they went, they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” But looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; and it was very large.
Angel Appears to the Women
(Matt 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-8)
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man [an angel] sitting on the right side, dressed in a dazzling white robe, and they were alarmed.
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise?” And they remembered his words.
The Women Run to Tell the Disciples
(Matt 28:8, Mark 16:8, Luke 24:9-11, John 20:2)
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
And returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
Peter and John Inspect the Empty Tomb
(Luke 24:12, John 20:3-11)
So Peter went out with John, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but John outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.
Then Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
Then John, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Mary Magdalene Sees Two Angels
And Mary saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
(Mark 16:9, John 20:14-17)
Having said this, Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was him.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Lord).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Mary Magdalene Reports to the Disciples
(Mark 16:10-11, John 20:18)
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples as they mourned and wept, “I have seen the Lord” And that he had said these things to her.
But when they heard that Jesus was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.