The Death Sentence
(Matthew 27.15-26; Mark 15.6-15; John 18.39–19.16)
13Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people. 14He told them, “You brought Jesus to me and said he was a troublemaker. But I have questioned him here in front of you, and I have not found him guilty of anything that you say he has done. 15Herod didn’t find him guilty either and sent him back. This man doesn’t deserve to be put to death! 16-17I will just have him beaten with a whip and set free.” [b]18But the whole crowd shouted, “Kill Jesus! Give us Barabbas!” 19Now Barabbas was in jail because he had started a riot in the city and had murdered someone.
20Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he spoke again to the crowds. 21But they kept shouting, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”22Pilate spoke to them a third time, “But what crime has he done? I have not found him guilty of anything for which he should be put to death. I will have him beaten with a whip and set free.”23The people kept on shouting as loud as they could for Jesus to be put to death. 24Finally, Pilate gave in. 25He freed the man who was in jail for rioting and murder, because he was the one the crowd wanted to be set free. Then Pilate handed Jesus over for them to do what they wanted with him.
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
(Matthew 27.31-44; Mark 15.21-32; John 19.17-27)
26As Jesus was being led away, some soldiers grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Simon. He was coming in from the fields, but they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.27A large crowd was following Jesus, and in the crowd a lot of women were crying and weeping for him. 28Jesus turned to the women and said:Women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me! Cry for yourselves and for your children. 29Someday people will say, “Women who never had children are really fortunate!” 30At that time everyone will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” They will say to the hills, “Hide us!” 31If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry? [c]32Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. 33When the soldiers came to the place called “The Skull,” [d] they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus. 34-35Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing. While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, “He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God’s chosen Messiah!”36The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine. 37They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”38Above him was a sign that said, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us!”40But the other criminal told the first one off, “Don’t you fear God? Aren’t you getting the same punishment as this man? 41We got what was coming to us, but he didn’t do anything wrong.” 42Then he said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into power!”43Jesus replied, “I promise that today you will be with me in paradise.” [f]
The Death of Jesus
(Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; John 19.28-30)
44Around noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple [g] split down the middle. 46Jesus shouted, “Father, I put myself in your hands!” Then he died. 47When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Jesus must really have been a good man!” 48A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. 49All of Jesus’ close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched.
Isn’t it amazing that those who loved Jesus the most
stood at a distance from him in his greatest hour of need?
Did they stand at a distance because of the brutality
or because of their responses to who he was?
Did they stand at a distance because of their shame?
Do we stand at a distance because of ours?
Did you notice that Pilate spoke to the people three times?
Just as Jesus asked for the ‘cup’ to be removed three times.
The whole scene was symbolic of God’s love in a strange way.
Just like the little baby who came into the world alone in the beginning
Jesus was left on a cross on a hill alone in the end.
Rejected by God because of the sin ‘he carried’.
Rejected by all because they ‘didn’t understand’.