The Death of Jesus

(Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-37)

Jesus died for our sins. He didn't deserve to die; He had done nothing wrong. He didn't have to die; He did it for us. After the governor Pilate had condemned Him to die, the soldiers led Him away to crucify Him. He began by carrying his own heavy wooden cross, but as they went along, the soldiers picked out a man named Simon, from the country of Cyrene, and made him carry the cross behind Jesus. Many people were following, and the women were crying loudly. Jesus turned and told them to cry for themselves and not for Him, because of the things that were going to happen to Jerusalem. Then they came to a hill outside the city that was named the Skull (in Hebrew Golgotha and in Latin Calvary). There they offered Him a drink to kill the pain: wine mixed with myrrh and gall. He tasted it but would not drink it.

It was 9:00 a.m. when they stripped off His clothes, nailed His hands and feet to the cross and set it up. They also crucified two robbers at the same time, one on each side. As He hung there between heaven and earth, He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Pilate wrote the charge against Jesus on a board and the soldiers nailed it above His head. In three languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek) it read, "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." When the Jewish leaders read this, they went to Pilate and asked that it be changed to "This man said, I am king of the Jews," but he would not change it. The four soldiers who crucified Him each took one of His five pieces of clothing and then they gambled for the fifth piece-his long robe.

Jesus' mother, her sister, Mary Magdalene, and some other women were standing with the apostles watching. Jesus said to His mother, "Woman, look, your son!" Then He said to the apostle John, "Look, your mother!" From then on John took care of Mary like she was his own mother.

The Jewish leaders and people who passed by made fun of Him, shouting things like, "Come down if you are the Son of God!" The robbers also made fun of Him. Then one had a change of heart and told the other to stop. "This man has done nothing wrong," he said. Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus answered, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

About noon the whole land became dark until about 3:00 in the afternoon. About 3 o'clock Jesus cried out in Aramaic, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You left Me alone?" Some who didn't understand Aramaic said, "He is calling Elijah." Then Jesus said, "I'm thirsty." So someone ran and got a sponge, filled it with vinegar, put it on a reed, and held it up to His mouth for Him to drink. After He drank, He cried out with a loud voice, "It is finished. Father, I give My spirit into Your hands." Then He bowed His head and His spiriting left His body. Suddenly there was an earthquake and the curtain in the temple between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the leader of the soldiers watching Him saw how He died, he said, "Truly this was the Son of God."

Since the next day was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath Day, the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs of the men on the crosses broken, so they would die and could be taken down before the Sabbath. So the soldiers came and broken the legs of the robbers, but they did not break Jesus' legs since He was already dead. Instead a soldier took his spear and stuck it in Jesus' side and out came blood and water. That blood is what takes away our sins, for Jesus died for us. Nothing else can make us right in God's sight.

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