STORY SETTING AND BACKGROUND
Jesus Crucified and Buried
After being mocked and
scourged, Jesus is led to
Matthew 27:31-66; Mark 15:20-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19: 16-42; Psalm 22
THE WAY OF SORROWS
According to Roman custom, the death sentence on Jesus was carried out at once. The candidates for the awful death of crucifixion were usually first brutally scourged. Sometimes they did not survive this. In any event, it hastened death in this gruesome manner of execution. Jesus had already been scourged earlier.
Pilate ordered two condemned criminals to be crucified with Jesus. A group of 12 soldiers was assigned to carry out the executions. Four soldiers were assigned to each victim. All were under the supervision of an officer.
The soldiers removed the purple robe from Jesus and placed His own clothes on Him. The heavy cross piece was laid on Jesus' shoulders to drag to the place of execution. The upright beam was usually left in position at the place of crucifixion to be ready for the next victim. It also served as a grim reminder to all passing by that justice was swift and harsh. Crucifixion was reserved for slaves and non-Romans.
The sad procession began to wind its way through the
narrow streets of
Crowds watched the tragic procession of the condemned
and their executioners. The women lamented the awful end which was awaiting
Jesus. Seemingly they regarded Jesus as being innocent. But Jesus reminded and
warned them to weep over the tragedy which would befall
The procession had gone from the fortress-palace of Pilate through the streets and a city gate to the place of execution. Seemingly this was very near the city on an important road where many passed by. (John 19:20)
The site was known as
"the place of a skull." It may have been called this because it was
the place of execution. Some think that it may have been on a hill which looked
like a skull. But the brief reference in the Gospels tells us little. Secular
history doesn't mention it. Where
Before Jesus was crucified. His clothes were removed. He was offered a mixture of wine and myrrh to dull the pain and agony, but this Jesus refused (see Psalm 69:21). The three groups of soldiers crucified their victims. Jesus was placed between the two criminals.
Over Jesus was placed a sign written in Latin, the official language, in Greek, the common international language, and in Aramaic, the language commonly spoken by the Jews (KJV: Hebrew). Thus, all passing by knew the reason for Jesus' execution "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Taken at face value, the sign told everyone that Jesus had been executed for treason. Anyone who made Himself a king without approval of the Roman emperor was considered guilty of treason.
A delegation from the Jewish Council protested to Pilate. But Pilate was unyielding. Flatly he declared, "What I have written, I have written."
It was customary that the soldiers carrying out the crucifixion received the clothing of the condemned as their "bonus pay." Jesus' clothing was divided into 4 parts, one for each soldier. But the tunic, a long, woolen shirt-like garment reaching to near the ankles, was woven in one piece. The soldiers rolled the dice to see who would get it. (See Psalm 22:18). The tunic served the same purpose that a shirt and a pair of trousers serve today.
The crucifixion took place around After being crucified, Jesus asked His Heavenly Father to forgive those responsible (see also Acts 7: 60 ) .
Read carefully the various examples of the mockery Jesus endured. Note how the first example parallels the accusation made by false witnesses against Jesus. Members of the Council especially taunted Jesus about Ris claim to be the Messiah. From the Jewish point of view, the Messiah would be a mighty, victorious king, not one who would suffer the deep shame of crucifixion and the ancient curse which had been placed on Him (see Gal. 3: 13; Deut. 21: 34). As Paul emphasizes especially in 1 Cor. 1: 23, Jesus' crucifixion was a barrier for the Jews, and this barrier kept many from accepting the risen Christ as the promised Messiah.
The criminals, too, reviled Jesus. But one changed his mind and rebuked the other for reviling One who was innocent. How wonderfully comforting to the penitent criminal then and to us today is the gracious promise Christ made after his plea for forgiveness.
THE HOURS OF DARKNESS
From noon (the sixth hour) until three P.M., an unnatural darkness settled over the land.-An eclipse could not occur at the Passover time.- This darkness was symbolical of the agonized cry of Jesus, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!" This cry came toward the end of the darkness. Jesus was suffering the agony of the cross, in payment for our sins. Those standing near the cross mocked Jesus. One of them gave Him sour wine to drink (see Psalm 69:21).
The last prophecy had been fulfilled. Aside from dying, Jesus' work as the Savior was finished. This Jesus announced to all, and then He loudly commended Himself to His Father'_ hands and died (see Psalm 31 :5, also Acts ).
The Synoptic Gospels record certain phenomena which occurred when Jesus died. When the Roman captain saw how Jesus died and remembered all that He had observed during the time Jesus had been put into his charge, he was moved to confess that Jesus was divine.
Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Council, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. When Pilate knew that Jesus was dead, he gave Joseph the body. Nicodemus joined Joseph in helping to prepare His body for burial. The time was short, for at sunset the Sabbath began. They buried Jesus in Joseph's new grave, in which no one had as yet been buried.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and others watched Joseph and Nicodemus. The women planned to come after the Sabbath had ended to complete the necessarily hasty preparations of Jesus' body for burial.