March 29, 2013



March 29

Jesus Crucified and Dead


Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 29 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we look briefly at Jesus crucified and dead.


So far, we have seen that Jesus has been betrayed by a friend, Judas, who later killed himself. We know also that Jesus was denied three times by a close friend, Peter. Upon that third denial, a rooster crowed and Jesus gave Peter a look of love. Jesus of course, had predicted that Peter would deny him three times… Even when being denied by a close friend, Jesus loved that close friend.


Jesus Crucified


Jesus has also, we have seen, been condemned to die by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilatef was urged on by the crowds and in particular the religious authorities to pronounce a condemnation of crucifixion upon Jesus.


John 19:17-27

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."


Jesus bearing his own cross was killed as a common criminal (John 19:17). We read that Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19:21-22) despite the protests of the religious authorities who wanted it altered to “This man claimed to be The King of the Jews”. The clothes of condemned prisoners were given to soldiers on duty (John 19:23) at which point they gambled to see who would get them. Even when he himself was in agony, Jesus showed concern for his mother, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:26-27).


The crucifixion site was always chosen purposely to be outside the city walls because the Jewish Law forbade such action within the city walls. This was for sanitary reasons as crucified bodies were sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by. Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts. Jesus face was beaten beyond recognition and the scourging reduced his flesh to something like raw hamburger mince. The whips used has pieces of glass and rocks stuck to the cord so as to inflict as much damage as possible. He had a crown of thorns pushed into his scalp.


Jesus Dies


That is the betrayal, let us now look at Jesus being condemned to be crucified by the Roman authorities. Having been condemned and then crucified, Jesus eventually dies.


John 19:28-37

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

In Jesus’ final moments he uttered “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) and “It is finished.” (John 19:30). The desire of the Jews (John 19:32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival. The breaking of legs (John 19:32-33) sped up the process of death because Jesus wouldn’t have been able to push himself up. The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19:34).


Jesus - condemned, crucified and died. Where were the others disciples and other followers of Jesus? Peter had been interrogated about Jesus so was still in the city somewhere. The other disciples had fled and were probably in hiding, wondering why their Master had to die such a death – even though Jesus told them many times it would occur. There is Jesus on the cross – abandoned by all his friends and family. That is except for two people who were very close to Him. They were Mary the mother of Jesus, and also his close friend, John. Both witnessed Jesus’ agonising death. In a matter of sheer poignancy, John and Mary are asked by Jesus to take care of each other as family. As he has said throughout his ministry, Jesus’ mission would involve his death. But that is not the end! Oh no! Not by a long way!


Come back tomorrow for Day 30 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together some of the events surrounding Jesus’ death! See you soon at Partakers!

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