The drama continues. Jesus knew He had to be crucified. He warned His disciples what would happen. They were scared. They fled. Only one stayed through to the cross, John. However, He wasn’t alone, the women were there, too. There are some interesting and meaningful scenes in this drama. Let’s dig in…
The Guilt of Two Men — Judas and Pontius Pilot
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. 2 Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”
“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
6 The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” 7 After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. 8 That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. 9 This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says,
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”
The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Points to Ponder
- Judas felt so much guilt and remorse for betraying Jesus, who was His friend as well as being innocent, that he returned the money the Jewish leaders gave him and hung himself.
- On the other hand, the Jewish leaders felt absolutely no remorse. They broke a commandment. They called the money, “payment for murder”, (you shall not kill). So, they bought a cemetery in attempts to do something “good” with the money. Money can’t hide your sins from God.
- Pilot, on the other hand, knew that Jesus was innocent. Yet, he caved in to the Jewish people.
- Pilot’s wife tried unsuccessfully to convince him not to kill Jesus. But, Jesus had to die.
- Because the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, their temple was destroyed in 70 AD and they were scattered all over the world.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.
35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries (criminals or thieves) were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43 He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
The Death of Jesus
45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[Psalm 22]
47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
Points to Ponder
- The curtain in the temple was the one that hung at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. This was where God’s presence was. No one could enter there unless they were a select priest.
- The moment Jesus yelled out, “It is Finished!”, that curtain tore from top to bottom. That was a heavy material. It tore by itself!
- When Jesus died, there was no longer a wall (or curtain or veil) between sinful humans and God.
- Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (the Lamb of God), there is now a direct way for us to reach God.
- We are no longer separated from God’s presence. The separation happened in the Garden of Eden. (I’ll be covering Genesis soon.)
- God’s Spirit will soon come to indwell itself in the bodies of born again believers so we become temples of Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)
- Then Godly people rise from their graves and start walking around the city! No, this is NOT the “Walking Dead”. But, can you imagine what that was like?!
- Jesus, who was sinless, died in place of us sinners.
- Because Jesus loves YOU and desires a relationship with YOU, He endured the cross.
The First Gentile Believers
54 The Roman officer (centurion) and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
The routine execution of three Jews started off normally enough. The soldiers were hardened to the screams and curses of two of the condemned. But it soon became apparent to these soldiers and their junior officer that something very unusual was happening. The calm and loving demeanor of the One in the middle stunned them.Time of Grace, “Unlikely Lenten Preachers”
The darkness that came upon the entire land, as well as the earthquakes that began to rock the surrounding area as the middle one’s death approached totally changed their thinking and their world: “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54).
Their Lenten sermon was correct. He was. And is.
The Women at the Cross
55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
The women were the last ones at the cross — along with John — the rest of the male disciples were nowhere to be found.
The Borrowed Tomb
(He was only going to use it for a couple of days!)
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.Matthew 27 NLT
Jesus is Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sins of the World
Two main points here…..
- Jesus didn’t die such a painful, horrendous death on the cross so that we could have religion! He wants to have a relationship with you. He want’s to be your friend!
- If purgatory exists, then Jesus died for nothing!
Do YOU Believe This?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…