17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.[a]But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom,24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:17 - 27 (ESV)
Jesus was arrested and bound by the soldiers and taken before Annas, father-in-law of the High Priest Caiaphas. Annas is also called the High Priest in other passages so there is some debate over why he is also called the High Priest. Some suggest that Caiaphas and Annas shared the position and others suggest that since he was High Priest before Caiaphas that he was probably retired from the position but still held the title.
The death of Jesus is a graphic and gruesome thing. Many of us have either seen movies, read books or even imagined in your mind what this horrific event was like, but I do not think we can fathom what it was really like. The death Jesus suffered was a painful, humiliating and violent one, yet it was necessary to accomplish the will of the Father. Crucifixion was a method of capital punishment used by many nations including Greece and Persia. The Romans used it as a means to execute slaves and criminals.
In the Gospel of John, the final two statements made by Jesus were first a personal need, “I thirst”, and the second is a declaration of completion of the task, “It is finished!” What was finished? Jesus has accomplished what He came to do. The law has been fulfilled and redemption has been made. Through Jesus’ death, humanity can have peace with God. He has borne the penalty of sin for humanity so that those who believe and obey would not face this penalty.
It was nearing the Sabbath before Passover and the process of death was going to be sped up by breaking the legs of those being crucified. They wanted to get this over, so they could go ahead and celebrate the Passover. However, Jesus had already given up His spirit and was lifeless so there was no need to break His legs (thus fulfilling prophecy). To ensure He was in fact dead the Roman soldier pierced his side.
It is believed that both Joseph and Nicodemus were Sanhedrin and followers of Jesus. Joseph must have been a person of influence because typically a person who was crucified was just thrown in a common grave.
Today, this devotional ends the Season of Lent, but the story does not end here. This account is gruesome, brutal, and somewhat tragic but altogether necessary. The death of Jesus Christ establishes God’s new covenant of grace, atonement and redemption with humanity. Let us all remember, today may be a sad day in the Gospel account, but we must remember, Sunday is on the horizon.
Happy Easter! He is RISEN!
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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