Darkness at the *crucifixion of Jesus

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 11 - The *crucifixion of Jesus - Part 3

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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.

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The *crucifixion of Jesus began at 9.00 a.m. [That is, 9 o'clock in the morning.] The place where it took place was called Golgotha. For three hours, Golgotha was a busy place, with the soldiers, the crowds and the Jewish rulers there.

But from noon, for three hours until the death of Jesus, there was darkness (Matthew 27:45).

The reason for the darkness while Jesus was on the *cross

There is no natural reason for this darkness. Jesus died during the Feast of Passover. [This was a very important holy holiday for the Jews. They remembered the time when God rescued them from Egypt.] The Feast of Passover always happened at the time of the full moon. An eclipse cannot happen at full moon. [An eclipse is a rare event when the moon hides the light from the sun.] Also, an eclipse would not last for three hours.

There had been darkness on the earth before. When God punished Pharaoh there had been darkness. It is a sign of God’s punishment. God shows us that we have done wrong. He sometimes uses physical signs to do this. (Joel 2:30,32, Amos 5:18, Revelation 6:12-17).  And on the *cross, Jesus was suffering the punishment for our *sins.

Jesus calls out to God

At this time, Jesus suffered great pain. He called out to God with a loud cry.

Matthew 26:46  At about 3.00 p.m. [that is, 3 o'clock in the afternoon] Jesus cried out with a loud voice. He said, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' [These words are in the language called Hebrew.] That means, 'My God, My God, why have you left me alone?'

This was an experience which no human has ever had. Jesus was now quite separate from God. The darkness was a sign of God’s *judgement on *sin. At this time Jesus was carrying the *sin of us all. Notice that Jesus did not say ‘God, where are you?’ He said ‘My God, why?’ This is not the cry of a relationship that has ended. Jesus felt that God was no longer protecting him. But he cried out to God in trust. Paul tells us the reason for this.

2 Corinthians 5:21  Christ did not do any *sins. But God made Christ become *sin instead of us. This was so that we could be right with God.

Some people in the crowd laughed about Jesus’ cry. The first word that he said sounds a little like the name of Elijah. They said that perhaps he was calling to Elijah for help.

The effects of *crucifixion

Finally, near to his death, Jesus’ mouth was very dry. He cried out, ‘I need a drink’ (John 19:28). This is one of the effects of *crucifixion. Old books describe other men who died slowly on a *cross. These men called out for water to the people who passed. Again, the *prophets wrote about this, and Psalm 22 has these words:

Psalm 22:14,15  I spill out like water. They have pulled every bone in my body apart. My heart has melted inside me. I have no strength left, like a baked pot. My tongue sticks in my mouth. You have brought me to the dust of death.

Let us think about the meaning of these words:

·  'I spill out like water' – Jesus was extremely tired.

·  'They have pulled every bone in my body apart' – A very exact description of the effects of *crucifixion

·  'My heart has melted inside me' – Jesus was nearly unconscious.

·  'My tongue sticks in my mouth' – His mouth was completely dry.

·  'I have no strength left, like a baked pot' – he felt as dry as a pot that men make. They bake it in a hot oven until it is totally dry.

The *prophet wrote all of this 1000 years before the event. But these physical sufferings were not the greatest pain. Jesus felt that God had left him alone. That was when Jesus felt the greatest pain. That was when Jesus took your *sin and my *sin, and made them his own.

'This is the end'

Jesus gave one great final cry. ‘It is finished!’ [That means, 'this is the end'.] He had finished the work that the Father [God] had given him to do. His work was complete. Our *salvation was complete. And so finally, Jesus offered up his *spirit and died.

Luke 23:46  And Jesus cried out with a loud voice. He said, 'Father [God], I give my *spirit to you.' After that, he breathed for the last time.

The soldiers did not break Jesus' legs

Jesus died much sooner than he should have done. Two criminals were with him. They were still alive when he died.  The authorities wanted the *crucifixion over. They wanted to take away the bodies before the Sabbath [their holy day] began. It would begin at 6.00 p.m.. [That is, 6 o'clock in the late afternoon, when nightfall began.] To make the men die more quickly, soldiers came to break the legs of the two criminals (John 19:31-33). Then the criminals could not continue to push up on their legs to breathe. When they could not breathe, they died.

But Jesus was already dead, so the soldiers did not break his legs. This made a *prophecy come true. A *prophet had said that no bone of his should be broken. But, the soldier stuck a spear into Jesus’ side. [A spear is like a long, sharp sword.] Blood and water came out from Jesus (John 19:34). This showed that Jesus was already dead.

Jesus carried the *sin of the world

Pilate was surprised that Jesus died so soon (Mark 15:44). But Jesus carried the *sin of the world on that *cross. He suffered so much in these last three hours. That was what really killed him.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus bury Jesus' body

Two members of the Jewish council, Joseph (from Arimathea) and Nicodemus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. [The Jewish council was a group of Jewish leaders.] Nicodemus was the man who had earlier come to talk to Jesus by night.

Joseph and Nicodemus took the body down from the *cross and buried it.

A guard at Jesus' grave

The Jewish council asked for a guard at the grave. The Jewish rulers were afraid that Jesus' *disciples might try to steal the body. The Jewish rulers did not want anyone to pretend that Jesus was not really dead. They did not want any more problems with Jesus! They did not realise that Jesus would become alive again very soon.

Jesus would be alive, because Jesus defeated death itself! And later, Jesus would go up to *heaven.

 

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