The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 11 - The *crucifixion of Jesus - Part 1
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We now continue the story of the *crucifixion. [Crucifixion is a cruel way to kill someone as a punishment. The Roman soldiers would make a wooden *cross and fasten a man to it with nails. He must hang there until he dies.]
Pilate agreed to do what the Jewish rulers requested. He handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers. They prepared for Jesus' *crucifixion.
But we need to understand what was going on. It was like a fight between Jesus and the *Devil. The *Devil tried very hard to get Jesus to make a mistake. The *Devil wanted Jesus to say something that was wrong. Or, the *Devil wanted Jesus to do something that was wrong. Anything like this would have damaged God’s purpose completely. We have thought about the difficulties that Jesus had at this time. There were more and more of them, but much worse was to come. The way that Jesus behaved through all these troubles is important. It proves to us who he was. After he saw Jesus, even the Roman officer said, ‘Surely, Jesus was the Son of God!’
Before a *crucifixion, the Roman soldiers would beat the prisoner. The Roman soldiers did this in a very cruel way. Jewish law said that you could beat a prisoner no more than 39 times. There was no limit in Roman law. If a prisoner could not breathe, the Roman soldiers helped him to breathe again. Then they continued to beat him. Sometimes men died. Their backs were like a field that a farmer has ploughed. Long pieces of skin hung from their backs. The soldiers beat Jesus like this, by the Roman law.
The Roman soldiers now had some fun in a cruel way. They gave Jesus a crown that they made from sharp branches. (Probably Jesus did not wear this on the *cross. The Roman officer would never have allowed this. It would show that the soldiers were out of his control.)
By this time, Jesus must have looked terrible. The soldiers had beaten him. They had thrown things at him. They had hit him and pulled his beard. Artists have often painted pictures of Jesus on the *cross. But these pictures cannot really show us what Jesus was like by that time. Isaiah’s description is better:
Usually the prisoner had to carry his own *cross. The *cross was two large pieces of wood that the soldiers tied together. Soon they saw that Jesus was too weak to carry his own *cross. The Roman soldiers forced Simon from Cyrene to carry it for him.
Some women stood with the crowds along the road. These women wept for Jesus. He spoke to them. He told them not to weep for him. They should weep for themselves and for their children.
Jesus knew very well that there would be a terrible *judgement for the Jews. There would be a time of punishment from God. Enemies would destroy Jerusalem, not many years later. At that time the Romans killed so many people by *crucifixion that they did not have enough wood. In fact, the Jewish nation has suffered ever since. Jesus had come to rescue people from the punishment for their *sins. He came to show people what God is like. And Jesus came to help us, so that we could know him. Jesus had come to give eternal life [that is, a friendship with God that lasts always]. Most of the Jewish nation would not listen to him. Not long before this time, Jesus had said this:
Even at this time, Jesus thought about other people. He had come to the world to rescue everyone. He even wanted to help the people who refused to be his friends.
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