The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 11 - The *crucifixion of Jesus - Part 2
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At the hill called Golgotha, the soldiers fixed Jesus to the *cross. They stripped the prisoner naked for this. This caused great shame for Jews especially. Then they hammered in the nails. As the soldiers did this, Jesus prayed. He said, ‘Father forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34)
They offered Jesus wine with a drug when he was on the cross. This would have reduced the pain, but he refused it. He needed to be aware of everything to the end. There were more tests to come.
The way that the soldiers fixed Jesus to the *cross made *prophecy come true. A thousand years earlier, David wrote Psalm 22. It is an exact *prophecy of the *crucifixion. These words from Psalm 22 describe exactly what happened.
*Crucifixion was a very cruel way to die. There were the painful injuries, the hot sun, the insects. Worse than all this, the weight of the man's own body was very heavy. The man had to struggle for every breath. At last, the man’s own weight would pull his body right down so that he could not breathe. Sometimes the *cross had a part where a foot could rest, to support the weight. Then that would break off. The purpose of this was to make the man suffer longer. Usually, the man would die because he could not breathe. It would take several days. *Crucifixion was a painful, slow death. All the time the angry crowd would shout insults.
The soldiers usually took the prisoner’s clothes, and cut them up. They would share the cloth. But Jesus wore one long shirt made from one piece of cloth. The person who made it did not sew together separate pieces of cloth. From the neck to the feet, this shirt was whole. The soldiers did not want to spoil this shirt. So, they did not cut it up. Instead, they played a game to win it. In this way, they made words from the Bible come true (Psalm 22:18, John 19:24).
Pilate had written a notice which the soldiers fixed to the *cross. The notice read:
The notice was in three languages, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. Perhaps the people who wrote that meant it as a joke. God made sure that the notice was correct! Perhaps it made some people think about the spread of the good news about Jesus all over the world.
The crowds always insulted a prisoner on a *cross. It was like a game to them. The Bible records these words:
These words remind us of the time when the Devil tested Jesus three years earlier (Matthew 4:3). The Devil said then, ‘If you are the Son of God, save yourself. Make these stones into bread.’ In fact, these insults made *prophecy come true. Psalm 22 has these words:
'Nobody respects me. Everyone who sees me laughs at me' says the Psalm. There was no escape. Some of the words show how the crowd tried to test Jesus. 'Let your God deliver you now.' Evil people have said such words many times, when they killed Christians. But those Christians died because they trusted Jesus. Jesus himself suffered the same insult. The crowd did not know that they cried out the very words of Psalm 22:8. See Matthew 27:39-43. Remember also the shouts and cruel jokes in court. Remember the cruelty of the soldiers. Remember Herod's insults.
Peter wrote about the behaviour of Jesus at this time. Jesus did not accuse anyone or say anything in anger. He did not even speak in *judgement.
Jesus hung on the *cross between two criminals. Probably they had tried to begin a revolution. One criminal started to shout at Jesus, but the other criminal stopped him. Luke records what he said:
Luke 23:40-42 But the other man stopped him. He said, 'You ought to be afraid of God. You are getting the same punishment as Jesus. We deserve to die but this man [Jesus] has done nothing wrong.' Then he said to Jesus, '*Lord, remember me when you come into your *kingdom.'
The way that Jesus had behaved on the *cross had done this. It had helped this criminal to *repent and believe in Jesus. Jesus promised him that he would be with him in paradise that very day. [Paradise is another name for heaven, a perfect place, where God lives.]
Women who were relatives of prisoners usually came to a *crucifixion. There was no danger for them. Mary (the mother of Jesus) was there, together with some other women. Jesus knew that his mother would suffer to see him on the *cross. He knew that there might be trouble for her afterwards. So he spoke to her and to the *apostle John. He pointed to John and said, 'Woman, look at your son!' Then he said to John, 'Look at your mother!' (John 19:26-27) So, Jesus told John to look after Mary, as if she was his mother.
Even at this time, Jesus still cared for other people.
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