Matthew 27:1-54, Mark 15:1-40, Luke 23:1-48, John 19:1-30
The crucifixion of Jesus is recorded in the New Testament books, known as the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This Bible story is the central summary of the saving Gospel of Jesus. Jesus had prophesied of his death in Matthew “from that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Jesus understood that his life would be required as a sacrifice for the sins of man.
At the height of his ministry and miracles, many Jews came to believe in Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God. Jewish leaders feared Jesus because of his growing followers. With the help of Judas Iscariot, Roman soldiers arrested Jesus and he was put on trial for claiming to be the king of the Jews. According to Roman law, the punishment for rebellion against the king was death by crucifixion.
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate was reluctant when it came to the punishment for Jesus. Pilate could find no wrong in Jesus, yet he wanted to give the people what they wanted, and that was the death of Jesus. Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd to symbolize that he was not taking responsibility for the bloodshed of Jesus and then handed Jesus over to be beaten and lashed. Jesus had a crown of thorns thrust on his head and made to carry his cross along the pathway to the hill where he would be crucified. The location of Jesus’ crucifixion is known as Calvary, which is translated from “a place of skull”.
Crowds had gathered to mourn and watch Jesus’ death. Jesus was nailed to the cross between two criminals and his sides pierced by a sword. While Jesus was mocked, one of the criminals asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus responded: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus then looked to heaven and asked God to “forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” When taking his last breath, Jesus spoke: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit…it is finished.”
Extraordinary events marked the death of Jesus. The sky was completely dark for three hours as Jesus hung on the cross. At the moment of his last breath, the earth shook, the temple curtain split from top to bottom, and the tombs of saints opened and their bodies raised from the dead.
The crucifixion of Jesus was a part of God’s plan from the very beginning of the birth of Jesus. The sin of mankind would require a sacrifice. The sinless life of Jesus was lived and given so that man could receive salvation and eternal life in heaven.