(1) Introduction.

I have studied Jesus' crucifixion and death in the following expositions:




What follows is a simple treatment of the second most momentous event in human history.

(A) The crucifixion of Jesus.

The crucifixion of Jesus teaches us to take care:

(1) Whom we mock.

Jesus was mocked by the Roman soldiers who dressed him as a king, crowned him with thorns, placed a staff in his hand and anointed him with spit. Pilate mocked Jesus by insisting a placard be attached to the cross above his head proclaiming the Saviour, 'King of the Jews', in Latin, Greek and Aramaic.

Passersby mocked Jesus, as did the members of the Sanhedrin; they jeered, "He saved others but he can't save himself." Even the two thieves crucified on either side of him Joined in.

What a terrible misake they all made. They ridiculed the Lord of Glory, the creator of the universe, the Saviour of the world, God's own dear son.

We need to be careful whom we mock - particularly as Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I can remember listening to my mother discussing Alice with Ruth as I took them both to chapel one Sunday. They thought Alice was being incredibly stupid making cakes for her two ne'er do well neighbours. Ruth said, "They show no appreciation." My mother added, "They take Alice for granted." Poor Alice!! But she wasn't poor because she lived according to the teaching of Jesus who said: "If you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. .... But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back." See Lk632to36.

(2) Over tasks we have to do.

Simon of Cyrene was probably visiting Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He was doing a bit of sightseeing in Jerusalem when he was pressed into carrying the cross of Jesus. He had no choice but to carry the cross. Roman law gave the centurion the right to commandeer a civilian to carry a burden for one mile. I hope that Simon did not bear Christ's cross with ill will. I don't think he would have been mentioned in the gospel narrative if that was the case.

Many who work in the church for a long time end up carrying on because there is no one else to shoulder the load. In such circumstances it is easy to forget whose we are and whom we serve and so carry on without much enthusiasm and with growing resentment. It is best to work for Jesus cheerfully; there is no knowing the good we may be doing.

(3) Whom we hurt.

We read without amplification the ominous words: When they had crucified him. Men have shown fiendish inventiveness in devising innumerable ways of inflicting terrible pain on their fellows. Crucifixion was probably the most barbaric and excruciating way of executing a malefactor. The pain was unrelieved and prolonged. The person being crucified had to keep pulling himself up by his nail pierced hands to breath. When the pain in his arms and hands got too bad the body slumped down again until another breath was needed.

The truly startling and disturbing truth is that Jesus, the man hanging on the cross, was God's Son whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. Heb1v2. The crucifixion exhibits more starkly and uncompromisingly than any other single event including the holocaust, mankind's wickedness and capacity for cruelty.

We need to watch ourselves lest we are guilty of cruelty. If we find ourselves enjoying the suffering of another we are joining forces with all those who revelled in the humiliation and awful suffering of Jesus.

Yet it still happens. In 2018 an 18-year-old Egyptian student, Mariam, was attacked by a 10 strong black girl gang in Nottingham. She was left in a deadly coma from which she died. What a bunch of bullies!

(4) Over our priorities.

The priority of the Roman soldiers once they had crucified Jesus was to divide up his clothing. There were probably six items of clothing. One, the blood soaked sweat band, they left in place. See exposition on John20v1to9 - part D. They may each have thrown three dice with the person scoring highest having first choice of the turban, girdle, sandals and outer cloak. The person scoring second highest would have the second choice - and so on. Finally they threw the dice again with the highest scorer taking possession of the sixth item of clothing, namely, the seamless inner robe.

Today, people are so preoccupied by work, entertainment, hobbies, shopping and family that they scarcely spare a thought for Jesus. Occasionally, for weddings, christenings and funerals a concession is made to our Christian heritage - but that is all.

(5) Who we listen to.

Jesus was taunted by three groups of people as he hung on the cross: the casual passers by, the religious leaders and the two thieves. Each group pretty much taunted Jesus in the same way: "Save yourself. Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God." Mt17v40.

Jesus could easily have saved himself. He had 84, 000 angels at his disposal. This is what Satan wanted Jesus to do. The spectators at the cross were the mouthpieces of Satan. Jesus could have saved himself at the expense of NOT saving us. But, Jesus chose to obey his Father and offer himself as the sacrificial lamb that takes away the sin of the world. He paid the ransom for me - thank God.

Satan will tempt us in a variety of ways to do his, rather than God's, will. He will tempt us to give up the work we are doing for Jesus; to give up supporting a small church; to give up on people who resist the gospel

(B) Jesus death.

The death of Jesus teaches us to take comfort and rejoice:

(1) That the price of our redemption is paid.

At about the 9th hour, that is 3pm, Jesus cried out in a loud voice: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus bore God's punishment for our sin. It wasn't the pain and suffering of the scourging, the crown of thorns or the crucifixion. The brutal treatment that Jesus received was a consequence of our fallen nature. Men crucified Jesus, not God. The ultimate punishment for sin is separation from God - spiritual death. This is what Jesus suffered. When he became sin for us God the Father was estranged from God the Son; hence the terrible cry, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Jesus suffered temporary separation from God the Father to save us from the ultimate punishment - eternal separation from God.

A sacrifice is a token payment for sins committed. That is all Jesus could offer - a token payment. Its sufficiency would depend upon the grace of God.

(2) That God sets limits on suffering.

Jesus was crucified at the third hour - 9am. He died at the ninth hour - 3pm. See Mk15v25 and Mk15v34. When Jesus' work was complete and he was able to shout in triumph, "It is finished", he was able to dismiss his spirit. The two thieves suffered physically for another three hours until about 6pm.

Jesus did not hang on the cross and suffer longer than it took for him to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins and for God to accept that sacrifice on our behalf.

Jesus willed his own death; no man took it from him. There may be implications here for how we treat the terminally ill. It seems to me that Jesus' premature death supports pain relief even if it shortens a person's life.

(3) At the triumphant conclusion.

John describes the sequence of events leading up to Jesus' death. See John19v28to30. First, Jesus asked for a drink even though he knew his death was imminent because his work was done. I think he asked for a drink to free up his parched voice. This allowed him to SHOUT in triumph, "It(the great work of salvation) is finished (completed)." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit to his Father's save keeping. Luke records Jesus as saying: "Father into your hands I commit my spirit."

I cannot emphasise enough, Jesus' cry was an exultant one - a shout of triumph. HE wasn't finished - but his saving work was complete - the price of our redemption had been paid and accepted. HALLELUJAH.

(4) At the new accessability to God.

As Jesus gave up his spirit the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The curtain, or veil, separated the Holy of Holies from the court of priests. Only the High Priest was allowed to part the curtain on the Day of Atonement and enter into God's presence. The rending of the veil means the way into God's presence is open to ALL. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; he is the way to God and he is, by faith, available to everyone.

(5) At the soldier's conviction.

Jesus had forecasted in life: "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Jn12v32.

Mark records specifically: "And when the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man WAS the Son of God."

No one was better placed to pass judgment on Jesus than the centurion. He was present from the beginning to the end. He had seen Jesus under extreme conditions, racked with pain and reviled. Yet the centurion's testimony was emphatic, "Surely this man was the Son of God."

The cross was already drawing men to Jesus in amazement and admiration AND it has done so ever since.

(6) At the faithfulness of the women.

All the disciples, except for John, fled, but Jesus' women admirers loved him and remained faithful to the end. Three are mentioned by name: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses and Salome, wife of Zebedee and mother to James and John. Matthew records that many other women from Galilee who had followed Jesus to Jerusalem were present. These women were all devoted to Jesus. They exemplified the truth of what Paul wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians: Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Cor13v7.

Love never fails. It didn't fail these women. Hard though it was - they stuck by Jesus to the end - except, of course, it wasn't the end. One of these women, representative of them all, was the first person to see the risen Christ. Hallelujah!