We are in Day 52 of our rapid trip through the NLT Chronological Bible, reading it as we would read a novel.  Today we have the crucifixion of Jesus.

All four of the gospel writers delve deeply into the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus.  They do this because they all believed it was the crucial event of Jesus life, indeed as Jesus himself made clear, it was the goal and aim of his life.  He came to earth for just this moment when the power of darkness seemed to take full control of events in Jerusalem.

Jesus is arrested in Gethsemane, interrogated by the Jewish leaders and then dragged before Pilate.  Pilate, not wanting to take responsibility for him, sends Jesus on to Herod Antipas.  When Herod can’t get Jesus to say much he sends him back to Pilate who, like it or not has responsibility for the fate of Jesus.

Meanwhile, Pilate gets a note from his wife, “Leave that innocent man alone,” it reads.

Knowing that Jesus was innocent of the charges, Pilate tries to reason with the crowd to no avail.  Their bloodlust is up and only crucifying him will satisfy.  Pilate literally and metaphorically tries to wash his hands of the whole affair, but of course, he cannot, he is ultimately responsible.

Jesus’ opponents make him carry his own cross to the crucifixion site after a savage beating by Roman soldiers.  He is so weak that they force a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, to carry Jesus’ cross.  There is good internal evidence that Simon comes to faith in Jesus, just from this experience.

There is a frightening scene at the cross where Jesus’ opponents mock him.  If you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross, they shout. The reader wants to cry out, “No!  No, do not say that.  That is the one thing you do not want, because if Jesus comes down from the cross you will have to pay for your own sins, and so will I.”

Then Jesus final words:  It is finished.

This is Friday.  Jesus’ disciples have abandoned him, Peter has denied him, God the Father has forsaken him, he is dead…but Sunday is coming.

 

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