April 19 – Passion Week Report – Friday Crucifixion

Jesus of Nazareth Executed

Read Luke 22:66-23:56

JERUSALEM, Friday, spring ca. 30 a.d. – Jesus of Nazareth was crucified today just outside of the city at Golgotha. This latest development is the result of middle of the night interrogations and final sentencing by Governor Pilate.

Jesus had been apprehended late last night by Jewish officials in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was charged with violation of Jewish law and presented as a threat to the Roman government. In the early morning hours, Jesus was interrogated by Jewish officials, Pilate, and even Herod, governor of Galilee. Pontius Pilate, wanting to please the Jews but distance himself from their desires, reluctantly pronounced the sentence of public execution by crucifixion.

After scourging, Jesus carried His cross with the help of a fellow Jew to Golgatha. In an interview, the cross-carrier, Simon of Cyrene, explained, “My family and I had come to town to celebrate the Passover. I saw this beaten man stumbling under the weight of His cross. Suddenly, Roman guards demanded that I carry it for Him. Somewhere along the way, I learned that this man was Jesus. I had heard many good things about Him.”

Once at Golgotha, nails were driven into the hands and feet of Jesus before the cross was placed upright. On either side of Him were criminals being executed for their crimes. As the hours unfolded, both people from the crowds and from the other crosses taunted Him. To the surprise of all gathered, He did not enter into debate or self-defense. Instead, He graciously prayed that God would “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” And to one of the men on the cross, He is reported as saying, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

By mid-afternoon, Jesus had died. His body was removed from the cross and placed into a tomb.


Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

As a Roman soldier, it was my job to ensure that the crowds not get out of control. I have witnessed many such executions in my day. But none was like this one. Jesus was so gracious, compassionate, and even forgiving. Concurrent with His execution, the earth shook and the sky became dark. I even heard reports of the temple veil being torn and of dead people rising from the dead and walking about.

My personal conclusion is that surely this man was not just a righteous man but the Son of God. What conclusions would you draw?

A Roman Centurion

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