Suffering Crucifixion

KEY VERSE: “When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And having said thus, he gave up the spirit.” —Luke 23:46


AFTER the end of the Memorial Supper instituted by our Lord, and the wonderful prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus and the disciples crossed the brook Cedron into the Garden of Gethsemane. The time was after midnight on the fourteenth of Nisan (Jewish reckoning). It was here that our Lord went alone to pray and left the disciples to watch, but because of the strains of the day, they were unable to stay awake. The Apostle Paul describes this experience of Jesus, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death [out from death—Diaglott], and was heard in that he feared.” (Heb. 5:7) Jesus was prepared to die. He knew that the purpose for his coming to earth was to take Adam’s place in death to provide the ransom-price that would in God’s due time be the means for the deliverance of the world of mankind from sin and death. But to do this, Jesus as a man, had to die, taking Adam’s place in the dust of the earth. Jesus was not praying that he might be saved from dying, but rather that God would exercise his mighty power and raise him out from the condition of death and exalt him to a spirit life. But the apostle indicated that our Lord’s prayers were heard and that he was comforted. We know that, from this point forward, there was no hesitation or question until his mission was accomplished.

After his arrest in the garden, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. The entire assembled group sought false witness against Jesus in order that they might put him to death, but they found none. In desperation the high priest asked Jesus, “Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God? Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sifting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. 26:63,64) This was all that was needed for the high priest to place the charge of blasphemy against him. But they realized that the Roman government would not become involved in a religious dispute and so they changed the charge to sedition against the Roman government and brought Jesus before Pilate. During all of this ordeal, before the high priest and before Pilate, Jesus endured derision, humiliation, and pain at the hands of the mockers.

When Jesus was finally sentenced to die on the cross and was led away and was crucified, it was 9:00 a.m. (the third hour) on the morning of the fourteenth of Nisan. “When the sixth hour was come [12:00 noon], there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [3:00 p.m.].” (Mark 15:33) The account continues, stating that at the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) Jesus died, and here was completed God’s greatest gift to mankind, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16

The fifteenth of Nisan was the beginning of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and on that year the first day also fell on the Sabbath (Saturday). We read in John 19:31, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [the Passover—the fourteenth of Nisan] (Mark 14:42; Luke 23:56) that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) [it was a high day because it was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and was also the regular Sabbath day] besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” The account continues, stating that when they came to Jesus they found that he was already dead and so did not break his legs.

So Jesus was taken from the cross and placed in the tomb before sundown on the fourteenth of Nisan, thus fulfilling the type of the Passover lamb. The body of Jesus laid in the tomb the entire day of the Sabbath (from sunset until sunset). Then we read, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”—Luke 24:1-3

Dawn Bible Students Association
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