Today, Friday 10th April, 2020 is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On that day, Jesus was crucified in a very cruel way. It was a painful death but it was also dramatic, symbolic and fulfillment of prophecy. I would like us to journey through the Bible on the story of Jesus’ death.
JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and He said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and He became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then He returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When He returned to them again, He found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then He came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” – Matthew 26:36-46.
JESUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL
Then the people who had arrested Jesus led Him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. Meanwhile, Peter followed Him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end. Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put Him to death. But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat Him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” – Matthew 26:57-68.
THE COUNCIL OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONDEMNS JESUS
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound Him, led Him away, and took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor. When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, He was filled with remorse. So He took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—
the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field,
as the Lord directed.” – Matthew 27:1-10
JESUS’ TRIAL BEFORE PILATE
Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.” But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise. Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about Him last night.” Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!” Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? They shouted back, “Crucify him!” “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has He committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify Him!” Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. – Matthew 27:11-26
Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when He had tasted it, He refused to drink it. After they had nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as He hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left. The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at Him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but He can’t save himself! So He is the King of Israel, is He? Let Him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in Him! He trusted God, so let God rescue Him now if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with Him ridiculed Him in the same way. – Matthew 27:32-44
THE DEATH OF JESUS
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a reed stick so He could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released His spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for Him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee. – Matthew 27:45-56.
THE BURIAL OF JESUS
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in His own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then He rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. – Matthew 27:57-61.
THE GUARD AT THE TOMB
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while He was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent His disciples from coming and stealing His body and then telling everyone He was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. – Matthew 27:62-66.
For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615