Lesson 120: The Crucifixion
Matt 27:32-56, Mark 15:21-41, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:23-30
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson # 120. In this lesson we would like to cover the crucifixion on Golgotha, which literally translated means in our language: the place of the skull. (John 19:17). Three verses in Matthew and three verses in Mark reiterate and thus give us a review of our last lesson. We'll begin in Matt. 27:32 and read three verses. Are you ready? Matt. 27:32, let's read. "And as they came out, they found a man of cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink." Mark says the vinegar was mingled with "myrrh." Some of the commentators believe this bitter concoction was offered to deaden the nerves and quicken the death of the person on the cross, i.e. a sedative drug, we would say. It's hard for me to buy the idea that those people did it as an act of sympathy for the person on the cross. If that is said to be the purpose, it was sure hypocrisy. All the scourging and mocking and the crown of thorns and the robe and requiring one to carry their own cross certainly showed no sympathy or mercy at all. So, rather than to be some humane act; I would prefer to think it was probably something to add agony to the punishment. So, you'll have to draw your own conclusion.
Now, three verses from Mark. The reference is Mark 15:21-22-23. If you have that, let's read. Beginning in Mark 15:21. "And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they bring him unto the place of Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of the skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not." O.K. Jesus would not drink the concoction, whatever it was. He did not want to go on the cross drugged and in some stupor. The heavenly Father required that Jesus suffer on the cross and Jesus did just that. So, you can see what Jesus thought about the use of mind bending drugs. And you can see how tenaciously he demonstrated obedience.
Alright, we've come to the place that all four writers in the next verse we shall read, said that Jesus was crucified. That's where we would like to start in this lesson. But, since we are in the book of Mark, we may as well start where you have your finger, Mark 15:24, where you should already have your bible open. Let's begin in v.24 and read down through 41. That's a fairly long reading. Hang onto the details, so we can compare Mark's account with the other writers. Are you ready. Starting in Mark 15:24. "And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucified two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried, with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah. And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and give up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and give up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him; and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem." Mark said it was the third hour when they crucified him, i.e. 9 AM the way we keep time. None of the writers give the gory details of driving the nail's in his flesh and exactly how he was up-righted on to the cross. This is left to your imagination, and I'm sure you won't have much trouble with that. It was undoubtedly the duty of the soldiers to stay nearby and make sure no one came close to the cross and that the victim was left to die. While they were waiting, their first act was to gamble for the spoils; which in this case was Jesus' only possession, his clothing. The cross of Jesus was placed between the crosses of the two thieves. We'll discuss the things Jesus said and the conversations later. But, notice two or three more details here. At noon, Mark says "the sixth hours" (v.33), "there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour." From the sixth hour until the ninth hours would be from noon til three PM. Three hours would be a rather long period of darkness. And look at the wording in v.33, real close. Mark said the darkness was over the whole land. It is said by some this darkness was experienced even in Rome and because of this darkness factor and the stories that accompanied it; Pilate was later called to Rome by the Emperor to explain. It is said that Tiberius . removed Pilate from office over this incident. I'll let you research that story. But, let's skip down to v.37 and 38. When "Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost [i.e. when he died]...the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." Don't miss the significance of this! What was the veil of the temple? Well, we mentioned this back at the beginning of the book of Luke when Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist was offering incense in the temple and he saw the angel, Gabriel. The temple proper was divided into two rooms. The larger room, sometimes called the holy place which was furnished with three items of furniture: the candlestick, the table of shewbread and the incense alter where Zechariah was when Gabriel appeared. The smaller room, sometimes called, the Holy of Holies, or the MOST HOLY PLACE, had only one item of furniture: the ark of the covenant. At least this is the description back in the O.T. book of Exodus, in about ch. 25-ch.30. The two rooms were divided by a curtain or veil. V.38 here in Mark ch. 15 said that the veil was rent, i.e. torn, from the top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross. O.K., so what? The point is, this connects up with Matt. 23:38. Their house, i.e. the temple that the Jews prized so highly, was left unto them desolate. This was one of the last things that Jesus said in the last public sermon Jesus ever gave; and that sermon was in the temple. The point is that God's name was removed from the temple at that time, when the veil was rent from top to bottom. The significance of "top to bottom" shows the miraculous nature of the act. If it had been torn by a person it would have been torn starting with the lower extremity and tearing upward. But, that moment was the end of the O.T. era. The Holy of Holies was looked upon as the abiding place of God in the O.T. This curtain or veil (spelled "vail" in the O.T.); thus, became a term in the N.T. with a symbolic meaning. Take a look at the way the term is used in Heb. 6:19, and Heb. 10:20. Now, back to Mark 15:39, the centurion, i.e. the senior Roman officer, was convinced by the darkness and his observance of Jesus' death that Jesus was a divine person. He expressed this! And finally several women from Galilee followed Jesus and observed the crucifixion from afar.
Let's now quickly read the other three accounts. We'll back up and get Matthew first, then we'll move to Luke and John in that order. So, Matt. 27:35 is our starting place. Have you got it? Matt. 27:35, beginning. We'll read down through v.56. Are you ready? "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him; one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elijah. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."
O.K. on to Luke ch. 23. We'll start reading in v.33 and read down to v.49. Please turn to that and let's read. Beginning in Luke 23:33. Are you ready? "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which werehanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we received the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus. Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him. Verily Isay unto thee Today shalt thou be with me in paradise And it was.about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour And the sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst And 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 ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done he glorified God saying Certainly this was a righteous man And all the people that came together to that sight beholding the things which were done,- smote their breasts, and returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things."
I'm sure you see some interesting things here; but, let's get John's account read during this lesson. We'll go back verse by verse and comment some later. But, right now, you need to turn to John ch 19. The verse is 23. We're going to read John 19:23-30. So, here we go beginning in John 19:23 "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus,, took his garments and made four •parts to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves Let us not rend it but cast lots for it whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith They parted my raiment among them and for my vesture they did cast lots These things therefore the soldiers did Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister Mary the wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved he saith unto his mother, woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciples took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar and put it upon hyssop and put it to his mouth. When Jesus . therefore had received the vinegar,, he said It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost "OK. the idea of this lesson was to take us from the moment that Jesus was put on the cross until the moment he died; a period of about six hours on a Friday in AD 33 which was also the day the last scriptural passover feast was eaten. A very significant fact; when you consider the meaning of the passover, its institution and its being replaced at the end of the 0 T era with the institution of the Lord's Supper in the Christian age. Try to get the mechanics of the crucifixion in mind in this lesson. Jesus was put on the cross about 9 AM. The soldier gambled for his clothing. It was probably soon after Jesus was put on the cross that the chief priest and the Jewish rulers that came to the scene jeered, mocked and laughed. As was indicated in John 18:28, these leaders went from the scene of the crucifixion to eat the passover, which they had been too busy to do up until then. Then three hours of darkness, the sun was hidden, accompanied by an earthquake, shaking and the sound of great rocks breaking. Apparently Jesus died about the time the sun began to give light again, about 3 pM. We'll talk about who said what in our next lesson. Until then, have a good day.