-The passion of Christ continues as the council brings Him before Pilate who questions Him as to whether or not He considered Himself to be the King of the Jews. Jesus answered in the affirmative, but somehow Pilate is convinced that Jesus is not deserving of the death sentence. However, he is insecure in his position as governor and wants to avoid contention with possible disturbances and riots in this politically charged part of the Roman Empire. His fear is not for the Lord, but for man and this is his great downfall and condemnation. While he is to be commended for trying to release the Savior, he capitulated to the desires of evil men and in fact catered to their demands rather than taking a firm stand. *Application* Pilate was so close to God, yet so far away. His point of grappling was over the truth (John 18:38). He could not get the truth because his loyalties were torn. Peace only comes through full obedience to our God. Have you surrendered your life totally to His will or are you still holding on to your own futile reasons and rationale? You’ll only find the way, the truth, and the life through Christ Jesus (John 14:6).
-Pilate turns Jesus over to Herod’s jurisdiction since He was Galilean. This respect brings the two political enemies together as friends for the first time. Herod, who had John the Baptist killed, wanted to see a miracle and was inquisitive of the Christ, but Jesus answered him nothing and would not appease his mocking spirit.
-Jesus returns and no guilt is found in Him. In fact, Jesus is put on trial six times during these proceedings without any guilty verdict. But the crowds were so stirred up with the spirit of evil, all under God’s Divine providence, that the Son of Man was condemned to die. This was done so that our sins could be forgiven as the climax of human history. Barabbas is released and Jesus was given the cross.
-Jesus was led out to Golgotha, the place of the skull, to be crucified. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross of Christ. This no doubt was because of the flogging He received and the weakness of His body at this point (Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1). It took a man of great strength just to pick himself up after a beating like this, much less carry a heavy wooden cross.
-As Christ went to the place of His crucifixion, there were women following Him, mourning and lamenting His predicament. Jesus words were calculated as He warned them of the coming devastation on the land of Israel because of their rejection of their Messiah.
-Two criminals were sentenced to die along with Christ this day. Jesus made a passionate comment to the Father that they all be forgiven because they do not know what they are doing. *Application* What amazing fortitude and love we see in our Savior here as He keeps the proper perspective in His most intense hour of suffering and pain. His compassion fails not, even in the most desperate circumstances.
-As He hung on the cross, many people stood by sneering and mocking Him including the rulers. They taunted Him with raves about getting Himself down from the cross to save Himself. Their illogical reasoning was that if He could claim to save others, why couldn’t He save Himself. The soldiers also mocked Him with sour wine and taunts.
-In the midst of all this was one man who showed extreme faith in the Son of God. This man was a humbled-executed criminal who repented of his malfunction and received paradise with Jesus Christ that very day. He recognized that Jesus had done nothing wrong and by his belief, even at the lowest point of the Savior’s ministry, he asked for pardon, which the Lord granted him. He saw the eternal Kingdom that was coming by faith and entered it.
-Now from 12:00noon to 3:00pm darkness fell upon the region. This is representative of God’s judgment on sin that was being taken on by the Son during these precious hours. It is reminiscent of the darkness that pervaded Egypt before the release of the Hebrew captives (Exodus 10:21-23).
-At last Jesus committed His Spirit to the Father and breathed His last breath. The Son of God had completed the task for our redemption and glory was now His alone. The centurion, who was right there watching all these events, was convinced of Christ’s innocence and began glorifying the Lord. In fact, the rest of the crowd returned beating their breasts, which was done in remorse and probably great bewilderment. His acquaintances, John included, and the women, including His mother (John 19:26-27), saw all these things.
-Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Council, who was a secret disciple of Jesus asked Pilate for the body of the Lord and buried Him after taking Him off of the cross in his own burial plot (Matthew 27:60) near the site of the crucifixion, which was in a garden (John 19:41-42). The women saw where the tomb was and how they laid His body. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes and on the Sabbath day they rested, along with the Savior, according to the commandment.
Verse to Memorize: Luke 23:34