168. Jesus hung on the cross- Matt. 27:31-38, Mark 15:20-28, Luke 23:26-34, John 19:16-22
-Jesus is led out to be crucified with a procession of followers mourning and lamenting His plight. Some were hurling insults and mockery at Him and were pleased to see the Son of Man dying in front of their very eyes. Simon of Cyrene is an interesting aside to the crucifixion drama as he is compelled to carry the cross of the Lord for what was probably a good distance more than likely because Jesus was too weak to go on with this load. Mark’s gospel even includes the names of Simon’s sons, Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). From this we may infer that at some point Simon became a believer and in some way gave testimony to the crucifixion accounts for its written account by the gospel writers. *Application* Simon of Cyrene was an illustration to us as believers of Christ’s command to pick up your cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). This is a load to bear, but it is worth it to know that we are in partnership with the Lord and doing His will His way. Die to yourself and follow the Master wherever He leads.
-Jesus was taken outside the city gates to a place called Golgotha, which means “Place of the Skull (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:33, John 19:17).” Some time later Jerome, translating the Scriptures into Latin, used the term which we now translate as Calvary for the Skull (Latin for skull is calvaria).
-Along this Via Dolorosa (the way of suffering, or grief) He told the women who followed and were lamenting and mourning not to do that over Him, but for themselves and their children. He foresaw terrible times coming upon His people prophetically, which is taken up in more detail other passages of Scripture (Zechariah 12:10-14, Matthew 24:15-22, Luke 23:28-31, Revelation 6:16-17). There are two sites held by tradition to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. The traditional site is west of the Antonia Fortress, built by Herod to oversee the Temple Mount area. It is a steep journey up a mountain; an arduous task for a man who has been beaten and abused such as Christ was. This journey ends at what is now known as The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The other site is known as the “Garden Tomb” and is north of the city outside the ancient gates. This place would have been a high traffic area, was in a garden area near the tomb, had a rock formation cut out of the side of the mountain that looked like a skull (this is from the building projects quarried by Herod’s administration). There are convincing proofs that this could very well be the location of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but the exact location is unknown and inconclusive.
-Christ’s inscription read that He was the King of the Jews from Nazareth, written by Pilate (John 19:19). The Jewish leaders were upset with this, but Pilate would not change his sign. This may have been a form of mockery, and it was certainly used as a deterrent to further insurrections by the populace as a sign of Roman domination and authority. The Lord, in His Providence, allowed this appropriate message to be displayed as He died for the sins of mankind upon the wooden cross.
-*Application* Again we are brought to the point of decision when we read accounts of the Lord’s suffering and pain on our behalf. If you never have, receive the Lord’s sacrificial death for the atonement of your personal sins and be set free from the guilt and penalty of separation from God. Trust in Him and His work on the cross for forgiveness.
Verse to Memorize- Luke 23:34