The Message of the Cross (Page Two)
16. The Roman soldiers take Jesus to the Praetorium where they continue the mockery by putting a reed in His right hand, spiting upon Him and then shaking the reed and beating Jesus upon the head. Here is the scene: The blood vessels in Jesus' face are burst and now black after the agony in Gethsemane. Jesus was Hit in the face at the house of Annas. Slapped in the face and spit upon during questioning at Caiaphas's. Scourged, beaten with their hands and a crown of thorns pressed upon His head by Pilate's soldiers now Jesus is again beaten but by the reed (rod) upon the head. They look at Him with the purple robe, crown of thorns, a reed in His hand, His face mutilated, bloody, black and dripping with spit and they bow before Him saying "Hail King of the Jews".
17. They strip Jesus again as they take off the purple robe and put back on Him His own clothes.
18. "They took Jesus and He went out bearing the cross for Himself." (The cross was made of wood, but we do not know what kind of wood it was. The wood would have to be thick enough to hold a man's weight of perhaps 180 pounds and long enough to crucify a 6 foot or more man. With a man's hands outstretched the cross beam would be about 6 foot, the long beam must be at least 6 foot, the part of the cross out in the ground would need to be about two or three feet. There would need to be a space between the ground and the feet of the crucified of several more feet perhaps three. The best I can figure it the cross was about 6 feet across and 12 foot long (2 meters by 4 meters). To hold the body weight the thickness would be about 4 inches by 4 inches. That is the size of the cross I have carried around the world since 1969. Since wood was scarce there and had to be transported in by foot or animal, the cross was probably not new and beautiful but old distorted wood fit only for criminals to die on. The Bible calls it a cross Jesus was carrying. Some people suggest it was only one beam of the cross but there is no evidence of that being the case. It was a real cross and looked like a cross. The distance the cross was carried was at the most half a mile but probably less than that, depending upon which of two places one believes Calvary to be located. It would be located just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem (not the present walls). The temple is atop the mountain Jerusalem is built upon, the Roman palace of Pilate and the Praetorium are near the temple but lower than it. The place of the crucifixion is outside the city walls and lower than the Praetorium in altitude. It was a gradual down hill. Three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke only mention Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross of Jesus. The Gospel of John only mentions Jesus carrying the cross! When you put the four accounts together you get the following picture.)
19. Jesus leaves the Praetorium carrying the cross! He is followed by a huge crowd of people including a group of weeping, grieving, wailing women. Jesus, even in His agony, turns and speaks to them, a warning of the suffering soon to come to Jerusalem.
20. After Jesus carries the Cross some distance, we don't know how far, the soldiers grab a man named Simon of Cyrene and force him to carry the cross FOLLOWING JESUS. Jesus is in front with Simon just behind Him. Cyrene is in North Africa and was a Roman province in what is now present day Libya. The book of Mark tells us that Simon was the father of two sons, Alexander and Rufus, implying that they were known to the early church. Three times it is said the Simon was coming in from the country and Mark says he was just passing by. Simon in all probability was not a follower of Jesus at this point but a surprised stranger.
21. The Gospel accounts of the cross walk say nothing of Jesus stumbling or falling although church tradition adds this and more however it may be safe to assume that because of the extreme torture of Jesus and His condition the soldiers feared Him collapsing and dying before being crucified as ordered by Pilate.
22. They reach 'the place of the skull' 'Golgotha' is the Aramaic word for skull and Calvary is the Latin word.
23. There Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink but He refuses (choosing to suffer all the pain).
24. Jesus is crucified!(Jesus is nailed to the cross. The cross is probably laid down on the ground, Jesus probably Himself upon, stretched out His Hands and crossed His feet ready to receive the nails. After the resurrection Jesus showed the disciples His hands and feet as evidence that He was the same one crucified. That is enough for me! Some suggest that the nails were in His wrist but there is no evidence to that theory. The Bible clearly says "They pierced My hands and My feet" It was very possible that a rope might have been tied about the wrist to hold some weight but we are not sure of that. After being nailed to the cross the cross would have been lifted up with the bottom end at the hole that would have been dug. The soldiers would have raised it until it was nearly upright then the cross would fall into the hole with a great THUD. This now had Jesus up, hanging on the wood of a tree for all to see.)
25. Before they crucified Jesus, the soldiers stripped Him of His garments. They made four parts and then as Jesus hung on the cross they gambled for His tunic that was without seam woven from the top in one piece. Artists throughout history have covered the exposed body of Jesus. Too much to think of this Savior, bloody, flesh torn from the back, face mutilated and swollen and naked!! Oh, I don't want to go on with this but I must.
26. A plaque or inscription was put on the cross above the head of Jesus reading "Jesus of Nazareth The King of the Jews" it was written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
27. In the crowd about the cross; some just looked----others laughed and wagged their heads, the chief priests, scribes and elders were there, still after Jesus. They mocked Him, scoffed at Him saying 'He saved others let Him save Himself' , 'If you are the King of Israel come down from the cross that we may believe.'
The words of Jesus from the Cross.
28. "Father forgive them: for they know not what they do." These words Jesus said soon after being crucified. They are so profound they need no further comment. The people who crucified Jesus are forgiven of this, No doubt about it, the Father would do what Jesus ask.
29. Two criminals were also crucified with Jesus. One on the right side and the other on the left. At first both criticized Jesus but then one began to say that they were getting what they deserved but that Jesus had done nothing wrong and then he spoke "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom". Jesus then said to the one thief, "Today I say to you, you will be with me in Paradise."
30. Standing by the cross of Jesus was His mother, His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved he said to His mother "Woman behold your son."
31. Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother."
32. These first four sayings of Jesus were during the hours of about nine a.m. to twelve noon. Then from twelve noon to three p.m. there was darkness over all the land. About 3 p.m. at the close of the darkness period.
33. Jesus cries out with a loud voice "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" translated from Aramaic "My God, My God Why have you forsaken Me?"
34. Then Jesus knowing that all things were finished and accomplished according to the scriptures said "I thirst."
35. Someone ran and got a sponge, filled it with vinegar upon hyssop and gave Him a drink.
36. Jesus cries out with a loud voice "It is finished!"
37. "Father into Your hands I commend My spirit."
38. Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
39. The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to bottom! The earth quaked. The rocks were split. The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had died were raised and coming out of the graves after the resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
40. The centurion and those with him said "Truly this man was the Son of God!" and the centurion glorified God.
41. Standing far away watching everything was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the mother of Zebedee's sons and many women that had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him and many other women from Jerusalem .
42. Pilate orders that the legs of the crucified be broken so that they die quickly, so they are not left on the crosses on the Jewish sabbath. The soldiers did this to the other two but when they came to Jesus they saw He was already dead so they did not break His legs. However one of the soldiers with a spear pierced Jesus in the side and there came out blood and water!
43. Joseph a rich man from Arimathaea, a good and righteous man who had not agreed to the counsel to condemn Jesus, went to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews. Pilate released the body to Joseph. Nicodemus, who had come to talk to Jesus before, came and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap the body in. He assisted Joseph as they wrapped Jesus' body in linen cloths and laid him in a new tomb cut out of stone. This was Joseph's own tomb, in it he laid the body of Jesus and rolled a big stone in the door of the tomb and departed.
44. The women watch the burial and see the tomb.
45. Pilate at the request of the religious leaders then sends guards to seal the stone and guard the tomb.
THE GLORY OF THE CROSS
The story of the cross does not end in death, or at the grave; as a matter of fact it never ends!!!! Jesus said "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." On the third day after the cross----JESUS AROSE! Hallelujah, Jesus Lives! The Father raised Him from the dead. There IS hope. Jesus has the power over death, hell and the grave. The resurrected Jesus was seen on earth for forty days. He often appeared to His eleven disciples, also to Mary Magdalene and the other women followers and to hundreds of other believers. On the third day after the cross a great earthquake took place and an angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. This was not to let Jesus out but to let the world see in!! "He is not here He is risen" the angels proclaimed on that resurrection morning. The fearful disciples changed into bold, fearless witnesses of the resurrected living Jesus taking His message to the world. At the conclusion of Jesus' time on earth He led His followers to the top of Mt. Olivet just out of Jerusalem. He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Jesus was then taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight into heaven where He sat down at the right hand of God!
While they were looking up, two angels said to them "this SAME Jesus which was taken up shall return in the same way you saw Him go into heaven." They then returned to Jerusalem with great joy and went from there everywhere preaching and witnessing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus had told them He would come again but until then His followers were to go into all the world and be His witnesses and make disciples. Jesus said there would be many false christs and false prophets. There will be wars, earthquakes, famines and terrors. People will be gripped with fear and the heavens shall be shaken. THEN: They shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory! He shall send forth His angels with a great sound of the trumpet. They will gather together His elect from all the world and from Heaven. He will sit on the throne of His glory. All nations will be gathered before Him. He will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats. He will set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left. Then He will say to those on His right "come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world". The angels will separate the wicked from among the just and cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. JESUS WARNED : "Be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. For it is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." "I am coming quickly".
THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS
Throughout the remainder of the New Testament books the cross is a central theme. Christ lived, He died for our sins, He rose again, ascended into heaven, He is coming again, and will be the final judge and His followers will be with God in heaven! Just after the ascension of Jesus the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter, a disciple, preached to a huge crowd in Jerusalem "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
"God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God." "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
"God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, but whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." "He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross."
"For we believe that Jesus died and rose again." "There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all." "Looking unto Jesus, the originator and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
"You were not redeemed with perishable things,-- but with the precious blood of Christ,-- who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree,-- by whose stripes (wounds) you were healed." "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "Jesus Christ who loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." From heaven we read in the book of Revelation "For you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every tribe and language and people and nation."
THE GLORIOUS ETERNITY FOR THE BELIEVER
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away. There was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy Jerusalem coming down from out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from heaven saying 'Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said 'Behold, I make all things new.'" "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. The throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it and they shall see His face."
NOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS?
Believe in Him! Follow Him! Repent of your sins! Love Him! Know Him! Jesus said " If anyone desires to come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." The scripture says clearly "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Let me suggest that you now call upon the name of the Lord now! He will hear you. A prayer you can pray now.
Dear God, I need you. As best as I know how I give you my life. Lord Jesus I believe you died on the cross for my sins, arose, ascended to the Father and will come again. I repent of my sins. Come into my life and give me new life. I want to follow you and live in Your way. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and your love. I forgive everyone, help me to love everyone. Please write my name in your book and make my home in heaven. I am not ashamed of Jesus. Thank you. In Jesus name I pray.
It's very important now for you to get a Bible and read it carefully. Find a group of fellow believers (a church) and be baptized. Seek to grow in how to clearly follow Jesus and know God in fullness. Confess Jesus openly and share with others the new life you now have. [If you prayed this prayer, please let us know by clicking here. We want to rejoice with you.]
Jesus said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind". "This is the first and great commandment." And the second is like it: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."