Matthew 27:15–66; Mark 15:6–47; Luke 23:13–56; John 18:39–19:42; The Desire of Ages, pp. 731–764
I want Jesus to be my personal Saviour.
“ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ ” (John 3:16, NIV).
Who is your best friend? Would you be willing to suffer to help that friend? Is there anyone you don’t like? Would you do whatever it takes to help that person if they were in trouble? I know someone who would answer “Yes!” to both questions. He suffered and died in our place to save everyone. Let’s read His story.
I have examined this man, and He is innocent!” Pilate argued. “I will have Him whipped. But then I will release Him.”
A great roar rose from the crowd. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Release Barabbas to us!” The crowd shouted louder and louder.
It was the custom to release a prisoner during the Passover season. The crowd was demanding that a terrible criminal be set free, and that innocent Jesus be put to death.
Pilate was the governor. But he was afraid of the people. And at last he let them have their way. Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of any crime. But he turned Him over to the mob. And he let Barabbas out of prison.
Thousands of people lined both sides of the road as Jesus struggled along. He staggered under the weight of His cross. Most people shouted and jeered at Jesus. His friends and followers wept.
Finally Jesus fell down. He had no strength left after being beaten by the soldiers. The soldiers grabbed a strong-looking man who was standing nearby. Simon, a traveler from the town of Cyrene, was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. They reached the place called Calvary—the place where criminals were crucified. The soldiers pushed Jesus roughly down on the cross. They pounded long iron spikes through His wrists and His feet. Then they lifted the cross and dropped the bottom of it into a hole in the ground so it would stand upright. The pain was terrible. Crucifixion was the most painful and cruel way to put someone to death. But Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive these people. They don’t know what they are doing.”
The crowd watched as the leaders made fun of Jesus. “He saved other people, but He can’t save Himself!” they jeered. The soldiers made fun of Jesus too. They made a sign and nailed it above His head. “This is the King of the Jews!” it declared.
Two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. One of the men mocked Him. “So You’re the Messiah! Prove it by saving Yourself and us too!”
The other thief responded. “We deserve to die,” he protested. “But this Man has not done anything wrong!” He turned to Jesus and said, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
And Jesus promised him that He would.
At noon, the light from the sun completely disappeared. The darkness lasted until 3 o’clock when Jesus cried, “Father, I entrust My spirit into Your hands!” Then He died.
The earth shook. The curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Only God or His angels could have ripped the thick curtain!
A good man named Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Joseph put Jesus’ body in a new tomb. One that had been carved out of a rock. The very tomb that Joseph had had made for himself. A big stone was rolled in place to seal the tomb.
It was very late Friday afternoon. All was quiet. Everyone there knew that something powerful had just happened.