Read: Matthew 27:27-54
Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on His head, and they placed a reed stick in His right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before Him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on Him and grabbed the stick and struck Him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him again. Then they led Him away to be crucified.
Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when He had tasted it, He refused to drink it.
After they had nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice.
Then they sat around and kept guard as He hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left.
The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at Him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. He saved others, they scoffed, “but He can’t save himself! So He is the King of Israel, is He? Let Him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in Him! He trusted God, so let God rescue Him now if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with Him ridiculed Him in the same way.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a reed stick so He could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save Him.”
Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released His spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
On the cross, the weight of the world’s evil really did converge upon Jesus, blotting out the sunlight of God’s love as surely as the light of the day was blotted out for three hours. Jesus “gave His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The sin of the “many,” which He was bearing, for the first and only time in His experience, caused a cloud to come between Him and the Father He loved and obeyed, the Father who had been delighted in Him. And because Jesus was God’s Son, He had to stay on the cross. That would be the way the world would be saved. That would be how death was defeated. That would be how He finished the work the Father had given Him to do. That would be how the Father’s delight would be complete.
As you read this passage of Scripture, take your time with it. Reading Scripture isn’t just for information but for transformation. Allow the Holy Spirit to communicate to you through His Word.
Pray for a sincere sense of repentance from sin. Offer thanks and praise to Christ for remaining on the cross and completing the work of the Father.