The end has come. It is a Friday, the Day of Preparation for the Jewish Sabbath. The setting is Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. The Roman soldiers are there, doing what they do best - executing criminals in the most demeaning way possible. There are three crosses, each holding a naked, bloody body. On either side are criminals, receiving the due reward for their deeds. But most eyes are focused on the cross in the center. For there hangs a Man who claims to be the Son of God. The inscription of the charge against Him hangs above His head: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
Sometime around midnight, Jesus is betrayed by one of His own disciples in a nearby garden. As the hours pass, Jesus is taken from the courtyard of the high priest to the governor’s mansion. All along the way He is mistreated.
Robed as a king.
Crowned with thorns.
The 39 lashes Jesus receives leave deep lacerations across his back, shoulders, and arms. The pain is excruciating. The blood loss tremendous. The soldiers force Jesus to carry the cross part of the way to His place of execution. At Golgotha, He is stripped naked, thrown to the ground on His lacerated back, and receives the iron spikes in His wrists and feet. The cross is raised upright. The agony intensifies. Jesus’ breathing becomes progressively more difficult. The crowd provides the psychological torture, taunting and ridiculing Him.
David, the psalmist, gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ mind:
“I am a worm and not a man. … I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within My breast; My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue sticks to My jaws. … They have pierced My hands and feet—I can count all My bones.” [Psalm 22:6, 14-15, 16-17]
“His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind.” [Isaiah 52:14]
- He forgives those who are putting Him to death.
- He assures the repentant thief that faith in Christ leads to paradise after death.
- He entrusts His mother and His beloved friend to one another.
As 3:00 p.m. draws near, again Jesus speaks:
- First, a cry of forsakenness.
- Then, a cry of thirst.
- Finally, a cry of victory when all is finished.
“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Note that Jesus does not whisper these words. He shouts them. He wants the whole world to hear what He has to say. He is the Son of the Father, begotten and beloved from all eternity, accomplishing the very thing His Father sent Him to do.