The Crucifixion

Fearing to go against the wishes of an unruly crowd, Governor Pontius Pilate turned Jesus over to a band of cowardly soldiers, who “stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!”

After these cruel indignities, the soldiers spit upon Jesus and smote Him on the head with the reed. Then tiring of mocking Him, they took off the scarlet robe and put on His own garment again.

While on their way to crucify Jesus, “they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross” to a skull-like hillock (Calvary) on the outskirts of town. It was here that the soldier mob committed the cruelest punishment of all. Nailing Jesus through hands and feet to the wooden cross, these barbarians heartlessly gambled for Jesus’ garments near the foot of the erected cross, while the Son of God’s lifeblood ebbed away.

“And set up over his head his accusation [was] written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Now came the passerby to take up the mocking, and the chief priest, scribes, and elders, who said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for [Jesus had] said I am the Son of God.”

Then two thieves, who had been crucified on either side of Jesus, took up the same taunt.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Some of those standing nearby thought that Jesus’ anguished call was for Elias. “And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave [it to Jesus] to drink.

“The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.”

And “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

[illustrations] Paintings by Harry Anderson

[illustration] Three Lions

[illustration] Brown Photos