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They Met At Calvary

They Met At Calvary Friday, February 23, 2018   

Cross Of Calvary


By James L. Thornton


Jesus Christ the one perfect man. We hold he was God on earth. (1 Timothy 3:16) 
Incredible that the human race had no room for him.
Men desired Christ’s death.
Conspired for it, 
Planned it,
Plotted it,
And schemed to have him put to death.

With mixed motives they sent him to Calvary.

We see the same human nature at work today.

They looked upon him as a danger, a menace, or threat to their way of life.
They felt free in their decision.
They felt no remorse in what they were doing.

Fifty-Five generations ago on that green hill outside the city wall of Jerusalem many paths converged, and strange and different people MET AT CALVARY.

We want to take a look at the various individuals and groups which took part in the most infamous events in human history.

We will study their motives for being there and the part they played in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:33. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. {Calvary: or, the place of a skull} 
34. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, he saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (KJV)

Five times in this passage we see the impersonal pronoun “they” used.
In the same account of this event in Matthew 27:28-39 we count the word “they” used fifteen times.

1. The Teachers who hated him. (Pharisees)
2. The Priests who bought him. (Sadducees)

3. The Traitor who sold him. (Judas)
4. The Crowd who cried “crucify him.”
5. The Judge who sentenced him. (Pilate)

6. The only one who came to his defense. (Pilate’s wife)

7. The Thieves who died with him.

8. The People who ministered to him.
9. It Is Finished
10. The Last Cruel Act. (They Pierced His Side)

11. Those Who Buried Him.

12. Finally You And I Were There.

13. Conclusion



    THE PHARISEES “separated ones.”

Their name (Pharisees) must have come in consequence of their stricter view of the notion of uncleanness in washing of hands and pots and pans.
They were the religious leaders during the time of the life of Jesus.

They were very strict in their observance of the Law of Moses and the traditions of the elders. They ran the schools and synagogues, and were the teachers and preachers of that time.

Even though their number was comparatively small, (about six-thousand) they completely ruled the public life of the nation.
By the second year of our Lord’s ministry they had decided that something must be done about Jesus.

Matthew 12:14. “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him how they might destroy him.”

 How did these men get in conflict with Jesus?

 1. They were angered by Jesus’ note of authority.
”For I say unto you,….” (Matthew 5:20,22,26,28,32,34,)

 Jesus did not temporize much less compromise.
John 5:35. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
John 6:44. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:…”
John 10:30. ”I and my Father are one.”
John 8:58. “Jesus said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Matthew 28:18. “…, all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”

These sayings were just too much for the Pharisees.
John 10:31. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 
32. Jesus answered them, many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33. The Jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy;
and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

The Pharisees were angered with Jesus’ universalism.
Jesus reached out to all the people.

 The Pharisees regarded the degraded classes of society as classes to be shunned, not to be won over to the right.
Matthew 11:28. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

John 4:9. “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, how is it that thou being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”

Jesus was sought by Gentiles for healing and Jesus responded with mercy. Jesus heals a Gentile woman’s daughter. (Mark 7:24-30)

The Pharisees were angered with Jesus’ association with publicans and sinners.
Matthew 9:10. “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.”

Luke 15:1. “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 
2. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”

Everywhere Jesus went people felt free to reach out to him, and he always responded to their needs, whether they be Jews, Gentiles, saints or sinners.

The Pharisees were angry because of Jesus’ popularity.
The Pharisees half despised the people, yet wanted their applause.
The Pharisees sought mainly to attract attention and excite admiration of men and were angry when the people flocked to hear Jesus.

Mark 12:37c. “... And the common people heard him gladly.”
John 7:46. “The officers answered, never man spake like this. 
47. Then answered them the Pharisees, are ye also deceived?”

Pharisees devoted their energies to making converts to their own narrow views, for which Jesus condemns them. (Matthew 23:13-15)

The Pharisees had lost tenderness, and compassion. 
They kept the law, but had lost the spirit of the law.

That’s how they joined the group and got on the road to Calvary.



Nobody knows for sure where the word ‘Sadducee’ came from.
Eldersheim suggests that it may have originated in the linguistic difficulty in the change of the sound “I” into “u”. (Life of Jesus, 1, 324)

They were the wealthy aristocratic priests who dealt with legal matters between the Jews and Romans. They were persons of “rank,” and enjoyed a privileged status.

We must remember that not all of the priesthood fell under the ranks of the Sadducees who took part in the crucifixion of our Lord.

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was of the priesthood, and the Bible describes him as “Righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:6)

The party took shape about 200 b.c.
They were high and lifted up.
Aloof from the people.
The elite of Jewish society.
One was born a Sadducee.

On at least two occasions Jesus cleansed the temple of them. (John 1:13-17; Mark 11:15-18)

Their motives were political. 
They looked upon Jesus as a menace, 
A danger, or threat to their way of life.
They thought that Jesus would lead a revolt.

Caiaphas was their head in Jesus’ day.
John 18:14. “Now Caiaphas was he, which gave council to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”

It was the self seeking of the Sadducees, thinking only of themselves, that’s how they got on the road to Calvary. Today men still think of Jesus as disturbing to their way of life.

This Sadducian spirit is still dominant in high places as the Apostle Paul told us in (Ephesians 6:12.) The high and mighty, the rich and powerful, are still against Christ and his church.


Matthew 26:14. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priest, 
15. And said unto them, what will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

Luke 22:21. “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with me on the table. 
22. And truly the Son of Man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”

Luke 22:47. “And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 
48. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Judas, born in Kerioth, south Judah.
The only Judean in the band of disciples, all the others were from Galilee.

Judas means praise:

John 6:64.…for Jesus knew from the beginning who ….should betray him.”

Did Jesus choose Judas that he might betray him?
Foreknowledge is not foreordination.
I know the sun will rise……but by knowing it doesn’t cause it to rise.
The knowledge of Jesus did not compel Judas to act as he did.
He acted for reasons of his own, with as much freedom as we humans ever enjoy.
There was no divine intervention.
We see in Judas human nature at work.

Although we know nothing about his background, it seems that early on, for unknown reasons, he became a disciple, or follower of our Lord. He was chosen by our Lord, along with eleven others, to be named Apostles. (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16)

Jesus gave to Judas the highest possible calling any man ever received from God.
What possibilities, what recognition, could have been his, both of God and man.

He could have become the author of a “Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Or an epistle to the churches could have bore his name.
Like unto John, or Peter, or Mark, or Paul.
His name would have been inscribed on one of the foundations of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem which John saw coming down out of heaven. (Revelation 21:14)

An Apostle Of Jesus Christ 
What an honor
What a tribute!

Judas had experienced the thrill of the authority which accompanied being chosen to this high office, when he cast out devils in the name of Jesus. (Matthew 10:1-8)

What went wrong?
There was something in the heart of Judas which never fully came under the influence of Jesus Christ. Judas never fully surrendered.

The high office is maintained only by honesty, integrity, high moral character, and reverence for the things of God.

There remained in him the root of a sin, which when fully developed, compelled him to commit the most despicable act in human history.

Judas was covetous.
When Jesus and the twelve became an organized body, traveling here and there, receiving money and other offerings, and distributing to the poor and purchasing supplies for their own needs, it became necessary that someone should act as steward and this job fell to Judas. (John 13:29)

Then finding himself in possession of larger sums than before, 
There came covetousness,
And embezzlement.

Judas broke the tenth commandment.
Exodus 20:17. “Thou shalt not covet….”

The strongest element in the character of Judas was, doubtless, greed or avarice. There is no vice so absorbing, so unreasonable, and so degrading as the vice of avarice, or greed. Disappointed, or disillusioned with his expectation of what had first drawn him to Jesus was fading. (Judas had hoped Jesus would become king.)

John 12:3.“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 
4. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6. This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

The sight of Mary’s lavish sacrifice, which brought no gain to himself, increased his alienation to despite and hate, so that Judas became capable of the deed that has given his name an everlasting stain.

Immediately after this sacrifice by Mary, and his rebuke by Jesus, Judas set the deed in motion.

Matthew 26:14. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 
15. And said unto them, what will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

He seems to have concealed his treachery, for we find him still with the disciples at the last supper. Jesus washed his feet, along with the rest of the disciples, and he heard Jesus say, “ye are clean, but not all.”

Then Jesus says, “One of you shall betray me,” 
And Judas asks with the others, “Is it I?”
And then, fully given over to the evil one,
And beyond reclaim, as Satan enters into him,
He leaves in the night.

A short while later Judas led a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees to where Jesus was praying, and kissed him, to identify him as the one which they should lay hold of.

But after seeing Jesus condemned, Judas brought back the thirty pieces of silver, and tried to return them to the High Priest, but it was refused. (Matthew 27:3-6)

Judas disappears in the night with a rope,
And hanged himself,
“That he might go to his own place.”
(Acts 1:25)

Peter sums up the ministry and failing of Judas in a few words.
Acts 1:17. “For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.”
20. “For it is written in the book of Psalm, let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and, his bishopric let another take.”

That’s how Judas became a part of the group on the Road to Calvary.


When the prince of glory was brought forth they cried for his blood. (Luke 23:21)
Were the people responsible for Calvary?
Were these the same people who followed him?
The answer to the last question is no.

These were the sweepings of the street.
Urged by the priests.
Paid by the priests.

The hour was early. 
The trial was a mockery.
In eight hours they put him on the cross.

They were not the same people who saw Jesus
Heal the sick,
Give sight to the blind,
Preach to the poor,
Feed the five thousand with five loaves and two small fishes.
Could these have cried crucified him?

Ordinary people are largely indifferent,
They are hard to move,
They don’t want to get involved,
Or bothered.
Wickedness wins its way in the world because it counts on the sleepiness, the comfort-loving character of the good people.

On these counts the people were guilty. 
On these counts most of us are guilty.
If only a small percentage of the multitudes which followed him would have come forth and stood up for him on that day Jesus would not have been crucified.

Matthew 21:46. “But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.”

In this instance the Chief Priests and Pharisees backed away from doing him harm because enough people would stand up for him.

You may say, 
“If I had been there I would have stood up for him.”
"I would have testified for his defense.”

We feel that we would not have let him be crucified.

You can make a difference:
Ezekiel 22:30. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that i should not destroy it; but I found none.”

“A man,” just “one man,” 
“Any man,” who will take a stand.”

 In A.D. 50 Ephesus, like Athens, was “wholly given to idolatry,” worshipping the goddess Diana which supposedly had fallen down from Jupiter. The city was made famous by the temple erected in her honor, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and people came from all over the world to worship there. A stronghold of idolatry, what can one person do against such powers of evil?

Acts 19:1. “… Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: …” 
8. And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly….
10. And this continued by the by the space of two years; ..

Acts 19:20. “So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.
23. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.”

Today no one in all the world worships Diana, but the God which Paul preached is worshiped on every continent, in every nation, in every tongue and dialect.

In Paul’s day it is estimated that sixty percent of the population of the world lived in abject slavery. No one could imagine that the stronghold of slavery would ever crumble, but Christian men and women kept hammering away at it until only a few pockets are left in the world.

For a thousand years religious tyranny held Europe in a cruel grip even using sadistic means to enforce its power over the people. Absolute power was in the hands of the Catholic Church, with the Pope having final authority over every phase of human life, religious, social, and political. What could one man do against such awesome power?

It comes from the word “protest”
The medieval church was indeed a monolith called the “rock of Peter,” and capped by Papal authority.
Someone had to protest against the conditions.

On October 31, 1517, a German monk, named Martin Luther, posted nine-five theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church challenging the religious hierarchic. Luther had not expected any reaction outside the university community, but to his great astonishment his theses, printed in Latin and German, spread rapidly throughout Germany.

Excommunicated by Pope Leo x, and declared a heretic and outlaw, Luther was hidden from the church’s death squad by a German baron. Luther spent his time translating the Bible from Latin into the German language, the language of the people.

This is one of the greatest things Luther did, because this is the first time that the people could read the scriptures for themselves in over a thousand years.

History is filled with people who have stood up to stop, or change the tide of evil.

Martin Luther, the protestant reformation.
Susan B. Anthony, women’s rights, and suffrage.
Abraham Lincoln, emancipation proclamation.
Martin Luther King, civil rights.

Many of them gave their lives for a cause, and the world is a better place because somebody stood up.
But Jesus Christ went to the cross because the people were indifferent towards him.

We need to take a look at ourselves and see where we stand, and how much we are willing to give to affect the evil which remains in our world. I feel that God will judge us for indifference, for lethargy, for failing to act when we have the opportunity, as well as the acts we commit. There are sins of commission, and sins of omission. The people at the cross were guilty of the sin of omission. In this way most of us are guilty.


Jesus was sentenced to death by a judge who was convinced of his innocence.
Pilate was a Roman
They were the world conquerors.
They deemed themselves a superior order of beings.

Pilate had the proud arrogance, and overbearing qualities of his race.
John 18:35. “Pilate answered, am I a Jew?”

But Jesus was not impressed with pPilate’s presence.
John 19:9b. “…? But Jesus gave him no answer. 
10. Then saith Pilate unto him, speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee.”

Superstitious fear grows in pilate’s heart:
John 19:8. “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid.”
12. “and from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, if thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.”

With Pilate moral values clashed with earthly values
Pilate chose the earthly.
Matthew 27:24b. “…., He took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of this just person: see ye to it.”

Luke 23:24. “and Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.”
The question arises; can anyone rid himself of the guilt of the death of Jesus of Nazareth? Or wash our hands of him?

"Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousands of river of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7)


The only one who took a stand for the defense of our Lord.
She was a Gentile, a heathen by most all standards.

Tradition gives her the name Claudia Procula.
She has been canonized, made a saint, in the Grecian Church.

Matthew 27:19. “When he (Pilate) was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”

Men of science are able to reconstruct the shape and size of an animal from a single bone.  
Pilate’s wife comes to us from a single sentence, we see her for a moment, her footsteps come and are gone so swiftly.

Her life and her voice are silent again after this one very moving sentence.
We want to attempt to find the reason for Pilate’s wife’s sudden intrusion into the Bible story.

How many times have our minds, our intentions, our purpose, been changed by some moving thought or circumstance? Almighty God has complete control, and continual command, of all the avenues that lead into the soul of man. He sends his message to the soul at the time, and the way that seems wisest and best to him.

Job 33:14. “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 
15. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16. Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.
17. That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.”

God in this manner spoke to,
Abraham concerning the bondage of his seed. (Genesis 15:12-14)
Jacob saw a ladder set up into heaven. (Genesis 28:12)
Joseph dreamed that the sun and moon and eleven stars made obeisance to him. (Genesis 37:9)
Nebuchadnezzar saw a great image. (Daniel 2:31)
Daniel saw the end of time untill the judgment was set. (Daniel 7:1-28)
Joseph was told to take Mary to be his wife. (Matthew 1:20)
Wise men are told not to return to Herod. (Matthew 2:20)
Now once again God, on that fateful night, and early morning before the Crucifixion of our Lord, takes charge of the mind and soul of one of his earthly creatures.

A message was divinely sent to convey a lesson to Pilate through his wife, who alone, perhaps, was able to arouse the better feelings of his heart. This was another warning given to Pilate to arrest him in his criminal cowardice.

The prisoner at the bar.
Matthew 27:11a. “and Jesus stood before the governor….”
What a miracle of condescension.

Paul describes it.
Philippians 2:5. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
6. Who, being (present perfect tense, he is forever) in the form of God, (this he could not renounce) thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
7. But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, (actually becomes a servant) and was made in the likeness of men: (He assumes the likeness of man)
8. And being found in fashion as a man, (in reality one of us) He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

What a marvel that he should submit to be arraigned before a mortal.
The scene will one day be reversed.
He will yet appear as judge of all.

Philippians 2:9. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 
10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth:
11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.”

Pilate will then have to answer at his bar.
The accusers also will then have to give account of their accusations.
We shall all do well to keep that solemnity evermore in mind.

This night God had spoken to Pilate’s wife.
While Jesus was agonizing in prayer… “Father if it be thy will.”
While Peter, James, and John slept…

Yea even more than spoke, she suffered many things. (Matthew 27:19)
She may have seen the kings of the earth,
And all the great men,
And all the rich men,
And all the and mighty men,
And her own husband among them.

She may have seen them running,
Hiding themselves in the dens,
And in the rocks and caves of the mountains.
Saying to the rocks and mountains,
“Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne…
(Revelations 6:16)

Why did she not deliver it herself?
Pilate’s wife never came into the presence of Jesus,
Yet she was convinced he was just.

And she is the only one who spoke for him.
Pilate spent two hours alone with Jesus.
He also was convinced he was just.

Was it like Daniel’s?

The hand that wrote on the plaster of the wall?

Did she see,
The ancient of days with a throne like unto fire?

Did she see,
The Judgment set and the Books opened?

Did she see,
The Son of Man coming in the clouds of glory?

Did she see,
His Kingdom become an everlasting Kingdom?

“Have thou noting to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”

Mrs. Pilate you should have come as Mary did and washed his feet with tears and wiped them with the hair of your head.

Mrs. Pilate you should have cried as the thief,
“Remember me when you are come into thy kingdom."

How Pilate’s heart must have sank as they cried. 
“Crucify him.”
“Crucify him.”

“I find no fault in him.”
“But I’ll chastise him.”

“I find no reason he should die.”
“But I’ll allow him to be crowned with a crown of thorns.”

“I don’t want anything to do with him.”
“So I’ll wash my hands and give him to you to be crucified.”

Matthew 27:24b. “., saying I am innocent of the blood of this just man. 
25. Then answered all the people, and said, his blood be on us, and on our children.”

They cruelly involve their children also; 
Without limiting the terrible entail… “Crucify him.”

And in less than forty years the Roman armies besieged Jerusalem and it’s streets ran red with the blood of their children. They perished by the thousands on crosses after they had been scourged and tormented before death in all manner of ways.

Josephus says five hundred a day, 
Till there was no room for more crosses,
Nor crosses for bodies.


But the blood of Jesus Christ could cleanse even those who shed it.
It could cleanse Pilate,
The crowd who cried crucify him,
The soldiers who carried out the orders.

Pilate knew that the blood was innocent… 
But he knew not the cleansing power of it.
He knew not the preciousness of it.
Tradition tells us that Pilate developed a compulsion to wash his hands, which he did continually.
Pilate you can wash your hands, but not your conscience.

Pilate sacrificed Jesus of Nazareth to save his governorship, which he eventually lost.
Exiled into a foreign land with his faithful wife…
How often they must have spoken together of the events of that fateful day.


Jesus did not die alone
There were three crosses,
There were three men.

 How similar they were in some ways
1. Their agonized bodies, sagging on pierced hands.
2. The awful thirst.
3. The naked spectacle for all to see.

So similar yet how vast a difference in those three crosses.
1. There was the cross of rebellion.
2. There was the cross of repentance.
3. There was the cross of redemption.

The cross of rebellion.
Mark 15:27. “and with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.”
Luke 23:39. “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, if thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”

Men today still rail on him, casting doubt on his Messiaship .
This is the same tactic which Satan used in the wilderness of Judea.

Luke 4:3a. “And the devil said unto him, if thou be the son of God…”
Jesus himself said, ”..For if ye believe not that i am he, he shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24b)
I find no instance in the bible where any one was ever recovered from the sin of rebellion. A very sobering statistic.

The Cross of Repentance.
Luke 23:40. “But the other answering rebuked him, saying, dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41. And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

This activated a promise made hundreds of years before he was born.
Joel 2:32a. “and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”

Someone has said, God enters through a breach.”
An agonizing body, 
A troubled mind,
A repentant heart, calls out to Jesus.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

The Cross of Redemption.
Luke 23:43. “And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

The cross consisted of two beams of wood.
One set in the earth, pointing towards heaven.
The other stretched out over the earth,
Exemplifying the out stretched arms of God,
Reaching towards the lost world.

That day the repentant thief was to be the first to experience the saving grace of the cross. And was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom.” (Luke 16:22) “today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Paradise was like unto a Palace Garden. 
The garden was usually located just outside the walls of the Palace. There the repentant thief would await the resurrection, basking in the sumptuous glories of the lord.

Those who tried to make his last hours easier.

The first was a traveler just coming into town.
Mark 15:21. “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.”

According to John’s Gospel Jesus stated out bearing his own cross.
John 19:17a. “And he bearing his cross went forth…”

And according to Matthew’s Gospel he bore his own cross from the Palace to the gate of the city.
Matthew 27:32a. “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.”

Absolute exhaustion of his human form:
It is possible that as they passed through the gate that Jesus fell or stumbled under the weight of the cross, the scripture doesn’t say.

The lack of sleep, 
The physical punishment of the beatings and scourging.
All this, plus the mental anguish,
Drained that human body of the strength to carry the cross.

The soldiers recognizing this, 
“Laid hold upon Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, on him laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.” (Luke 23:26)

Tradition says that the cross was fifteen feet long, The transverse limb being eight feet, And it must have been of considerable weight. When they saw Jesus was breaking down under the weight of the cross they laid it on Simon, that they might reach the place of the crucifixion more quickly.

Thus Simon became the first in a long line of cross bearers that stretches to this day.
Simon’s life would never be the same after the Roman soldier pointed at him and commanded him to bear the cross.

His two sons also later became cross bearers.
(Mark 15:26; Romans 16:13)

Those who provided the drugged wine:
Mark 15:23. “and they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.”

There are two occasions on which drink was offered to our Lord during the agonies of his crucifixion. This is the first occasion, before the actual crucifixion took place, when they offered him wine mingled with myrrh.

This was a kind of stupefying liquor, 
A strong narcotic,
Made of sour wine,
Mingled with herbs,
And mercifully given to dull the sense of pain.

But Jesus refused this act of mercy because he wanted to bear the full burden consciously and not have his sense of pain dulled by drugs.

The Soldier Who Moistened His Lips:
John 19:28. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

This is the second occasion where drink was offered to our lord at his crucifixion, this near the end. This was what we would call “cheap wine” which was the drink of ordinary people.

It was brought for the benefit of the soldiers, and through compassion one of them gave him a drink of it during his last hour. It seems that Jesus received this drink because there was no stupefying drugs in it.

So we could say that a soldier performed the last kind act for him.

The Little Company Of His Own:
John 19:25. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, woman, behold thy son!
27. Then saith he to the disciple, behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home.”

How many of us have stood by the bedside of a loved one when there was nothing we could do but just stand by?  Hold their hand; wipe their face, speaking comforting words to them, any thing to let them know that you are going to be with them to the end.

The Little Company Of Women, 
And John, The Beloved Disciple,
Were there to the end.
They could not do anything but be with him.

Today we can still stand by him. 
“If ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Are you carrying the cross?
Are you moistening his lips?
Are you sharing the shame of the cross?
Are you proving to him the power of the cross?

Doctor Bracket:
In the later part of the Nineteenth Century there was a young doctor who moved to the southwestern part of the United States and began a practice of medicine. Most of the people of that area were very poor, but Doctor Bracket never turned anyone away, and went anywhere he was needed. Doctor bracket’s practice grew very rapidly, but he did not make much money because many people could not pay for his services, especially the Mexican American Indians.

Doctor Bracket’s office was over the general store, and on the door which lead up the stairs to his office was a small plaque with his name on it.

Doctor Bracket never married, although he was engaged to be married to a young lady at one time.
But on the day of their wedding Doctor Bracket was called out to the house of a Mexican American Indian where a young girl was having problems in delivering a baby.

Doctor Bracket went even though it meant he would be late for his wedding. When he returned from helping save the life of the young girl and her new-born child, it was late and the girl he was to marry had called off the wedding, saying she did not want to marry someone who was so dedicated to other people. 

Doctor Bracket was well liked in the small town, and continued to maintain his office above the general store for many years helping everyone who came to him. When doctor Bracket died he was sadly mourned, and missed by everyone in the area.

When he was buried in the Town Cemetery there was talk of putting up a tombstone with his name on it but nobody did any thing about it, so it was not long until everyone seemed to forget about him.

One day as the Undertaker was walking through the cemetery he noticed that someone had put up a marker on doctor bracket’s grave. He walked over to see what it said, and he saw that someone had removed the plaque from the door which led up to his office and put it up on his grave. It read, Doctor Bracket, office upstairs.

At the very moment when all seems lost, Jesus’ words declare that all is won and accomplished! He dies in the crown of triumph.

John 19:28. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

THESE ARE THE GREATEST and most momentous words that were ever spoken upon earth since the beginning of the world. Who does not find in them a cry of victory?

It is a shout of triumph, which announces to the kingdom of darkness its complete overthrow, and to the kingdom of heaven upon earth its eternal establishment. How wonderful! But what was it that was finished at the moment when that cry was uttered?

The mysterious portrayal of the Messiah, as it passes before us in increasing brightness and completeness in the writings of Moses and the prophets, is fully realized in its smallest and minutest detail in the person of JESUS.

If you ask for the wondrous Infant of Bethlehem described by Micah, “whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting;” or for the Child born, and the Son given, with the government upon His shoulder, whom Isaiah brings before us; or for the meek and lowly King mentioned by Zechariah, who makes His entrance into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass - it meets you bodily in JESUS CHRIST.

Do you seek for the Seed of the woman, who with His wounded heel bruises the serpent's head; or the second Aaron, who should actually bring about a reconciliation between GOD and a sinful world - look up to the cross, and there you will see all combined in One.

At the moment when His heart ceased to beat, the words, “It is finished!” revealed the entire fullness of their meaning. He had now reached the final completion of His work of redemption.

O that we were solemnly conscious how much was done for us there!
Great was our guilt; we were condemned to death, and the curse lay upon us; but all is done away in the words, “It is finished!” If He has paid the ransom, how can a righteous GOD in heaven demand payment a second time?

Know you not the assertion of the apostle, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!”

John 19:34. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

How deeply significant does the scene on Calvary appear which we are now contemplating! The persons who are acting there do not indeed know what they are doing. But this does not prevent them from being led by the hand of Divine Providence.

They, therefore, proceed to Pilate, and request him to cause the legs of the three criminals to be broken, as was customary, then to be taken down, and afterward buried.

The governor does not hesitate to grant their request, and sends, at the same time, another guard to the place of execution to break the legs of the malefactors, and to convince themselves of their being really dead.

They begin with the two malefactors, but when they came to the Lord JESUS, every sign of His being already dead was so apparent, that the breaking of His legs was thought needless, especially as one of the spearmen pierced His side with his spear, which alone would have sufficed to have caused His death, had the divine Sufferer been still alive.

In the abstract, this occurrence appears of extremely trifling importance; but the Evangelist John who so expressly states it, regarded it with other eyes as to the fulfilling of scripture.

In the twofold fact of the Savior's limbs not being broken, and of His side being pierced by the spear, he recognizes a divine interposition by which two ancient prophecies were fulfilled.

John 19:36-37. “For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”

How highly the evangelist estimates them as a means of strengthening our faith, he proves very impressively by the words, “And he that saw it, bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” (John 19:35)

In the water and the blood he sees represented the most essential blessings of salvation for which the world is indebted to CHRIST.

But water alone would not have saved us. It took the shed blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins. Through the waters of Baptism the blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

Almighty God arraigned a funeral to be given to His Son.

John 19:38. “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.”

After the great High Priest's atoning sacrifice had been offered up, He was not to be subjected to any further ignominy. Two honorable men – honorable not only in the eyes of men, but also before GOD - are entrusted with the interment of Immanuel's corpse; and a company of tried female disciples are to be joined with them.

And John 19:38 tells us Joseph was a secret disciple for fear of the Jews. He and Nicodemus worked together to bury the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here was a wealthy and prominent man whose heart was afraid; but when push came to shove, he mustered his courage, trusted in God, and did what was right.

Joseph proceeded directly to the governor to ask his permission to take down the Saviour from the cross, and honorably inter Him in his own family sepulcher.

He arrives at the Roman palace, and after having been announced, he appears in the presence of Pilate, and says with firmness and in plain terms, “I am come to beg of thee one thing - that thou wouldst give me the body of JESUS that I may prepare an honorable grave for Him as He deserves.”

He and Nicodemus begin, tenderly and gently, to draw out the nails from His hands and feet. That precious corpse reclines upon their shoulders, and after they have wrapped it in fine linen, they gently let it down from the cross to the ground, and laid it in Joseph’s new tomb.

It's often hard to stand for what's right, but it helps to remember the example of Joseph of Arimathea. He craved the body of Jesus. This made him unclean for the Passover.



Every man must come sooner or later to the cross.
Galations 2:20b. “….I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  "ME, ME, PERSONALLY…”

Fifty-five generations separates us from those who stood on that first Good Friday on that hill outside the city wall, but no one can rid themselves of the guilt which fell on the human race because of Calvary.

Galations 1:3b. “….,and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world,…”

He loved me enough that he suffered the shame, the reproach, and the agonies of the cross that I might be free from the power of sin.

1 Corinthians 1:18. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

"Alas, and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die;
would He devote that sacred head
for such a worm as I?

At the cross, at the cross, 
where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away,
it was there by faith I received my sight,
and now I am happy all the day!"

We know that various people had a hand in the death of Jesus.

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, seemed to lay the blame for Jesus’ death on the shoulders of the House of Israel. Again in Acts 3:14-15, and again in Acts 4:10, Peter did the same.

We would like to add that it was the corrupt Jewish religious establishment that we can lay the blame upon. Not all of the Jews were corrupt. Many of the common people loved Jesus and heard Him gladly.

It was the Sanhedrin, the high archery of the temple, of whom Annas, & Caiaphas were head.

Then we could say Pilate was responsible for His death. He knew that Jesus was innocent yet used the power of Rome to crucify Him.

We could also say God the Father was responsible for Jesus’ death. “He (God) that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all (Romans 8:32).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). God sent His Son into the world to die.

Then Jesus Himself took responsibility for His own death.

“No man taketh it (life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:18)

He knew He was going to die. He knew when He was going to die. He gave Himself for us.

Finally everyone is responsible for Jesus’ death. My sins, your sins, put him on the cross. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We could never live good enough to get to a perfect heaven.

There is a little goodness in everybody, but goodness won’t take you to heaven. Some say if you are a nice person, do good deeds etc—you will get to heaven one day.

The Bible says you must be born again; the blood of the crucified Christ must be applied to our souls. The blood of the Messiah had to be shed—it was shed on the cross—that blood when it is applied to our souls it make us white as snow.

Have you been made white in the blood of the Lamb?
That’s the message of the cross.
Jesus became a man in order to die.
God could not die unless He became a man.
He died for your sins.

We are glad that you took the time to read this article. Hope it will be a blessing to you and will help you to understand the people who were involved in the death of Jesus.

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By, James L. Thornton



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