Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death, Golgotha
Right after Pilate washed his hands and handed over Jesus to the crowd, Jesus was scourged.
Then, he was mocked, a crown of thorns was put to his head and he was led to the Golgotha to be crucified. On his way, he became too weak to carry the cross so Simon of Cyrene was pressed to carry the cross for him (Matt. 27:27-32).
Crucifixion was Rome’s punishment for slaves, foreigners, and criminals who were not Roman citizens. It was the most agonizing and ignominious death a cruel age could devise. Nails were driven through the hands and feet, and the victim was left hanging there in agony, starvation, insufferable thirst and excruciating convulsions of pain. Death usually followed in four to six days. In Jesus’ case it was over in six hours. (Halley)
The Site of the Crucifixion
Jesus was crucified “outside the city”, (John 19:17, 20; Heb. 13:12). At a place called “The Skull”, (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; John 19:17). “Calvary” is Latin, “Golgotha” is Hebrew, for “skull”. There is only one place around Jerusalem which has borne, and still bears, the same “skull Hill”. It is just outside the North Wall, near the Damascus gate. It is a rock ledge, some 30 ft. high, just above “Jeremiah’s Grotto”, with a striking resemblance to a human skull.
The traditional place of the Crucifixion is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is inside the wall. Prevailing archeological opinion is that the wall is now just where it was in Jesus’ day, and that actual place of Jesus’ Crucifixion was the “Skull Hill”. (Halley)
The Outline Story of the Crucifixion with the Seven Last Utterances
Since time immemorial, people believed that the utterances of a dying person are very important.
9:00 AM they arrive at Golgotha. As they are about to drive the nails in his hands and feet, they offer him wine mixed with gall, to stupefy him, and deaden the sense of pain. But he refuse it. (Halley)
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NASB), as they nailed him to the cross. As he hung there, all sorts of insult and mocker was thrown at him. Actually, even before he reached Golgotha, the Roman soldiers, elders and high priests mocked him. He prayed for them, a great application of his teaching, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).
The soldiers cast lots for his garments and a superscription, “King of the Jews”, is placed above his head.
“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43), he said this to one of the two robbers who were crucified with him. Both of them joined in the mockery (Matt. 27:44) but one of them changed his mind, acknowledged his sin and begged Jesus remember him when he come to his kingdom. As a result he was assured of his place in paradise (παράδεισος/’paradeisos’), “a place of future happiness or heaven.” (Strong-Lite)
“When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” (John 19:26-27) In his dying moments, Jesus showed great concern and love for his earthly mother. He made sure that she will be taken care of when he is gone. What a display of filial attention! An example all children should follow.
The darkness, from noon till 3:00 PM. His first three hours on the cross marked by words of mercy and kindness. Now he enters the final stage of expiation for human sin. Perhaps the darkness symbolizes God’s withdrawal, so that it might be an act of complete atonement. What Jesus suffered in that last awful three hours we can never know in this world. (Halley)
The last four utterances came just as Jesus was expiring.
“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46 NASB) It was about 3:00 PM, after all, those who were hung on the cross were actually forsaken because of their sins. But in the case of Jesus, he was forsaken so that we can secure our access to the Father. He made the final sacrifice for our sins. He was alone!
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28 NASB). John gives us the context of this utterance, Jesus knew that he had already accomplished everything that the Scriptures has said. Thirst is one of the severest agonies of crucifixion (RWP). Burning fever and excruciating thirst were the accomplishments of crucifixion. It may have meant more. They offered him vinegar. His sufferings over, he took it (Halley). Unlike the wine mixed with vinegar in Matt. 27:34 which he refused to drink.
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30 NASB). As mentioned above, he was aware that the work of redemption has been fulfilled. Since it is already done, he “gave up his spirit”. “No one took his life from him; he gave it up in a voluntary, unique act” (Bridgeway). Jesus is the ‘willing sacrifice’!
“And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:46 NASB). David also prayed the same prayer when he was in constant danger in Psalm 31:5. However, it doesn’t mean that the Psalm refers to the Messiah. In times of danger or death, we can always turn to our Father in heaven.
The following comments were taken from Halley’s Bible Handbook:
“Jesus was already dead when the spear pierced his side, after being on the cross six hours. Some medical authorities have said that in the case of heart rupture, and in that case only, the blood collects in the pericardium, the lining around the wall f the heart, and divides into a sort of bloody clot and a watery serum. If this is a fact, then the actual immediate physical cause of Jesus’ death was heart rupture. Under intense pain, and the pressure of his wildly raging blood, his heart burst open. It may be that Jesus, literally, died of a heart broken over sin of the world. It may be that suffering for human sin is more than the human constitution can stand. (John 19:33-34)
The Earthquake (Matt. 27:51-55). The earthquake, the rocks rent, and the tomb opened, were God’s salute to the Conquering Savior. The rending of the veil in the Temple, was God’s own proclamation that in the death of Christ the barrier between God and man disappeared (Heb. 9:8). The risen saints were God’s evidence and guaranty that the power of death had been broken. Note that even the centurion, officer of the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus, was convinced that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.”
The Burial of Jesus, Joseph’s Tomb (Matt. 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:17-30)
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19:41-42 NASB) This means that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was very close to the place where he was crucified.
General Christian Gordon, 1881, found at the west foot of the “Skull Hill” a “Garden”. He set a gang of men to digging, and, under 5 ft of rubbish, he found a tomb of Roman times, cut in a wall of solid rock, with a trench in front where the stone rolled to the door.
There is an opinion that the “Garden Tomb” was the actual spot where Jesus was buried. (Halley)