The crucifixion of Jesus is at the beginning of the Easter story and as we look at the person of Jesus we must look at the crucifixion to understand who He is.
Jesus is taken before the Jewish rulers and is sentenced to death for a crime He did not commit. The Jewish rulers turn Jesus over to Pontius Pilate to be executed. Pilate tries to spare Jesus and offers the crowds a choice. A convicted killer named Barabas or Jesus. The crowds cry to free Barabas and to crucify Jesus.
Pilate turns Jesus over to be executed. Jesus is severely flogged and His body is reduced to a shell of humanity. The whole company of Pilate’s personal guard surround Jesus and mock Him with a crown of thorns, a scarlet robe, and pretend to honor Him. The soldiers then take turns beating Jesus before they crucify Him.
The soldiers force Jesus to carry His cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull, but Jesus cannot make the journey. Jesus collapses from the result of blood loss, the weakening of His body through the beatings and the physical torment of shock. Simon of Cyrene is dragged from the crowds and is forced carry the cross of Christ to Golgotha.
Jesus is taken to Golgotha and is placed on the cross. The soldiers use nine inch spikes to nail His hands to the cross and a twelve inch spike to secure His feet to the cross. It is not enough for Jesus to die a miserable death insult is added to His injury. The crowds watching the crucifixion hurl insults on Jesus, the Jewish leaders mock Jesus while He slowly dies of asphyxiation, and the thief insults Jesus.
The skies grow supernaturally dark and the crowds are silenced. As Jesus struggles to breathe, He stands on the nail in His feet to speak. First He speaks to His mother, Mary. Then Jesus gasps for air and asks for the forgiveness of His tormentors. Jesus cries out My God, My God why have you forsaken me – quoting Psalm 22. With one final effort Jesus cries out one last time to proclaim it is finished.
A Roman soldier breaks the legs of the thieves to kill them and drives a spear into the side of Jesus. Blood and water flow from the wound telling us that Jesus was indeed dead.
Joseph of Arimethea and Niccodemus speak with Pontius Pilate to retrieve the body of Jesus from the cross. The women who have traveled with Jesus lovingly help the men with the burial preparation. They anointed Christ’s body with herbs, spices, ointments and then wrapped Him in strips of linen.
The body of Jesus is carried to Joseph’s tomb. The Roman soldiers roll a massive stone in front of the tomb to close it. The tomb is then given a Roman seal to keep anyone from tampering with it and a squad of Roman soldiers are posted to guard the tomb of a dead man.
Why would Jesus endure such a terrible death? Why would He go through such incredible pain and suffering?
Paul gives us the answer in Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus would rather die than be without you.