THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS(A Story For Good Friday)

         Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover Lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” “Where do You want us to prepare it?” they asked Him, and He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

         When the time came, Jesus and His apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before My suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He then took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.” And after supper He took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people-an agreement confirmed with My blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray Me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays Him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people’. But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves…Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail…” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, and even to die with You.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me…When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied, and then Jesus continued, “But now, take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about Me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels’. Yes, everything written about Me by the prophets will come true.” 

         Jesus and His disciples went to a place called Gethsemane, taking Peter, James, and John with Him, and He became deeply troubled and distressed, telling them, “Sit here while I go and pray…My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” Jesus went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, that very awful hour that was awaiting Him might pass Him by; He cried out, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.” When He had finished, Jesus returned and found His disciples asleep; He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 

         Then Jesus returned and prayed the same prayer as before, but when He came back, Jesus found His disciples sleeping, for they could not keep their eyes open…Then Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs, in which they were sent by the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Judas gave them this signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet Him with a kiss. Then you can take Him away under guard.” Then Judas walked up to Jesus, exclaimed “Rabbi!” and gave Him the kiss; Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested Him, but one of the disciples with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest Me? Why didn’t you arrest Me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about Me…” 

         Much later, the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming He is the Messiah, a king.” Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” “You have said it.” Pilate then turned to the leading priests as well as the crowd and announced, “I find nothing wrong with this man…You brought this man to me, accusing Him of leading a revolt. I have examined Him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find Him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent Him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have Him flogged, and then I will release Him.” But they shouted, “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” Pilate demanded for the third time, “Why? What crime has He committed? I have found no reason to sentence Him to death. So I will have Him flogged, and then I will release Him. But the mob shouted louder and louder, “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!!!” And with that, their voices prevailed; So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they had just demanded, and had released a man named Barabbas, who was in prison for insurrection and murder.

         Jesus had been forced to carry His own cross, in which the Roman soldiers would use to nail Him to; A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed’. People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us’, and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us’. For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 

         Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Jesus. When they came to a place called The Skull(also known as a place called Calvary), they nailed Jesus to the cross, as were the two criminals who were also crucified, one on His right and the other on His left… “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Soldiers gambled for His clothes with dice… “He saved others…let Him save Himself if He really is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One…”

         By this time, it was about noon, and darkness had fallen across the whole entire land until three o’ clock. The light from the sun was gone…And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, in entrust My spirit into Your hands!” And with those words He breathed His last. When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” And when all of the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they all went home in deep sorrow…

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