Published By:Abalijay

Jesus Christ (c.4 BC – AD 30)

Jesus Christ sometimes called Jesus of Nazareth is the central figure of the Christian faith/religion, was born of a virgin woman and he is believed to be an incarnate of God the Son and the savior of the whole human race (Messiah). Jesus Christ is best known for his death, resurrection and ascension.

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Simon of Cyrene An African Carries Christ’s Cross

Usually the prisoner had to carry his own cross. (The cross was two heavy pieces of wood that the soldiers tied together). Soon the soldiers saw that Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross. Simon of Cyrene (an African from Algeria) carried it for him. Jesus had enough strength to speak to some women. As the soldiers fastened him to the cross with nails he prayed to God. He said, ‘Father, forgive them.’ Later, he spoke some words from the cross.

To crucify a man is terrible. The prisoner had painful injuries. The sun burned him and insects crawled over him. Most of all, the weight of the body was so heavy that the man had to struggle for every breath.

On the cross

At the hill called Golgotha, the soldiers fixed Jesus to the cross. They stripped the prisoner naked for this. This caused great shame for Jews especially. Then they hammered in the nails. As the soldiers did this, Jesus prayed. He said, ‘Father forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34)

They offered Jesus wine with a drug when he was on the cross. This would have reduced the pain, but he refused it. He needed to be aware of everything to the end.

Death By Crucifixion

Crucifixion was a very cruel way to die. There were the painful injuries, the hot sun, the insects. Worse than all this, the weight of the man’s own body was very heavy. The man had to struggle for every breath. At last, the man’s own weight would pull his body right down so that he could not breathe. Sometimes the cross had a part where a foot could rest, to support the weight. Then that would break off. The purpose of this was to make the man suffer longer. Usually, the man would die because he could not breathe. It would take several days. Crucifixion was a painful, slow death. All the time the angry crowd would shout insults.

Jesus’ clothes

The soldiers usually took the prisoner’s clothes, and cut them up. They would share the cloth. But Jesus wore one long shirt made from one piece of cloth. The person who made it did not sew together separate pieces of cloth. From the neck to the feet, this shirt was whole. The soldiers did not want to spoil this shirt. So, they did not cut it up. Instead, they played a game to win it. In this way, they made words from the Bible come true (Psalm 22:18, John 19:24).

The notice above the cross

Pilate had written a notice which the soldiers fixed to the cross. The notice read:

‘The King of the Jews’.

The notice was in three languages, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. Perhaps the people who wrote that meant it as a joke. God made sure that the notice was correct! Perhaps it made some people think about the spread of the good news about Jesus all over the world.

The crowds insulted Jesus

The crowds always insulted a prisoner on a cross. It was like a game to them. The Bible records these words:

Luke 23:35,36 And the people stood and watched. But even the rulers who were with them laughed at him. They said, ‘He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Messiah. He is not the one whom God has chosen!’ The soldiers also laughed at him. They came and offered him sour wine.

The Darkness

The crucifixion of Jesus began at 9.00 a.m. (That is, 9 o’clock in the morning). The place where it took place was called Golgotha. For three hours, Golgotha was a busy place, with the soldiers, the crowds and the Jewish rulers there.

But from noon, for three hours until the death of Jesus, there was a gross darkness all over (Matthew 27:45).

Jesus calls out to God

At this time, Jesus suffered great pain. He called out to God with a loud cry.

Matthew 26:46 At about 3.00 p.m. that is, 3 o’clock in the afternoon) Jesus cried out with a loud voice. He said, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (These words are in the language called Hebrew). That means, ‘My God, My God, why have you left me alone?’

This was an experience which no human has ever had. Jesus was now quite separate from God. The darkness was a sign of God’s judgment on sin. At this time Jesus was carrying the sin of us all. Notice that Jesus did not say ‘God, where are you?’ He said ‘My God, why?’ This is not the cry of a relationship that has ended. Jesus felt that God was no longer protecting him. But he cried out to God in trust. Paul tells us the reason for this.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Jesus, who did not sin, to take our sin on himself. This was so that we could be right with God.

Some people in the crowd laughed about Jesus’ cry. The first word that he said sounds a little like the name of Elijah. They said that perhaps he was calling to Elijah for help.

The Effects of Crucifixion

Finally, near to his death, Jesus’ mouth was very dry. He cried out, ‘I need a drink’ (John 19:28). This is one of the effects of crucifixion. Old books describe other men who died slowly on a cross. These men called out for water to the people who passed. Again, the prophets wrote about this, and Psalm 22 has these words:

Psalm 22:14,15 I spill out like water. They have pulled every bone in my body apart. My heart has melted inside me. I have no strength left, like a baked pot. My tongue sticks in my mouth. You have brought me to the dust of death.

Let us think about the meaning of these words:

  • ‘I spill out like water’ – Jesus was extremely tired.
  • ‘They have pulled every bone in my body apart’ – A very exact description of the effects of crucifixion
  • ‘My heart has melted inside me’ – Jesus was nearly unconscious.
  • ‘My tongue sticks in my mouth’ – His mouth was completely dry.
  • ‘I have no strength left, like a baked pot’ – he felt as dry as a pot that men make. They bake it in a hot oven until it is totally dry.

The prophet wrote all of this 1000 years before the event. But these physical sufferings were not the greatest pain. Jesus felt that God had left him alone. That was when Jesus felt the greatest pain. That was when Jesus took your sin and my sin, and made them his own.

‘This is the end’

Jesus gave one great final cry. ‘It is finished!’ (That means, ‘this is the end’). He had finished the work that the Father [God] had given him to do. His work was complete. Our salvation was complete. And so finally, Jesus offered up his spirit and died.

Luke 23:46 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice. He said, ‘Father [God], I give my spirit to you.’ After that, he breathed for the last time.

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Abalijay
"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future. Through the stories of great minds featured on the blog, readers are invited to delve into the lives and achievements of extraordinary individuals, drawing inspiration and insights that can be applied to their own lives. "Timeless Persons" strives to create an engaging and thought-provoking space for readers to appreciate the legacies and contributions of notable individuals, ultimately encouraging personal growth and a brighter outlook on life.