was hurried to Calvary amid the shouts and jeers of the crowd. As He
passed the gate of Pilate's court, the heavy cross which had been
prepared for Barabbas was laid upon His bruised and bleeding shoulders.
Crosses were placed also upon two thieves, who were to suffer death at
the same time with Jesus.
The load was too heavy for the Saviour in
His weary, suffering condition. He had gone but a few rods when He fell
fainting beneath the cross.
When He revived, the cross was again
placed upon His shoulders. He staggered on a few steps, and again fell
to the ground as one lifeless. His persecutors now realized that it was
impossible for Him to go farther with His burden, and they were puzzled
to find someone who would carry the humiliating load.
Just then they were met by Simon a
Cyrenian, coming from the opposite direction. Him they seized and
compelled to carry the cross to Calvary.
The sons of Simon were disciples of
Jesus, but he himself had not accepted the Saviour. Simon was ever after
grateful for the privilege of bearing the cross of the Redeemer. The
burden he was thus forced to carry became the means of his conversion.
The events of Calvary and the words uttered by Jesus led Simon to accept
Him as the Son of God.
Arriving at the place of crucifixion, the
condemned were bound to the instruments of torture. The two thieves
wrestled in the hands of those who stretched them upon the cross; but
the Saviour made no resistance.
The mother of Jesus had followed Him on
that awful journey to Calvary. She longed to minister to Him as He sank
exhausted under His burden, but she was not allowed this privilege.
At every step of that wearisome way she
had looked for Him to manifest His God-given power, and release Himself
from the murderous throng. And now that the final scene was reached, and
she saw the thieves bound to the cross, what an agony of suspense she
Would He who had given life to the dead
suffer Himself to be crucified? Would the Son of God suffer Himself to
be thus cruelly slain? Must she give up her faith that He was the
She saw His hands stretched upon the
cross--those hands that had ever been reached out to bless the
suffering. The hammer and the nails were brought, and as the spikes were
driven through the tender flesh, the heart-broken disciples bore from
the cruel scene the fainting form of the mother of Jesus.
The Saviour made no murmur of complaint;
His face remained pale and serene, but great drops of sweat stood on His
brow. His disciples had fled from the dreadful scene.
He was treading
the winepress alone; and of the people there were none with Him. (Isaiah
As the soldiers were doing their work,
the mind of Jesus passed from His own sufferings to the terrible
retribution that His persecutors must one day meet. He pitied them in
their ignorance, and prayed:
"Father, forgive them; for they know not
what they do."
Christ was earning the right to become
the advocate for men in the Father's presence. That prayer for His
enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner who had lived or
should live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time.
Whenever we sin, Christ is wounded
afresh. For us He lifts His pierced hands before the Father's throne,
and says, "Forgive them; for they know not what they do."
As soon as Christ was nailed to the
cross, it was lifted by strong men, and with great violence thrust into
the place prepared for it. This caused intense suffering to the Son of
Pilate then wrote an inscription in
Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and placed it upon the cross, above the head
of Jesus, where all might see it. It read:
"Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews."
The Jews requested that this might be
changed. The chief priests said:
"Write not, The King of the Jews; but
that He said, I am King of the Jews."
But Pilate was angry with himself because
of his former weakness. He also thoroughly despised the jealous and
wicked rulers. So he answered:
"What I have written I have written."
The soldiers divided the clothing of
Jesus among themselves. One garment was woven without seam, and about
this there was a contention. They finally settled the matter by casting
lots. God's prophet had foretold that they would do this. He wrote:
"Dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of
the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. . . .
They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture." Psalms
As soon as Jesus was lifted up on the
cross, a terrible scene took place. Priests, rulers, and scribes joined
with the rabble in mocking and jeering the dying Son of God, saying:
"If Thou be the King of the Jews, save
Thyself." Luke 23:37.
"He saved others; Himself He cannot save.
If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and
we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He
will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God." Matthew 27:42,43.
"And they that passed by railed on Him,
wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, Thou that destroyest the temple,
and buildest it in three days, save Thyself, and come down from the
cross." Mark 15:29,30.
Christ could have come down from the
cross. But if He had done this, we could never have been saved. For our
sake He was willing to die.
"He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was
upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5.