Jesus and the Cross

The story about Jesus on trial before Pilate and the events that led to His death on the cross.
Taken from Matthew 27:11-44, Mark 15:1-41, Luke 23:1-49, and John 18:28-19:37


TOPICS:

Cross, Crucifixion, Easter, Forgiveness, Jesus

DURATION:

Approximately 10 minutes

The chief priests and teachers of the law believed Jesus was a criminal and needed to be punished. So, early Friday morning they took Him to Pilate, who was the governor at the time. Pilate came out from his palace and asked the people, "What did this man do wrong?"

jesus and the cross

The people replied, "He doesn't pay taxes to Caesar! He stirs up trouble with all His teachings. He even claims to be the Christ!"

Pilate looked at Jesus and asked, "Is it true what the people are saying? Are you the King of the Jews?"

"My Kingdom is not of this world, but yes, I am a king," Jesus answered.

Pilate thought about that for a while. Then, he turned to look at the crowd and said, "I don't find this man to be a criminal. He has done nothing wrong!"

But the people insisted. "He is a criminal. He must be punished by death!"

Later that morning, Pilate called all the people together again and said, "I have studied the situation well. I still find that Jesus has done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, I will punish Him for you, and then let Him go."

Upon hearing this, the people demanded that Pilate release another prisoner instead. "Release Barabbas!" they said.

"Then what should I do with Jesus?" Pilate asked.

The people all shouted, "Crucify Him!" Louder and louder they yelled, "Crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify Him!"

Finally, Pilate took Jesus into the palace. He didn't want Jesus to be put to death. He didn't believe Jesus did anything wrong. However, he also didn't want to make things worse by disagreeing with so many people. He could still hear the people shouting, "Crucify Him!" Pilate had his soldiers beat Jesus with whips. They made a crown of thorns and put it on His head. The soldiers yelled repeatedly, "Hail king of the Jews!" as they struck Jesus in the face.

Then, the soldiers led Jesus to a place called Golgotha. A large crowd followed, many weeping for Jesus. The soldiers made Him carry a heavy wooden cross. Jesus grew tired and weak. The cross was so heavy He fell to the ground. The soldiers grabbed a man named Simon and made him carry the cross part of the way.

When Jesus finally got to the place called Golgotha, the soldiers offered Him a drink of wine mixed with something to ease the pain, but Jesus refused to drink it. They nailed Jesus to the cross, and crucified Him along with two other criminals. There was one to the right and another to the left.

Jesus looked up and said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

The soldiers made fun of Jesus saying, "If He is the Christ, let Him save Himself!" But Jesus didn't come to save Himself. He came to save us.

Just before noon, darkness came over the whole land. The sun actually stopped shining. It was dark for several hours. Then, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Father, I give to you my spirit," and He took His last breath. Suddenly, the curtain in the temple ripped from top to bottom and there was a large earthquake. Everyone was terrified. One of the soldiers who watched everything said, "Surely He was the son of God."

The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV) The story of Jesus' death is very sad, but it is also very important. Jesus didn't do anything wrong. He died on the cross for us. When we do something wrong, we should ask Jesus to forgive us, and He will.

For discussion questions see, Jesus Forgives (Lesson) Click here