After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. -John 19:28-30 (NKJV)
Jesus was, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, betrayed by one of His own apostles for money. Another apostle denied—three times!—he even knew Jesus. Jesus was taken away, judged and mocked and scourged. He was nailed to a cross like a criminal of the day to bleed out and asphyxiate…a very painful way to go. A Roman soldier even lanced Him in His side after He died.
Worst Friday ever, right?
If you’re not a believer, then yes, yes it was. That’s a pretty terrible way to go.
As a believer, however, these events are only part of God’s ultimate expression of His love for the world. But at the time, even the apostles, who gave up their lives to walk with Jesus, watched everything seemingly fall apart before their eyes…even though Jesus had told them this was coming.
All these events were foretold and predestined to bring us in direct connection with the Father. This all had to happen to save us…a world living in condemnation, apart from the Father. A quick rundown from the book of Matthew:
- Judas sells out Jesus for 30 silver pieces.
- Final Passover with the Master. Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. Jesus says one of the disciples will betray Him.
- At the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells his disciples they will scatter upon His death, but He will rise and meet them in Galilee. Peter says he will never deny Jesus, despite Jesus telling him he will three times before the rooster crows.
- In Gesthemane, Jesus takes Peter and two sons of Zebedee to keep watch while He prayed. Three times, the disciples fell asleep on their watch.
- Jesus is arrested by men who were led by Judas, who identified Jesus as the one to be taken.
- Jesus is judged as a blasphemer for not denying his identity as the Son of God. He is spat on in the face, struck with fists, and mocked.
- Peter disowns Jesus three times before bystanders…and hears a rooster crow. He weeps bitterly.
- Judas hangs himself.
- Jesus is taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and is silent to all charges. Pilate asks the crowd which prisoner to release, per custom at the festival, who to release. The crowd, persuaded by the chief priests and elders, asks for Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified. Jesus is flogged and taken by Pilate’s soldiers to be crucified.
- The soldiers surround Jesus in the Praetorium. They strip Him, put a scarlet robe on Him, put a crown of thorns on His head, and a staff in His right hand. They mock Him, spat on Him, take the staff from Him and strike Him with it over and over. They then put Him back in His clothes and take Him to be crucified.
- In Golgotha, Jesus is crucified along with two criminals. Above His head is a mocking sign with the charge against Him: Jesus, King of the Jews. The soldiers divide up His clothes and cast lots for them. He is mocked by passersby and even the two men crucified on either side of Him.
- From noon to three, the sky went dark. At three, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He cries out loudly again, announcing that His work is finished, and gives up His spirit. At that very moment, the curtain of the temple is torn in two, the earth shakes, rocks split, and tombs break open. Many of the holy dead in those tombs are raised, and appear to many. The centurion and others with him saw all that happened and acknowledge He was indeed the Son of God.
That last point is so important. God so loved the world that He let His own beloved Son become sin…take on all the sins of the world…and even become separated from His father…so we may have eternal life with Him! The temple veil being torn removed the religious barrier between us and the Father, so we could now come directly to Him.
But at that moment, to bear witness to Jesus’ death on the cross, things seemed dark and hopeless. What next?
What was next was the continuation of Jesus’ fulfillment of the Scriptures. Death is not the end! He would rise again. For agents, we’ve accepted Jesus into our hearts, so He lives in us. We know in our hearts He rose again, and continues to do amazing things in our lives.
Stay tuned, true believer, for what happens next.