As they led him off, they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus.
A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on.
At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children.
The time is coming when they'll say, 'Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!'
Then they'll start calling to the mountains, 'Fall down on us!' calling to the hills, 'Cover us up!'
If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they'll do with deadwood?"
Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution.
When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left.
Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."
The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, "He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God - ha! The Chosen - ha!"
The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine:
"So you're King of the Jews! Save yourself!"
Printed over him was a sign: this is the king of the jews.
One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!"
But the other one made him shut up: "Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him.
We deserve this, but not him - he did nothing to deserve this."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom."
He said, "Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise."
By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours -
a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle.
Jesus called loudly, "Father, I place my life in your hands!" Then he breathed his last.
When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: "This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!"
All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home.
Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.
There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character.
He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea.
He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used.
It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.
The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. They saw the tomb where Jesus' body was placed.
Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)