so he explained it to them. "I assure you, I am the gate for the sheep," he said.
8"All others who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. 10The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness."
11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the sheep because they aren't his and he isn't their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13The hired hand runs away because he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep."
14"I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice; and there will be one flock with one shepherd."
17"The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. 18No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command."19
When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.
Some of them said, "He has a demon, or he's crazy. Why listen to a man like that?"
Others said, "This doesn't sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.
The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they put a royal purple robe on him.
"Hail! King of the Jews!" they mocked, and they hit him with their fists.
Pilate went outside again and said to the people, "I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty."
Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, "Here is the man!"
When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, "Crucify! Crucify!" "You crucify him," Pilate said. "I find him not guilty."
The Jewish leaders replied, "By our laws he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God."
When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.
He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer.
"You won't talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or to crucify you?"
Then Jesus said, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who brought me to you has the greater sin."12
Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders told him, "If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar."
When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha).
It was now about noon of the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, "Here is your king!"
"Away with him," they yelled. "Away with him -- crucify him!" "What? Crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the leading priests shouted back.
Then Pilate gave Jesus to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away.
Carrying the cross by himself, Jesus went to the place called Skull Hill (in Hebrew, Golgotha).
There they crucified him. There were two others crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
And Pilate posted a sign over him that read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
Then the leading priests said to Pilate, "Change it from 'The King of the Jews' to 'He said, I am King of the Jews.'"
Pilate replied, "What I have written, I have written. It stays exactly as it is."
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.
So they said, "Let's not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it." This fulfilled the Scripture that says, "They divided my clothes among themselves and threw dice for my robe." So that is what they did.
Standing near the cross were Jesus' mother, and his mother's sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, "Woman, he is your son." 27
And he said to this disciple, "She is your mother." And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, "I am thirsty." 29
A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, "It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The Jewish leaders didn't want the victims hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath at that, because it was the Passover), so they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was dead already, so they didn't break his legs.
One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out.
This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account; it is presented so that you also can believe.
These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, "Not one of his bones will be broken,"
and "They will look on him whom they pierced."
Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body down. When Pilate gave him permission, he came and took the body away.
Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, also came, bringing about seventy-five pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes.
Together they wrapped Jesus' body in a long linen cloth with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial.
The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.
And so, because it was the day of preparation before the Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)