Crucifixion of Jesus - Bible Story
Bible Story of Jesus' Crucifixion
The crucifixion of Jesus is recorded in the New Testament books, known as the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This Bible story is the central summary of the saving Gospel of Jesus. Jesus had prophesied of his death in Matthew "from that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Jesus understood that his life would be required as a sacrifice for the sins of man.
At the height of his ministry and miracles, many Jews came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Jewish leaders feared Jesus because of his growing followers. With the help of Judas Iscariot, Roman soldiers arrested Jesus, and He was put on trial for claiming to be the king of the Jews. According to Roman law, the punishment for rebellion against the king was death by crucifixion.
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate was reluctant regarding the punishment for Jesus. Pilate could find no wrong in Jesus, yet he wanted to give the people what they wanted, and that was the death of Jesus. Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd to symbolize that he was not taking responsibility for the bloodshed of Jesus and then handed Jesus over to be beaten and lashed. Jesus had a crown of thorns thrust on his head and made to carry his cross along the pathway to the hill where he would be crucified. The location of Jesus' crucifixion is known as Calvary, translated from "a place of skull."
Jesus on the Cross: Bible Text
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him,"This is the King of the Jews. 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. ~ Luke 23:26-49
The Last Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross
1. Matthew 27:46 tells us that about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
2. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
3. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
4. “Dear Woman, here is your son!” and “Here is your mother!” When Jesus recognized His mother standing near the cross with the Apostle John, He entrusted His mother’s well-being to John’s responsibility. (John 19:26-27).
6. “It is finished!” (John 19:30). The work His Father had sent Him to do, which was to teach the Gospel, perform miracles, and achieve reconciliation for His people, was fulfilled. The debt of sin was paid.
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46) Jesus willingly gave his life.
Jesus faced the incredible task of laying down his life as a ransom for the world. This task was traumatic and overwhelming, but Jesus accepted it willingly. After hanging on the cross for three hours, Jesus finally gave up his life. He was not helpless at the hands of those who crucified him—he alone had the authority to end his life. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says, “The Son of Man came . . . to give his life as a ransom for many.” The crucifixion was Jesus’ plan, and it was his plan from before creation—he’s the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
But Jesus’ death is still death. It is still an abomination. Though Jesus submitted, this doesn’t mean everything was fine. The author of life was murdered by evil men (Acts 2:23). But Jesus yielded to the evil and injustice because he knew who was really in charge.
Extraordinary events marked the death of Jesus. The sky was completely dark for three hours as Jesus hung on the cross. At the moment of his last breath, the earth shook, the temple curtain split from top to bottom, and the tombs of saints opened and their bodies raised from the dead.
The crucifixion of Jesus was a part of God's plan from the very beginning of the birth of Jesus. The sin of mankind would require a sacrifice. The sinless life of Jesus was lived and given so that man could receive salvation and eternal life in heaven. The Scriptures below contain the full Bible story of the crucifixion. To learn more about the resurrection, visit our Bible story page on the Resurrection of Jesus.
Photo credit: Getty Images/mbolina