They went through the narrow streets and out by the north gate. They met a man named Simon from an African city, and made him carry the cross. So they came to a low, bare-topped hill, called from its shape "the place of a skull," and there they crucified the Lord. They offered Him the drink which was given to lessen the pain of those who were crucified, but He would not take it. The soldiers divided His garments among them, casting lots for the inner garment which was woven without seam. And sitting down, they watched Him there, and put over His head what Pilate had written in three languages, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Two thieves also were crucified. It was now about nine o'clock. The people that went by, and especially the priests, mocked at the Lord, and one of the thieves did the same. From noon until three o'clock darkness was over all the land. Then the Lord cried aloud, and afterward all was still. The Lord's battle with all the powers of evil was ended, and He had won. Perfect peace had come!
There were other signs besides the darkness. The veil that hung between the holy and most holy chambers in the great temple in Jerusalem, was torn from top to bottom. There was an earthquake. The centurion who commanded the guard of Roman soldiers was afraid. There were faithful women too watching from afar off. As it drew near sunset the women saw two other men, Joseph from a town near by, and Nicodemus, both of them leaders of the Jews, who loved the Lord, but secretly. These men, with leave from Pilate, took down the body of the Lord and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb cut out in the rocky hillside. The women saw where the body of the Lord was laid, and perhaps they saw too when some of the Pharisees came and put a seal of wax where it would be broken if the great stone should be moved from its place before the door, and set a watch so that no one might come and steal the body of the Lord away. So the Sabbath came, the day of rest. We know how little use the seal and guards were when on the Easter morning the angels came and the Lord arose as He had promised.
1. What writing was put upon the cross?
2. What did the soldiers do? the priests? the women who loved the Lord?
3. Who took down the body of the Lord? Where was the Lord's body laid?
In what three languages was the title upon the cross written? Can you see a reason when you remember that the Hebrew has relation to childhood and its affection, Greek to youth and its intelligence, and Latin to adult age and its obedient life?
Find in the twenty-second Psalm words which the Lord spoke upon the cross. Read the whole Psalm, for it is all about this last trial of the Lord's life. The words, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" show how far removed the Divine strength seemed even to Him, in temptation. He was enduring alone a conflict with all the powers of evil, on which the fate of all people in earth and heaven depended. Do we realize how much the Lord cared for our salvation? Do we care as much as we should, and use the strength He has brought to us as faithfully as we ought? (T. 126)
What deeper meaning was there in the darkness over all the land at the time that the Lord was crucified? (E. 401) The rending of the temple veil suggests that the Jewish Church was at an end; the Christian Church had now begun. In this church the Lord's presence would not be veiled in representatives, but would be clearly seen and felt. (E. 400)
The opening of the graves and the rising of the saints were seen in the spiritual world, not in the earthly Jerusalem. (A. 9229 end) It represents the new freedom for good life which the Lord's victory over all evil brought to men on earth and to angels in heaven. (E. 659; A. 8018)
Remembering that garments represent any external thing which clothes a more internal, and that the Lord's garments represent especially His Word, which clothes His love to us, how do soldiers even today part His garments? What is the inner garment which they cannot rend? (A. 9093; E. 64)