How Did The Saviour Die? His Torture After Pilate condemned Jesus to death, he let his soldiers abuse and humiliate Him. They began by scourging him. Much could be said about the lashing He received. History teaches us that the Romans possibly used a nine-thong whip with embedded stones to tear and rip their prisoners' flesh. "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:15). But this lashing was a part of the price He would pay for humanity. Isaiah, in his magnificent prophecy about the Saviour's suffering, wrote: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). From the public whipping, the soldiers manhandled the wounded, bleeding Jesus into the judgment hall. There they prepared to crucify Him while they mocked and beat Him some more. "And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him" (Mark 15:16-20). The soldiers unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah by battering his face and head: "As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:" (Isaiah 52:14). By this time, His human flesh is torn and wounded. The gashes and blood lost make walking torturous. Perhaps as a further sign of their power, the Romans forced a bystander to carry the wooden cross to the site of the execution. "And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross" (Mark 15:21). The execution site, outside the city walls of Jerusalem, was a hill that looked somewhat like a skull. "And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull" (Mark 15:22). There they offered him a drink, possibly to numb His pain. But their motive was not compassion. Probably, they hoped that by relieving His pain He would last longer and make a better spectacle. "And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not" (Mark 15:23). Jesus refused the wine. Then they crucified Him. "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him" (Mark 15:25). The Roman empire used a brutal and cruel form of execution called crucifixion. Unlike lethal injection or even the electric chair which were designed to be relatively quick and painless, the cross was designed to be long and torturous. Apparently, the Romans felt that a grueling public display would deter others from doing whatever caused the condemned to die like that. His Cross What is crucifixion? A prisoner is nailed arms outstretched to a timber, probably with ropes tied around the arm so they cannot rip themselves free from the cross. That timber is nailed as a cross-beam to a post that holds the prisoner in the air. The prisoners legs are nailed to this post. This cross holds the prisoner up for all to see. While hanging there, wounded and bleeding, the prisoner cannot breath unless they push against their nailed feet to lift their ribcage. As the prisoner's strength fails, the prisoner slowly suffocates. This process could take several days. All the while, everyone who passes by sees a graphic illustration of what it means to be condemned by the Roman empire. They gambled for His clothing as He hung dying. "And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take" (Mark 15:24). This directly fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 22:18, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." As He hung there, two other prisoners were dying nearby, fulfilling prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. People mocked and insulted Him. "And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him" (Mark 15:27-32). But, He did not come to save Himself. He came to die to pay for sin. Just like the Passover lamb, Jesus is the Lamb of God. His Death For six hours, He hung. Roughly from 9am to 3pm. At about noon, the sky was unnaturally darkened. God thus signaled that Jesus now bore our sins. God could no longer look on His Son. "And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down" (Mark 15:33-36). At the moment of Christ's death, God the Father could no longer look at His Son because Jesus bore our sins. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Corinthians 5:21). "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" (Psalm 22:1). "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" (Psalm 69:21). And then, knowing that all Scripture was fulfilled and the mission was accomplished. He surrendered His life. "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost" (John 15:28-30). The mission was accomplished! The payment for sin was made! Oh, what horrible suffering our Saviour endured for us. But what a glorious result-the perfect sacrifice was now offered! His Burial Immediately a spiritual change was made. The veil, which kept the holiest area of the temple separate, was torn by God from its top to the bottom. This indicated that we no longer access God through priests and rituals, but by faith in Jesus Christ. "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom" (Mark 15:37). The centurion who had supervised and assisted the crucifixion of Jesus stopped and said: "And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39). It must have been a terrifying and awe-inspiring sight to see the Saviour of humanity die for our sins. The next day was a Jewish holy day. It was a Jewish tradition to bury the dead before a holy day, and they did not want bodies hanging on crosses to sour the mood. So, to speed the death of those still suffering, they petitioned the Romans to break the prisoners' legs. Again, they unwittingly fulfilled prophecy, this time from Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10. "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced" (John 19:31-37). Because He was dead. Pilate allowed His disciples to take Him down and bury Him. "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre" (Mark 19:42-46). This too was a fulfillment of prophecy. It appears that Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy man, and Isaiah foretold that Messiah would be buried with the rich. "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth" (Isaiah 53:9). The grave was in a vault, a cave in the hillside, in a garden not far from the crucifixion. But, His enemies would not be satisfied that He was dead. They also wanted to be sure no one could tamper with His body. The next morning, they asked Pilate for soldiers to stand guard and make sure no one bothered the grave. "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch" (Matthew 27:62-66). And so they remind us, that He had promised to rise again. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The first day, His crucifixion, had passed. The second day, the watch was set. One more day and night. What do you suppose happened?

Lesson #13 Review

1. How was His scourging a fulfillment of prophecy?

2.How was the rest of His beating a fulfillment of prophecy?

3.Why do you suppose Jesus refused the mind-numbing mixture offered to Him?

4.How does Psalm 22:16 foretell Jesusí suffering on the cross?

5.Why was the sky darkened while Jesus hung on the cross?

6.Why didnít Jesus come down from the cross (Matt. 26:53-54)?

7.Why did the Jews want soldiers to guard Jesusí tomb?