Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. Sometime before 9am that Passover Day (our Good Friday), Jesus is lead away from the Fortress of Antonio to be crucified on the hill of the skull, supposedly where Adam was buried, known as Golgotha, to be lifted up on a cross.
2. Sometimes the two separate parts of the cross, the vertical and horizontal pieces, only the horizontal piece was carried by the condemned. Sometimes both. Here the Gospels make it clear that Jesus carried the horizontal piece due to the savage scourging He has just received. Still, He stumbled, and another finished that work. (Simon of Cyrene–Matthew 27:32)
3. Are we reminded of Isaac carrying the wood for the fire that would burn His body? (Genesis 22, known as the Akida)
3. The inscription, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” Pilate ordered fixed to the cross in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and was perhaps Pilate’s last jab at the Jewish leaders. These leaders protested but Pilate remained resolute.
4. Jesus was crucified between two criminals, thus linking Him with such deplorable people. Did Pilate arrange for this?
5. The death squad of Roman soldiers, usually four in number, were rewarded by receiving what clothes the condemned was wearing. Interesting enough, some 1000 years before King David mentions this as found in Psalm 22:18. Historians tell us crucifixion was not invented some several hundred years after the days of King David.
6. There at the cross were either three or four women. Scholars are divided on this, and with them young John the Apostle and the author of the Gospel. They had the courage to stand close to the cross so that Jesus could speak directly to them.
7. Jesus utters one of the seven sayings from the cross now: He said to His mother: “Woman, behold your son!” and to John, the son, “Behold your mother!” John then did what the oldest son, by custom, was supposed to do upon the death of the mother’s husband. Jesus had been acting that part now John.
8. Fairly reliable history says that John lived in Ephesus until Mary died.