Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Jesus Sentenced to Death

Read John 18:38-40; 19:1-16.

Pilate wanted to set Jesus free but he was afraid of the people.  They were threatening to report him to the Roman emperor if he didn’t agree with them.  His job and even his life would be in danger.  He didn’t want to condemn an innocent person, but his own safety was more important to him than right or wrong.  And so Pilate finally turned Jesus over to be nailed on a cross like a criminal.

Like Pilate, everyone who hears the good new about Jesus has to decide what to do with Him.  Some are afraid to accept Jesus as Savior because of what other people will say or do.  What God does with us on the judgment day depends on what we do now with His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus Nailed to the Cross

Read John 19:16-27.

Jesus was crucified, nailed to a cross between two criminals.  A sign over Him said: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  The chief priests did not like that, but Pilate refused to have it changed.

Even while Jesus was suffering on the cross, He thought of others rather than Himself.  He gave His mother to the care of the disciple John.  From other gospels we learn that He even prayed for God to forgive the people who had nailed Him to the cross.

The Death of Jesus

Read John 19:28-30.

All the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah’s death for our sins were fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross.  It all happened just exactly like the prophets had predicted hundreds of years before, even to the soldiers gambling for His clothes and offering Him sour wine to drink.

“In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21, KJV).

Jesus said: “It is finished!”  He meant that He had finished the work that God had given Him to do.  When He died, He finished paying for our salvation.

It was really our sins that made Jesus die.  So we can’t put the blame on the people of Jesus’ nation, or on Pilate, or on the soldiers who crucified Him.  It was sin, our sin, that made Him go to the cross to save us.  Knowing this makes us feel sorry for our sins.  We don’t want to keep on doing the things which caused Jesus’ death.  So we ask God to forgive our sins. We just accept what Jesus has done for us and we are saved.  He died in our place.

“Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus Side Pierced

Read John 19:31-37.

Crucifixion was a slow, agonizing form of execution.  The soldiers broke the legs of the victims to make them die sooner.  They found Jesus already dead and didn’t break His bones.  This was a fulfillment of prophecy.

When the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side this, also, was the fulfillment of prophecy, the fountain opened up to wash away our sins.

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1, KJV)

“The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

The Burial of Jesus

Read John 19:38-42.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were both prominent religious leaders and members of the Sanhedrin.  They had not voted for the death of Jesus.  Up until now they had been secret believers in Jesus, afraid to come out openly for Him.

Sometimes it is hard for persons in a high social position to come out openly for Jesus.  They may feel ashamed to go to a church where most of the people are poor.  They may be afraid they will lose their jobs if they become Christians.  But God gave Joseph and Nicodemus courage to ask for Jesus’ body and to bury it, showing their respect and love for Him.

The burial custom there was to wrap the body with spices and place it in a cave or niche dug out of the rocky hillside.  From the other gospels we learn that Jesus’ body was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

There was not time to finish all the preparations for burial because it was nearly night when Jesus died.  The Sabbath began at sundown. So the body of Jesus was put in the tomb without all the preparations for burial being finished.

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Now answer a few questions to test your knowledge.

1. Why didn’t Pilate free Jesus?

a) He found Jesus guilty.

b) He was afraid of the people.

c) He wanted to free Barabbas.

2. What sign did Pilate have put on the cross where Jesus was crucified?

a) Jesus of Nazareth who was guilty of treason.

b) Jesus of Nazareth who broke the Law of Moses.

c) Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

3. What did Jesus mean when He said: “It is finished!”?

a) A new world government was now in effect.

b) The work of salvation was finished.

c) All hope for His kingdom was lost.

4. Who is to blame for Jesus’ death?

a) Only the high priests.

b) Just the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and the soldiers who crucified Him.

c) We are, with everyone else who has sinned. Our sins made Him die.

5. What should we do now?

a) We should never accuse anyone in court.

b) We should blame the people who put Jesus to death and hold it against their descendants.

c) We should be sorry for our sins and ask God to forgive us.

6. Read 1 John 1:7 and fill in the blank. "But if we are __________ as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin."

a) living in the light

b) seeking light

c) avoiding light

7. What was done with Jesus’ body?

a) Joseph and Nicodemus buried it.

b) The disciples buried it.

c) It was left on the cross.

8. Why weren’t the preparations for burial finished?

a) Jesus’ followers were afraid.

b) Jesus died just before the Sabbath began and no one could work after sundown.

c) The disciples did not have enough money to buy the materials for the burial.

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