The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most commented on and treated historical events in books, conferences, and movies. Perhaps that is the reason why we have become accustomed to reading or listening to the story of Jesus’ death, losing, to some extent, the sensitivity to understand and appreciate the immensity of his sacrifice. This article is a story of Jesus crucifixion.
Short story of Jesus crucifixion
The death of Jesus was a very painful and humiliating one. Crucifixion was reserved for the worst malefactors, and the punishment was applied forcefully and cruelly. However, even in the midst of such a horrendous setting, some unforgettable events made it clear that Jesus was not just any human being. He was God incarnate, with the specific purpose of saving and redeeming mankind. Death would not prevent his purpose from being fulfilled.
Let’s look at some fantastic things that happened that day, showing that Jesus’ death was one without equal.
The two most shocking events:
1. Jesus’ attitude of forgiveness
When they reached the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
“Father,” said Jesus, “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Even in the midst of so much pain, horror, and humiliation, Jesus chose to forgive those who crucified him. Jesus showed his love and compassion until the last moment of his earthly life. He could have asked God to send fire or vengeance on his executioners, but he didn’t. He chose to forgive!
And it is that the cross is precisely about that: God’s forgiveness for humanity. Thanks to the death on the cross of Jesus, the perfect Lamb (John 1:29), we no longer have to pay or die eternally for our own sins. It is enough to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus is valid for us. Accept him in our hearts as Lord and Savior, and live for him. We are forgiven and reconciled to God through Jesus! How much grace and how much forgiveness!
2. Death cannot hold Jesus: he is risen!
The angel said to the women: Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, the one who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, just as he said he was. Come see the place where they put it.
Just as prophesied (Psalm 16:10; Matthew 16:21), Jesus is risen! Death could not hold him, and it did not finish him off. And it is thanks to Jesus’ victory over death, we, who believe in him, will also enjoy eternal life with him.
The truth is that Christ has been raised from the dead as the first fruits of those who died. In fact, since death came through a man, so also through a man comes the resurrection of the dead. Just as in Adam, all die, so in Christ, all will live again.
(1 Corinthians 15:20-22a)
Other impressive events:
1. Darkness over the land
The Bible says that while Jesus was on the cross, there was a time of darkness on the earth.
From noon until mid-afternoon, the whole land was in darkness.
Luke 23:44-45 says that the sun went down. Apparently, there was something similar to a solar eclipse, although longer in duration and inexplicable. Nature was not indifferent to the death of Jesus, the perfect Lamb through whom we have been redeemed.
If we look at the plagues that God sent to Egypt in the Old Testament, we see in Exodus 10:21-23 that the ninth plague was a great darkness. After that plague came the death of the firstborn of Egypt, a country where the people of Israel had spent many years in slavery.
Only the children of the people of Israel survived that plague. God gave them precise instructions to smear the blood of a male lamb without a blemish on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they had gathered to celebrate the first Passover (Exodus 12:1-14). Thanks to that sign, the blood of a spotless lamb on the doorposts, they did not suffer the death of their children.
2. The veil of the temple was torn in two
Another unexplained event during the crucifixion of Jesus was the veil of the temple being torn in half just as Jesus expired. That thick, heavy veil separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, the earthly place where God’s presence dwelt that only the High Priest could enter (Exodus 26:31-34).
Then Jesus cried out loud again and gave up his spirit. At that moment, the curtain of the temple’s sanctuary was torn in two, from top to bottom.
The torn veil symbolized the direct access we now have to the presence of God, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus. Only through him do we have access to God and the forgiveness of our sins. He offered himself as a perfect lamb so that we can have peace with God through him.
Indeed, Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a simple copy of the true sanctuary, but into heaven itself, now to appear before God on our behalf. Neither he nor he entered heaven to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy of Holies each year with foreign blood. If so, Christ would have had to suffer many times since the world’s creation. On the contrary, now, at the end of time, he has appeared once and for all to put an end to sin through his sacrifice.
The Gospel of Matthew also mentions a great earthquake, so strong that rocks split. We see once again that nature reacted strongly to the crucifixion of Jesus.
4. Graves were opened and some saints were resurrected
Due to the strong tremor, the graves were opened. But the most amazing thing is that many saints were resurrected. In other words, Lord-fearing people who had been dead until that day were now alive. Usually that doesn’t happen when there’s an earthquake. Only the power of God can raise the dead!
The graves were opened, and many saints who had died were resurrected. They came out of the tombs and, after the resurrection of Jesus, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
We see that, after the resurrection of Jesus, these people appeared in the city and many saw them. The Bible says that they were saints, people who loved and served God. Now they had a new opportunity to bear witness to the great power of God over physical death and spiritual death.
5. Reaction of the centurion and others present
The most wonderful thing that can happen is the transformation of a heart. The greatest of all miracles is seeing a life changed by having an encounter with Jesus. The centurion himself, chosen to see that everything went as it should during the crucifixion of Jesus, could not resist the power of God’s redeeming love.
Then Jesus exclaimed loudly: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit! And saying this, he expired. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said: Truly this man was just. Then those who had gathered to witness that spectacle, seeing what had happened, left there beating their chests.
The centurion praised God! He realized that Jesus was not just any man. He knew that Jesus had died without deserving it and that he had done it out of love for humanity. Both the centurion and others who had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus noticed something different about Jesus and were shocked by it. Their lives would no longer be the same.
And so it is. When we have an encounter with the crucified Christ, the one who died for each one of us, we cannot remain the same. His blood cleanses us from all sin and, thanks to him, we will enjoy eternal life.
And by virtue of that will we are sanctified through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, offered once for all.