Death Of Christ Essay, Research Paper
Keith R. Jackson
February 16, 2000
NT 104, MWF 9:00am
The Death of Christ
I chose to look into Jesus death and the people who were involved in it. The first group of people who got hold of Jesus was the Roman soldiers. They were probably the most innocent in the whole thing. Granted they did perform the actual act of crucifying Christ, but it was because of the order that Pilate gave them.
As I looked into crucifixion and how it started I found that before Jesus was crucified, more than 30,000 men, in Israel alone, had already been crucified. It all started by this guy named Ormazd from Persia. He thought that the earth was sacred, so he did not want to defile the earth by killing criminals on it so he put them on a large pole and left them there to die.
After Pilate gave the order to crucify Christ the soldiers took him. The part of their wickedness was not the act of crucifying Christ, it was by what they did to Jesus before they crucified him. The scripture says in Matthew 27, that the soldiers, ?gathered a full Roman cohort around Him.? I looked into what a ?full Roman cohort? was. It seems that a total of 600 soldiers make up a full Roman cohort. I also learned that Jewish people were given the right not to be in the Roman military. I also fount out the cohort was traveling around with the governor as a military escort. Because of that it is pretty safe to say they never heard of Jesus, other than the fact that He was being crucified because he was claiming to be some sort of king..
The soldiers knew that he claimed to be a king so they stripped him down and put a scarlet robe on him. Next they took thorns and thistles and weaved a crown together and put it on Jesus head. My understanding is that Caesar wore a wreath on his head and the soldiers were mimicking Him. As they put the crown of thorns on Jesus head blood ran down on Jesus face, which made him even more unrecognizable. The final piece of dress that the soldiers put on Jesus was a reed in his right hand. The way John MacAuthur, Jr. explained the reed was that it was to represent royalty, authority, and power. After giving Jesus the reed the soldiers were making fun of Jesus by getting on their knees and pretending to worship Him. They then took the reed from his hand and beat Jesus on the head with it while they were saying this like, ?Look how easy we strip you of your power and authority. We now beat you with your own staff.? During all this not one time, that I could find in anything that I read, did Jesus say anything. Never once did he try to defend Himself, but just took the undeserved torture quietly.
Afterwards Jesus stood before Pilate during this meeting what stand out most to me is the first thing that Jesus responded to. Pilate said to Jesus, ??where did you come from?? But Jesus did not answer him. Then Pilate said, ?You won?t talk? Don?t you know that I have the authority to pardon you and the authority to crucify you?? Jesus said, ?You haven?t a shed of authority over me except what has been given to you from heaven. That is why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault,? John 19:10 ?11. That is the part that gets me curious and excited?it is almost like, if something like that would happen on Jerry Springer the audience would go, ?Ohh.? It makes me think and probably Pilate think, ?Who exactly is in control right now??
After that took place Pilate felt bad or understood what he had done and sort of walked away from the situation but did not stop it. He told the Jews to take him themselves and crucify Him. When Jesus left there MacAuthur says that Jesus, ??was bleeding profusely from the scouring, with terrible lacerations from His shoulders down, exposing muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and perhaps even internal organs.? To add to all of this, the night before Jesus had no sleep because of trials. Even though Jesus was in this poor of shape, the people still forced Him to carry his own cross.
From reading and research I feel it is safe to say that Jesus did not just carry a section of the cross but the entire thing. This would mean that Jesus was beaten and then forced to carry a cross weighing more than 200 pounds. To make sure that this happened 4 soldiers escorted Him. The were also there to help Him get through the crowds and lead the way. These 4 soldiers are called a quaternion.
Once Jesus made it to a town south of Greece called Cyrene He was not able to carry the cross any more. His body was giving out, because of this the Roman soldiers picked a guy named Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. I wish I had more time to study Simon but what I did learn was that he was a pilgrim who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The reason, that I can best understand, that Simon was picked is because he looked strong. I also found out that after Simon carried the cross both him and other family members found faith in Christ, but that is a whole other report.
They finally made the trip to the final destination. The place was named Golgatha, and it means, place of a skull. The reason for the name was explained to me in the past. I was told that people were buried there up to their necks and their heads were poking out of the ground. MacAurthor says that it got its name from its appearance, ?the name refereed to a particular site that had the appearance of a skull.? A question I had about this place named Golgatha was, why there, for the crucifixion? The reason I found was refereed to me in the book of Numbers 15:35. It says that there was a law that required executions be performed outside the city.
Once to Golgatha, the soldiers tried to give Jesus a drink, Jesus tasted it and spit it out. The reason? I found that the soldiers the person who was being crucified something for the pain, and to keep them from struggling during the nailing. When Jesus tasted something in the drink he spit it out because He didn?t want his senses dulled. Once everything was in place the soldiers first nailed His feet to the upright beam and His hands through the wrist to the horizontal beam (I could not find out which hand was nailed first). After He was nailed to the cross it was raised and there was room for Jesus to bend His knees. I couldn?t find anywhere saying Jesus was tied to the cross, even though many pictured I have seen have ropes also.
I was going to try to explain what happened to His body next but I found that in a book called, The Life of Christ, it is explained very well on pages 403 ? 404. It says,
?A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly ? dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, shame, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of intended wounds ? all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness.
The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds inflamed by exposure gradually gangrened [when a victim took several days to die]; the arteries ? especially at the head and stomach ? became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood, and while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of burning and raging thirst, and all these physical complications caused an internal excitement and anxiety, which made the prospect of death itself ? of death, the unknown enemy, at whose approach man usually shudders most ? bear the aspect of a delicious and exquisite release.
One thing is clear. The first century executions were not like the modern ones, for they did not seek a quick, painless death nor the preservation of any measure of dignity for the criminal. On the contrary, they sought an agonizing torture, which completely humiliated him. And it is important that we understand this, for it helps us realize the agony of Christ?s death.?
While Jesus was on the cross many things happened. A sign of mockery was hung above his head that read, ?This is Jesus the king of the Jews.? Jesus was crucified along with two other criminals, one on each side. At first both of them mocked and yelled at Jesus. There were many people standing around watching. Most of these people at one time admired Jesus and even followed Him. The reasoning behind them being at the cross this time (at least what I understand) was to make sure He was crucified. I read in many books that the people were yelling at Jesus and mocking Him. It says in John 2:19 ?21 that they were mocking the fact that He said he would rebuild the temple in 3 days.
Another groups at the cross were the Pharisees. From as far back in Jesus life that I go these people who were trying to destroy Jesus. Because of this paper I learned that they were probably a big part of the crucifixion. They have a lot of power and pressured people into agreeing with them. Now these people were at the cross doing the same thing that they always did. Harassing Jesus.
During the mocking done by all these people, one of the others being crucified changed his mind about Christ. I don?t really know why, and I couldn?t find much on it. At first I thought it was probably out of fear, but later changed my mind. I think he was hearing and seeing what the people were doing but also watched the reaction of Jesus. I feel because of Jesus reactions he started to believe in who he said he was. He told this to Jesus and Jesus promised him in Luke 23:42-43 that he would be with Jesus in heaven.
Just before Jesus died it is said that he cried out and yielded up his spirit. What I never thought about before was what that meant. Even though Jesus had been through incredible pain and suffering, he was still very strong. I say this because it takes a lot of energy to yell. I feel because of this fact Jesus was able to keep living, but it says that He gave up his spirit. What I think that reassures is that he was still in total control of everything, even His own life.
While on the cross??The son took upon himself out transgressions, our iniquities. Jesus delivered up because of our transgression?? and by giving up His life He, ?who knew no sin became sin on our behalf, and became a curse for us. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross and died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, and became the propitiation for our sins.? Jesus life was concluded on the cross by Him saying, ?It is finished.? And giving up His spirit for and to us.
The conclusion of these people is that their wickedness was because of their lack of knowing who Jesus was
THE PEOPLE STANDING AROUND THE CROSS
What I think of when I think of these people is the people at my church whether in youth group or other areas, who were raised in the church and live the Christian life, but when something isn?t going right they only live the Christian life with their mouths and not by their actions. When things get even worse they jump ship and we don?t see them until they are tired of trying to fix things on their own and come back to Jesus for help.
What cracks me up about these guys is that they probably know more scripture than anyone in the Bible, most of them even devoted their lives to studying scripture but they were still blind. If anyone should have known what was going to happen it was them and it was happening before their eyes. Yet they were still blind to the truth.
At the end of this paper I am very pleased. I really hope that this is what you were wanting. I tried to research something that you assigned and something that I know nothing about. The people and their reactions on the way to and from the cross was just that. If I had to relate myself to any of the people in this research project it would probley be the soldiers. I say this because a lot of times I do things to Jesus without even knowing. Once I know life is a lot easier to see. Does that make sense? My next biggest thing would be the knowledge of what is wrong but giving into the flesh. I guess that would be what the people standing around the cross were doing.
It might seem a little weird but I kind of want to be like the Pharisees. Not what they did but what they know. This paper has pushed me just a little closer to that and I?m pretty happy with the outcome and cant wait until I can use what I have now learned in real life.
Douglas, J.D. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Publisher House,1978
MacArthur, John The MacArthur New Testiment Commentary Library of Congress in Publication Data, 1989
Tenney, Merrill C. The Zondervan Pictoral Encyclopedia of the Bible Zondervan Publishing House,
Douglas, J.D. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary Part 2 Inter-Varsity Press,
Cross, F.L. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church Oxford University Press, 1968
Green, Joel B. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels Inter Varsity Press,
Bible translations used: NIV, The Message, New Living, and New American Standard
The Death of Christ