"But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities"
Three and a half years had passed since Jesus began his work. During the past three years, Jesus had been to every place in Judea, preached the Word of God, healed the sick, brought the dead to life, and many other good deeds.
He indicated to the world that He was indeed the Son of God. Even though many people didn't believe this, Jesus didn't hate them. He wanted them to repent of their sins and believe in Him.
Some thought he was the Messiah, but they thought he would expel the troops of Rome and build a new kingdom.
But Jesus was not willing to be a king.
Jesus was the King of Heaven who forsook the throne of Heaven and came to this world to save us as the Son of God. For that, He had to die. Jesus told his disciples about that plan several times, but they didn't believe Jesus' words because they didn't like to think that their good teacher would die.
Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane
When the Passover came near, the priests decided to kill Jesus. The Passover was the greatest celebration in Israel. At that time, many people gathered from every nook and cranny of the country to Jerusalem. Jesus already knew what the priests were going to do. It meant that the time was near. So Jesus wanted to have supper with His disciples before His death. After the Lord's Supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane with the disciples.
When they arrived at Gethsemane, Jesus made them wait at the entrance of the garden and he went into a deeper place alone and began to pray. He wanted to receive the power of God before He took the cross.
At last, the time came. Jesus had to die for our sins.
The sins pressed down Jesus’ shoulders.
Jesus prayed to God to give him the power so that He could endure all the pain.
Jesus prayed for many hours in the dark. He suffered from the heavy burden of sins, so much that his sweat was blood. At last He felt the power that could conquer sin and shoulder the burden.
When Jesus finished praying, it was a late into the night. Then He could hear the footsteps of many people who were walking towards Gethsemane. They were the soldiers of the priests with servants of the Pharisees.
They were searching for Jesus holding torches with weapons in their hands.
Jesus showed himself to them and said, “Who are you looking for?"
They cried, "Jesus of Nazareth!"
Jesus answered to them with calm voice, "I am He"(John 18:4, 5).
Immediately the soldiers bound Jesus and dragged him as if they had arrested a robber.
Jesus was taken before the high priest, priests and scholars. The high priest started to try Him. However they examined Him, they couldn't find any proof to kill Jesus. Finally the high priest asked, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
Jesus answered, "You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
The high priest cried, "Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" (Mark 14:63, 64).
All people who heard it cried out “kill Jesus.”
In those times, people who called themselves: the Son of God or God were killed for it, because they had blasphemed against God. But Jesus was really the Son of God.
At that time Israel was being ruled by Rome, so they couldn't sentence a man with death without the permission of the governor of Rome. So the priests seized and dragged Jesus to the hall of the governor, and they tried Jesus there.
But Pilate, the governor didn't find enough proof to punish Jesus with death, so he said to them, "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?"
People cried loudly, "Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Why? What crime has he committed?" The crowd cried more loudly, "Crucify him!"
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them.
Confession of a centurion
The soldiers beat Jesus, and took Him to the hill Golgotha to crucify Him. Jesus was treated as a murderer and crucified.
Burglars were hung on both sides of Jesus.
Jesus didn't forget his purpose; He came to this world even though he would have to bear the anguish of the cross. Under the cross, the priests and soldiers ridiculed Jesus. Jesus was the Son of God, so it would have been easy for Him to come down on the earth from the cross. He had enough power to do that.
But Jesus did no such thing to save Himself. Even in the anguish, He felt pity for the priests and soldiers and prayed for them, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"(Luke 23:34).
How beautiful prayer is!
When it was 12 o'clock, it suddenly became dark. Many people saw this strange event and were astonished.
When it was 3 o'clock, Jesus cried, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit"(Luke 23:46).
And, He said, "It is finished"(John 19:30), and breathed His last breath.
Then the earthquake happened, and the people were shocked and afraid and ran away. And so God's plan, to save mankind, was fully accomplished. After all the suffering, Jesus depended on God completely, and rested.
The centurion who watched this scene beside the cross said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"(Mark 15:39).
Jesus was truly the Son of God like the centurion said. Jesus never sinned even once but had endured all the suffering of the Cross.
When Jesus died, people who had loved Him got together. They took down the body and laid Him in a tomb.
It was Friday. They met the Sabbath Day in solitude.
If the disciples had believed in Jesus' resurrection, they would not have grieved so much. But they didn't remember the word of Jesus, they had heard so often.
Jesus is resurrected
When Jesus died, the priests were frightened in their hearts.
For it came to their minds that Jesus would come back to life afterwards. So they asked Pilate, the governor, to let soldiers watch the tomb, and not to move the stone of the tomb. Because they worried if the disciples would steal the body of Jesus and lie saying that Jesus had been resurrected.
A captain put the seal of the Roman government at the entrance of the tomb, and the soldiers of Rome closed and guarded the tomb fiercely.
An angel descended from heaven on the morning of the third day. The luster of the Moon shone around the tomb. The light struck the soldiers as if they fell to the ground.
The angel rolled away the stone, and Jesus came out of the tomb. The soldiers who had been guarding the tomb were so amazed and ran to tell the priests.
That day, three women came to the tomb to apply perfume to the body of Jesus. On their way to the tomb, they said, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"(Mark 16:3).
But strangely the big stone had been moved aside. The women were surprised and thought that someone had come to the tomb before them. So they ran quickly and looked in the tomb. The tomb was empty and the body of Jesus was nowhere to be seen.
They thought that people who hated Jesus had stolen His body. Just then, a white clothed man appeared and the tomb was illuminated. The women were filled with fear. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him"(Matthew 28:5-8).
They couldn't hide their joy even with the fear.
The women ran to the disciples and delivered the news that Jesus was alive. They ran to the tomb immediately and confirmed that it was true. Peter entered the tomb once again to be sure, and returned home with fear and joy.