Friday, March 21

Good Friday

Soldiers led Jesus and the man carrying His cross to the hill of Golgotha, which means Place of the Skull. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh (a mild painkiller), but when He'd tasted it, He refused the drink.

The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Next to Him, they hung two thieves. A sign above His head denoted His crime, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."

As they sat down to guard the men, the soldiers gambled against one another to see who would take home Jesus's clothes.

The crowds passing by mocked the men being executed. They called to Jesus, "You claimed you could rebuild the temple in three days. If you really are the Son of God, show us! Come down from your cross and save yourself."

Jewish leaders and rabbis made fun as well, "He saved other people from death, but he can't save himself. If he really were king of Israel, he'd come down from the cross! Then we could believe him. He said he was God's Son, let God save him, if He wants to."

Even one of the criminals beside Him spat out, "Aren't you the Christ? Why don't you save yourself and save us!"

At noontime, the sun became dark. Light did not return for three hours. In that time, Jesus shouted, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?"

Some of the people standing nearby heard His cry and thought He was calling for Elijah. One of them ran to bring wine vinegar to revive Him; others said to wait, "Let's see if Elijah will come to save him."

Jesus called out, again, as He died, "It is finished!"

Immediately, the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. An earthquake shook the land and rocks broke apart.

An officer and some soldiers guarding Jesus felt the ground shake and saw everything that happened. They trembled in fear, saying to one another, "This man really was God's Son!"

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