Matthew 27.44-50; Mark 1533-37; Luke 23:39-46:John 19:28-30
The crosses of two other men stood near Jesus. Both were robbers. One robber laughed at Jesus. “Save Yourself and us! You’re supposed to be the Christ, aren’t you?”
The other robber said, “You should be more afraid of God. This man has done nothing wrong.” Then he called out, “Jesus! Remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
Jesus said, “I promise. Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
After Jesus was hanging on the cross for six hours, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You left Me so alone?”
During those hours on the cross,Jesus became the go-between for people and God. Jesus is the Way through which any man, woman or child can be touched by God.
That afternoon, the whole earth was covered with darkness. Like a blanket, the heavy blackness covered both city and countryside.
Jesus was also in darkness. For the first and only time in Jesus’ life, God looked away from His Son. As Jesus took on the sin of the world, He felt the pain and hurt of it all.
Jesus said nothing for a long time. He was in great pain and very slowly dying. “Father, here is My Spirit!” Jesus had suffered enough. The price was paid. The way back to God was open now.
Then Jesus cried out again with open now.
Then Jesus cried out again with aloud voice, “It is finished!” It was a cry of a battle won. Jesus bowed His head and took His last breath. Jesus was dead.
The very moment that Jesus cried out, He gave up His Spirit to heaven. The curtain in the temple split in half. This curtain marked the way into the holiest place of the temple. This was the closest anyone could get to God. Only the high priest was allowed in, and then only once a year.
A very special thing happened when the curtain split in two. When Jesus died, it meant people no longer had to wait for the high priest to pray for them to God. Jesus had died for all people. He made a Way for them to reach God. So there was no need for the curtain anymore. Anybody could reach out to God, thanks to Jesus. Jesus had died. The sky was dark. There was a great rumbling noise. The earth shook. Huge stones split and fell from the hills. Stranger and stranger things happened that evening when Jesus died.
“Why is it so dark?” people screamed.
“It’s the end of the world! We’re being punished!”
Men and women cried out in fear. They ran. Panic gripped the city. Many of the tombs, or places where dead people were buried, opened up. Dead bodies became alive. Later, these people would walk around Jerusalem as if they had never died.