The Crucifixion of Christ

Nailed to the Cross

Upon arriving at the place of execution, the condemned were bound to the instruments of torture.While the two thieves wrestled in the hands of those who stretched them upon the cross, Jesus made no resistance. The mother of Jesus looked on with agonizing suspense, hoping that He would work a miracle to save Himself. She saw His hands stretched upon the cross—those dear hands that had ever dispensed blessings, and had been reached forth so many times to heal the suffering.And now the hammer and nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through the tender flesh and fastened to the cross, the heart-stricken disciples bore away from the cruel scene the fainting form of the mother of Christ. SR 221.2

Jesus made no murmur of complaint; His face remained pale and serene, but great drops of sweat stood upon His brow. There was no pitying hand to wipe the death dew from His face, nor words of sympathy and unchanging fidelity to stay His human heart. He was treading the winepress all alone; and of all the people there was none with Him.While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, and He was enduring the most acute agony, Jesus prayed for His enemies—“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world, taking in every sinner who should live, until the end of time. SR 222.1

After Jesus was nailed to the cross, it was lifted by several powerful men and thrust with great violence into the place prepared for it, causing the most excruciating agony to the Son of God. And now a terrible scene was enacted. Priests, rulers, and scribes forgot the dignity of their sacred offices, and joined with the rabble in mocking and jeering the dying Son of God, saying, “If Thou be the King of the Jews, save Thyself.” Luke 23:37.And some deridingly repeated among themselves, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” Mark 15:31.The dignitaries of the temple, the hardened soldiers, the vile thief upon the cross, and the base and cruel among the multitude—all united in their abuse of Christ. SR 222.2

The thieves who were crucified with Jesus suffered like physical torture with Him: but one was only hardened and rendered desperate and defiant by his pain. He took up the mocking of the priest, and railed upon Jesus, saying, “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” Luke 23:39. The other malefactor was not a hardened criminal. When he heard the sneering words of his companion in crime, he “rebuked him, saying, Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:40, 41. Then, as his heart went out to Christ, heavenly illumination flooded his mind. In Jesus, bruised, mocked, and hanging upon the cross, he saw his Redeemer, his only hope, and appealed to him in humble faith: “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, [By placing the comma after the word today, instead of after the word thee, as in the common versions, the true meaning of the text is more apparent.] shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. SR 222.3

With amazement the angels beheld the infinite love of Jesus, who, suffering the most excruciating agony of mind and body, thought only of others, and encouraged the penitent soul to believe. While pouring out his life in death, He exercised a love for man stronger than death. Many who witnessed those scenes on Calvary were afterward established by them in the faith of Christ. SR 223.1

The enemies of Jesus now awaited His death with impatient hope. That event they imagined would forever hush the rumors of His divine power and the wonders of His miracles.They flattered themselves that they should then no longer tremble because of His influence. The unfeeling soldiers who had stretched the body of Jesus on the cross, divided His clothing among themselves, contending over one garment, which was woven without seam. They finally decided the matter by casting lots for it. The pen of inspiration had accurately described this scene hundreds of years before it took place: “For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet…. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.” Psalm 22:16, 18. SR 223.2

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