Of all the events in all the history of the world, the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, is among the greatest of all time. That is not to say that it is great in the sense of being enjoyable or pleasant. But, it is great in the sense of significant or powerful. It had a profound effect then, it should now, and it does for all of time. And it is a death that every person should be told about.

A few years ago I preached on the death of Jesus and a lady left the auditorium during the sermon. I did not think much of it, but after services she told me that when she hears the shocking, physical details of crucifixions, it can trouble her thoughts. The death of Jesus is something we must consider, but I can also appreciate her sentiment that many of the aspects are so traumatic that they are difficult to consider.

Before we consider those cruel six hours, it also helps us to consider that the death of Jesus and many very specific details were foretold in Scripture. Jesus was given vinegar and gall to drink (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34), and His garments were divided (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35). Even a common procedure during a crucifixion to break the legs of the victim (John 19:31, 32) was actually NOT done to Jesus (John 19:33). These are just a few among many amazing facts and verses to consider.

The death of Jesus was also necessary in several aspects. Jesus “is the Mediator of the new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15) and that covenant can only be in force if there is the death of the testator (Hebrews 9:16, 17). Also, as people who are sinful and deserve death (Romans 6:23), there had to be the shedding of blood so that we might have the remission of our sins (Hebrews 9:22).

If we are going to discuss the death of Jesus, we must discuss the physical suffering associated with crucifixion. There are not enough words that could be used to help us fully comprehend what Jesus suffered physically. Nor do we have time in this space to consider the beatings and pain that He endured leading up to His time on the cross.

We do read in Scripture some of the things that happened to Him before His hanging that would have caused pain that would have continued on through His time on the cross: scourging (John 19:1), the crown of thorns (Mark 15:17), striking Him (Matthew 27:30).

We read in Scripture of things that happened during His time on the cross: the nails in his hands and feet which are discussed with Thomas (John 20:24-29) and the effects on His body like thirst (John 19:28).

There are even things that we do not read about in Scripture but yet are things we can know to be true about the act of crucifixion: the rough wood against a bare-skinned body, the blood loss, the pain of the body weight being supported where the nails were driven, and the severe struggle to breath as the body was in the extended position.

The accounts we have in Scripture of the death of Jesus are not long but are still difficult to read as we consider the suffering He endured. And yet it is also amazing to consider that they include very few details from what was a total of six hours!

Another thing we notice about Jesus’ death was that it affected those who were present. His family who had to watch (John 19:25-27), the two thieves who were crucified with Him (Luke 23:39-43), the centurion (Mark 15:39), and probably many others who are not specifically mentioned in the Bible.

His death also continues to affect those who read and study about it. We were not present in the moment but His suffering gives us hope. And we can be obedient, as He was, so that we might have eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:8, 9).

We began by saying that the death of Jesus was one of the greatest moments in the history of the world. An ignorant person might consider that as blasphemous. However, one final thing we would note about the death of Jesus, and perhaps the best news of all, is that it is not the end! No doubt many celebrated as He suffered and died. But it is not the end of His story. Be sure to pick up the November edition of TRUTH to read about His burial and resurrection!

The death of Jesus was a sad occasion marked by great suffering and yet it offers hope of eternal life to all who will examine it, be obedient, and “proclaim it until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

— Joel Danley