16. Then the soldiers led Him away to the courtyard inside the palace, known as the Praetorium, and they called together the entire battalion of soldiers.
17. And there they dressed Him in a purple robe that someone found, and wove together a crown of long, spiky thorns, and forced it down over His scalp and forehead.
18. Then, in an attempt to completely humiliate Him, they began to mock-worship Him, saying, sardonically, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
19. As they said this, they smacked Him repeatedly all over His head with a staff made of a bamboo-like reed, and continually spat in His face until it was drenched and dripping with their hot saliva. All the while they kept blasphemously bowing their knees in homage to Him.
20. And when they finally grew tired of abusing Him, and of making sport of Him…when they had run out of profanities, and had no more obscene gestures to make towards Him… they yanked the purple robe off of Him and covered up His bloody nakedness with His own clothes. Then they drug Him out of the city to crucify Him.
21. At one point, when His strength failed and He collapsed under the weight of the heavy cross-beam He was carrying, they forced a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry it for Him.
22. And they led Him to Golgotha (which in Latin is called Calvary), meaning ‘The Place of a Skull’, because of the strange rock formation on the side of the hill there that eerily resembled the face of a human skeleton.
23. In a brief and rare moment of compassion they attempted to give Him a painkiller consisting of wine mingled with myrrh, but He refused it.
24. So then they just did it…as if being prompted and animated by a force greater than any of them, individually or collectively, they crucified Him. And as hunters seeking a trophy from the kill, they divided His garments and distributed them among themselves, throwing lots for them to decide who should take what.
25. It was about nine o'clock in the morning when they finally did the deed.
26. Now it was customary to place an inscription of accusation over the head of each crucified prisoner…but since Jesus was personally innocent of any crime, individually…and yet guilty by association of every crime, universally…the one they hung above His head just simply and poignantly read, “The King of the Jews.”
27. And with Him they crucified two convicted thieves, one on His right side and one on His left.
28. With this the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was just a number among the other transgressors.”
29. Since the crosses were lined up along the street there in front of Golgotha, He was very accessible to the moving traffic. And the people who walked by kept cursing Him and swearing at Him, using the worst and vilest kind of language imaginable. They shook their heads and made faces at Him, saying, “Just look at You! You who bragged that You would destroy the temple and build it back in three days…
30. If You’re such a powerful big shot, why don’t You show us what you’ve got? Rescue Yourself, and jump down from that cross!
31. Even the chief priests, with the Scribes, joined in the mass mockery, saying, “What do we have here? Someone who rescued others from death, but can’t even lift a finger to rescue Himself!
32. Let’s all watch to see if the Christ…the Messiah… the King of Israel…can come down now from His pitiful cross. If He can do that we’ll all fall down and worship Him, and believe that He is who He says He is!" Even those who were crucified on either side of Him swore at Him and railed on Him with hurtful insults, and all manner of verbal abuse, until it seemed as if the entire creation was cursing Him in unison.
33. When it was about midday, a mysterious and ominous darkness began to settle in over the entire surrounding area, and remained there until about three o'clock in the afternoon.
34. At about this time Jesus cried with a loud voice in His native Aramaic, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which means, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
35. And some of those standing by heard it and completely misunderstood, saying, “Listen to that! He is calling for the prophet Elijah to come and help Him!
36. Then one man ran, and, filling a sponge with a mixture of sour wine vinegar and water, put it on a staff made of another bamboo-like reed and gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Wait…wait! This is gonna be good! Let’s see whether or not His friend Elijah does come to take Him down!”
37. And with that Jesus uttered a loud cry from the depths of His being, and exhaled His earth-life.
38. And at this exact instant, the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the Temple…the veil which symbolically divided all things holy from all things ordinary…was somehow torn in two from top to bottom, creating a new reality concerning where the presence of God could officially abide.
39. When the centurion who stood facing Jesus saw, up-close and personal, how elegantly He breathed out His own physical life in the midst of His own unbearable torture, he said, “Now I see it…really, this Man was God's Son!"
40. Now some women were also nearby, looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, the younger, and of Joses, and Salome.
41. These women were a part of Jesus’ large female following, and were in the habit of accompanying and ministering to Him when He was in Galilee. Aside from them there were also many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem.
42. As evening had already come, and since it was the day of Preparation, or the day before the Sabbath,
43. Joseph of Arimathea, a nobleman of honorable rank, and a respected member of the Sanhedrin…a man who had revelation of the Kingdom of God…dared the consequences, worked up his courage, and went to Pilate to ask for custody of Jesus’ corpse.
44. But Pilate found it hard to believe that He was dead so soon, so he conferred with the centurion and asked him to verify the actuality of Jesus’ death.
45. And when he was assured by the centurion that He was indeed dead, he gave the body to Joseph.
46. And Joseph bought a fine linen cloth…the kind that was used at that time for swathing dead bodies…and, carefully and gently took the lifeless body down from the cross. Then he rolled it up in the linen cloth and placed it in a tomb which had been recently chiseled out of a rock. Then he rolled the very large stone which had been fashioned to serve as a protective door against the entrance.
47. And Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses were both attentively observing where the body was laid to rest.