The crucifixion of Jesus began immediately after His arrest. Peter had not even spoken his third denial of Jesus before the Chief Priest and the Council, having become irate with Jesus, had begun to spit upon Jesus, beat Him with their fist and slap Him with their hands.  The Chief Priest, quickly had Jesus bound and brought before Pilate.  Pilate, finding no fault in Jesus, gave the Jews an opportunity to have Jesus released, but the Chief Priest asked for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus.

John’s gospel reveals that at this point Pilate proceeded to have Jesus scourged.  Roman soldiers stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. They twisted a crown of thrones and put it on His head.  They mocked Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.”  They spat on Him and beat Him with a reed.

Pilate finally moved to sit upon the judgement seat and presented Jesus before the Jews. Jesus would have been a bloody mess at this point.  Pilate announced to the Jews, “Behold, your king!”  The people, persuaded by the Chief Priest, cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!”Pilate replied, “Shall I crucify your King?”  The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:1-15 

Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.  Once they were upon Golgotha’s hill they nailed Jesus to the cross driving spikes in His hands and feet.  The soldiers gambled for His garments before the cross. The crowd mocked Him calling for Jesus to deliver Himself from the cross.  After Jesus endured all the pain, the ridicule, and the suffering Matthew’s Gospel records how from the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness fell across the land.  Then, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. It was at that moment the earth began to quake and the veil of the temple was torn in two pieces from top to bottom.  Herod’s temple was 40 cubits high. Although no one knows the exact measurement of a cubit it is believed that the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was approximately 60 feet tall.  The veil was a seamlessly woven curtain four inches thick according to Jewish tradition.

The Holy of Holies had been the place where God’s presence dwelt over the mercy seat.  The High priest was the only person who could enter the Holy of Holies.  He could enter only once per year, and only for the purpose of making atonement for the sins of the people.  God’s presence had been reserved for a chosen few, but by tearing the veil in two pieces God emphatically demonstrated that, “The Way” had been opened by the blood of Jesus for all who believe to enter God’s presence.  The blood of Jesus has made it possible for us to draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Pastor Jonathan