The Chronological Gospel –

Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday,
Jesus' Death and Burial

John 19:16; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26a, John 19:17; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:27-32, Friday, around 8 a.m. Jesus is taken to Calvary.
Matthew 27:33-34; Mark 15:24a, 25; Luke 23:34a; John 19:19-24; Matthew 27:36, Friday, 9 a.m. – noon. Jesus is crucified. “Father, forgive them...”
Mark 15:29-32a; Matthew 27:43; Luke 23:36-43, Friday, Midday. Jesus is mocked. “Today you will be with me...”
John 19:25-27; Luke 23:44; Mark 15:34-35; John 19:28; Matthew 27:48-49; John 19:29-30a; Luke 23:46, Friday, Mid-afternoon. Jesus dies. “Here is your mother...” “My God, my God...” “I thirst.” “It is finished.” “Into your hands...”
Matthew 27:51-54; Luke 23:48-49; Mark 15:40b-41; John 19:31-37, Friday, Late afternoon. The immediate reaction to Jesus’ death
Mark 15:42; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51b-52; Mark 15:44-45; John 19:38c-41; Luke 23:54; John 19:42b; Mark 15:46c-47, Friday, shortly before sundown. Burial
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 48: John 19:38-42, The Entombment of Christ, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:56b; Mark 16:1, Saturday. The Sanhedrin works, but the women keep the Sabbath.

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The Raising of the Cross, by Gustave Doré. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
John 19:16; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26a, John 19:17; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:27-32, Friday, around 8 a.m. Jesus is taken to Calvary. (10/17/14)

John Wesley says that the prisoners carried only the cross piece of the cross, because the entire cross was much too heavy. Probably he’s right. Even the cross piece proved to be too heavy for Jesus to carry after he had been kept up all night, beaten, and scourged. The Romans impressed a man from the crowd, Simon of Cyrene, to carry it in his place.

The interesting thing to me about Simon is that he is identified as “the father of Alexander and Rufus,” when it would have been much more common to identify Alexander and Rufus as “the sons of Simon the Cyrene.” Alexander and Rufus must have been well known to Mark’s readers in the early Christian community. Their mention is the kind of trivial detail that convinces me of the integrity of the scriptures. Many of Mark’s readers were alive, and some at least had been present, at the time of the events he records. If he (or any of the Gospel writers) had been inventing things, the other witnesses would have spoken up, and the material would have been corrected or omitted from the Bible altogether.

Matthew 27:33-34; Mark 15:24a, 25; Luke 23:34a; John 19:19-24; Matthew 27:36, Friday, 9 a.m. – noon. Jesus is crucified. “Father, forgive them ...” (10/20/14)

The Gospels record seven words from the cross, although we would call each of these “words” a “sentence.” Crucifixion is a slow and horrible way to die, and Jesus had already been beaten and scourged. I have read that the victim usually died of suffocation because being suspended by the forearms draws the muscles tightly across the chest, although exposure, loss of blood, dehydration, or shock also seem to me like good candidates for cause of death. A few of Jesus’ relatives and closest friends were nearby, close enough to hear and remember anything he said. Given all these factors, I’m inclined to think that what we have recorded is probably everything he said from the cross. The first word is a prayer for the men who had the job of putting him to death.

Mark 15:29-32a; Matthew 27:43; Luke 23:36-43, Friday, Midday. Jesus is mocked. “Today you will be with me ...” (10/21/14)

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying – and maybe even used the saying – “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” This is essentially the argument the argument that Jesus’ mockers used. “If you are the Christ, the Son of God, the King of the Jews, why don’t you save yourself?” Fortunately, Jesus was more interested in saving you and me.

John 19:25-27; Luke 23:44; Mark 15:34-35; John 19:28; Matthew 27:48-49; John 19:29-30a; Luke 23:46, Friday, Mid-afternoon. Jesus dies. “Here is your mother...” “My God, my God...” “I thirst.” “It is finished.” “Into your hands...” (10/22/14)

The Bible does not record Jesus’ suffering on the cross in great detail. Anybody who lived under Roman rule was familiar with such suffering. Instead, the Gospel writers give us what Jesus said from the cross. Notice that the fourth word, “Elohi, Elohi, lama sabachthani?” is the only one given both in Greek and Aramaic (or maybe Hebrew; hard to tell). No doubt this is because vs. 35 – “he’s calling for Elijah” – makes no sense from vs. 34 in either Greek translation (Theos mou, theos mou...) or English translation (My God, my God...) unless you have the Aramaic (Elohi, Elohi). [Note: this explanation is not original with me, but I thought it was brilliant. If you want the originator, I can look it up.] Jesus is quoting from Psalm 22.

Matthew 27:51-54; Luke 23:48-49; Mark 15:40b-41; John 19:31-37, Friday, Late afternoon. The immediate reaction to Jesus’ death (10/23/14)

Sometimes a person would remain on the cross for several days before dying, and apparently very few died as quickly as Jesus did. In Judea, the Romans – as a special allowance for the Jewish revulsion at having victims of crucifixion hanging on the cross on a holy day – would break the legs of the victims before the Sabbath. Unable to support their weight with their legs, and subject to additional trauma, the victims would die quickly and be taken down before sundown. Jesus died around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. One of the soldiers was so surprised and skeptical that he stabbed Jesus’ body with a spear to be certain he was dead.

Mark 15:42; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51b-52; Mark 15:44-45; John 19:38c-41; Luke 23:54; John 19:42b; Mark 15:46c-47, Friday, shortly before sundown. Burial (10/24/14)

Not all of the Pharisees rejected Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and Nicodemus provided the materials necessary for burial. Together they did the best they could to prepare his body and give him a decent burial in the very short time they had before the beginning of the Sabbath. Several of the women who had supported Jesus during his ministry followed to see where he was buried.

Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:56b; Mark 16:1, Saturday. The Sanhedrin works, but the women keep the Sabbath. (10/27/14)

The Gospels make the point that the men and women who buried Jesus and who prepared to re-anoint his body were careful not to do any work on the Sabbath. In contrast, members of the Sanhedrin asked for a meeting with Pilate and arranged for a guard at the tomb. I’m pretty sure that would count as work, another example of the hypocrisy Jesus was always accusing them of.

More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014, 2015, 2016 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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