Text: Matthew 27:27-44
Event(s): The soldiers mock Jesus; Simon carries His cross; Jesus is crucified
Matthew 27:31 “an they led Him away to be crucified.” Crucifixion was considered to be the most cruel form of execution. It was reserved for only the worst of criminals and was so brutal, that Roman citizens were not even allowed to be crucified.
“Few incidents in history more clearly illustrate the brutality in the desperately wicked heart of man than that which was inflicted on Jesus the Son of God.” -John Wolvoored, Theologian
Matthew 27:32 “a man of Cyrene, Simon..him they compelled to bear His cross.” Normally, the victim was required to carry his own cross to the place of execution. However Jesus, who had been beaten so badly, could not bear its weight in His weakened condition. Cyrene was a town located on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Simon was evidently a North African Jew who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover season. The word used here, “compelled“, refers to the Roman government’s right to demand labor from a person.
Matthew 27:33 “to a place called Golgotha…Place of a Skull” Golgotha is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic gulgolta meaning “skull.” Luke used the word “Calvary” which comes from the Latin calva, “skull.”
Matthew 27:34 “they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink.” Jesus was offered some wine to which was added myrrh in an attempt to decrease His pain (Mark 15:23). This was a normal practice. According to an old tradition, respected women of Jerusalem provided a narcotic drink to those condemned to death in order to decrease their sensitivity to the excruciating pain. But after tasting it, Jesus refused it, because He chose to endure the cross fully conscious. Matthew wrote “gall” because of the myrrh’s bitter taste.
Matthew 27:35 “Then they crucified Him..” Mark 15:25 tells us He was crucified at the third hour of the day, which would have been 9a.m.
Today’s Takeaway: Jesus had previously said in John 10:18, “No one takes it [My life] away from Me, but I lay it down voluntarily. I am authorized and have power to lay it down and to give it up, and I am authorized and have power to take it back. This command I have received from My Father.” No one had ever been beaten and disfigured to then point where Jesus had been. Yet history records that many who had gone through the Roman scourging process, didn’t even survive that. Much less the additional beatings and whippings and ultimately crucifixion Jesus endured. Yet He held on to His life until the full weight, until the full measure of all He had to endure had been accomplished. There is literally nothing – nothing at all – which Jesus has not conquered on my behalf. Either in soul, spirit or body. He did it all.
Additional (optional) reading: The parallel accounts of today’s passage may be found in Mark 15:16-32; Luke 23:26-43 and John 19:16-27