The Darkest Day

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him…

34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Jesus spoke these words while hanging on a cross of rough wood. He had nails in His feet and hands.

Jesus hung on the cross, and He looked out at the crowd who was mocking and said forgive them.

But how did Jesus get here? How did the perfect, blameless son of God end up on a cross? Well, we put Him there. Our sin put the Spotless Lamb of God on a cross. And the third S is sadness.

Jesus came to dwell among men. He came to seek and to save all who are lost; to heal, forgive, save, and to serve.

Matthew 20:28

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Everywhere Jesus went, crowds of people would follow Him. Wanting to hear every word He said. People brought the sick to Jesus to heal them. Blind men received both physical and spiritual sight. Lame men could walk again with a word or touch from Jesus. Jesus raised people from the dead.

Word spread that this Jesus of Nazareth was doing these works and people were marveling and believing in Him.

Now, 12 men saw first-hand Jesus’ miracles and works. They saw His compassion, grace, mercy, love, and power. Matthew 10:1-4 lists out Jesus’ 12 Disciples, and verse 4 sticks out.

… and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Judas. A disciple of Jesus. A witness of Jesus’ power and love. He had spent years with Jesus, he had seen Jesus heal bodies, touch broken lives and raise the dead. He had heard the Gospel. Judas saw the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes; he had seen a raging sea become calm. And yet, he had a heart and a desire not for Jesus, but himself.

For the longest time, the chief priests and the Pharisees were looking for a reason to get rid of Jesus, and Judas provided a way. Judas went to the chief priests…they did not come to him. He went to them.

Matthew 26

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

But the betrayal would come as no surprise to Jesus. Three times Jesus predicts that such a thing would happen, the third time is in Matthew 20:17-19

17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

The final days before Jesus’ death began at the final Passover.

Matthew 26

20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”

23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.

25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”

He said to him, “You have said it.”

After the Passover Jesus took three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane.

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

Jesus knew His time was near, and He asked the disciples to stay with Him. But while Jesus prayed, they slept.

39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?

Jesus knew what was about to happen, and while He was willing to go through with it, but He was in agony. But each time Jesus prayed, He said Your will be done. And while Jesus prayed, the disciples slept.

45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

When Jesus finally roused the three from their slumber, they had a view of a mob led by Judas, coming seize Jesus.

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

At about midnight, Jesus was arrested. He was falsely charged with blasphemy. Jesus allowed the betrayal because it would allow God’s plan to be achieved. He was brought into question by the High Priest Caiaphas, then He was put on trial and brought to Pilate.

John 19

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Even Pilate, the authoritative figure who held the decision in his hands, wanted to release Jesus. But the crowd cheered to release another criminal instead, Barabbas, and crucify Jesus.

People who earlier in the week proclaimed, “Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” These same people now screamed, “Crucify Him.” He was sentenced to death.

While He hung on the cross in one of the most incredible acts of forgiveness ever recorded, He says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He had been beaten, came as near to death as possible in His scourging by the Romans.  Then, while He hung on the cross in utter agony, He was mocked, ridiculed, and scorned by just about everyone. 

The literal weight of all the sin in the world pressed upon Him as He lived through the final moments of His life on earth. His sinless life was lived and sacrificed to save ours.

Extraordinary events marked the death of Jesus. The sky was completely dark for three hours as Jesus hung on the cross. At the moment of His last breath, He said It is Finished. And whenHe died, the earth shook, the temple curtain split from top to bottom, and the tombs of saints opened and their bodies raised from the dead.

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission.

41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus…

The crucifixion of Jesus was a part of God’s plan from the very beginning of the birth of Jesus. The sin of mankind would require a sacrifice. The sinless life of Jesus was lived and given so that man could receive salvation. But the story does not end there. This was a day of sadness, but joy was ri