Summary: Is Crucifixion forced punishment or voluntary act of Christ? What would have had happened, if Judas had not betrayed him, if Pilate did not sentence him to death?
Last Seven Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross
I. Tradition of Beginnings of Good Friday
The Good Friday is also known as Great Friday, holy Friday some call it as black Friday.
4th c witnessed first Good Friday. they used to have a procession from Gethsemane to the city on Thursday night. Early of the day they used to kiss the pillar in which Christ was scourged. At noon they assembled in the courtyard of the sanctuary of the cross and until 3 O’clock lessons about the Passion was read from four Gospels, acts, psalms and prophets. At 3 O’clock passage from St. John’s Gospel about the death of the Lord on Calvary was read and closed with prayer. But from 16th c the last words were used for sermons on Good Friday by the reformation tradition and been widely used by all nowadays.
II. Events on Good Friday
1. Betrayal and arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark. 14:43-50)
2. Jesus was questioned by Annas, the former High priest (John.18:12-24).
3. He was condemned by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Mark.14:53-65).
4. Peter denied Jesus three times (John.18:15-27).
5. Jesus was formally condemned by Sanhedrin (Luke.22:66-71).
6. Judas Commits suicide (Matthew.27:3-10).
7. The trial of Jesus before Pilate (Luke.23:1-5).
8. Jesus appeared before Herod Antipas(Luke.23:6-12).
9. Pilate Sentenced Jesus unto death on the Cross(Luke.23:13-25)
10. Jesus was mocked and crucified between two thieves(Mark.15:16-27).
11. The veil of the temple was torn into two (Matthew.27:51-56, Luke.23:45)
12. His burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (John.19:31-42)
III. Trials and Sentence
Jesus had Jewish trials and Roman Trials to represent the judiciary systems of Hebrews and Gentiles.
Jewish Trials: Before Anna (Jn.18:13), Before whole Sanhedrin (Mt.26:57, John 18:24) and Legal sentence passed by the Sanhedrin(Luke.22:66).
Roman Trials: Before Pilate (Mt.27:1-2, Mk.15:1 and Luke 23:1), Before Herod(Luke. 23:7-11) and Before Pilate again( Luke.23:20).
Sentence was passed( Luke.23:25 Mt.27:26, Mark.15:15).
First he was scourged as per the Barbarous treatment (Mark.15:15-20) then he was crucified (Mt.27:31, John.19:18) as per the Roman Punishment.
IV. Cross punishment or voluntary act
Is Crucifixion forced punishment or voluntary act of Christ? What would have had happened, if Judas had not betrayed him, if Pilate did not sentence him to death?
It was not the punishment of the enemies but of God. So Cross was inevitable because there is no forgiveness without shedding of blood. the blood of Jesus must be poured out, sprinkled upon everyone and God must be appeased by the blood of the sinless man.
Jesus did not carry the cross only on Good Friday, he was carrying his cross daily, when people and leaders called him as an illegitimate Son (John.8:41), as a Samaritan (John.8:48), as a Demon possessed (John.7:20), as raving mad(John.10:20), as a deceiver (John.7:12) and a friend of harlots and sinners (John.3-5), ridiculed by family members(John.7:3-5).
The Cross of Christ discloses the nature, extent and the depth of Sin. Sin alienated us from God and Others according to Genesis 3 & Rev. 2:12-16. Today Cross reminds us about the Redeeming love of God (Romans 5:12-17), Saving Grace of God (Romans.5:6-11), divine forgiveness (Ephesians.1:3-10) expression of the justice of God (Romans.2:4) and reconciliation of God and man (2 Corinthians.5:11-21). Cross is the only ground on which God forgives a sinner who has no other way to escape from the punishment (Romans 5:12).
V. Order of the Seven Words
The last seven sayings of Jesus Christ were recorded in all the four Gospel according to their understandings and necessity of their faith affirmation. Luke records three, John records three, Mark and Mathew records only one.
Luke's order is correct as per his report (Luke.23:34, 43, 46) also John's order is correct as per his report (John.19:26,28,30). But the Mathew and Mark's words placed as fourth is important to know. The word from sixth hour to ninth hour helps us to place this word in fourth place (Luke.23:44, Matthew.27:45 and Psalms.22:1 the judgment of God to separate him due to sin, the darkness encompassing the earth). Then John reports “after this” or ‘later knowing’.
Jesus received the vinegar (John. 19:28 and 30). Then he said, “It is finished” (John. 19:30). Following this he cried with a loud voice, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke. 23:46). Then Jesus breathed his last (Lk. 23:46c = Mk. 15:37b), bowed his head (Jn. 19:30), and gave up his spirit (Jn. 19:30d = Mt. 27:30b).
The seven words are:
1. Father Forgive them (Luke.23:34)
2. Thou shall be with me (Luke.23:43)
3. Behold Thy Son and Thy Mother(John. 19:26-27)
4. Why thou has forsaken me (Matthew.27:46, Mark.15:34)
5. I Thirst(John 19:28)
6. It is finished(John.19:30)
7. Commend my Spirit(Luke.23:46).
These sayings are called words of Forgiveness, Salvation, Relationship, Abandonment, Distress, Triumph and reunion.