The King of Stories -- The Passing

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

The Passing

(The storytellers continue in harmony...)

Now after they had finished mocking Him, they took off His purple robe and put His garments on Him, and led Him out to crucify. And He went out, bearing the cross for Himself.

But as they were going out, they found a man of Kyrene named Simon--the father of Alexander and Rufus (adds the Follower for his audience, who apparently know the boys!)--coming in from the country. They pressed him into service to bear His cross, placing the cross on him to carry behind Jesus.

[Plotnote: the Greek for 'cross' is 'stauros'--pole, or stake. The prisoner would not be required to bear a huge plus-sign-looking thing; it would weigh six hundred pounds easily. (Try going outside and lifting a huge limb of wood fallen from a tree during a storm. Now multiply that by two...) The prisoner would only bear the cross-piece, probably made of lighter wood, lain across his back--just like a yoke. They will use this piece later to cap the pole on which they are crucifying Him: the shape would probably be a T, not a t.

Jesus has been recently scourged--scoured with a whip, possibly the cat-of-nine-tails if He is needing help to carry the load--and is in no physical condition to carry this piece very far. Blood loss is going to be a special problem eventually...]

And two others, who were criminals, were also being led away to be put to death with Him.

Now a great crowd of people were following Him, and women who were beating the breast and lamenting Him.

But Jesus, turning to them, said:

"Daughters of Jerusalem--stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

"For see: the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'

"Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains "Fall on us!" and to the hills "Cover us!"' (quoting Hosea and Isaiah)

"For if they do these things when the tree is green--what will happen in the dry?"

[Plotnote: absolutely nothing about a crowd of people lining the streets taunting Him! So much for all those movies and passion-plays...]

Now when they had come to a place called 'Calvarius' (as the Scholar says), Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull (explain the Disciple and the Follower), they tried to give Him wine to drink mingled with myrrh and bile.

[Plotnote: myrrh to help dull the pain; bile, because people had probably thrown up on the sponge, due to the pain, and no one had bothered to clean it. The strain of a crucifixion could cause the stomach juices to seep out of the mouth.]

But after tasting, He was unwilling to drink.

And there they crucified Him.

But Jesus was saying:

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing!"

[Note: this saying is only found in the Scholar's story--and is omitted in some later copies of it...]

And it was about 9 o'clock when they crucified Him.

At that time, (the) two rebels were crucified with Him; one on the right, and one on the left, and Jesus in between.

Now when they had crucified Him, the soldiers divided up His garments among themselves, taking His outer garments and making four parts, a part to every soldier; and the tunic. (i.e. the khiton, the garment worn next to the skin)

But the tunic was seamless, woven through the whole from the upper part.

So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast a lot for it, to decide whose it shall be."

So the soldiers did these things, casting a lot upon them to decide who should take what piece; so that (the Evangelist says) the Scripture (in Psalms) might be fulfilled: 'They divided my outer garments among them, and for my clothing they cast a lot.'

And they put up above His head (where the T-fork meets--His head would hang below this) the charge against Him, written:

"This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."

Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city.

And sitting down, they began keeping watch on Him there (to make sure no one rescued Him).

Now the people stood by, looking on. And those passing by were blaspheming Him, wagging their heads, and saying: "Ha! You who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days--save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"

In the same way, the chief priests along with the scribes and elders, were also mocking among themselves and saying, "He saved others--can he not save himself?! He is the King of Israel!?--the Anointed King from God, His Chosen One!!?

"Then let this 'Christ', the King of Israel, come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe in him!

"'He trusts in God; let Him deliver, if He takes pleasure in Him!' (quoting a Psalm, though possibly not on purpose)

"For he said: 'I am the Son of God'!"

And the brigands who had also been crucified with Him, were casting the same insult at Him.


At about noon, one of the criminals who were hanging was blaspheming Him, saying, "Are you not the Christ?! Save yourself and us!!"

But the other answered, and rebuking him said: "Do you not fear God even now, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation!? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving things worthy of what we have done...

"But this man has done nothing wrong!!"

And he was saying: "...Jesus... remember me when you come into your kingdom..."

...and He said to him:

"I tell you truly... today you will be with Me... in paradise..."


Now a darkness occurred on all the land, the sun failing from noon until about 3 o'clock.

And His mother, and His mother's sister Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, were standing there by the cross of Jesus.

So when Jesus saw His mother standing nearby, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to His mother:

"Woman... behold your son..."

Then He said to the disciple:

"Behold your mother..."

And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own household.


Now at about 3 o'clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying:


which is (explains the Disciple and the Follower)


(as David once sang in a Psalm--a Psalm ending with David's expectation of deliverance and justification in the presence of his enemies!)

Now some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, were saying, "This man is calling for Elijah (the prophet-hero of old)!"

Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, is saying: "I am thirsty..."

And one of them ran immediately, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine (vinegared) from a jar standing there, and put it on a reed of hyssop, and gave Him a drink.

But the rest said: "Wait; let us see whether Elijah will come to save him...!"

When Jesus had therefore received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished..."

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice...

"Abba! 'Into Your hands I commit My spirit!'"

(singing from a Psalm)

and breathed His last

and bowed His head

yielding up the spirit.

...and look!--the veil of the Temple (separating the people from the Holy of Holies) was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook; and the rocks were split; and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the holy ones who had fallen asleep were raised!

Now the centurion, and those who were keeping guard over Jesus with him, became very frightened when they saw the earthquake and all the things that were happening;

and standing right in front of Him, the centurion began praising God, saying: "Truly this righteous man was a demigod!"

[Plotnote: literally 'theou huios'. Could mean 'a son of a god', or 'a son of the God' or 'the son of a god' or 'the son of the God'... Given that these were Roman soldiers, the centurion probably meant 'a son of a god'.

Which was still better credit than anyone else was giving at that moment...]


Because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath--for the day of that Sabbath was great (adds the Evangelist)--the Jews therefore asked Pilate that their legs might be broken (causing the ones still living to suffocate, unable to push themselves up to breathe any more) and they might be taken away.

(This would happen sometime around 4 o'clock, just to be safe.)

So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man, who were crucified with Him.

But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear--

and immediately there came out blood and water.

[Plotnote: the soldiers had to make sure Jesus was dead, or else risk their own lives as forfeit if He escaped the cross. Blood and 'water' are a sign of systemic failure brought on by extreme loss of blood.]

Now (says the Evangelist for his audience), he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may also believe.

For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'Not a bone of him shall be crushed' and 'They shall look on him whom they pierced'.

(quoting a Psalm, and Zechariah the prophet)

Matthew 27:31-54
Mark 15:20-39
Luke 23:26-44
John 19:17-18
John 19:23-37

[Next time: And On That Day He Rested]


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