A modern English blending of the New Testament

Everything Jesus said and did, nothing more, nothing less.

Table of Contents



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23


Gospel Index

Charles Templeton Home

Anecdotal Memoir

Brad Templeton Home
Brad's Photo Pages

Brad's Panoramic Photos

RHF Home


Jesus - A New Testament Blending - Ch. 23 - Crucifixion (Crucifiction)
Previous [22] Next [Postscript]




The Passion of Christ & Crucifixion

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross  -  Jesus is crucified  -  the repentant thief  -  Jesus dies  -  the burial in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb  -  the resurrection  -  the angles instruct Mary  -  Peter and John go to the tomb  -  Mary meets the resurrected Christ  -  the walk to Emmaus  -  Jesus appears to the disciples  -  the miraculous catch of fish  -  the great commission  -  ascension.


Jesus, carrying his cross, was led from Caiaphas' house. A man was passing by who had just come in from the country. His name was Simon, he was from Cyrene and he was the father of Rufus and Alexander. The soldiers commandeered him to carry Jesus' cross and to follow them. Condemned to die with Jesus were two other men, criminals, and they became part of the procession winding its way through the streets. A large crowd followed. As they went, some women in the crowd lining the street filled the air with their wailing and crying. Jesus spoke to them.

"Don't spend your tears, women," he said. "Save them for yourselves and for your children. In the days ahead the childless woman will be considered lucky. When the endtime comes men and women will be calling on mountains and the hills to cover them. If they do this when the tree is green, what will they not do when it is dry?"

They arrived at a place called in the Hebrew, Golgotha, "The place of the skull." The soldiers offered him a drink - a drug mixed with wine. Jesus tasted it and shook his head. They crucified him with the two brigands, one at his right and other at his left. It was about nine in the morning.

"Forgive them, Father," Jesus said. "They don't realize what they're doing."

At the foot of the cross the soldiers began to rip up his robes, drawing lots for first choice of the pieces. When they came to his tunic, which had been woven without a seam, one of them suggested, "Let's not tear this up. Let's draw lots for all of it." Thus, they unwittingly fulfilled the scripture, They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my robe.

Before elevating the cross, the sodiers fastened a sign to the upright above his head and wrote on it the specifications of his crime. It read:


The wording was in three languages - Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. Inasmuch as Golgotha was close to the city, the sign was clearly visible to passers-by on the road.

The chief priests went to Pilate.

"Change the wording on the sign," they asked. "It reads 'The King of the Jews.' It should read, This fellow said, I am the King of the Jews.'"

"What I've written stands," Pilate said.

At Golgotha, the soldiers sat on the ground to wait for him to die. A crowd of hangers-on stood about, watching. Off in the distance were his friends. Some of the passer-by jeered at him as they walked along the road.

"Ah!" they said, shaking their heads in mock solicitude, "That's the fellow who was going to tear down the temple and build it again in record time."

"Hey there, son of God." another shouted, "Let's see you prove who you are by coming down off that cross."

The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders joined in.

"Look," they said, "the great savior of others can't save himself."

"Let this self-styled King of Israel come on down. Then we'll believe in him."

"He said he was God's son, didn't he? All right, let's see his Father get him out of this. If he'll have him."

The soldiers joined in the sport. One passed up some sour wine to him.

"Hey there, King of the Jews," he said. "Why don't you save yourself?"

Even one of the crucified brigands joined in. "If you're the Christ," he said, "don't just save yourself; save us too while you're at it."

The other thief rebuked him. "Don't you even know what it is to fear God?" he said. "All three of us are dying here. We had it coming, but this fellow's no criminal." He turned toward Jesus. "When you get your kingdom," he said, "don't forget me."

"You'll be in Paradise with me today," Jesus said.

Off to one side stood a group of women: Jesus' mother, her sister, Cleopas' wife Mary, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw them and, standing with them, the apostle for whom he had a special affection.

Jesus spoke to his mother, "There's your son," he said. Then he said to the apostle, "There's your mother." (From that time on, Mary lived in the apostle's home.)

At noon it grew dark and remained dark until about three in the afternoon.

Suddenly, Jesus shouted: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani." ("My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?")

"Listen," a man said, "He's calling for Elijah."

"Let's stay and see if Elijah helps him down," someone laughed.

Jesus knew that his task had now been completed and that all the prophesies concerning him had been fulfilled. He spoke to the men at the foot of the cross.

"I'm thirsty," he said.

There was bottle of soured wine on the ground. A man ran and got it, sopped some up in a sponge, put it on the end of a stick, and lifted it to Jesus' lips.

Jesus let out a groan of anguish. "Father," he cried, "I commit my spirit to your hands," and his head fell forward.

"It is finished," he said, and died.

At the moment of his death the curtain at the entrance to the Holy of Holies in the temple tore from top to bottom. The earth quaked and fissures appeared in the rock. Some tombs opened and a number of godly men and women emerged. (After Jesus was himself resurrected, they went to Jerusalem where they were seen by many of his followers.)

When the Centurion who was standing guard with his company at the foot of the cross saw the way in which Jesus died and the events that followed his death, he was touched with fear.

"Surely that good man was a son of God," he said.

The crowd that had been standing about went away beating their chests with their fists.

It was the day of Preparation for the Passover - a high holiday - and the temple officials were concerned that the bodies not remain on the crosses over the sabbath. They sent a delegation to Pilate to request that the legs of the condemned men be broken in order to hasten their death and that the bodies then be removed. The soldiers were ordered to Golgotha. They broke the legs of the two thieves but when they came to Jesus they saw he was already dead and there was no need to break his legs. One of the soldiers raised his spear and thrust it into Jesus' side and blood and water gushed out.

(One who was there and saw it all happen is reporting it accurately so that you may believe. The things recounted above happened so that certain scriptures might be fulfilled, namely: None of his bones shall be broken, and They shall see the man they have pierced.)

It was now evening. A wealthy and influential man, knows as Joseph of Arimathea, went to Pilate and asked quite boldly for permission to take down Jesus' body and bury it. Joseph was a member of the council who had not concurred in the decision to have Jesus executed. He had been looking for the advent of the kingdom and had been a secret follower of Jesus, keeping his discipleship secret for fear of the authorities.

Pilate was surprised to learn that Jesus was already dead and summoned the Centurion in charge. The Centurion confirmed it and Pilate granted permission.

Joseph and another member of the council, Nicodemus - the man who had gone to visit Jesus early in his ministry - went to Golgotha and took the body down. They had purchased a linen winding-cloth and about one hundred pounds of crushed myrrh and aloes. They wrapped the body with the spices in the manner customarily followed by the Jews in preparing a body for burial. Joseph had recently had a tomb hewn from the rock in a garden near Golgotha. It was close to sundown and the passover was almost upon them. The tomb was close by so they placed the body in it, rolled a huge stone to close off the entrance, and left.

As they carried the body to the tomb they had been followed by Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary," the mother of James and Joseph. When they saw where the body has been placed, the women returned to where they were lodging to prepare some spices and ointments. As was required in the Law, they stayed at home on the sabbath.

At dusk, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.

"Sir," their spokesman said, "we recall that when the deceiver was alive he said he would rise from the grave three days after he died. We are here, therefore, request that you issue an order that the tomb in which he has been buried be secured until three days have passed. We're concerned that his followers may spirit his body away and then claim he has risen from the dead. In which case, the final fraud would be worse than the original."

"You have your own temple-guards,'' Pilate said "Make it as secure as you think necessary.''

The guards were dispatched to place seals on the stone and to stand watch.

During the night there was an earthquake. An angel came, rolled away the stone, and sat on it; his face radiant with light and his clothing glistening as snow in the sunlight. The guards collapsed to the ground, overcome with terror.

Early Sunday morning, just before dawn, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome set out for the tomb, taking with them the spices they had prepared and with which they planned to embalm the body. As they walked they discussed what they could do to get the stone - a very large one - rolled away. When they arrived they saw that it had already been moved to one side. They went into the tomb and did not find the body. What they took to be a young man dressed in a dazzlingly white robe was sitting to the right side, with another nearby. The women were frightened and lowered their heads. Immediately, it seemed, the two angels were standing beside them. Terrified, the women averted their eyes.

"Don't be frightened," one of the angels said. "And there's no need to be surprised. You're here looking for Jesus, but why do you look for the living in a tomb? He's not here, he's alive! Do you not remember that, back in Galilee, he told you he would be arrested and crucified and rise from the grave on the third day? Come, have a look at the place where he lay dead."

Then the angel said, "Hurry now. Go tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus has gone on ahead to Galilee and that they'll find him there just as he said they would."

Suddenly it all came back to them. They ran from the garden, trembling and torn with a mixture of fear and happiness. They wondered at first whether they dared say anything to anyone but, their fear giving way to a mounting sense of joy, they ran to where the disciples were to tell them what had happened.

Mary spoke privately to Peter and John.

"They've taken his body from the tomb," she whispered. "But where it is, I've no idea."

Some of the disciples dissmissed their report as incredible, but Peter and John headed for the crypt on the dead run. John got there first. He bent over and peered inside. He could see the linen winding-cloths on the ground but not much else. He was afraid to go in alone.

Peter came running up and went in immediately. John followed. They saw the cloths on the ground and the napkin that had been used to cover Jesus' face rolled up neatly and lying by itself. The tomb was empty. To that point they hadn't actually believed the scripture that he would be resurrected.

They left the tomb and returned to the city, deeply puzzled.

In the meantime, Mary Magdalene had returned and stood outside the tomb crying. After a while she stood down and looked in through the opening. She saw the two angels sitting at the head and foot of the stone slab.

"Why are you crying, woman?"

"Because they have taken away my Lord's body," she sobbed, "and I have no idea where it is."

She turned and saw a man standings in the shadows. It was Jesus, but she took him to be the gardener.

"Why are you crying?" he said. "Are you looking for someone?"

"Sir," she said, "if you've moved his body somewhere, please tell me where and I'll have it taken away."

He spoke one word: "Mary."

"Dear Teacher!"

"Don't cling to me, Mary," he said, "I haven't returned to my Father yet. Go find my disciples and tell them that I'm on the way to my Father and my God and to your Father and your God."

Mary ran to the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord and he gave me this message for you."

In the city a meeting was in progress between the guards who had been posted at the tomb and the chief priests. The guards had reported what had happened, and the chief priests had met with the elders to discuss what action to take. They agreed to pay a large sum of money to the guards to keep the story quiet.

"Here's what you're to do," they told them. "You're to say that, during the night while you were asleep, the disciples came and stole the body. If the governor happens to hear about this, don't worry, we'll exlplain it all to him."

The guards took the money and repeated the story as instructed. It spread quickly through the city and is still believed at this writing.

That same day, two of the disciples left Jerusalem to return home to the village of Emmaus, some seven miles distant. As they walked they talked over the events of the past few day. Jesus drew abreast and fell in stride with them - although they were not aware that it was he.

"What were you talking about?" he asked.

They halted and stood looking at him for a moment, the expression on their faces a mixture of sadness and incredulity. One of the men, Cleopas, answered.

"What were we talking about? You must surely be the only visitor in the city who doesn't know what's been going on."

"Well, what has been going on?"

"You don't know about Jesus of Nazareth? He was a prophet who did astounding things. As a matter of fact we were hoping he was the man who was going to free Israel. But the chief priests and the temple officials arrested him and turned him over to the Romans, and they crucified him. It's now the third day. Some of the women in our group came to us yesterday with an incredible tale about going early in the morning to the tomb where he'd been buried and not finding his body. More than that, they say some angels told them he was alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found things as the women had said. At any rate they didn't see him."

"You are such foolish men," he said, "so slow to accept the prediction of prophets. Surely you realize that, before he could be glorified, the Messiah must go through that kind of suffiering."

As they walked on toward Emmaus, he quoted a series of scriptures to them -from Moses on through the prophets - relating the relevance of each of the passages to himself. When finally they reached the outskirts of Emmaus he made as though he were going on.

"No, no," they said. "Stay in town with us. It's already late. You must stay." He went home with them.

While they were at dinner, he picked up a piece of bread, gave thanks, broke it in pieces and gave each some. In a flash they realized who he was. But even as it dawned on them he was gone.

They looked at each other. "So that's why our hearts were so warmed by his explanation of the scriptures."

They got up from the table and hurried back to Jerusalem, arriving there that same evening. They went to the room in which the apostles and some others were hiding behind locked doors. Before they could break their news, they were greeted with the excited cries of the disciples.

"Jesus - he's risen!" they were told. "He's out of the grave! He really is, Peter saw him!"

As soon as they could, they related their own experience. They were in the midst of the story, explaining the things that had happened on their way home and how Jesus had made himself known during supper, when, suddenly, he was there in the room, standing among them. They were startled, certain they were seeing a ghost.

"There's nothing to be frightened of," Jesus reassured them. "Peace. Why do you doubt?"

He stretched out his hands toward them and pulled his robe aside so they could see the wound in his side.

"Look," he said. "Look at my hands and my feet. You can be sure it's me. Ghosts aren't flesh and blood, are they? Obviously I am."

The disciples were in a delirium of happiness, but not quite able to credit what was happening.

"Do you have any food?" he said. "I'm hungry."

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and as they stood there watching him, he ate it.

"You'll remember," he said, "that when we were together earlier I impressed on you that every prophecy about me in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms would have to be fulfilled. Let me review it with you." He went back over it all and then said "You have seen it all happen. Now you understand why it was necessary for me to suffer and be resurrected."

"Now," he said, "just as the Father sent me out, I'm going to send you out." He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Forgive any men's sins and they're forgiven; withhold your forgiveness and they remain sinners. I'm going to send you the one my Father promised, so don't leave Jerusalem until you've been clothed with the power of heaven."

Jesus left. Later Thomas joined them - he hadn't been there earlier - and they told him excitedly what had happened.

"We've seen the Lord!" they said.

Thomas remained unconvinced. "Sorry," he said, "I just can't believe it. Unless I myself see the scars on his hands and touch them, and touch the wound on his side. Sorry."

Jesus made no further appearance for the next eight days. Then, when the disciples were again meeting behind locked doors, Thomas being there this time, he was suddenly with them.

"Peace," he said.

He turned to Thomas."Come here, Thomas," he said. "Here . . . put your finger here. See my hands? Now touch me here on the side. Don't doubt, believe."

"My lord and my God," Thomas said.

"You believe because you see," he said. "Happy those who trust without proof."

Later, Jesus revealed himself to a group of the apostles at Lake Galilee. Here's what happened:

Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, and the brothers James and John had been sitting around talking. Peter got to his feet.

"I'm going fishing." he said.

"Wait," they said "We'll all go."

They fished through the night with no luck. Dawn was just breaking when they saw someone standing on the beach. It was Jesus, but they didn't recognize him at this point.

"Have you any fish, lads?" he called out.

"Not a one," they shouted back.

"Cast your nets off to the right. There are some there."

They did, and such was the catch they weren't able to haul it aboard.

John looked at Peter. "It's the Lord!"

Peter was stripped down for work. He quickly put on his cloak, leaped into the water, and waded ashore. (They were only about one hundred yards offshore.) The others followed in the boat, dragging the net filled with fish.

When they had beached the boat, they saw a charcoal fire burning with some fish being broiled over it, and some bread.

"Go and get some of the fish you just caught," Jesus said.

Peter went aboard the boat, and managed to haul the net up on the shore.It was filled with good-sized fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them. Despite the catch, the net had not ripped.

"Come and have breakfast," Jesus said.

The disciples knew who he was by this time but were afraid to say anything. He served them the bread and fish and they ate in silence. When they had finished, he turned to Peter.

"Simon," he said, "do you love me more than others?"

"Yes, Lord. You know I love you."

"Then feed my lambs."

"Do you love me, Simon?" Jesus asked.

"You know I do."

"Then tend my sheep."

He asked the question again. "Do you love me, Simon?"

Peter's feelings were hurt. "Lord," he said, "you know everything; surely you know that I do."

"Then feed my sheep."

"The truth is, Simon," he went on,"that as a young man you are able to take care of yourself, be your own master. But you'll grow old and have to stretch out your hands.You'll need help to dress and you'll be taken places you won't want to go." Jesus was telling him obliquely how he would end his days and how in his death he would honor God.

"What I want you to do now," Jesus said, "is to follow me."

He left the others and walked away with Peter. Peter, turning his head, noticed that John was following. "What about his future?" he asked.

"Simon," Jesus said. "if my decision is that he's to live until I return that is no concern of yours. What you must do is to follow me."

(It should be noted that Jesus' words here have been misunderstood. It was commonly believed by his followers that he had said that John would not die. He hadn't said that; he had simply told Peter that John's future was no concern of his.)

The apostles went to a rendezvous on a mountain in Galilee, Jesus met them there. When they saw him they fell down and worshiped him - although some still had doubts.

Jesus approached them.

"All authority here and in heaven has been given to me," he said. "I now command you to go to every part of the world. Tell everyone the good news of the kingdom. Make disciples in every nation. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to be obedient to every command I have given you. And remember," he said, "I'll be with you, right to the end of the age."

He led the apostles to the outskirts of Bethany. As they stood there together, he raised his hands and blessed them. Then, as they watched, he rose into the air, disappeared into a cloud, and was lost to sight and sat down in heaven at God's right hand.

Bursting with happiness, they went back into the city and were constantly to be seen in the temple worshiping god.

Jesus did many things other than those recounted here. If all of it were to be written and bound in books it is doubtful that the world could encompass all the volumes that would be required. He gave the disciples many proofs of his identity that have not been recorded anywhere. What is written here has been inscribed for one purpose: that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, God's son, and believing this may, on his authority, have Life.
Previous [22] Next [Postscript]