Scripture Reading: Luke 23:1-12, John 18: 28-32, John 12:32-33

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  


Two accounts of the trail of Jesus, one by Luke and the other by John. John includes an interesting detail behind Jesus’s death. Amid the Biblical Hermeneutics, a forum of theologians discussing the bible, one writes “The right of exercising capital punishment autonomously, even over their own countrymen, was withdrawn from the Jews by the Romans in the first… century. ” Stoning, not crucifixion was a type of capital punishment the Jewish council had authority. Crucifixion was a Roman punishment. No one really knows when this authority was removed, but is it possible that Pilate could have been responsible for taking this authority from the Jewish council? It was almost like Jesus’s accusers were saying, hey don’t you remember, you took that authority away, “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” now? he debate still exits today.

What we do know is that Jesus did indeed die upon a cross. John tells us that Jesus stated the words above to show by what kind of death he was going to die. And to this day, over 2000 years later, we are still talking about the suffering of Jesus on the cross. The ultimate sacrifice had to be made. To die upon the cross was the most humiliating and painful death during the days of the Roman empire. We actually have very well documented records from the great historian Josephus, who wrote about crucifixion during these days. He wrote in his account Life 76, , “I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.

But most eloquently Josephus wrote about Jesus’s crucifixion. “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, [if it be lawful to call him a man;] for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher [of such men as receive the truth with pleasure,] He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. [He was the Christ.] And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; [for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.] And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. ” ( Antiquities 18: Chapter 3)

History is so amazing. These are not just fairy tails or made up stories. God knew the impact that dying on a cross would make, it was no accident.