“There they crucified Him . . . ” John 19:18a
The crucifixion of Jesus is the central event of all history and the very heart of the Gospel message (1 Cor 15:1-5). Everything John has written up to this point has been building to this. Everything Jesus has done; every teaching He has given; every act of love and compassion – all point to this one moment when “the Son of man is lifted up” to die a sinner’s death. And yet, surprisingly, the Gospel accounts give us few details about the crucifixion itself. Matthew says, “they delivered him to be crucified” (Mt 27:26). Mark say, “And they crucified him” (Mk 15:24). Luke adds “And when they came to the place called ‘The Skull,’ there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33). John is shortest of all saying simply, “There they crucified Him.” No details are given. No description of the horrors of crucifixion. Just the simple statement of truth that Jesus was crucified.
Why is this? One reason may be that all four gospels were written at a time when crucifixion was practiced with frightening regularity in the Roman empire. If you lived in a place governed by Rome, you had probably seen a crucifixion. And once you saw it, you could never un-see it. It would linger in your mind like a nightmare. That’s why Rome used it. They never wanted their enemies to forget what happens to those who oppose Rome’s power. But there is another reason the Gospels limit the details they give about crucifixion. It’s because the physical sufferings of Jesus are not really the point. Of much greater concern are the spiritual sufferings Christ endured as He became our sin bearer. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” That is the focus the gospels want us to have as we consider the crucifixion of Jesus. So, while this morning’s message will include some details about the physical side of Jesus’ sufferings, what matters most of all is not how he died, but why!
Look to the Cross! There you will see your Savior and King!