Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
All four Gospels tell this story, and they all come at a slightly different angle from one another, different perspectives. But, basically, after Jesus has his final supper with his disciples, he goes out into the garden, and he knows that Judas Iscariot will betray him. Jesus is arrested and is given a trial by a Sanhedrin, who sent him, eventually, to Pilate to be sentenced to death because they are not allowed to do that. Pilate gives a choice of Barabbas or Jesus, since it is the passover. The people, we are told, cry out that Jesus should be crucified, and he is scourged and let out to the hill called Golgotha to be crucified. And there, he is nailed to the cross. From the cross, Jesus says what are called the Seven Last Words. The first, traditionally, is Jesus quoting Psalm 22, ""My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"" He dies, surprisingly, quickly. The story goes that Joseph of Arithmathea is brave enough to go to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus, and Pilate is actually surprised that Jesus died so quickly, about three-hours time. Usually, when Romans crucified people, they hung there for a day, two days, maybe longer, suffering in pain. But, Jesus dies quickly. The important thing to remember about the crucifixion from the theological point of view is that Jesus dies completely because if there's a part of him that is alive that sort of takes away from the resurrection story. So, this is the complete and humiliating death. Jesus goes to the cross in solidarity with all people who have suffered in such a way. Solidarity based on his tremendous love for us all. That is the Crucifixion.