ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 68


Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they
shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas was in prison
for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and
for murder.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus.
But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him
flogged, and then I will release him.”
But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they
demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison
for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as
they wished.
As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and
put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd
trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. But Jesus turned
and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep
for yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when they
will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs
that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ People
will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ For
if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it
is dry?”
Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When
they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And
the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are
doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they
said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. They
called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” A sign
was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you
have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man
hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when
you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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