15 It was very early in the morning. The chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law, and the whole Sanhedrin, made a decision. They tied Jesus up and led him away. Then they handed him over to Pilate.
2“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“Yes. It is just as you say,” Jesus replied.
3The chief priests brought many charges against him. 4So Pilate asked him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they charge you with.”
5But Jesus still did not reply. Pilate was amazed.
6It was the usual practice at the Passover Feast to let one prisoner go free. The people could choose the one they wanted. 7A man named Barabbas was in prison. He was there with some other people who had fought against the country’s rulers. They had committed murder while they were fighting against the rulers. 8The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9“Do you want me to let the king of the Jews go free?” asked Pilate. 10He knew that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd. So the crowd asked Pilate to let Barabbas go free instead.
12“Then what should I do with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13“Crucify him!” the crowd shouted.
14“Why? What wrong has he done?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”
15Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd. So he let Barabbas go free. He ordered that Jesus be whipped. Then he handed him over to be nailed to a cross.
The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
16The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace. It was called the Praetorium. They called together the whole company of soldiers.
17The soldiers put a purple robe on Jesus. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. 18They began to call out to him, “We honor you, king of the Jews!” 19Again and again they hit him on the head with a stick. They spit on him. They fell on their knees and pretended to honor him.
20After they had made fun of him, they took off the purple robe. They put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to nail him to a cross.
21A man named Simon from Cyrene was passing by. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Simon was on his way in from the country. The soldiers forced him to carry the cross.
22They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha. The word Golgotha means The Place of the Skull. 23Then they gave him wine mixed with spices. But he did not take it.
24They nailed him to the cross. Then they divided up his clothes. They cast lots to see what each of them would get.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26They wrote out the charge against him. It read, The King of the Jews.
27/28They crucified two robbers with him. One was on his right and one was on his left.
29Those who passed by shouted at Jesus and made fun of him. They shook their heads and said, “So you are going to destroy the temple and build it again in three days? 30Then come down from the cross! Save yourself!”
31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law made fun of him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said. “But he can’t save himself! 32Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross! When we see that, we will believe.”
Those who were being crucified with Jesus also made fun of him.
33At noon, darkness covered the whole land. It lasted three hours. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” (Psalm 22:1)
35Some of those standing nearby heard Jesus cry out. They said, “Listen! He’s calling for Elijah.”
36One of them ran and filled a sponge with wine vinegar. He put it on a stick. He offered it to Jesus to drink. “Leave him alone,” he said. “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
37With a loud cry, Jesus took his last breath.
38The temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom.
39A Roman commander was standing there in front of Jesus. He heard his cry and saw how Jesus died. Then he said, “This man was surely the Son of God!”
40Not very far away, some women were watching. Mary Magdalene was among them. Mary, the mother of the younger James and of Joses, was also there. So was Salome. 41In Galilee those women had followed Jesus. They had taken care of his needs.
Many other women were also there. They had come up with him to Jerusalem.
42It was the day before the Sabbath. That day was called Preparation Day. As evening approached, 43Joseph went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Joseph was from the town of Arimathea. He was a leading member of the Jewish Council. He was waiting for God’s kingdom.
44Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. So he called for the Roman commander. He asked him if Jesus had already died. 45The commander said it was true. So Pilate gave the body to Joseph.
46Then Joseph bought some linen cloth. He took the body down and wrapped it in the linen. He put it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where Jesus’ body had been placed.
About New International Reader’s Version (1998)
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