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THE DARKEST DAY OF ALL THE WORLD
Matthew xxvii: 31 to 66; Mark xv: 20 to 47; Luke xxiii: 26 to 56; John xix: 16 to 42.
ND so Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, gave order that
Jesus should die by the cross. The Roman soldiers then
took Jesus and beat him again most cruelly; and then
led him out of the city to the place of death. This was
a place called "Golgotha" in the Jewish language,
"Calvary" in that of the Romans; both words meaning
"The Skull Place."
JESUS LED AWAY TO THE CROSS
With the soldiers went out of the city a great crowd of
people, some of them enemies of Jesus, glad to see him
suffer; others of them friends of Jesus, and the women
who had helped him, now
 weeping as they saw him, all covered with his blood,
and going out to die. But Jesus turned to them, and
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep
for yourselves, and for your children. For the days are
coming when they shall count those happy who have no
little ones to be slain; when they shall wish that the
mountains might fall on them, and the hills might cover
them, and hide them from their enemies!"
They had tried to make Jesus bear his own cross, but
soon found that he was too weak from his sufferings,
and could not carry it. They seized on a man who was
coming out of the country into the city, a man named
Simon; and they made him carry the cross to its place
It was a custom among the Jews, to give to men about to
die by the cross some medicine to deaden their
feelings, so that they would not suffer so greatly.
They offered this to Jesus, but when he had tasted it,
and found what it was, he would not take it. He knew
that he would die, but he wished to have his mind
clear, and to understand what was done and what was
said, even though his sufferings might be greater.
At the place Calvary they laid the cross down, and
stretched Jesus upon it, and drove nails through his
hands and feet to fasten him to the cross; and then
they stood it upright with Jesus upon it. While the
soldiers were doing this dreadful work, Jesus prayed
for them to God, saying, "Father, forgive them; for
they know not what they are doing."
The soldiers also took the clothes that Jesus had worn,
giving to each one a garment. But when they came to his
undergarment, they found that it was woven, and had no
seams; so they said, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots
for it, to see who shall have it." So at the foot of
the cross the soldiers threw lots for the garment of
Christ. Two men who had been robbers and had been
sentenced to die by the cross, were led out to die at
the same time with Jesus. One was placed on a cross at
his right side, and the other at his left; and to make
Jesus appear as the worst, his cross stood in the
middle. Over the head of Jesus on his cross, they
placed, by Pilate's order, a sign on which was written:
"THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH,
THE KING OF THE JEWS."
 This was written in three languages: in Hebrew, which
was the language of the Jews; in Latin, the language of
the Romans, and in Greek. Many of the people read this
writing; but the chief priests were not pleased with
it. They urged Pilate to have it changed from "The King
of the Jews" to "He said, I am King of the Jews."
But Pilate would not change it. He said, "What I have
written, I have written."
And the people who passed by on the road, as they
looked at Jesus on the cross, mocked at him. Some
called out to him, "You that would destroy the Temple,
and build it in three days, save yourself. If you are
the Son of God, come down from the cross!"
And the priests and scribes said, "He saved others, but
he cannot save himself. Come down from the cross, and
we will believe in you!"
And one of the robbers who was on his own cross beside
 of Jesus joined in the cry, and said, "If you are the
Christ, save yourself and save us!"
But the other robber said to him, "Have you no fear of
God, to speak thus, while you are suffering the same
fate with this man? And we deserve to die, but this man
has done nothing wrong."
Then this man said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when
thou comest into thy kingdom!"
And Jesus answered him, as they were both hanging on
"To-day you shall be with me in heaven."
Before the cross of Jesus his mother was standing,
filled with sorrow for her son, and beside her was one
of the disciples, John, the disciple whom he loved
best. Other women besides his mother were there, his
mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and a woman
named Mary Magdalene, out of whom a year before Jesus
had sent an evil spirit. Jesus wished to give his
mother, now that he was leaving her, into the care of
John, and he said to her, as he looked from her to
John, "Woman, see your son."
And then to John he said, "Son, see your mother."
And on that day John took the mother of Jesus home to
his own house, and cared for her as his own mother.
At about noon a sudden darkness came over the land, and
lasted for three hours. And in the middle of the
afternoon, when Jesus had been on the cross six hours
of terrible pain, he cried out aloud words which meant:
"My Lord, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" words
which are the beginning of the twenty-second Psalm, a
psalm which long before had spoken of many of Christ's
After this he spoke again, saying, "I thirst!"
And some one dipped a sponge into a cup of vinegar, and
put it upon a reed, and gave him a drink of it. Then
Jesus spoke his last words upon the cross:
"It is finished! Father, into thy hands I give my
And then Jesus died. And at that moment the vail in the
Temple between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies
was torn apart by unseen hands from the top to the
bottom. And the Roman officer who had charge of the
soldiers around the cross saw what had taken place, and
how Jesus died, and he said, "Truly this was a
righteous man; he was the Son of God."
 After Jesus was dead, one of the soldiers, to be sure
that he was no longer living, ran his spear into the
side of his dead body; and out of the wound came
pouring both water and blood.
There were even among the rulers of the Jews a few who
were friends of Jesus, though they did not dare to
follow Jesus openly. One of these was Nicodemus, the
ruler who came to see Jesus at night, as we read in
Story 116. Another was a rich man who came from the
town of Arimathea, and was named Joseph. Joseph of
Arimathea went boldly in to Pilate, and asked that the
body of Jesus might be given to him. Pilate wondered
that he had died so soon, for often men lived on the
cross two or three days. But when he found that Jesus
was really dead, he gave his body to Joseph.
Then Joseph and his friends took down the body of Jesus
from the cross, and wrapped it in fine linen. And
Nicodemus brought some precious spices, myrrh and
aloes, which they wrapped up with the body. Then they
placed the body in Joseph's own new tomb, which was a
cave dug out of the rock, in a garden near the place of
the cross. And before the opening of the cave they
rolled a great stone.
And Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and some other
women saw the tomb, and watched while they laid the
body of Jesus in it. On the next morning, some of the
rulers of the Jews came to Pilate, and said:
"Sir, we remember that that man Jesus of Nazareth, who
deceived the people, said while he was yet alive,
'After three days I will rise again.' Give orders that
the tomb shall be watched and made sure for three days;
or else his disciples may steal his body, and then say,
'He is risen from the dead;' and thus even after his
death he may do more harm than he did while he was
Pilate said to them, "Set a watch, and make it as sure
as you can."
Then they placed a seal upon the stone, so that no one
might break it; and they set a watch of soldiers at the
And in the tomb the body of Jesus lay from the evening
of Friday, the day when he died on the cross, to the
dawn of Sunday, the first day of the week.