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Justice and Peace Meditation on the Passion

THE LAST WORDS OF CHRIST

A literary harmony of the Four Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus, arranged as a single narrative.


And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak,  and they came to him and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they struck him repeatedly. Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
Look, I am bringing him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in him. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns
and the purple cloak. And Pilate said to them,
Behold, the man
.
When the chief priests and the guards saw him
they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him." Then Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said,
 Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, weep instead for yourselves and for your children.

So they took Jesus and went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross, it read,
Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be. This is what the soldiers did.
 (It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.)

Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross. Likewise, the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, "He saved others, he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God, let God deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, I am the Son of God." Then Jesus said,
Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

Now one of the criminals hanging there [also] reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied to him,
Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani,
which means,
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. (There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.) When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother,
Woman, behold, your son.
Then he said to the disciple,
Behold, your mother.
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said,
I thirst.
There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
It is finished.
And bowing his head, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit, [saying],
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit;
and when he had said this

he  breathed HIS last.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said,  "This man was innocent beyond doubt." When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened,  they returned home beating their breasts.

Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.

The earth shook, rocks were split,

tombs were opened,

and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,  for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other  one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side and immediately  blood and water flowed out.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen, and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.  Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.

The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which the body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.

Justice and Peace Meditation on the Passion

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redacted by Bob Waldrop in 1999