[?] Off Good Friday

Mt 27:27The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor's palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. 28They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. 29They plaited a crown from branches of a thorn bush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" they said. "Bravo!" 30Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. 31When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.

32Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus' cross. 33Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call "Skull Hill," 34they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn't drink it.

35 -36After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. 37Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him:


38Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. 39People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: 40"You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days--so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"

41The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: 42"He saved others--he can't save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We'll all become believers then! 43He was so sure of God--well, let him rescue his "Son' now--if he wants him! He did claim to be God's Son, didn't he?" 44Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.

45From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. 46Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

47Some bystanders who heard him said, "He's calling for Elijah." 48One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. 49The others joked, "Don't be in such a hurry. Let's see if Elijah comes and saves him."

50But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.

51At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. 52What's more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. 53(After Jesus' resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)

54The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, "This has to be the Son of God!"

(taken from the Message)