Jesus’ Life: Chapter 18 – The Passion And Death Of Jesus
Who were the witnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion and death?
Among the many present and wanting to see Jesus crucified were the Roman Centurion and his small team of soldiers (by order), the Jewish leaders, chief priests and elders who orchestrated His mocking and taunting while hanging on His Cross (by choice), and many passersby (by outcome). They were all “first” witnesses and they easily numbered in the hundreds. Of course, among the passersby and onlookers, one cannot discount that some of them were converts to Jesus’ message and came to mourn but were afraid to make themselves know!
In sharp contrast, most of Jesus’ disciples and closest friends stayed away! But there were exceptions despite the obvious hostility towards Jesus and the arduous journey. They included John the Apostle and a group of women who helped provide for Jesus and his disciples throughout his ministry; they had loyally travelled, “from Galilee” to Calvary. (Matthew 27:55)
The “many women” included Jesus’ mother Mary, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25) During Jesus’ crucifixion, “They watched from a distance”, (Matthew 27:55) probably restrained by the soldiers and crowds until Jesus’ death was secured and then stood “immediately underneath” His Cross. (John 19:25)
When Jesus saw his beloved Mother Mary and John his Apostle standing at the foot of His Cross, He said to Mary, “Woman, look, here is your son!” He then said to John the disciple that he loved, “Look, here is your mother!” and “from that very time [John] took [Mary] into his own home”. (John 19:26-27) (Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:49, John 19:25-27)
Can I understand why Peter, Bartholomew, James… & the other Apostles were absent? Perhaps they were among the “quiet” onlookers!
How would I have acted? Would I have bravely stood with St John and the Blessed Virgin Mary among the hostile Jewish leaders and their chanting crowd, I do hope so!
Lord Jesus, as I use your gifts today and carry my small burden, grant me the courage to overcome my fears and claim You as my Friend and true Saviour. This I ask through your beloved Mother Mary. Amen.
PRAYER: CANTICLE OF SIMEON – FOR THOSE WHO WILL DIE TODAY. (NUNC DIMITTIS)
At last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise.
For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, your people.
O Jesus, who for love of me, didst bear thy cross to Calvary. In thy sweet mercy, grant to me to suffer and to die with Thee.