Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 91, 1897

The Crucifixion


August 11, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in 12MR 385-387.

For three hours Christ hung upon the cross, looked upon by thousands. Thousands heard and saw the reviling of the priests and rulers; they heard the challenge, “Come down from the cross, and we will believe in thee,” and the taunt, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” [Matthew 27:42.] 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 1

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” [Mark 15:33.] Not only did the darkness enshroud the immediate location where the cross stood: “there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 2

God dwelleth in the thick darkness; He hides His glory from human eyes. The Father with His heavenly angels were enclosed in that thick darkness. God was close beside His Son, though not manifesting Himself to Him or to any human being. Had one ray of His glory and power penetrated the thick cloud that enveloped Him, every spectator would have been extinguished. And in that thick darkness God hid from prying eyes the last human agony of His Son. He clothed Nature in sackcloth that she might not look upon her suffering, dying Author in His last humiliation. 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 3

All who had looked upon Christ during His trial were convicted of His loyalty and royal character. That face once beheld by humanity was never forgotten. As in Cain’s face was expressed his guilt as a murderer, so the face of Christ revealed His innocence, serenity, benevolence, the image of God. But His accusers would not heed the mark, the signet of heaven, and that countenance was hidden by the mantle of God. 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 4

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the Ghost. ... There were also women looking on a afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome: (which also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.” [Verses 34-37, 40, 41.] 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 5

When Christ’s life ended, the veil of the temple was rent in twain. This veil was very significant to the Jewish nation. It was of most costly material, of purple and gold, and was of great length and breath. At the moment that Christ breathed His last, there were witnesses in the temple who beheld that strong heavy material rent in two by unseen hands from top to bottom. He who had hitherto dwelt in the temple made with hands, had gone forth never again to grace it with His presence. 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 6

There was a mighty earthquake. The rocks were rent; the graves of many dead burst opened, and all nature was in commotion, expressing her sympathy with her dying Author. The Roman centurion, in charge of his soldiers, halted at the cross, and when Christ uttered the cry, “It is finished; into thy hands I commend my spirit,” overpowering conviction came upon him. “Truly,” he said, “this man was the Son of God.” [John 19:30; Luke 23:46; Mark 15:39.] 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 7

The conviction forced upon many at the time of Christ’s trial, at the time when the three hours’ darkness enshrouded the cross without any natural cause for it, and when the last sentences were uttered, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” “It is finished, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” was seed sown that ripened into harvest when at a future date the gospel was boldly proclaimed by His disciples. The shaking earth, the piercing cry, the sudden death which called forth in no whispered tones the cry, “It is finished,” forced from many the words, “Assuredly this man was righteous.” “Truly this was the Son of God.” 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 8

Many who had scoffed and jeered at, and taunted, the Son of God were terribly afraid that the shaking earth, the rent and trembling rocks, would put an end to their own lives. They hastened away from the scene, beating upon their breasts, stumbling, falling, in awful terror lest the earth should open and swallow them up. The veil of the temple, rent so mysteriously, changed the religious ideas of many of the Jewish priests, and a large company changed their faith. After the day of Pentecost, we read that “the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” [Acts 6:7, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 9

It seemed a great mystery to the people when it was ascertained that Jesus was already dead. They could not reason that this sudden death was from a supernatural cause. It was found that the two thieves were still living, and their legs were broken; but Christ was dead already, His legs were left untouched. 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 10

“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For those things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.” [John 19:34-36.] 12LtMs, Ms 91, 1897, par. 11