But through it all Jesus is silent. There He hangs with those eyes watching the people to whom His great heart was going out, for whom His great life was going out, calm, majestic, masterful, tender. The sight affects at least one of those before unfriendly. The man hanging by His side is caught by this face and spirit. He rebukes the other criminal, reminding him that they were getting their just deserts, but “This Man hath done nothing amiss.” Then turning so far as he could to Jesus, he said, with a simplicity of faith that must have been so grateful to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.” Instantly comes the reply, “Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”
In the crowds were many of Jesus’ personal acquaintances, including women from Galilee. Close by the cross stood His mother and aunt and faithful John and a few others of those dear to Him. Most likely John is supporting Jesus’ mother with his arms. Turning His eyes toward the group, Jesus speaks to His mother in tones revealing His love, “Woman, behold thy son;” and then to John, “Behold thy mother.” So He gives His mother a son to take His own place in caring for her, and to His friend John this heritage of love. John understands, and from that hour the ties between these two were of the closest and tenderest sort.
So the hours drag along until noon. And now a strange thing occurs that must have had a startling effect. At the time of day when the sunlight is brightest a strange darkness came over all the scene, the sun’s light being obscured or failing wholly. And for three hours this strange, weird spectacle continues. Then the hushed silence is broken by an agonizing cry from the lips of Jesus, “My God—My God—why—didst—Thou—forsake—Me?” One of the bewildered bystanders thinks He is calling for Elijah, and another wonders if something startling will yet occur.
Jesus speaks again—“I—thirst” and some one near by with sponge and stick reaches up to moisten His lips. Then a shout, a loud cry of victory bursts in one word from those lips, “It is finished.” Then softly breathing out the last words, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” and bowing His head, Jesus, masterful, kingly to the last, yielded up His spirit.
<u>A New Morning.</u>
It was near the dawning of a new morning, the morning of a new day destined to be a great day. While yet dark there come a number of women out of the city gate toward the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. They carry spices and ointment. With woman’s ever tender thoughtfulness they are bent upon some kindly service for that precious body. They had followed up the burial and noted the arrangements with a view to this morning’s early service. Their whole thought is absorbed with a tomb and a body and a bit of loving attention. They wonder as they come along whom they can get to roll the heavy stone over into its groove at the side of the opening. Mary Magdalene is in the lead. With her in the darkness is her friend Mary, the mother of John and James. Others come along a little behind, in small groups.