Pilate had again and again pronounced Jesus' innocence, yet in the end, he signed the warrant for Jesus' execution. He delivered Jesus not to his own officers, but to the prosecutors, the chief priests and elders, so excusing the wrong to his own conscience. But the soldiers still had to attend the execution. They "took charge of Jesus" and led Him away to the place of execution. The Son of Man was delivered into the hands of wicked and cruel men. Both the priests and the soldiers joined in leading Him away.
Jesus carried His own cross and went out to the place of the Skull or Golgotha. The soldiers obliged Jesus as long as He was able to carry His cross to add His misery. Jesus did not oppose being led away, as the Scripture must be fulfilled, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter”. It is us who deserved to be led forth as criminals to be execution. But Jesus was led forth for us, that we might escape the death. He went forth, not dragged against His will, but voluntary in His sufferings. He went out of Jerusalem which had been set apart by God as His special city for the Jews to worship Him in the temple there. Jesus was thrust out of Jerusalem as a criminal. "They crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side and Jesus in the middle." They crucified Him among the real criminals. He was made sin for us; therefore the cross was laid on Him.
"Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek." The soldiers who walked ahead of the condemned man usually carried a sign which listed the criminal's crimes. The notice nailed on Jesus' cross was different from any other. Instead of listing crimes, Pilate ordered the sign proclaiming Jesus' identity. Jesus is crucified because of who He truly is. The sign was written in three great languages of the ancient world, so all could understand. Pilate wrote a sarcastic inscription meant to annoy the Jews, but it was true beyond his understanding. God had a greater purpose: for all people to recognize the glory of His Son. Jesus is not only the King of the Jews, He reigns over all. Out of all the nations, God chose to reveal Himself to the Jews first. But the Jewish leaders accused King Jesus of blasphemy. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews', but that this man claimed to be King of the Jews." The chief priests objected to this title. They felt it was false, because they didn't believe that Jesus was the King of the Jews. They also believed it was demeaning, because it showed Rome's power to humiliate and torture even the "King of the Jews." Only a short while before, Pilate had submitted to the Jewish leaders' demand to crucify Jesus because they blackmailed him. Now he had the courage to stand up to the chief priests' protest. He answered, "Whatever I have written, I have written." He probably wanted to repay these leaders for getting him involved in crucifying an innocent man. But Pilate was guilty on his part. Had Pilate acted on what he knew about Jesus since he had the privilege of speaking with Jesus face-to-face, or took the warning given to him by God through his wife's dream seriously, his name would be remembered as one of greatness instead of one of shame.
On the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, there was another sign nailed on His cross. It was unseen by people around, but seen by God. This invisible sign could not be physically visible at all, simply because it was too long and too wide. On this sign, there was an endless list of charges against all whose sins cost Jesus His life. Apostle Paul explained to us in Colossians 2:13-14, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." God Himself nailed all believers' sins to the cross. He is the only One who can write the long list. No one can add or subtract. As believers, we can be joyful and take confidence that Jesus took our ugly sins with Him on His cross.
"When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
'Let's not tear it,' they said to one another. 'Let's decide by lot who will get it.' This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, 'They divided my garment among them and cast lots for my clothing.' So this is what the soldiers did." Our Lord Jesus suffered this terrible humiliatio