The Scandal of Blood Atonement: “Why All the Blood and Cross-Talk, Christian?”

The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection raises accusations that Christianity is obsessed with blood. Many believers struggle with this too. Byron Barlowe explores the biblical reasons for the focus on Christ’s blood and why its shedding was necessary.

The Bloody Cross: A Tough Thing to Handle

download-podcastEaster season is all about the death and resurrection of Christ—which centers on the blood sacrifice He endured. Christianity is called a bloody religion, focusing on the execution of Jesus Christ on a cross. Why is this true and what does it mean when we say His blood atones for our sin?

Millions of Americans—and billions of Christians around the world—celebrated the death and Resurrection of Christ during Passion Week and Easter Sunday. The topic was everywhere from sermons to a CNN docudrama titled Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery.

You may have questions about all the talk of “the blood of Christ” and songs saying things like “Jesus’s blood washed away my sins.” This bloody theme does raise understandable concerns that are shared by believers, seekers and skeptics alike.

In fact, more and more skeptics are posting on the Internet things like this book promotion:

“Christians are obsessed with blood! They sing about it, declare they are washed in it and even drink it! In this book you will discover the crazy background to this Christian obsession and the truth about the bloodthirsty God they claim to know and serve.”{1}

In this article, we’ll discuss whether these charges are true and fair and explain the doctrine of blood atonement.

Again, even many Christians—including me—have wondered deeply about all the biblical imagery of shed blood, what some call the Crimson Thread of Scripture. I mean the grotesqueness of Old Testament animal sacrifice and the belief in Jesus’s torturous slaying as the core of salvation. Radical stuff for modern ears.

So what is blood atonement and why does it matter? In historic orthodox Christian thought, God’s Son is at the very center of history doing these things:

•  reconciling man to God,

•  ransoming humans from slavery to sin and well-deserved death and

•  justly recompensing God for the horrific offense of rebellion and disobedience to Him.

Thankfully, the gospel (or good news) is simple. The Bible claims, “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”{2}

The bottom line for all people is this: out of Christ’s death came the hope of eternal life—and His resurrection proved this. Our sin caused God’s Son to suffer and die. By grace, through faith, we can benefit. Otherwise, we suffer eternally for staying with the cosmic rebellion that started in a perfect Garden long ago.

Yet, this blood-centered good news is a scandal to both those who believe and those who deny it. In fact, the Greek root word skandalon is used for Christ Himself.{3} You see, Jews denied Christ as the Promised One and Gentiles thought it was all nonsense. Nothing has changed for mankind: the choices are either do-it-yourself religion, being too smart for all that, or believing in this radical hope.

The Reason Someone Had to Die

Why did anybody have to die? God’s justice and holiness demands a death penalty for the sinner.

We are all in a serious spiritual and moral pickle. Biblical Christianity declares that each person ever born is stuck under an irreversible “sindrome” for which there is no human answer. History sadly records the habitual and continual effects of sin: oppression, addictions, self-promoting power plays, deceit, war, on and on.

Now for a reality check: no moral order, either in a family, a company, military unit or society survives ambiguity or failure to enforce laws. Just ask the victims of unpunished criminals set loose to perpetrate again. If the Creator were to simply wink at sin or let people off scot-free, where would justice be? What kind of God would He be?

God is holy and He called Himself the Truth. There is no way God would be true to Himself and the moral order He created and yet fail to punish sin. Such impunity would mock justice. As one theologian puts it, “Pardon without atonement nullifies justice . . . A law without penalty is morally unserious, even dangerous.”

Ok, but penalties have levels of harshness. Why is death necessary? Scripture spells out clearly the decree that sinners must die. In God’s original command He stated, “When you eat of [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). In Ezekiel the same formula appears slightly reworded: “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Paul boiled it down this way: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

God’s justice and holiness demand death for sin. Blood must be shed. Detractors of the cross tend to underestimate sin and know nothing of its offense to a holy God. Everyone wants justice—for others.

Ok, so what does a just and holy God do with impure, treasonous creatures He made to bear His image? God was in a quandary, if you will.

Yet, even in the Garden, He was already hinting at a plan to reconcile this dilemma. “God so loved the world” that he sent down His own Son as a man to pay the death penalty.{4}

Thomas Oden writes, “God’s holiness made a penalty for sin necessary . . . Love was the divine motive; holiness [was] the divine requirement. [Romans 5:8 reads] ‘God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. [And as Romans 8 teaches,] This love was so great that God ‘did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all’ (Romans 8:32).”{5}

Christ’s Death and Resurrection Was Unlike Other Religious Stories: It Was All for Love

God’s morally just demand for a death-payment is not the same as pagan gods, who maliciously demanded sacrifices. True for one big reason:

Isn’t this crucifixion thing simply about a grouchy god acting all bloodthirsty, as some atheists like popular author Richard Dawkins say? Should good people find this repugnant? One unbelieving critic wrote,

“Unfortunately, much of Christian art consists of depicting the sufferings and agony of Jesus on the Cross. This reflects the obsession of Christianity with the Crucifixion . . . “Crosstianity” [in the contemptuous words of one skeptic]. The obsession with ‘our sins’ having been ‘washed away by the Blood of the Lamb’ would be regarded as evidence of a serious mental illness . . . but when this is an obsession of millions of people it becomes ‘religious faith’.”{6}

Wow! Did you know that you, if you are a believer, are part of an insane global crowd? This vividly illustrates the scandal of the cross: “which is to them that are perishing foolishness” as the Apostle Paul described it.{7}

No, biblical sacrifice is not a bloodfest, but the way to deal with a sad reality. Put it this way: If God said, “Nah, don’t worry about rebelling against your Creator,” would that be a just and righteous God? Would a deity who fails to punish wrongdoing be worth following? Would His laws mean anything? Yet, we are unable to keep laws, so He steps in to pay that penalty. With His lifeblood. This storyline is utterly unique in the long human history of religions. And the resurrection Christians celebrate shows its truth in actual time and on this dirty earth.

Pagan myths of savior gods who rise from the dead have only a surface resemblance to the biblical resurrection. Such deities are more like impetuous and tyrannical people than the one and only Yahweh. The biblical God’s love fostered the unthinkable: set up a sacrificial system for a one-of-a-kind people—the Israelites—that served as a foretelling of His coup de grace: dying in man’s place as the spotless sacrificial Lamb. What a novel religious idea that only the true God could dream up! Theologian Thomas Oden says it this way: “It was God who was both offering reconciliation and receiving the reconciled.”{8}

God’s merging of perfect holiness, just retributive punishment and allowance of His Son’s execution was actually a beautiful thing. Francis of Assisi wrote that “love and faithfulness meet together [at the cross]; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”{9}

But Why a Violent, Bloody Death?

I get that death was demanded of someone to pay for sin. So why a bloody suffering and execution? Why the constant shedding of blood?

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ hit movie theaters in 2004 to mixed reviews. It earned its R-rating for gory bloodshed and, ironically, became a cultural scandal itself. Seems that the bloody realism was too much for both soft-core Christians and high-minded unbelievers. But this vividly poignant portrayal of Christ’s blood-stained Passion did raise a good question.

When it came to saving mankind, why the shedding of blood? Could God not have found another way? Church Father Athanasius believed that, if there were a better way to preserve human free will and still reconcile rebellious man to a holy God, He would have used it. Apparently, Christ’s suffering and death was the only solution.

The Apostle Paul summarized Christ’s entire earthly ministry this way: He “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death” (Philippians 2:8). At the cross, “human hate did all the damage it could do to the only Son of God.”{10} God used the realities available to Him, including the masterfully grim method of crucifixion, honed to a fine art by Roman pagans who viewed human life as dispensable.

Again, why is death demanded of God to atone for sin? The grounding for such a claim appears early in the Bible, after the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. In Genesis 9 Yahweh declares, “I will require a reckoning . . . for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.”{11} Apparently, God has put the price of a man’s life as that of another’s life.

The highlight of Christ’s death was its substitutionary sense. The Apostle Peter wrote, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”{12} Justice, fairness, reality itself demanded a bloodguilt payment for sin. Christ paid it.

Substitutionary sacrifice was nothing new for the Jews who unwittingly had the Messiah crucified. From the beginning of God’s dealings with His people, agreements were blood covenants. What else could carry the weight of such momentous things? And, as the book of Hebrews teaches, Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.{13}

One theologian plainly said, “Through this sacrificial system, the people of Israel were being prepared for the incomparable act of sacrifice that was to come in Jesus Christ.”{14}

His suffering, death and resurrection conquered sin and neutered the fear of death. Only blood could clean sin; only God’s Son’s blood could do it perfectly and forever.

Here’s the scandal we spoke of: only a perfect sacrifice would do for washing mankind’s sins away and reconciling us back to God.

Beautiful Obsession: God Was Glad to Allow This Brutality for Us!

God said it was His pleasure to pay the death penalty with His own self, in the Person of His son. Christianity’s so-called blood-obsession is a beautiful picture of perfect divine love.

Theologian Thomas Oden summarized well our discussion of Christ’s blood atonement. He wrote, “Love was the divine motive; holiness the divine requirement. ‘God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8).”

Such claims trump the understandable disgust of doubters. But the red blood leads to clean white.

Chick-fil-A restaurant employees are trained to say, “My pleasure” when serving customers. Imagine God saying that to believers regarding the cross of Christ! Paul explains in his letter to the Colossian church that “it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness of deity to dwell in Him . . . having made peace through the blood of His cross . . . He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death . . .”{15}

God was glad to stand in as the essential scapegoat to restore us to right relations with Himself, to buy us back from slavery to sin, fear and death, and to abolish sin and its effects. This doesn’t sound like a bloodthirsty tyrannical deity demanding a whipping boy or abusing his own child, as some acidly accuse. “My pleasure” brings in new dimensions of lovingkindness and servant-heartedness.

But wait, there’s more! Scripture lists lots of wonderful effects created by the blood of Christ. These include forgiveness, propitiation or satisfaction of God’s righteous wrath, justification or being made right, reconciliation with God, cleansing, sanctification, freedom from sin, and the conquest of Satan.

Yes, you could say that Christianity is blood-obsessed. As accused, even its hymns often focus on the benefits bought at the highest of prices: the life of the God-Man Himself. One famous hymn goes:

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This beautiful blood obsession finds its highest hope in Revelation. The following is a prophecy about persecuted believers:

“These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb . . . For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”{16}

Maybe the revelations here are as crazy as skeptics say. The foolishness of God. We believe they are the most glorious story ever told.


1. Promotion at for Obsessed with Blood: The Crazy Things Christians Believe, Book 1, by Ex-Preacher.
2. 1 Peter 3:18, NASB.
3. Romans 9:33, 1 Corinthians 1:23, 1 Peter 2:8.
4. John 3:16.
5. Oden, Thomas, Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology (New York: Harper Collins, 1987), 405.
6. Meyer, Peter, “Why I Am Not a Christian”. Serendipity blog. Accessed 2-27-17,
7. 1 Corinthians 1:18.
8. Ibid., 414.
9. Ibid., 405.
10. Ibid., 389.
11. Genesis 9:4-6.
12. 1 Peter 3:18.
13. Hebrews 9:22-23, emphasis mine.
14. Oden, Classic Christianity, 413-414.
15. Colossians 1:19.
16. Revelation 7:14b-17, emphasis mine.

©2017 Probe Ministries

An Easter Quiz

Written by Dale Taliaferro

1. What emotional state were the disciples in when they left the upper room to go to the garden?
Anxious, fearful, troubled (John 14:1, 27).

2. What is John 13-17 called?
The Upper Room Discourse.

3. Why were the disciples so troubled?
a. They had probably been excommunicated by this time for professing Jesus as Christ (John 9:22).
b. The religious leaders had determined to kill Jesus and His followers (John 11:16).
c. One of the inner core was going to betray Him (John 13:20-30).
d. Peter was going to deny Him three times (John 13:38).
e. Jesus was going to leave them in the lurch (John 13:33).

4. For what did Jesus pray before they arrived at the garden?
Eternal security and temporal protection of the disciples (John 17:1-26).

5. What is the name of the garden?

6. Where is it located?
At the base of the Mount of Olives (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39).

7. What was the subject matter of Jesus’ great discourse upon this mountain?
Prophecy (Matt. 24-25).

8. What ravine did they have to cross to get to the garden?
The Kidron Valley (John 18:1).

9. What did they do just before going out to the Mount of Olives?
Sang a hymn(Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).

10. Who accompanied Jesus the furthest into the garden?
Peter, James, and John (Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33).

11. What command did Jesus give His disciples at this time?
“Remain here and keep watch with me” (Matt. 26:38).

12. How far did Jesus remove Himself to pray?
A stone’s throw (Luke 22:41).

13. What posture was Jesus in when He prayed?
On His knees, face down on the ground (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35).

14. What was Jesus’ emotional state at this time?
Deeply grieved to the point of death (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:34).

15. How did Jesus address His prayer?
To the Father (Matt. 26:39).

16. What petition did Jesus make?
“Let this cup pass from Me” (Matt. 26:39).

17. With what concession did Jesus close His prayer?
“Yet not as I but as Thou will” (Matt. 26:39).

18. How long did Jesus pray this time?
One hour (Matt. 26:40).

19. Upon finding the disciples sleeping, what warning did He give them?
Once again, “Watch and pray” (Matt. 26:41).

20. What rationale does Jesus use to strengthen His warning?
“For the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

21. What did Jesus pray the second time?
The same words (Mark 14:39).

22. When Jesus found the disciples asleep the second time, what excuse did they offer?
None (Mark 14:40).

23. What did Jesus pray the third time?
The same thing (Matt. 26:44).

24. How many people did Judas bring with him to arrest Jesus?
A multitude (Mark 14:33).

25. From whom was the crowd sent?
From the religious leaders (Matt. 26:47).

26. What happened to this multitude when Jesus identified Himself?
They fell backward upon the ground (John 18:4-6).

27. What did this signify?
As He had prophesied, none would take His life; He would give it up voluntarily (John 10:16-18).

28. What sign did Judas use to designate whom the crowd should arrest?
A kiss (Matt. 26:48).

29. How did Jesus convict Judas of his sin?
Confronted him before the kiss, stating, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48).

30. Which disciple drew his sword to protect Jesus?
Simon Peter (John 18:10).

31. What part of the body did Peter slice off when he attacked the servant of the high priest?
The ear (John 18:10).

32. What was the servant’s name?
Malchus (John 18:10).

33. What did Jesus say to Peter in rebuke?
a. “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
b. “My Father could send 12 legions of angels.”

34. How did Jesus heal the servant’s ear?
By touching it (Luke 22:51).

35. Name two evidences that Jesus was in control during His arrest and that His arrest was moving along as it had been divinely appointed.
a. It was prophesied (Matt. 26:54; Mark 14:49; John 18:8-9).
b. Jesus’ comment, “The cup the Father gave me, I must fulfill,” reflects His earlier prayer to the Father.

36. What three things did Jesus say to rebuke the multitudes, including chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders?
a. “Have you come out to arrest Me as you would a robber with swords and sticks?”
b. “You did not try to arrest Me when I daily sat teaching in the temple.”
c. “This is your hour and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

37. Who was the young man who fled Gethsemane naked?
Tradition identifies him as John Mark (Mark 14:51-52).

38. To whom was Jesus presented first?
Annas the high priest (John 18:24).

39. To whom did Annas send Jesus?
Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57).

40. Which two disciples followed?
Peter and John (Matt. 26:58; John 18:15).

41. Where did Jesus meet with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin?
Caiaphas’s house (Luke 22:54).

42. How did they attempt to convict Jesus?
By bringing in false witnesses (Matt. 26:59-60; Mark 14:55-56).

43. Of what did two false witnesses accuse Jesus?
The claim to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:57-59).

44. How did Jesus respond to all of the charges?
He remained silent (Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:61).

45. What question did Caiaphas then ask Jesus?
Was He the Christ, the Son of God? (Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:61).

46. How did Jesus answer the question?
He said “Egoeimi,” “I am” (Mark 14:62).

47. What did those who heard Him take His response to mean?
That He was the Messiah and also the Son of God, making Himself equal in person with God the Father (Matt. 26:65-66; Mark 14:63-64; John 5:18).

48. Had Jesus ever clearly claimed His deity before?
Yes (Mark 2:1-12; John 5:18; 8:58; 10:30; 14:9).

49. How did those with the priest respond to Jesus after Caiaphas sentenced Him to death?
a. They spit in His face.
b. They blindfolded Him and beat Him.
c. They asked Him to prophesy who hit Him.
d. Many other things that Scripture does not specify (Matt. 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-65).

50. What dilemma do Peter’s denials present to the reader?
The need to harmonize them. One can apparently list ten different denials by Peter.

51. How many denials did Jesus clearly prophesy that Peter would give?

52. What was the purpose of the regathering of the Sanhedrin at dawn?
Jesus was formally condemned by the Sanhedrin at that time. This action by the council was an effort to make the proceedings and the passing of judgment upon Jesus legal. But, as Greek expert A. T. Robertson writes, “No ratification of a wrong can make it right” (A Harmony of the Gospels, 215).

53. What did Judas feel when he realized he had helped condemn Jesus to death?
Remorse (Matt. 27:3).

54. How much did the chief priests and elders give Judas to betray Jesus?
Thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 27:3; 26:15).

55. How much would that be worth today?
The exact amount is unknown; it was the redemption price for a slave (Exod. 21:32).

56. What did Judas do with the money after he realized what he had done?
He tried to give it back. When they wouldn’t accept it, he threw it into the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies (Matt. 27:3-5).

57. What did Judas do next?
Hanged himself (Matt. 27:6).

58. What did the religious leaders do with the returned money?
Bought a field in which to bury foreigners— Potters Field or Field of Blood (Matt. 27:6-7; Acts 1:18-19).

59. What is significant about this action?
It fulfilled prophecy of both the price and the consequence (Matt. 27:7-10).

60. To whom did the council now take Jesus?
To Pilate (Matt. 27:2;Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1; John 18:28-29).

61. What principle can we learn from the Jews’ legalism or “works” mentality at this point?
Legalism—actually any system of works—blinds one to his own sinfulness (John 18:28). They didn’t want to defile themselves by going into the palace, but they were willing to kill an innocent man.

62. What accusations did the religious leaders bring against Jesus?
a. He perverted the nation (Luke 23:2).
b. He prohibited the giving of tribute to Caesar (Luke 23:2).
c. He said He is Christ, a king (Luke 23:2). d. He stirred up the people (Luke 23:5).

63. What conclusion did Pilate come to after questioning Jesus?
a. “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4).
b. “I find no crime in Him” (John 18:38).

64. To whom did Pilate send Jesus?
Herod Antipas the Tetrarch (Luke 23:7).

65. What was the stated reason Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas?
Jesus was a Galilean and under Herod’s jurisdiction (Luke 23:6-7).

66. How did Herod Antipas receive Jesus?
Gladly (Luke 23:8).

67. Why did he receive Jesus this way?
He wanted to see a miracle (Luke 23:8).

68. How did Jesus respond to Herod’s interrogation?
With silence (Luke 23:9).

69. How did Herod respond to this silent treatment?
He mocked Jesus(Luke 23:11).

70. What custom did Pilate attempt to use to keep from condemning Jesus?
The custom of freeing a prisoner during the feast (Matt. 27:15, 17; Luke 15:6, 9; John 18:39).

71. After Jesus’ interrogation by both Herod and Pilate, what was the governor’s verdict?
Neither he nor Herod had found Jesus worthy of death (Luke 23:15). In fact, Luke 23:14b says, “[I] have found no basis for your charges against Him.”

72. What was the name of the other man Pilate offered to release?
Barabbas (Matt. 27:16; Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18; John 18:40).

73. What motive did Pilate detect which propelled the chief priests to demand Jesus death?
Envy (Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10).

74. Why was Barabbas imprisoned?
Insurrection and murder (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19).

75. From whom did Pilate receive a warning to have nothing to do with Jesus?
His wife (Matt. 27:19).

76. What motivated her to warn Pilate?
She had suffered many things that day in a dream because of Jesus (Matt. 27:19).

77. How did Pilate respond to Jesus before he again told the crowd he could “find no crime in Him?”
a. Pilate scourged Him (John 19:1).
b. He allowed the soldiers to (1) plait a crown of thorns and place it on His head; (2) array Him in a purple garment; (3) while mockingly hailing Him as the King of the Jews, beat Him with their fists (John 19:2-3).

78. How many times did Pilate confess he could find no cause for putting Jesus to death?
Three (Luke 23:22).

79. At this point, what accusations do the Jews make to claims that Jesus is worthy of death?
“He made Himself [out to be] the Son of God” (John 19:7).

80. After Pilate again tried to release Jesus, what threat did the Jews use to obtain Jesus’ condemnation?
“If you release Him, you are no friend of Caesar’s. Everyone who makes a king speaks against Caesar” (John 19:12).

81. What symbolic gesture did Pilate make to declare himself innocent of condemning a righteous man?
He washed his hands before the multitude and said, “I am innocent of the blood of the righteous man (Matt. 27:24).

82. When, exactly, did this happen?
This is the subject of a huge debate, but it was probably just before dawn on Friday.

83. What did Pilate do to Jesus before he handed Him over to be crucified?
a. He had Jesus scourged a second time! (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15).
b. He delivered Jesus over to his guards, who first mocked and beat Him, then crucified Him (Matt. 27:27-30; Mark 15:16-19).

84. Who was enlisted to carry Jesus’ cross for Him?
Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26).

85. What is the name of the way that Jesus walked to His crucifixion?
The Via Dolorosa, “Way of Suffering.”

86. Who accompanied Jesus along the path?
The two thieves (Luke 23:32).

87. What is the name of the place where Jesus was crucified?
In Hebrew, Golgotha (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17).

88. What is this place called in Greek?
The cranium, the skull (Luke 23:33).

89. What is this place called in Latin?

90. Of what significance were the inscriptions on the crosses at crucifixions?
They identified the crime for which the person was being executed.

91. What were Jesus’s first words from the cross?
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

92. What is the first fulfillment of prophecy by those who crucified Jesus after He was nailed to the cross?
They cast lots over Jesus’ garments (John 19:24).

93. What inscription did Pilate place on Jesus’ cross?
“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).

94. In what languages was it written?
Aramaic, Latin, and Greek (John 19:20).

95. Who are the three women named in scripture who stood by the cross (John 19:25)?
a. Mary, mother of Jesus
b. Mary’s sister—the wife of Cleopas
c. Mary Magdalene

96. What was the second thing Jesus said from the cross and to whom was it addressed (John 19:27)?
To Mary: “Woman, behold, your son”; to John, “Behold your mother!”

97. At what hour was Jesus actually crucified?
The third hour—nine a.m. (Mark 15:25).

98. At what hour did darkness enshroud the earth?
The sixth hour (Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).

99. How long did the darkness last?
Three hours (Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).

100. Around the ninth hour, what did Jesus cry out?
“My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?” (Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani).

101. What was Jesus’ next-to-last utterance from the cross and to what did it refer?
“It is finished.” It referred to the penalty He paid on the cross (John 19:30).

102. At the death of Jesus, what physical phenomena occurred?
a. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 21:45).
b. There was an earthquake (Matt. 27:51).
c. Rocks were split apart (Matt. 27:51).
d. Tombs were opened (Matt. 27:52).
e. There were many resuscitations of the dead. They entered into the city, appeared to many, and stayed alive until after Jesus’ resurrection (Matt. 27:52-53).

103. The fear occasioned by these awesome phenomena moved the centurion at the foot of the cross to make what profession?
That Jesus was a righteous man and truly the Son of God (Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47).

104. How did the multitudes respond to these awesome displays?
They returned to the city beating their breasts (Luke 23:48).

105. What reason did the Jews give to have Pilate break the legs of those crucified?
So as not to defile the sabbath-day Passover (John 19:31).

106. Instead of breaking Jesus’ legs, they did something else to Him, since He was already dead. What?
They pierced His side (John 19:33-34).

107. What resulted from the piercing, signifying that death had occurred?
Blood and water flowed out (John 19:34).

108. What two prophecies relate to Jesus’ legs not being broken?
a. No bone shall be broken (Exod. 12:46; Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20).
b. They will look on me, the one they have pierced (Zach. 12:10).

109. Who asked Pilate for the body of Jesus for burial?
Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50; John 19:38).

110. How did Pilate confirm that Jesus had in fact died?
He called in the centurion in charge of the crucifixion (Mark 15:44-45).

111. Who helped Joseph prepare the body for burial?
Nicodemus (John 19:39).

112. What two spices were used in the burial preparation?
Myrrh and aloes (John 19:39).

113. How much was used?
One hundred pounds (John 19:39).

114. Who were the two women who watched where Joseph and Nicodemus buried Jesus?
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47).

115. What reason did the chief priests and Pharisees give for sealing and guarding the sepulchre?
They secured the tomb for three days because they feared Jesus’ disciples would steal the body and tell the people He had risen (Matt. 27:62-66).

116. What supernatural event accompanied the great earthquake early on Sunday morning?
An angel of the Lord rolled back the tombstone and sat on it (Matt. 28:2-4).

117. What is curious about the angel and this appearance?
The angel came and went. Some saw the angel and some didn’t (John 28:2-10).

118. Who was the first person at the tomb early on Sunday morning?
Mary Magdalene (John 20:1).

119. Basically, what message did the angel give the women at the tomb?
“He is not here; He has risen just as He had said He would” (Matt. 28:5-7; Mark 16:26-7; Luke 24:5-7).

120. Who were the first two apostles to go to the empty tomb?
John and Peter (John 20:2).

121. What was curious about the burial wrappings?
They were in the tomb, neatly folded (John 20:5-7).

122. What excuse did the soldiers (who were paid by the chief priests and the elders) give for the disappearance of Jesus’ body?
“His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept” (Matt. 28:11-13).

123. What is so ludicrous about this excuse?
The guards who fell asleep, plus all of those in the unit, would have been executed.

124. Name some of the people to whom Jesus appeared after He arose.
Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and a friend, the eleven disciples, Thomas (Mark 16:9, 14; Luke 24:17; John 20:26).

125. How long did He appear to the disciples before He finally ascended?
Forty days (Acts 1:1-2).

© 1993 Probe Ministries International