What happened when Jesus hung on the cross?

The story of Easter is kinda like the story of Christmas. They both get overshadowed by distractions like Santa and the Easter Bunny or presents and marshmallow ducks. But it’s important to know the real story of what Jesus did in both stories because it’s the most important story of all of history!

I want to keep helping you out with that, so here are some more Fast Facts about Easter!

Where did Jesus die on the cross?

Where was Jesus crucified? According to the Bible He was crucified outside of the city Jerusalem at “Golgotha” or the place of the skull. This is where all crucifixions took place in that area and it was reserved for only the worst criminals.  

Today if you visit Jerusalem you can visit a place where you can still see a skull in a rocky hillside. We don’t know for sure if this is the exact place Jesus died, but it could be.  

Another word you might have heard used for Golgotha is Calvary. “Golgotha” comes from the Aramaic word for “skull” and “Calvary” comes from the Latin word for “skull”. 

Who did people think Jesus was?  

While Jesus the Son of God chose to hang on the cross, the soldiers and religious leaders mocked Him, telling Him to save Himself. They didn’t like the sign hung above Jesus that said, “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”. They wanted everyone to think that Jesus was a fake and couldn’t save Himself. 

Along with Jesus two criminals were crucified, one on His right and one on His left.  One of the criminals then started to insult Jesus and mock Him as He hung there. But the other criminal said, “Don’t you fear God?”  

He knew that they deserved their sentence, but Jesus was innocent. He then asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus told him he would be in paradise with Him that very day. Only the Son of God could promise that! 


After Jesus was sentenced to be crucified, Pilate gave Him to the Roman soldiers who mocked Him by pretending to treat Him as a king. They clothed Him with a purple robe, a crown of thorns on His head, plucked His beard and then beat Him.  

After that He was forced to carry His cross through town to “the place of the skull”. Once there they put nails through His wrists and ankles to hang Him on the cross. Jesus was on the cross from 9 am to about 3 pm, about six hours.  

Then Jesus said, “It is finished” and died. The soldiers confirmed Jesus’s death by piercing his side with a sword and saw blood and water flow separately. Jesus really died. He showed the kind of love He talked about in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” 

The Crazy Weather 

Did you ever notice that the weather was kind of wonky around Jesus’ crucifixion? The Bible says that it got dark from noon until 3:00 when Jesus died. For the last 3 hours of Jesus on the cross it was dark outside. I’m sure that must have been weird and scary for those who were there! 

When Jesus said, “It is finished” and gave up His life, the earth shook and rocks split open. It was an earthquake! And even some of the tombs were opened and the dead came back to life, appearing to many. The centurion and soldiers who were guarding Jesus saw what was happening and said, “Surely He was the Son of God!” 

Temple Veil 

At the very moment Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.  Why is this important?  

The veil in the temple was in place to separate a sinful people from God in the Holy of Holies. Only a purified priest who had made blood sacrifices could enter God’s presence. Normal people like you and I were not allowed to enter the Holy of Holies.  

But when Jesus died, He paid the price for the sin of the whole world and made a way for us to be right with God! His sacrifice was once for all time, and we no longer need to make animal sacrifices or have a veil to separate us from God. The price was paid in full! And so, God tore the veil apart for us, from the top all the way to the bottom!

If you have more questions about why Good Friday is called “good”, then check out our other Good Friday post!

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