84 – Jesus Crucified
Where: Golgotha, Jerusalem, Judea
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By 9:15 am the procession had traveled the 600 to 700 yards from the Fortress Antonia [model], through the western gate [model], to Golgotha [model], the rock quarry beside the major roads that intersected on the western side of Jerusalem. There, permanently buried in the ground were a series of upright wooden beams, and a number of old olive trees, that were used for crucifixion.
When they arrived there, Jews being crucified were offered a drink. There was a custom that the condemned could have a drink of wine, with some bitter anesthetic added to the glass, to dull the pain and the mind. But once Jesus tasted it, he chose not to drink more.
The process of crucifixion proceeded quickly. Simon put down the crossbeam. Then the condemned men were laid down face up, on the ground, with their crossbeam under their shoulders.
With their elbows slightly bent, heavy, square iron nails were pounded through the palm of the hands and deep into the crossbeam. Then a short piece of rope was used to tie the criminal to the beam. The soldiers knew that these men would have to be killed before night fall and wanted to inflict as much pain as possible before that time. Then, with the victim attached, the crossbeam was lifted up to the top of the upright beam, or against an old tree, where it was secured.
With the knees slightly bent, the feet of the victims were set side by side with the upright beam between them, and a nail driven from the outside of the foot below the ankle and into the beam, or tree. Since there were only three being crucified today they each were attached to an upright beam.
Then the sign with the written official charge was secured above the head of the condemned and could be clearly read. The one over the head of Jesus declared, in three languages [Hebrew, Latin, and Greek], that he was from Nazareth and that he was the “KING OF THE JEWS”.
The three “criminals” were now crucified. Now it was just a matter of time. The guards settled down to keep watch. Crucifixion was, after all, “death by exposure”, a slow torture that could take three days.
As soon as the men had been crucified, the message got back to the Chief Priest that Pilate had proclaimed Jesus to be the “King of the Jews”. Caiaphas was furious. Jesus had never been accused of “BEING” a king, only “CLAIMING” to be a king. After all, EVERYONE knew that no Jewish king came from Galilee. Caiaphas requested that Pilate change the charges, but Pilate stood firm. Jesus had been charged by the religious leaders, and convicted by the Romans, of being the “King of the Jews”.
The guards of the execution squad were allowed to have the personal belongings of those whom they crucified, as a bonus for doing the task. They divided among themselves Jesus’ cloak, belt, head covering, and sandals, but when it came to the tunic [his undergarment] they decided to throw dice. Besides, gambling helped to pass the time.
As the initial pain lessened, Jesus noticed the guards gathered nearby. They were gambling for his possessions. They were ignorant of the love of God. If they knew what injustice was happening they should have taken Jesus down from the cross. Jesus did not hold them guilty. So aloud he prayed to the Father, ‘Do not hold them guilty, for they are ignorant of their sin.’
While all of this was happening, the Jews of Judea were clearing their homes of all the leaven, and taking it to the temple to be burned. For the Jews of southern Israel, this was the Day of Preparation for Passover.
No questions have been asked yet.