Reflect: All four gospels, which are the first four books of the New Testament - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – report the details of Jesus’ crucifixion. If you have time, it would be an enriching experience for you to read these four accounts today or tomorrow. You could read John 19:17-24 in the morning; Matthew 27:33-44 at lunchtime; Mark 15:22-32 during dinner and Luke 23:33-43 before you go to bed. Throughout all the gospels, it is noted that Jesus was crucified. It’s important to know what, why and how the Roman government crucified people. Crucifixion was meant to inflict the maximum amount of shame and torture upon a victim. Roman crucifixions were carried out in public so that all who saw the horror would be deterred from crossing the Roman government. Crucifixion was so horrible that it was reserved for only the worst offenders. Yesterday’s reading described the severe beating and flogging Jesus went through prior to being led to the place of His crucifixion. Jesus was forced to carry the large wooden crossbeam to the site of the crucifixion, as did all people being crucified. The reason the Roman government had criminals carry their own crosses was to create more pain after the beating, and add more shame as the victim was carrying the instrument of his own torture and death. It was like digging one’s own grave. (Mark 15:21 tells us that Simon from Cyrene, was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. It is because Jesus was near death from the beatings.)
At the cross location, for Jesus it was Golgotha, it would be normal for a person, who was being crucified, to be stripped of his clothing to further shame him. Once Jesus was at Golgotha, He was forced to stretch out His arms on the crossbeam, where they were nailed in place. Jesus’ nails would have been made of heavy, probably square, iron material, 7-9 inches long. The nails were hammered through the wrists, not the palms, which kept the nails from pulling through the hand. (In ancient times, the wrist was considered part of the hand.)
The placement of the nails caused more excruciating pain to our precious Savior as the nails pressed on large nerves running to His hands. With nails in place, a crossbeam was then hoisted up and fastened to an upright piece that would normally remain standing between crucifixions.
After fastening the crossbeam, the executioners nailed Jesus’ feet to the cross as well—normally, one foot on top of the other, nailed through the middle and arch of each foot, with the knees slightly bent. The primary purpose of the nails was to inflict pain. Once Jesus was fastened to the cross, all His weight was supported by three nails, which would cause pain to shoot throughout His body. Jesus’ arms were stretched out in such a way that it would cause cramping and paralysis in the chest muscles, making it impossible to breathe unless some of the weight was borne by His feet. In order to take a breath, He would have had to push up with his feet. In addition to enduring excruciating pain caused by the nail in His feet, Jesus’ raw back would rub against the rough upright beam of the cross. There He hung on the cross, in pain and agony. (gotquestions.org)