Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 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 where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 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.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 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 that said, They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
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)
Jesus was forced to carry the large wooden crossbeam to the site of the crucifixion, as did all people being crucified.
As you meditate upon the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion, consider the prophetic word, written in 800 BC, that spoke about why He chose to be crucified. Isaiah 53:4-6, “For sure He took on Himself our troubles and carried our sorrows. Yet we thought of Him as being punished and hurt by God, and made to suffer. But He was hurt for our wrong-doing. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so we would have peace. He was beaten so we would be healed. All of us like sheep have gone the way. Each of us has turned to his own way. And the Lord has put on Him the sin of us all (NLV).” His crucifixion was so we could live a life of freedom. Isn’t that amazing! Are you stressed out? Are you carrying guilt? Do you need to be healed? Need wisdom? Are you longing for some peace? Jesus suffered so we can live in freedom from all of our hurts, habits, stress, pain, wrong-doings and brokenness. Most of us need to ask for something on a daily basis because we are humans. I encourage you to go to Jesus daily and ask Him for what you need.
Example: If it’s peace you need from anxiety, you can pray, “Jesus, I realize that you were punished, so I can be healed from this anxiety I am suffering from and have peace. I ask that today, as I trust in you, you will bring me your peace. I ask in your name, Jesus. Amen.”