Crucifixion of Christ, Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)
As we approach Holy Week, I am posting this meditation on the crucifixion from:
26 As they led (Jesus) away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
(All comments are by David Guzik)
Before Jesus took the cross, He was whipped—scourged—as Pilate had earlier promised (I will therefore chastise Him, Luke 23:16).
“Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt.” (Edwards)
The goal of the scourging was to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse and death. “As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive the cross.” (Edwards)
“The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a pre-shock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus’ physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical.” (Edwards)
Before Jesus was led away, His clothes were stripped off. “When the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus’ back, they probably reopened the scourging wounds.” (Edwards)
As Jesus was led away to be crucified, he was—like all victims of crucifixion—forced to carry the wood He would hang upon. The weight of the entire cross was typically 300 pounds. The victim only carried the crossbar, which weighed anywhere from 75 to 125 pounds. When the victim carried the crossbar, he was usually stripped naked, and his hands were often tied to the wood.
The upright beams of a cross were usually permanently fixed in a visible place outside of the city walls, beside a major road. It is likely that on many occasions, Jesus passed by the very upright He would hang upon.
So, because Jesus was in such a weakened condition, the soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Him.
27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children…
It was customary for a great multitude to follow a condemned criminal on his way to crucifixion.
As they made their way, a Roman guard led with a sign that carried the man’s name and crime, and called out the name and the crime along the way to the place of crucifixion. They usually didn’t take the shortest way to the place of crucifixion, so as many people as possible could see how the Roman Empire treated its enemies. (continued…)
Jesus, remember me.