The Crucifixion was a common type of punishment among heathen nations. It was regarded as the most horrible form of capital punishment, and to a Jew it would acquire greater horror from the curse (Deut. 21:23).
This punishment began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging. Pilate ordered that Jesus would be scourged for the purpose of producing pity to avoid a demand for further punishment (John 19:1). The beatings administered by Roman soldiers are well known to be very bloody, leaving lacerations all over the body. Romans designed their whips to cut the flesh from their victim’s bodies.
After the scourging, Jesus was ordered to carry His own cross to the place of execution (John 19:17). Before the nailing to the cross took place, He was given a cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh for the purpose of relieving the pain. Our Lord refused this cup, that his senses might be clear (Matt. 27:34). Then the soldiers put the nails in His hands and feet (John 20:25; Psalms 22:16) which caused Him severe and excruciating pain. The soldiers gave Him a spongeful of vinegar (Matt. 27:48; Luke 23:36). When Jesus received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:29. 30).
Jesus was crucified between two “criminals” (Isa. 53:12; Luke 23:32), and was watched by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23; Matt. 27:36, 54), with their centurion. The “breaking of the legs” of the crucified was intended to hasten death, and put them out of misery (John 19:31). But the omission of the breaking of Jesus’ legs was the fulfillment of a symbol (Ex.12:46).
The rapidity of our Lord’s death (19:33) was due to His previous sufferings and His great mental anguish. As Jesus bore the sins of humanity, He was separated from His Holy Father. And this separation caused Him the greatest pain which ruptured His heart, and hence the flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier’s spear (John 19:34).
Jesus uttered words of love, comfort, forgiveness and submission from the cross, including “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (23:43), as well as John 19:26, Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34, John 19:28, Luke 23:46, and John 19:30 “It is finished.”
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
In His service,
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