(The following account is illustrative of the crucifixion of Christ as detailed in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19 KJV)
Betrayed, arrested, tried and sentenced to be crucified, Jesus was stripped of His garments and scourged by the Roman soldiers. This flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution and was intended to weaken the victim to a state short of death. The Romans used a short whip having several leather thongs to which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bone were tied. As Christ was lashed, the skin was cut and blood flowed down His body. The deep tissues and muscles of His back were lacerated into ribbons as the flogging continued.
Taunting Jesus, the soldiers placed a scarlet robe over His bloodied body and placed a crown of thorns on His head. Thorns often represent sin in the scripture and now the King of Kings was bearing the sin of the world. They placed a reed in His hand and mocked as they bowed down before Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Wracked with pain and suffering, Jesus was struck on the head by the soldiers. They laughed and spit on Him.
According to custom, the crossbar of the cross was placed upon Christ’s back. His outstretched arms were tied to the crossbar which weighed 75-125 pounds. Jesus was taken to Golgotha to be executed. In a weakened condition, Jesus staggered under the weight and could hardly go on. A man named Simon helped bear His cross.
At 9:00 a.m. (the third hour), Jesus was thrown down and the heel of His palms were nailed to the cross with iron spikes. A sign was attached to the cross that read “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.” The cross was raised and spikes were driven through His feet to attach them to the post.
Crucifixion was one of the most painful and disgraceful methods of capital punishment. It was reserved for slaves, foreigners, traitors and the worst of criminals. It was designed to produce maximum pain and suffering. Two criminals were crucified with Jesus and were hung on crosses beside Him.
Hanging on the cross in agony, being physically and mentally abused, Jesus looked on the gathered multitude and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Though Jesus had the power to have called the angels to deliver Him, He willingly offered Himself as a sacrificial lamb because of His great love for mankind. At noon (the sixth hour), the sun was covered and the whole land was in darkness for three hours.
It was difficult for the crucified to breathe. The body would sag as it was held by nails. The victim could only adequately breathe by lifting the body. The flesh would tear and there would be searing pain in the nerves and the wounds would be reopened.
In the darkness, about 3 p.m. (the ninth hour), Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” As Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and there was a great earthquake. All people could now have access to God through the blood of His son.
Jesus suffered and endured an agonizing death that the world might be saved because of His sacrifice. A soldier, finding Christ dead, pierced His side from which flowed blood and water. The devil may have thought that he had triumphed because the Messiah was now dead…but Sunday came! Jesus rose from the dead in victory and is alive forevermore.