"He then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, carrying His own cross, to the place called … Golgotha. There they crucified Him." – John 19:16-18 NASB
To Romans, crucifixion was perhaps the ultimate penalty. An extreme expression of this penalty took place in 71 BC. After squelching a revolt led by a slave, Spartacus, the Roman general Crassus crucified thousands of rebellious slaves on crosses he had lining the Appian Way.
According to author Ann Wroe, crucifixion was so horrible because of “the time it took a man to die by asphyxiation or dehydration.” It was a death of shame, often used to punish “slaves, bandits, hoodlums, foreign miscreants. A man could not get lower.”
This was the death chosen for Jesus. As He looked down from the cross, Jesus saw few friendly faces. Most of His followers did not want to witness this horrible death.
Sometime in the 19th century, an anonymous African American wrote a spiritual to capture the essence of that moment. He asked, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”
Wanting to picture the scene, he asked, “Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree … when they laid Him in the tomb?” Thinking about Jesus’ death, he wrote, “Sometimes it causes me to tremble.”
Today, remember that Jesus endured this agony for you. He died because He loves you. When you think about a love so overwhelming, does it cause you to tremble? Through eyes of faith, look at Jesus on the cross. He was there for you. Worship Him. Thank Him.
PrayerDear Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for me. I offer my life to serve You. In Your name, amen.
Extended ReadingJohn 19