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Crucifixion of Jesus

Crucifixion of Jesus occurred almost about 2000 years ago. In this modern era, the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion are treated as the two most important theories of Jesus. Christians believed Jesus to the Son of God as well as the Messiah (literally, ‘anointed one’). However, Jesus was arrested and sentenced by Pontius Pilate and was finally crucified.

What is Crucifixion?

Crucifixion is an ancient form of painful execution where in the victims hands and feet were bound and rigidly nailed to a cross. The victim would remain in this position till he breathes his last. Crucifixion is considered to be one of the most harrowing and detestable methods of capital punishment.

An Overview into the History of Crucifixion

The occurrence of crucifixion dates back to the ancient civilizations, mostly originating from the Persians and then extending to the Scythians, Germans, Assyrians, Celts and Britons. This form of brutal punishment was exclusively reserved for traitors, captive armies and slaves. Crucifixion was predominantly put into practice under the rule of Alexander the Great and later continued in the Roman Empire. At last, in honor of Christ’s death, this form of execution was abolished by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor.

Different Forms of Crucifixion

Detailed information about the whole process of crucifixion is very limited but historians have managed to gather knowledge from the archaeological remains of first century Palestine’s. Based on their research, there were 4 basic structures of crosses that were used for crucifixions.

  • Crux Simplex
    It was a single post to which the victim was tied. The victims hands and legs were tightly bound the post by drilling a nail each into the wrists and ankles. In some of the cases, the victim’s legs would be broken so as to quicken his death by asphyxiation.
  • Crux Commissa
    It was a T shaped structure, popularly known as St Anthony’s cross or Tau Cross.
  • Crux Decussata
    An X shaped cross also known as St Andrews cross. Crux Decussata was named after the Roman numeral 10.
  • Crux Immissa
    This was the familiar lower case “t” shaped cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. Immisia means ‘inserted’ and this cross has become the most widely followed symbol in Christianity even today.
  • Upside Side Down Crucifixions.
    History says that Apostle Peter was crucified with his head towards the ground as he did not feel worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus.
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ- Bible Summary:

Christian doctrine strongly believes that the death of Jesus is a symbolic representation of sacrifices for all the sins committed by mankind. Hence, the cross is considered to be a holy symbol that defines Christianity.

Jesus was not a captive slave or a pirate but still was crucified, as he was perceived to a rebel against the Roman Empire. This is evident from the inscription that was inscribed on the holy cross, above his head, ‘The King of Jews’.

Jesus preached his people that God would soon intervene into the world and abolish the enemies of Israel thereby, restoring peace and harmony that once existed. Romans did not worry much about Jesus’s preaching but they knew that his teachings had a negative political dimension which could eventually go against their empire. Hence, Pontius Pilate, the then Roman Governor of Judea, along with help of some of the higher order Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy and concluded that crucifixion was indeed the right decision.

Demands of the Ordeal

Jesus being a carpenter and having travelled throughout the land indicates that he actually would have been in good physical condition. However, prior to his crucifixion, he was forced to walk 2.5 miles without sleep. He was whipped with a leather thronged whip which had tiny pieces of iron and bone chips at the end. Due to this, his whole body had deep cuts and bruises. In addition, all through his journey, he was mocked, ridiculed, spat on, beaten, pelted and abandoned by his father and friends. His head was covered with prickly thorns and he was stripped off his clothes.

Jesus was led to Golgotha, the Place of a Skull, for his crucifixion. He was to be hung from the cross between two deadly criminals. He refused to drink a potion that was given to ease the suffering. Nails were driven in through his wrists and ankles, and he was rigidly tied to the cross. A custom followed by the Roman soldiers was to break the legs of criminals on the cross so that they would die quickly. But in case of Jesus, the soldiers pierced his side only after he died. His final hours on the cross lasted for around 6 hours from 9 am to 3 pm.

Before sunset, the body of Jesus was taken by Joseph of Arimathea and laid in a tomb according to Jewish customs and tradition.

TimeLine of Jesus’s Crucifixion:

Final hours of Jesus lasted from 9 am to 3 pm.

  • 9 am – Jesus Crucified
  • 10 am – Insulted and mocked by the people
  • 11 am – Speaks to Mary and John
  • Noon - Darkness over the land
  • 1 pm – Calls out to his father
  • 2 pm – Ordeal ends, breathes his last breath
  • 3 pm- ‘The Ninth Hour’
Importance of Good Friday: A Day Reminding the Crucifixion of Jesus

The Friday before Easter Sunday is celebrated as Good Friday, where Christians all around the world mourn the pain, suffering and the death on the cross of Lord Jesus. Many believers spend the day by keeping fasts, meditating and offering prayers as mark of respect and remembrance of the suffering of Lord Jesus.

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