Easter is here and celebrated around the world. You are seeing and hearing what is reflected and shared in church services, television and internet about the story of Christ’s death and resurrection.
However, have you really dug deeper into the price that was paid before and during the cross?
So let’s take a walk down the road of Via Dolorosa (the road of suffering, sorrows, grief and painful way) and find out how much you really know.
Jesus was a walker. He didn’t hop into a car or moped to get to all the places he needed to go. That walking benefited him because during his trials he was made to walk long distances back and forth. He was also made to carry the crossbar on a 650 yard journey.
If you’ve been bullied, Jesus knows how you feel. He was beaten and spat upon. If you have been abused, again, Jesus understands. He was flogged (whipped with small pieces of bone and metal by law 39 times).
When he received the crown of thorns, the Romans didn’t gently lay it on his head, but instead jammed it on. What is interesting, those crown of thorns are still living today. Because there are several different species that could have been the actual crown on Jesus’ head, the names of these plants have a tag name of Christ plant, Christ Thorn or Crown of Thorns name to it.
No one knows exactly what plant source it came from, but all agree that it causes pain and suffering.
John 19:1-2 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.
Jesus is King and yet his rule would come from rejection, ridicule, and suffering. He wore a crown of thorns because he is the ruler of a world filled with pain, and as the king of this sinful world.
The crown of thorns is a reminder to you that when you suffer pain in your life, there is one who understands that pain.
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians about 300 to 400 years before Christ. It was the most painful and excruciating form of punishment leading to death ever contrived by man for man (women were never crucified).
Contrary to popular belief, the nails which held Jesus to the cross must have been driven into his wrists, not his palms. The weight of a fully grown man was going to be suspended by three nails. Jesus’ nails would have been made of heavy, probably square, iron material, 7-9 inches long, similar to a railroad pin.
Not all crucifixions were carried out the same way. Some were tied to the cross while others were nailed. Jesus was nailed. The cross bar was about 100 pounds which he had to carry to his execution. Once Jesus reached the destination of where he was to be crucified, he was made to lay on his back.
Although they don’t show this in many of the movies made of Jesus, the nails that were driven had to go through wooden disks to eliminate any chance of the heads of the nails pulling through the flesh.
The site of the incision in the arm was critical. The Romans had perfected this procedure, a very specific procedure. The Legionnaire (a member of the Roman army who was head of that particular task), had the job of determining the specific spot the nail was to be driven. That area was in-between the bones of the forearm up close to the wrist while not severing any major arteries or veins.
There is a space between 8 small bones which is structurally suitable to permit a full body weight that can be supported for a period of time. If the nails had been driven into the palms of the hands, under this extreme weight, they would have ripped out between the fingers.
The next area to be nailed was through both feet which were turned outward so the nail could be hammered inside the Achilles tendon. With his knees slightly flexed, Jesus was crucified. The method the Romans had perfected, ensured that crucified victims would hang painfully until their diaphragm went into spasm and they literally suffocated to death.
Knowing all of this, you can see God’s love for you was worth the suffering on the cross. But God did not allow this to be the end. What man did not understand is that you cannot hold death down. God’s plan in Jesus’ death and resurrection had a purpose from the very beginning. He wanted you to be forgiven, made whole, and to live eternally with Him. And that you can say Amen!
Mark 16:5-7 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Luke 24:6-7 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”