No Ordinary Man

He looked for all the world to be an ordinary man, perhaps a bit taller than average. I say this because he could be seen by onlookers as he passed by with his entourage. Actually, no one knows what he really looked like in the flesh. And for good reason.

After three years working and teaching he knew his time had come. He was soon to be under sentence of death for the crime of blasphemy. The punishment was death under Jewish religious law.

Taking three friends with him for emotional support, he went into a garden to pray. He asked his friends who had followed him and learned from him for the three years to keep watch with him. It was very late. They fell asleep.

He realized this and chided them, asking could they not watch one hour with him while he suffered his contemplation of his death and what it would mean; what earth shaking changes would be brought about.
As they waited the light of torches pierced the night, accompanied by the sound of armed men seeking him to arrest him. They were not certain which one was him but they had an inside informer. One of his twelve closest friends had agreed to identify him.

The man and his friends confronted the temple officers. The betrayer greeted him and kissed him as was the custom among the Jews. This was the signal to the soldiers that he was the one. They moved to arrest him. He held up his hands and they fell back as if smitten by an invisible force.

Then he relented and willingly allowed them take him into custody.

They bound him and they that had laid hold on him led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. False witnesses were recruited to testify against him. Although the area was un the rule of the Roman Empire, the Jews ere given autonomy in religious matters.

The Chief Priest and his elders questioned him but he gave no satisfactory responses. They voted to put him to death for statements he had made hat they considered blasphemy. They began to mock him, slap him about the face, and spit on him ... an egregious insult.

When morning came they bound him again and took him to te=the Roman governor. They accused him before the governor. The governor questioned him offering s chance to defend himself. He held his piece.

When the governor was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy the accused man.

The governor saw that the man was innocent but the crowd screamed for him to be crucified. The governor symbolically washed his hands, denying responsibility for what happened next. He released the criminal Barrabas to freedom but turned the man over to soldiers to scourge him.

The soldiers marched him to the central hall of the governor's palace. They stripped him to his waist. They took turns delivering stripes to his back with a scourge instrument. It was a wood handle like a police baton. Affixed to it were leather cords with knots in the ends to inflict pain and damage.

The first blow struck him ... ripped open his flesh where the knots dragged across his skin with force. Again he was struck ... now bleeding in several places. Again. Again. And again. His hands were tied together around a post to keep him upright while the brutal scourging continued until the final legal blow was struck.

Then they placed over his shoulders a scarlet colored robe. mockingly signifying his kingship. The robe stuck to the bleeding wounds all over his back.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! The long thorns of this 'crown' pierced his scalp in many places. Blood ran down his face.

And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. The man himself could barely hold his own body erect much less carry the horizontal cross timber on which he would be crucified.

They trudged along the road outside the wall of Jerusalem to a place called Golgotha, which means 'place of the skull', a reference to its shape. They tried to give him a drink of vinegar and gall, or sour wine with myrrh and gall, something of a pain reliever so he could suffer longer. He refused the drink. He was prepared to experience his suffering to its fullest.

On Golgotha stood the upright timbers of crosses; each notched to receive the cross arm. The soldiers stripped him again; naked, to increase his humiliation in the eyes of others. They lay him down with arms outstretched on the cross arm. Instead of tying his arms to the cross with ropes, they used long crude nails. They drove the nails between the bones through his hands or wrists.

They lifted the cross arm into place on the upright, his body hanging by the nails, and secured it. Then they nailed his feet to the upright. Above his head they hung a sign mocking him as a king. The soldiers sat down to watch him die. While waiting they cast lots for his garments.

The soldiers were not the only spectators. Two others ere crucified at the same time, one on either side of him. Spectators had followed the soldiers and their victim from the city to watch the executions. Strangers stared at him, helpless, bruised, bleeding, naked, hanging there with bodily fluids naturally running out of him. At one point a soldier pierced his side with a spear.

His mother and some friends there.
There was nothing they could do but watch and weep.

An ordinary man would have died by now but he hung there, suffering in body, mind and soul. At one point he told his closest friend to take care of his mother. He hung there a long time. At last he made the decision to end it. He called out to God then gave up his spirit and died. When he did, the earth quaked ominously. In the temple of the Jews, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the other areas was rent in two. This was a sign for any who could see what it meant.

What innocent man could willingly endure such cruelty ?

No ordinary man.

But he was not an ordinary man. He was God incarnate; a divine man being of both flesh and Spirit. No one else could do what He did with the consequences gifted to us.

There was, and may still be, a web page title A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion.
The url is
Paste it into your browser address window to view the page or click here
Written by Wayne Hepburn, August 2012. I herewith place this document in the Public Domain

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