The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the most gruesome, agonizing, and shameful form of lethal punishment ever utilized in the ancient world. The victim’s wrists and feet were bound and nailed to a wooden cross in this manner of execution.
Definition and Facts about the Crucifixion
The word “crucifixion” (pronounced krü-se-fik-shen) comes from the Latin crucifixion, which means “attached to a cross.”
In the ancient world, crucifixion was a cruel form of torture and execution that involved tying a person to a wooden post or tree with ropes or nails.
Flogging, beatings, burnings, racking, mutilation, and mistreatment of the victim’s relatives were all used to torment inmates before the crucifixion.
A person’s hands and feet were staked through and affixed to a wooden cross in Roman crucifixion.
The crucifixion was the method of execution utilized by Jesus Christ.
The Crucifixion’s History
Crucifixion was not only one of the most shameful and painful ways of execution in the ancient world, but it was also one of the most feared. Early civilizations recorded accounts of crucifixions, which most likely began with the Persians and expanded to the Assyrians, Scythians, Carthaginians, Germans, Celts, and Britons.
Crucifixion was largely used as a form of capital punishment for traitors, captive armies, slaves, and the worst of offenders.
Crucifying convicts became popular during Alexander the Great’s reign (356-323 BC), when he crucified 2,000 Tyrians after seizing the city.
Crucifixion in Various Forms
There are few detailed depictions of crucifixions, maybe because secular historians couldn’t stand to describe the gory events of this heinous ritual. Archaeological discoveries from first-century Palestine, on the other hand, have provided a great deal of information on this early type of capital punishment.
Crucifixion was carried out using four fundamental structures or types of crosses:
Crux Simplex (a single stake that stands upright);
Crux Commissa (a capital T-shaped structure); Crux Commissa (a capital T-shaped structure); Crux Commissa (a
Crux Decussata (cross in the shape of an X);
And Crux Immissa (Jesus’ crucifixion’s iconic lower case t-shaped structure).
Summary of Christ’s Crucifixion in the Bible
According to Matthew 27:27-56, Mark 15:21-38, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37, Jesus Christ, the fundamental figure of Christianity, died on a Roman cross. The crucifix, or cross, is one of the defining symbols of Christianity because Christian theology believes that Christ’s death provided the perfect atonement for all humankind’s sins.
The Jewish high council, or Sanhedrin, accused Jesus of blasphemy and sentenced him to death in the Bible tale of Jesus’ execution. But first, Rome had to approve their death sentence. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, tried Jesus and found him guilty. Pilate flogged Jesus and then sent him to Herod, who returned him.
Because the Sanhedrin demanded Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate, fearful of the Jews, handed Jesus over to one of his centurions to carry out the sentence. Jesus was beaten, insulted, and spit on in public. On his head was placed a crown of thorns. He was stripped naked and led to the cross of Golgotha.
Jesus was offered a concoction of vinegar, gall, and myrrh, but he turned it down. Stakes were hammered through Jesus’ wrists and ankles, tying him to the cross between two convicted criminals. “The King of the Jews,” read the plaque above his head.
The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Timeline
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jesus hung on the cross for roughly six hours. Soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garments during this time, while crowds passed by yelling insults and scoffing. Jesus spoke to his mother Mary and disciple John from the cross. “My God, my God, why have You left Me?” he cried out to his father.
The land was blanketed in darkness at that time. An earthquake struck the ground a few moments later, breaking the temple veil in half from top to bottom as Jesus gasped his final excruciating breath. According to Matthew’s Gospel, “The earth began to tremble, and the rocks began to fracture. The graves burst apart, revealing the bodies of many saintly people who had died.”
It was customary for Roman troops to demonstrate pity by breaking the criminal’s legs, so hastening his death. When the troops arrived at Jesus, however, he was already dead. They penetrated his side instead of breaking his legs. Before nightfall, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down and put him in Joseph’s tomb.
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Remembering the Crucifixion on Good Friday
Christians commemorate Jesus Christ’s passion, suffering, and death on the cross on the Christian Holy Day known as Good Friday, which falls on the Friday before Easter. Many Christians observe this day by fasting, praying, repenting, and reflecting on Christ’s anguish on the cross.