Where was Jesus Crucified?
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John says Jesus was crucified in a place called Golgotha. Golgotha in Aramaic means the place of the skull. The Gospel of Luke used the Latin word Calvary, which also means place of the skull. The exact place of Jesus crucifixion site is still a matter of debate. The place where Jesus was crucified should have the following characteristics. There should be a garden next to it, where the tombs were available (John 19:41). It should be closer and outside the city wall. But considering the city walls of Jerusalem was broken during the war against Romans in AD 70 and reconstructed, it would be difficult to locate the place as the wall itself is moved.
How was Jesus Crucified?
According to the gospel, Pontius Pilate was not convinced enough to sentence Jesus as his crime could not be justified as per the Roman law. But, the high priests played a crucial political move. They positioned Jesus directly opposite to Caeser since Jesus claimed himself as king (Messiah). Anyone who claims to be a King against Caeser under Roman law had to be punished by death. Pilate after hearing this handed Jesus over to be crucified but distanced himself from the punishment.
Any crucifixion procedure involves a certain amount of lead time to prepare. But in the case of Jesus, it was immediate. The soldiers put a robe around Jesus. They prepared a crown of thorns and kept it on Jesus' head to mock him as a king. They struck on his head again and again with the staff, so that the crown made of thorn would pierce through his head (Mark 15:16-20). Normally the person to be crucified had to carry the cross beam if the crucifixion site is a regular site. The vertical beam is normally kept installed in the regular crucifixion sites. In the case of Jesus, we were not sure, whether Jesus carried the entire cross or only the cross beam. The journey to the crucifixion site was normally kept as long by choosing the longest and busiest market route to give maximum humiliation to the prisoner. Since the city of Jerusalem was over-occupied during the festival of Passover it was not clear whether Jesus was made to walk through the longest path. But it was clear from scripture he was paraded through the streets of Jerusalem and there were people following to express their pity.
During the course of the walk, Simon from Cyrene was forced to carry Jesus's cross. Considering his son's name was also mentioned in Mark 15:21 it was widely considered that he later became a disciple of Jesus. The crucifixion of Jesus happened at 9:00 AM in the morning.
Before initiating the crucifixion the prisoners were offered wine mixed with myrrh or similar liquid to reduce the pain. In the case of Jesus, he refused to take the pain killer and took the full pain. The prisoner's hands were tied to the cross beam of the cross and nailed. Then the prisoner was lifted along with the cross beam installed on the vertical beam to fix the cross beam on the vertical beam. The prisoner's leg was then nailed on the vertical beam. The feet of the victim was kept closer to the floor normally to keep the center of the gravity as low as possible. A set of soldiers were allocated to crucify each prisoner and the centurion was overall responsible for the execution. The centurion and the soldiers had to make sure all prisoners die on the cross. If any prisoner escapes the life of the prisoner is matched with the soldier's life.
The punishment by crucifixion was followed by Persians and Greeks. Though Greeks identified themselves as most civilized men, Alexander the great did not shy away from crucifying his prisoners caught in war. The Romans mastered the art of crucifixion. They could make a prisoner suffer in the cross for four long days and also choose to take their life away in four hours depending on the punishment they want the prisoner to suffer. The survival on the cross was directly depended on the strength of the leg. The legs nailed on the cross had to press against the nail to push the body up in order to take a deep breath. Soldiers break the leg of the prisoner to kill a prisoner within thirty minutes. During Jesus's crucifixion, the legs of the thieves who were crucified on both his sides were broken to end their life quickly.
The crucifixion involved an extreme combination of humiliation, mental torture, and pain. The worst of the worst prisoners went through crucifixion. The Jewish way of killing a prisoner by stoning was much much simpler than crucifixion. During stoning the accused was pushed down eleven feet deep pit then stoned to death if he was still survived the fall. The death was much quicker. There was much lesser humiliation.
The God who created heaven and earth had chosen to go through the humiliating death to save you and me. The creation was allowed to crucify its own creator. Though everything was given under his control Jesus kept himself quite chose not to exercise his power.
Nature reacted to his crucifixion. The sun dared not to come out. The noontime became night time. There were earthquakes and unnatural events that occurred during his death. All the happened on that fateful day was prophesized thousand years back (in 1000 BC) by King David in Psalm 22 and Seven hundred years back (around 700 BC) by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah chapter 53. What happened was decided and told many centuries ago. It was not supposed to be new. God preplanned it. He decided to put his own son on the altar as a permanent sacrifice to save you and me. Anyone who believes in this sacrifice will taste eternal life. Would you believe him?
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