Over the past few days I’ve been writing about the historical biblical order of events that took place during this week a couple thousand years ago in Israel during the traditional observance of Passover, illustrated with my children’s Bible lesson drawings from the Generations of Grace curriculum. Whether you are a believer in Christ as Messiah or not, those events, that only took a few days to occur, have influenced all of humanity ever since.
Good Friday, yesterday, is widely observed as the day that Jesus was slain. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Christ was tried, found innocent of any crime, but due to the angry will of the people (who earlier in the week had welcomed Him with open arms and palm branches), He was brutally whipped and turned over to be executed. (Matthew 27:26)
The Bible is pretty detailed about the treatment of Christ leading up to His execution, specifically in Matthew 27:27-34. First, the Roman soldiers had their fun – they stripped Him, put a red robe on Him, and pushed a ring of thorns onto His head as a mock crown while taunting Him with “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spit on Him and beat Him more. It was the custom of the day with crucifixions to have the guilty party drag their own cross through the streets to the place of execution. The soldiers had so badly beaten Christ that they had to recruit a fella on the sidelines (Simon of Cyrene) to carry Jesus’ cross for Him.
Once they reached the hill of Golgotha, Jesus was nailed to the cross with big spikes. One historian I read described the ancient practice of crucifixion as such:
“A painful and slow means of execution which the Romans adopted from the Phoenicians. The victim usually died after two or three days, of thirst, exhaustion, and exposure. The hands were often nailed to the crossbeam, which was then hoisted up and affixed to the upright, to which the feet were then nailed. A peg, astride which the victim sat, supported the main weight of the body. Death was sometimes hastened by breaking the legs, but not in Christ’s case (John 19:33)”
While I have summarized these events, the Bible is even more specific with these matters in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19. They are the utterly fascinating accounts written by two eyewitnesses (Matthew and John) and two who heard about it from the disciples later (Mark and Luke). I encourage you to look them up and read them for yourselves.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, but as many of Christ’s followers like to refer to it – Resurrection Sunday. I’ll conclude my comments on these events with a couple more drawings tomorrow morning.