"And they crucified him,..."
It is very easy to just read over those words, and keep on reading, without even thinking about what they mean.
I have always been amazed at how casual those words seem to be.
Of course, the first-century church knew what a crucifixion was. They had witnessed first-hand the brutality and torment of being crucified. The Romans crucified people in plain-sight, along major highways, as a warning to others not to break Roman law!
But, they aren't casual, at all! To be executed by crucifixion was the most horrible thing that mankind could figure out to do to another human being. The Romans had become experts!
They learned that you must speed the process of death along by beating the individual almost to the point of death before crucifying them. So, they would beat you, and scourge you!
They tied you to a post, and whipped you with a "scorpion". The scorpion was a whip made from leather thongs, each having "tools" tied into them that would cut and bruise the flesh of its victim. The heartless soldiers, which were psychopaths, would beat you with it until they were satisfied. They wouldn't even keep count of the lashes. Unlike other states, there was no limit to the number of lashes the Roman could administer.
Then, you carried your cross to the place of crucifixion, which further drained you of your strength, and the will to live.
Upon arriving to the place of execution, the soldiers strip you of your clothing, and spikes were driven through your hands and feet, fastening you to the cross.
Dehydration from blood loss causes an intense thirst. Your head hurts with an unbearable pounding.
Then, you are left there to die! No one can help you, nor undo what has been done to you. Unimaginable pain rises through you. Every breath is a desperate labor for survival. Your heart becomes congested, and barely functions.
And all the while, spectators watch you, call you names, and spit upon you.
When death finally comes, it is a deliverance!
If no one claims your body, you are either left there until you decay, and fall from the cross. But, if your crucifix is needed for its next victim, you are removed and thrown away!
Our lovely Savior endured the pain and humiliation of the cross to save us from the penalty of our sin! His love for us is what held Him to His cross.
"O, how I love Je-sus!
O, how I love Je--sus!
O, how I love Je-sus!
Be-cause He first loved me!"
From my heart to your heart.