“When they came to the place called the Skull,
there they crucified him,
along with the criminals
– one on his right, the other on his left”
Finally Jesus had arrived. Since before the creation of the world this was the place towards which His redeeming ministry had been pointed. However there were no laurel wreath and great acclaim awaiting Him. There were no crowds to cheer Him on like a long-distance runner finally entering the stadium for one last and glorious lap.
Instead he was stripped naked. His torn, bruised and bleeding body was fixed to the cross. Brutal nails were driven through His tortured flesh. There He was hung out to die in the cruellest fashion devised by man and reserved for the lowest class of criminal. This point was highlighted by the presence of His companions on their crosses. The tableau proclaimed that here was no lonely martyr – the victim of cruel oppression and blind hatred. Here He was ‘numbered with the transgressors.’ (Isaiah 53:12)
Peter Marshall envisioned it like this.
And so the crowd came to Golgotha,
a hill shaped like a skull, outside the city gates.
Only as the nails were driven in,
did the shouting stop.
There was a hush.
Most of them were stunned …. horrified …
Even the hardest of them were silenced.
Mary, the mother of Jesus,
closed her eyes
and stopped her ears;
she could not bear the thud of the hammer.
A group of soldiers took hold of the crossbeam
and lifted it slowly off the ground.
With each movement the nails tore
at the shredded flesh
in the wrists of the Nazarene.
The cross swayed in the air for a moment
and then with a thud
dropped into the hole prepared for it.