The soldiers had made Jesus carry his own cross; it was customary. We had followed along behind the soldiers. When we arrived at the place of the skull, the Roman soldiers set up three crosses; they placed Jesus’ cross between the two others.
Pilate ordered a sign made for Jesus’ cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” Some of us disagreed with the wording. We felt it should have said, “He says He is the King of the Jews. Pilate exercised his role as governor and refused to change it. He had the sign written in three languages, Aramaic, Latin and Greek.
The four soldiers cast dice for his five pieces of clothing- shoes, turban. Girdle, outer robe, and tunic. William Barclay tells us, “Legend has it that the tunic could have been made by His mother.1.
Jesus called out, “I thirst.” The soldiers, prepared for everything, placed a sponge on a hyssop reed, dipped it into a vat of wine vinegar and tried to give Jesus some to slake his thirst.
Jesus bent His head back and shouted, “It is finished.” He died. Because of our Law, that day being the preparation day for the Sabbath, the soldiers had to remove the bodies from the crosses. The soldiers received permission to break the legs of those on the crosses. The broke the legs of the two criminals first. When they came to Jesus, he had already died˗ to be certain, they pierced His side.
I wrote this from the standpoint of one who was a casual observer. Maybe, someone writing a newspaper article. If we had been there, would we be stoic or would we be emotional about what we saw?
1. Barclay, Daily Study Bible, Book of John, Vol. 2, page 254