Inside the city gate the governor dried his compromising hands on a regal towel. He had just sent Jesus Christ to be crucified outside the city gate. Other hands would now pick up where Pontius Pilate left off.
Simon from Cyrene, Africa, met the pathetic procession as he was heading toward Jerusalem from the country. Like many intentions gone awry, his plan to walk into the city was stopped. The soldiers seized him “and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus” (Luke 23:26 NIV).
According to custom, when a criminal arrived at the place of execution, aristocratic women provided him with a drugged wine. The drink would serve as a sedative for the crucifixion’s impending pain. In Jesus’ case, “They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it” (Mark 15:23 NIV).
The first duty drilled into a soldier is to obey orders under all circumstances. Thus conditioned, Roman soldiers nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the wooden cross. With callous precision, “They crucified him” (Mark 15:24 NIV).
Jesus’ hands were not the only ones that had nails hammered into them that Friday: “At the same time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right hand and one on the left” (Matthew 27:38 AMPC).
Roman soldiers got a bonus for carrying out the odious order to crucify. They could keep the clothes belonging to the one hanging on the cross above them. And so, beneath the cross of Jesus, four soldiers “divided up his clothes by casting lots” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
“Those who passed by hurled insults at him” (Mark 15:29 NIV).
“In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him” (Mark 15:32 NIV).
“The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself’” (Luke 23:36-37 NIV).
The two criminals “crucified with him also heaped insults on him” (Mark 15:32 NIV). Later, one of them, somewhere in his own suffering, had a change of heart and testified to his counterpart: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41 NIV).
From the cross, Jesus handed over his mother’s care to the apostle John. “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27 NIV).
When Jesus said “I thirst,” the hands of Roman soldiers reached out to Him. “A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth” (John 19:29 ESV).
Knowing He had finished the work God gave Him to do, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46 NIV).
“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12 NIV).