They came to a place called Golgotha
(which means The Place of the Skull)
Golgotha was outside the city through the Sheep Gate. The Sheep Gate is where the sacrificial lambs for the temple would be brought into the city. The symbolism for Jesus, The Sacrificial Lamb, to exit through this gate is important.
And they crucified him.
The beam was placed on the ground and the condemned person would be held in place. Four to five inch spikes would be driven into each palm or in the wrist joint. Sometimes the hands would not be pierced. The arms would be tied to the crossbeam, one on each side. Tradition and artists have shown the feet of Jesus on the front of the cross. The nails would be long enough for one foot to be on top of the other and driven through both feet. The knees would have to be bent for this to be done.
A skeleton has been found of a first century crucified man. His hands were not pierced and nails pierced the ankles with the feet placed on the side of the upright post. A Bible History Daily article, “Roman Crucifixion Methods Reveal the History of Crucifixions”, also presents evidence that spikes went through the side of the foot just under the ankle bone and into the side of the upright. A small wooden plaque was placed on the outside of the ankle so the foot could not be pulled off. In order for a person to take a breath they had to push up with their legs, causing pain. Death came slowly, sometimes taking days because no vital organs were damaged. The person would die from being so exhausted he could not push up to get a breath.
When the soldiers crucified Jesus they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the under garment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothes.”
Casting lots was done to determine guilt, make decisions or settle disputes. Throwing dice or drawing a marked straw were two methods of casting lots. It is believed the soldiers threw dice which were commonly made of clay or carved from bone or stone.
Above his head they placed the written charge against him:
This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
The Jewish religious leaders wanted it to read “He claimed to be” but Pilate would not change what he had ordered. This was written in Greek, Hebrew and Latin so all viewing the crucifixion would know the charge against Jesus.
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
The Shadow of Sin
From the 6th hour until the 9th hour darkness came over all the land. About the 9th hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus is using an interpretive technique called ramez, where he is quoting the first part of a popular chapter of the Old Testament, with the expectation that the listeners would know the remainder of the chapter. He is quoting Psalm 22:1.
The End - Part One
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished”. With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
In Matthew and Mark the work Kalamos is a general term for “reed” or “thin stick”. Some scholars think the hyssop stick mentioned in Luke (Origanum Syriacum) would have been too short to reach the mouth of Jesus during the crucifixion. Some scholars have proposed that a stalk of ezof was used, which may include herbs like marjoram, oregano and thyme. The Arabs call this plant ezaf (Capparis Spinosa) which is a capor plant. It has cleansing properties and is native to the Mediterranean Basin.