A Picture Of Crucifixion

The Crucifixion by Murillo

Christ on the Cross by Murillo, 1677

The Ruthless Efficiency Of A Roman Execution

The crucifixion was carried out by a squad consisting of a Roman centurion and four soldiers. The condemned man was stripped and the crossbar attached to the upright stake, so the feet were off the ground. The feet were then nailed to the wooden upright, with a small seat (called a sedecula=little seat) to provide some support for the victim which merely prolonged the process of dying. In some cases it took several days for a person to die.

Breaking The Legs Of Victims

To shorten the process the Romans sometimes broke the legs of the victim (a process called crurifragium=leg-breaking). The soldiers at Jesus' crucifixion had already broken the legs of the other two crucified that day, and were about to do the same to Jesus, when they noticed, to their surprise, he was already dead. To ensure he really was dead, one of the soldiers took a spear and thrust it into Jesus' chest (JOHN 19:34).

A Prophetic Picture Of The Crucifixion Of Christ      PSALM 22

PSALM 22 is a prophetic picture of a crucifixion written by King David about 1000 BC, when crucifixion was unknown in Israel. Jesus quoted the first and last lines of it as he was dying on the cross. Below is an outline of the psalm.

A.  AN ANGUISHED CRY OF DERELICTION  vv 1-5  The cry of a person who feels abandoned by God, but reminds himself that God is faithful.

B.  A PROPHETIC PICTURE OF CRUCIFIXION vv 6-18  A detailed picture of what the crucified person is feeling on the cross.

C.  A TRIUMPHANT SHOUT OF RESURRECTION vv 19-31 A shout of triumph that God will raise him to life and vindicate his death.

Q  What makes this psalm so remarkable?

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