Now the chosen place is reached, outside the city wall, probably a rise of ground, like a mound or small hill. And the soldiers settle down to their work. There are to be two others crucified at the same time. A drink of stuff meant to stupefy and so ease the pain of torture was offered Jesus, but refused. And now the cross is gotten ready. The upright beam is laid upon the ground handy to the hole in which the end of it will slip, and the cross-piece is nailed in place. Jesus is stripped and laid upon the cross with His arms, outstretched on the cross-piece. A sharp-pointed spike is driven through the palm of each hand and through the feet. The hands are also tied with ropes as additional security. There is a small piece half-way up the upright where some of the body’s weight may be supported.
As the soldiers drive the nails, Jesus’ voice is heard in prayer, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” Then strong arms seize the upper end, and, lifting, shift the end of the cross into the hole, and so steady it into an upright position. It is nine o’clock, and the deed has been done. The soldiers, having finished their task, now go after their pay. Jesus’ garments are divided up among them, but when the outer coat is reached it is found to be an unusually good garment, woven in one piece. It was the love gift of some friend likely. So they pitch dice, and in a few moments one of them is clutching it greedily as his own.
As quickly as the cross is in position the crowds are reading the inscription which has been nailed to the top to indicate the charge against the man. It was in three languages, Latin the official tongue, Greek the world tongue, and Aramaic the native tongue. Every man there read in one or other of these tongues, “The King of the Jews.” Instantly the Jewish leaders object, but Pilate contemptuously dismisses their objection. This inscription was his last fling at them. And so Jesus was crucified as a King. There He is up above them all, while the great multitude stands gazing.
Now begins the last, coarse, derisive jeering. Some of the crowd call out to Jesus, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself; if Thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The chief priests have dignified the occasion with their presence. Now they mockingly sneer out their taunts, “He saved others; but He can’t save Himself. He is the King of Israel. Let Him come down from the cross and we will believe on Him.” The two others hanging by His side, in their pain and distress, join in the taunting cries, and the soldiers add their jibes.