In a rare display of political and judicial cooperation between leaders of the occupying Roman Empire and the conquered land of Israel, authorities in Jerusalem today condemned, flogged and crucified a carpenter-turned-itinerant preacher who claimed to be the Messiah.
Jesus Christ, 33, of Nazareth in Israel’s northern province of Galilee, was pronounced dead Friday following approximately nine hours of in extremis suffering as a result of being whipped and then nailed to a cross in the Golgotha district just outside of Jerusalem’s walls.
Immediately prior to being nailed to the cross, Christ was flogged by Roman soldiers stationed at the Praetorium in Jerusalem, using a Flagrum, a whip containing pieces of sharpened bone. He was then made to carry the cross-beam of his cross through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha.
The flogging process, which is often used by the Romans before a crucifixion in order to weaken the victim and hasten death, typically causes massive losses of blood and the shredding of skin and muscle of the back, shoulders and buttocks, frequently exposing bones and internal organs.
Christ’s last words came when he shouted “It is finished” at the end of his approximately nine-hour ordeal. A Roman soldier who was a member of the execution team told HillFaith that he plunged a spear into the prisoner’s side “just to be sure” of the man’s death, as required in the rare cases when a body is to be taken down for burial rather than being left to rot in public.
Two other men, both convicted criminals, were also crucified, one on each side of Jesus. At one point, the two men were heard arguing about whether they deserved their punishment, according to witnesses interviewed by HillFaith. The witnesses asked that their names not be published.
Only his mother Mary, an aunt and a few other women who had been among Christ’s followers were present at the end, along with assorted individuals, several of whom taunted the dead man.
None of the 11 men who were his original disciples and who had been with him for approximately three years as Christ ministered from village to village could be found for comment.
A prominent local citizen, Joseph of Arimathea, was given custody of the dead man’s body and was reportedly planning to bury it in a tomb he had previously purchased for his family.
“He claimed to be the Messiah but he couldn’t save himself. End of story.”
Rome’s representative in Jerusalem, the Prefect Pontius Pilate, also declined Hillfaith’s request for comment, except to say he “did everything I could to save this innocent man, but the crowds wouldn’t stop chanting ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’ I had no choice.”
Pilate was apparently referring to the fact that he had reminded the crowd during his interview with the prisoner that he had only a few days ago been welcomed into the city while riding a donkey by a throng of people shouting “Hosannah” and waving palm fonds, calling him the “King of the Jews.” Shortly thereafter, he was seen at the Temple disrupting business among the money-changers assisting buyers of required sacrificial animals.
A spokesman for the Sanhedrin, the local governing assembly of the conquered nation of Israel, issued a statement upon receiving news of Christ’s demise, saying “he claimed to be the Messiah but he couldn’t save himself. End of story.”
Prior to Pilate’s encounter with the man, members of the Sanhedrin had tried Christ and found him guilty of blasphemy —that is, making himself the equal of Jehovah God — but, lacking the authority to carry out the prescribed death penalty under Jewish law as a result of the occupation, they appealed to the Roman ruler.
“Multiple individuals interviewed by HillFaith said they heard him saying things like ‘I and the Father are one,’ ‘Before Abraham was, I am,’ and ‘No man comes to the Father but through me.'”
A source close to Pilate who asked not to be identified told HillFaith that many of those in the crowd shouting “crucify him, crucify him” were believed to be associates of the Sanhedrin.
Asked by Hillfaith about recurring reports that Christ often claimed he would be resurrected back to life in three days, the Sanhedrin spokesman laughed, asking “right, and next you’re going to tell us he is going to go back into his mother’s womb?”
There was truth to the charge that Christ had claimed to be God, however, according to multiple individuals interviewed by HillFaith who said they heard him at various times in recent years saying things like “I and the Father are one,” “Before Abraham was, I am,” and “No man comes to the Father but through me.”
SUGGESTED READING: “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh and Sean McDowell, a classic, concise and enjoyable presentation of the abundant evidence for the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ. For a free copy, provide a name and snail mail address, either in the comments below, or, if you prefer not to publish your address, via the contact link.