So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it." This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty." A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.As violent as our modern culture has become, I doubt that many readers of this blog have
witnessed a violent death, or have been called upon to serve as witness to a judicial execution.
The U.S. is one of the few free societies which still administers the Death Penalty to the worst of offenders. This said, our American method of Execution is sterile and detached, almost seeming like a medical procedure rather than an administration of death. Those carrying out the execution have been medically trained and the act takes place in a room resembling an operating theater. Executions are carried out behind prison walls and witnessed by just a handful of individuals. Every effort is made on the part of the state to carry out the procedure in a way that is quick, humane, and sparing the condemned from any unnecessary suffering. Compared to other nation's who've retained capital punishment, these executions are relatively rare and get scant coverage. This was hardly the case with the execution of the Christ.
Rome ruled with a hob-nailed boot and an iron fist, and her execution of justice was intentionally brutal. The Roman crucifixion epitomized this fact. Those unfortunates who experienced crucifixion died in the most prolonged, miserable way imaginable. They would, over a period of hours to days, succumb to dehydration, physical exhaustion, and ultimately die by suffocation as breathing became ever more difficult. Though this execution process could last days in the case of a strong individual, the process was artificially accelerated by the Roman's in order to satisfy the desire of the Jewish religious establishment who wanted the executions completed prior to sundown and the start of the Passover feast.
When comparing the most barbaric executions in our modern world to the death of Jesus, they would even be seen as relatively humane. The execution of Jesus was slow, excruciating, and inhumane in the most extreme ways imaginable.
Jesus knew exactly what he'd be experiencing and I think that why he asked the Father if there was another way. He was not merely going to die this afternoon. He would be first offered up as a propitiation, poured out as the only offering fit to satisfy the justice and righteous wrath of the Almighty. The weight of sin's debt demanded nothing less. It was only upon it's satisfaction could Jesus cry out "TETELESTAI!", bow his head, and release his live to the Father.