Ahead of Him stood a rocky hill. Three tall wooden posts set into the ground awaited the arrival of Yeshua and the other men to be crucified that afternoon. The two criminals were already near the site of the upright beams. Yeshua was struggling at the bottom of the hill. We saw Him collapse and fall a third time. How could He possibly ascend the slope to Golgotha?
The guards had no compassion for Him. One of them pulled Him to His feet. Simon of Cyrene assumed His position under the beam. Together they came to the summit. The others were already being nailed to their crossbeams. Several Roman soldiers took hold of Yeshua and stripped Him of His garments. Wounds inflicted from the flogging and crowning of thorns left no sound spot on Him.
“They are the cruelest of all Roman soldiers, chosen for their lack of sympathy and absence of conscience,” Columba said, suddenly appearing at my side. “They find pleasure in their grim job of crucifixion and are even despised by the other soldiers.”
“I am thankful for your presence, my friend,” I said.
The sound of the hammer and groans of Yeshua did not disturb most of the Jews who watched. Nicodemus and Joseph stood by themselves away from the rest.
“See, His mother is with John. He is the only one present of the twelve Apostles,” a woman next to us said. The woman was one of those Yeshua stopped to talk with on the way to this wretched place.
His mother leaned on John and her body shook with sobbing. Again I thought of my mother. She could not have borne seeing this, although she may have stood it better than my father. There were a number of women who stayed observing Yeshua even now. They understood His mother’s pain better than any of us.
The executioners raised His body attached to the crossbeam by nails through His hands and wrists. They lifted the beam with Yeshua, securing it to the vertical piece. With His feet placed to one side, they nailed them together onto the upright beam. I felt the pain in my own limbs and my head ached.