Good Day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,
Poor Jesus, he's been verbally abused and physically beaten, crowned with thorns, whipped bloody, and now is forced to carry a heavy beam on which he is about to be nailed. No wonder the women wept as he passed. And even then he was still bringing people into the kingdom, as with Simon, Alexander and Rufus.
From today's reading:
...This man Simon...became a valiant believer in the gospel of the kingdom, and when he returned home, he led his family into the heavenly kingdom. His two sons, Alexander and Rufus, became very effective teachers of the new gospel in Africa.... (2006.3)187:1.10
Jesus helped Simon's son years before. From today's text:
...Simon never knew that Jesus, whose burden he bore, and the Jewish tutor who once befriended his injured son, were the same person.... (2006.3)187:1.10
What interesting reciprocity! Jesus helps Simon's injured son Rufus when he was in Cyrene, and Simon later returns the favor here in Jerusalem. The details of Rufus' accident are in Paper 130:
...The travelers were truly rested and refreshed when they made ready about noon one day to sail for Carthage in northern Africa, stopping for two days at Cyrene. It was here that Jesus and Ganid gave first aid to a lad named Rufus, who had been injured by the breakdown of a loaded oxcart. They carried him home to his mother, and his father, Simon, little dreamed that the man whose cross he subsequently bore by orders of a Roman soldier was the stranger who once befriended his son.... (1438.3)130:6.6
All three are mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, plus another detail that comports with today's reading:
21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, The King Of The Jews.
Simon's name also appears in Matthew and Luke. But John is the only one who recorded the acrimony about that infamous sign Pilate insisted on, in chapter 19:
16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.
20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
From Matthew 27:
31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews.
The only reference in the Bible to Jesus' remarks to the weeping women appear in Luke 23:
26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.
The Midwayers mention the Damascus gate in today's reading:
...on this day they went by the most direct route to the Damascus gate, which led out of the city to the north.... (2005.2)187:1.4
Damascus Gate in 1856
Damascus Gate is one of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city's northwest side where the highway leads out to Nablus, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus; as such, its modern English name is Damascus Gate...
Damascus Gate, 2011
Evidently Jesus is not immune to, or above feeling, physical pain. But he also endured:
...extreme mental anguish, his acute spiritual tension, and a terrible feeling of human loneliness.... (2006.1)187:1.8
And not one complaint throughout the entire 15 hour, unjust, unfair, ordeal.
The Midwayers mention it was the Phoenicians who invented this horrendous method of killing:
...Crucifixion was not a Jewish mode of punishment. Both the Greeks and the Romans learned this method of execution from the Phoenicians. Even Herod, with all his cruelty, did not resort to crucifixion.... (2005.3)187:1.5
Crucifixion (or impalement), in one form or another, was used by Persians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, and Romans. Death was often hastened. "The attending Roman guards could only leave the site after the victim had died, and were known to precipitate death by means of deliberate fracturing of the tibia and/or fibula, spear stab wounds into the heart, sharp blows to the front of the chest, or a smoking fire built at the foot of the cross to asphyxiate the victim."
The Greeks were generally opposed to performing crucifixions. However, in his Histories, ix.120–122, the Greek writer Herodotus describes the execution of a Persian general at the hands of Athenians in about 479 BC: "They nailed him to a plank and hung him up ... this Artayctes who suffered death by crucifixion." The Commentary on Herodotus by How and Wells remarks: "They crucified him with hands and feet stretched out and nailed to cross-pieces; cf. vii.33. This barbarity, unusual on the part of Greeks, may be explained by the enormity of the outrage or by Athenian deference to local feeling."
Some Christian theologians, beginning with Paul of Tarsus writing in Galatians 3:13, have interpreted an allusion to crucifixion in Deuteronomy 21:22-23. This reference is to being hanged from a tree, and may be associated with lynching or traditional hanging. However, Rabbinic law limited capital punishment to just 4 methods of execution: stoning, burning, strangulation, and decapitation, while the passage in Deuteronomy was interpreted as an obligation to hang the corpse on a tree as a form of deterrence.
...Alexander the Great is reputed to have crucified 2,000 survivors from his siege of the Phoenician city of Tyre, as well as the doctor who unsuccessfully treated Alexander's friend Hephaestion. Some historians have also conjectured that Alexander crucified Callisthenes, his official historian and biographer, for objecting to Alexander's adoption of the Persian ceremony of royal adoration.
In Carthage, crucifixion was an established mode of execution, which could even be imposed on generals for suffering a major defeat.
The Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus crucified 800 rebels, said to be Pharisees, in the middle of Jerusalem.
This genocidal scene, reported by the Midwayers in today's reading, is too terrible to contemplate, but at the same time too grand not to note in passing:
...During the siege of Jerusalem, just forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus, all of Golgotha was covered by thousands upon thousands of crosses upon which, from day to day, there perished the flower of the Jewish race. A terrible harvest, indeed, of the seed-sowing of this day.... (2005.3)187:1.5
A vast field, ripe with cruel death, spawned by ignorance, watered by greed, and killed by the refusal to the accept the light of truth.
In tomorrow’s reading, Section 2. The Crucifixion, Jesus is bound to the beam and nailed, his clothes are divided, he is offered drugs and refuses. And while he is hanging there, steeped in what must be the most pain a human can feel, he smiles down on his mother.
Overview of: Paper 187 - The Crucifixion
1. On the Way to Golgotha
2. The Crucifixion
3. Those Who Saw the Crucifixion
4. The Thief on the Cross
5. Last Hour on the Cross
6. After the Crucifixion
This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.
Listen to Paper 187: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)
Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.
Much love, Rick/OPAD host.