0-50 CE · Israel · The Holy Week Series

The Sacrifice

Taken at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion

THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF CRUCIFIXION BASED ON MEDICAL RESEARCH ARTICLES. DUE TO THE DISTURBING NATURE OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS, PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

14 Nissan • Jerusalem
· Joseph of Arimathea ·

The governor’s courtyard was quiet. Dead, really. But then again, everything had seemed that way for the last hour. Except for the sun, which shone with late afternoon vehemence. I closed my eyes against the tears welling in them. I had to speak to Pilate, and he didn’t strike me as the kind of man that would be moved by mourning. I breathed deeply and held my breath. The last time I had stood in this spot, everything had been different.

+ + + + +

Four hours earlier…

“It’s insulting!” Y’hudah, a chief priest, shouted to his comrade as they marched away from the courtyard. “Ridiculous!”

I pulled into the shadows in the gate. For the last several hours, I had been praying at the Temple that God would undo the damage done by the Council. For the good of the nation, Jesus had to be set free! When I finally got off my knees, I walked over to the governor’s palace to see if I could learn anything about Jesus’ fate.

The men now storming away from the governor’s palace had been a part of the Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus in the wee hours of the morning. I had been the only one in twenty-three councilmen that had opposed the ruling. After the way they treated Jesus, I had no desire to announce my identity to them. I pulled my prayer shawl over my head. Thankfully, it was so overcast they wouldn’t be able to recognize me.

“All we asked for was a tiny revision.” Asa, another priest, snarled. “He could have a new notice board ready in minutes. But no! He’s written it and that’s that!”

My curiosity got the better of me. I stepped out of the gate and asked in an Aramaic accent, “Sirs? About whom are you speaking?”

Y’hudah spun to face me, but if he was shocked at my sudden appearance he didn’t let on. “Pilate. He wrote the most insidious thing about Jesus of Nazareth. Said He was the King of the Jews!”

Asa snorted. “As if a Galilean could be king, or that anyone would want disgusting Nazarene on the throne! Bah!’

My brow wrinkled. Why would Jesus need written notice about His kingship? Unless… I gulped. “I’ve been in the Temple all morning. What has the Nazarene done now?”

Asa smirked. “Only gotten Himself crucified.He’s hanging right outside of town at the Place of the skull.”

“No!” I breathed. For some time, I had secretly believed He was the Messiah and heralded the coming Kingdom of God. And now… He was dying?

Y’hudah glared at me. “Don’t tell me that you foreigners actually care about Him. You’re here for the Passover, aren’t you? So you didn’t know He existed until four days ago!”

A lump rose in my throat. “And if that were the case, then it was long enough.” I left the courtyard without waiting for an answer.

I went down one street, then followed another without knowing where I was heading. Finally, I stumbled into an alley and laid my head against a wall to catch my breath. “Why?” I groaned. “Of all the deaths to die, why this one?”

I wiped away my tears and returned to the main road. Over the rooftops, I could barely make out the Palace of Helena looming against the darkening sky. It was close enough that I’d be able to hit it from here if I had a rock and the sling. Everyone on the road seemed tense, whispering to each other and glancing towards the skies. I couldn’t blame them. The weather was making me feel edgy, too. Those who weren’t gossiping were hustling on their way, except for one man, who trudged up the road. “Excuse me, sir?”

The man stopped and slowly swiveled his head toward me. He stared through me, exhausted. “Yes?” His accent was thick. Possibly Cyrenean, but I couldn’t be sure with one word. Then, I noticed the blood.

“You’re bleeding.” The side of his face, his hands, his side, even between his shoulder blades were covered in it. I wasn’t sure how he was standing.

“It’s not my blood. I’m fine.” He looked down at the road and gulped. “If that’s all, then peace be on you.” He turned to leave.

“No! I–uh– where… Uh, the crucifixion. Um, do you know…?”

the man’s shoulders slumped even more. He pointed down the road. “They’re right outside of town. Can’t miss it. However, I would advise you to go home. It’s not a sight I would wish on anyone, especially on such a holy day like this.”

Suddenly, it was hard to breathe. I shook my head. “You don’t understand. He– He’s my Master.” I had never admitted it like that before, but it was true.

He frowned and looked at the dirt. “More’s the pity. It will probably be worse for you than it was for me.” He nodded back down the road. “At least you won’t be alone. There’s a crowd of His supporters gathering.” With that, he trudged past me.

My stomach was rock-hard as I walked down the road. Mentally, I braced myself for what I might see, but I still fell to my knees as soon as I saw what the Cyrenean tried to warn me about.

I stared at Golgotha, an eerie outcropping pockmarked with enough caves to look like a skull. Before it, next to the road, were three crosses. On the one in the middle–the position that naturally drew the eye–hung the bloodiest visage I had ever seen. A messy circle of thorns had been jammed into the man’s head, which leaned against the vertical beam of the cross. He pushed up on the nails in His feet, holding there for a few seconds while He gasped for air. Then He sank down, allowing the nails in His wrists to hold His weight.

My eyes climbed to the top of the cross where the inscription was. In Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, it read,

Jesus from Nazareth
The King of the Jews*

No wonder it had offended Y’hudah and Asa. No one passing this way would be able to second guess this man’s identity… or Pilate’s opinion of the way the Council had treated Him.

“Claudius!” A soldier called, walking up to the centurion standing guard. “Sir! We divided the Nazarene’s clothes, and this is your share.”

Claudius frowned down at the blood-stained, but obviously once fine, cloak and belt. He gestured to the ground. “Set them there. I don’t want the blood staining my bag. What did you do with the under-tunic?”

The soldier shrugged. “We were going to tear it up for scraps.”

Claudius’ eyebrows raised. “No. Didn’t you notice? It’s woven in one piece from top to bottom, and would fetch a high price. I was very careful when I stripped Him to make sure that it didn’t tear.”

The soldier pursed his lips. “But, sir, we’ve already divided the shares, and only the under-tunic remains.”

“Then we cast dice for it. Go get the other two.” Before my eyes, the four soldiers gathered around a rock and gambled for the Messiah’s robe.

Behind me, someone humphed. Y’hudah’s voice said, “So He’s the Messiah, is He? The King of Israel?” Asa, standing beside him, snickered. Y’hudah smirked. “Let Him come down now from the cross!”*

“I’d believe Him if He did that.” Asa nudged Y’hudah’s side. Asa walked over to Jesus and crossed his arms. “So You can destroy the Temple, can You, and rebuild it in three days? Save Yourself if You are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!”* Jesus rose to take another breath but made no reply. Y’hudah chuckled.

My eyes burned and my teeth clenched. He was dying because these men called  His words this morning blasphemous. Yet they were now blaspheming Him! Even if they didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God, certainly they could see how inappropriate their behavior was.

Asa grew bored and returned, but some travelers walking to the city stopped to gaze at Him. One shook his head and said to his companion, “He saved others, so if He really is the Messiah, the One chosen by God, let Him save Himself.”* With that, they passed the crosses and walked through the gate.

One of the soldiers smirked and stood before Jesus. In one hand, he had some cheese for his lunch. In the other, a cup. “They have a point, Nazarene. If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”* He lifted the cup. “You must be thirsty. Would you like some of my wine vinegar? It’s a good batch–quite refreshing, really. If you want some, come and get it.” He snickered and walked back towards his companions, taking a sip as he went.

The man on the cross nearest me pushed himself up. I glanced at the inscription over his head as his head flopped to look at Jesus. His crime was robbery. “Aren’t You the Messiah?” He spat. He sank and tried to breathe, but couldn’t. He pushed himself back up and gasped. “Save Yourself and us!” He took another deep breath and let the nails in his wrists hold him.

The third man, his inscription also labeling him as a thief, pulled himself up. “Have you no fear… of God? You’re… getting the same punishment… as He.” He collapsed, his mouth open in a silent scream. A moment later, he pushed up again. “Ours is… fair… we’re getting what we deserve… But this man… did nothing wrong.” He sunk against the nails, but watched Jesus with weary eyes. He pushed himself up one more time and said, “Jesus, remember me when You come as king.”*

Jesus turned His head toward the thief. Pushing Himself up, He gasped, “Yes! I promise… that you will be with Me… today… in paradise.”

+ + + + +

“You! Jew!” A Roman soldier marched across the courtyard, scowling. “What do you want?”

I gulped and lifted my chin. “Sir, I wish to see Pilate on a private matter.”

“He’s not coming out to the courtyard again today. Be on your way to your celebrations.”

I shook my head. “I must see him. It’s a matter of great importance.”

The soldier put his fists on his hips. “And how do you expect to do that? You Jews say you have to be,” he continued in a falsetto, “‘ritually clean for your festival.'” He returned to his normal voice, “And to enter the governor’s house will make you ‘unclean,’ right?” He gestured towards the gate. “Pilate isn’t giving you Jews any more boons. Be gone.”

As he turned away, I cleared my throat. “Sir,” he whirled on me, glaring. “If I go into him, would he see me?”

The soldier blinked, his brow furrowing. “I… uh… Perhaps. I’ll go ask. If you’re serious, wait here.” He walked toward the palace, glancing over his shoulder at me. A minute later, he returned. “Pilate will see you.”

I followed him into the palace. Never in all my life had I seen anything quite so luxurious. The ceilings were far overhead and all the furniture we passed were made of gold. “He’s in here,” the soldier said, standing beside a door. I nodded and walked through.

Pilate leaned in a window facing north, sipping a glass of wine. I stopped a few yards away from him and sunk to my knees, not in worship but in deference. Several minutes later, Pilate said, “Rise.” He faced me, the wine glass sitting on the window ledge, his head cocked as he watched me. “Your name, sage?”

I bowed my head. “If it pleases your lordship, my name is Joseph of Arimathea. I’m a member of the Sanhedrin.”

Pilate rolled his eyes. “Again? You people are insufferable! You come at dawn and falsely accuse the man, expect me to be deceived by your lies, then demand that He be crucified! After insulting Roman justice, my intelligence and my authority, you demand that I change the inscription of His ‘crimes!’ Then you had the gall to come back and demand that my soldiers break the legs of all three men so that your festival can go on without a reproach like that hanging outside the gate! And just so you know, I did that not to respect you or your precious holiday but to offer a mercy to the Nazarene! Now–what?–are you going to demand that I make His friends leave Him? Or perhaps you have some worse idea.”

I hung my head. “Lord governor, you have been held in high contempt today. Nonetheless, you have acted honorably and patiently with us, for which I am deeply grateful.”

Pilate lifted one eyebrow. “You fascinate me, Joseph. Humbly and tactfully, you come into my house, rendering yourself unfit to celebrate your festival. I admire your courage.” I tried to smile. If I had my way, I would be ritually unclean for touching a dead body anyway, so coming in here was a trifle. Pilate crossed his arms and continued, “I like you. Believe me, it’s not a commendation I give to many of your people. What brings you here?”

“Before I tell you, sir, I must beg your forgiveness for further trying your beneficence and patience.” Pilate squinted at me. “I come to request the body of Jesus.”

Pilate’s whole body softened. “You’re one of His friends, then?”

“More than that, sir. I was one of his disciples. Not one of His chosen twelve, but I strove to obey and mimic Him always.”

“It shows,” he said. I looked away, tears staining my vision. “So, what will you do with His body?”

It took me a moment to find my voice. Even then, it cracked as I answered, “I have a tomb, sir…” I cleared my throat. “I had it cut for myself in a garden near Golgotha. It’s close enough that I can intern Him quickly.”

Pilate nodded. “I grant your request. As soon as He’s dead, you can have Him.”

“Sir, He… He’s already gone.”

“I’m not a fool, old man. Breaking the legs speeds up the process, but it doesn’t work this fast.” Pilate glared at me. “If this is your attempt at rescuing Him, trust me when I say it won’t work. Even if you take Him to your home and send for the best doctors in the land, He’s lost too much blood. All you would do is prolong His agony.”

I blinked. “Sir, forgive me for contradicting you, but He died before the soldiers broke His legs.  On my honor, it is true.” Pilate squinted at me. “If you do not believe me, then send for one of your officers.”

He raised his chin. “All right, I will. Secundus!”

The soldier who had escorted me entered the room and saluted. “Sir!”

“Send to Golgotha and tell Claudius to come to me as quickly as he can.” When the  soldier left, Pilate watched me closely. Finally, he said, “I’ve seen countless crucifixions. Most men cry and call for their mothers. They beg for mercy until they can’t muster the strength to speak.” He stopped and looked at me as though waiting for a response. My forehead wrinkled, but I nodded. “All afternoon, I’ve thought about your Master. He’s different. After the incredible way He handled His trial, I’ve wondered if He faced death in the same manner.”

As tears sprang to my eyes, I looked away. Slowly, I nodded. “Incredible, sir, is an insufficient description.”

+ + + + +

Not long after I arrived at Golgotha, the sun eclipsed. My heart pounded as I watched the sky darken, sure that it heralded the judgment of God for blasphemy against His Messiah, but I refused to leave. Not yet, anyway. I wasn’t sure I could get my legs to support my weight, anyway.

A large crowd of us had gathered some distance from the crosses. Jesus’ chosen disciples sat nearby, their gazes shifting from the cross to each other and back again. All the women who had tended to His needs as He ministered in Galilee sat in a huddle. A few of my friends from the council sat with me, as well as several laypeople from town. The women clung to each other as they sobbed. The only dry eyes among the men were the ones that had no more tears to cry.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, stood, wobbling until the disciple John steadied her. “I’m going closer.” John nodded and wrapped an arm around her middle and walked with her. A few of the other women followed. In the torchlight set up by the soldiers, I watched one woman collapse as she neared the execution site. As the others gathered around to comfort her, John and Mary approached the cross.

Hours passed, but it felt like days. Some of us stayed to keep watch, but most people left to prepare for Passover tonight and Sabbath tomorrow.

“My God!” I looked up at Jesus’ cross. His voice shook as He screamed imploringly. “My God! Why have You forsaken Me?”

His legs gave out and He howled as His body jerked down. His shoulders and elbows had disjointed so long ago that His arms were unnaturally elongated.

A bystander standing on the road said, “Did you hear that, Jason? He’s calling for Elijah!” Several others standing around shook their heads, muttering to themselves.

One of the soliders, the youngest of the four, looked at Jesus and shook his head. He opened his pack and pulled out a sponge. He dipped it in the jug of wine vinegar. Claudius whispered with him for a moment, then walked over to some bramble growing in the wayside. He cut a long hyssop stalk and gave it to the soldier, who thrust the sponge onto it and walked toward Jesus.

Jason stopped him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

The soldier glared at him. “The Nazarene is delirious and I don’t want to hear any more screaming like that. This should deaden His pain enough to give the rest of us some peace of mind!”

Jason put a hand on the stick. “Wait! Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.”*

The soldier spluttered and yanked away the stick. He looked to Claudius for permission to proceed. The centurion glanced at Jesus, then at the crowd of Jesus’ enemies, who were muttering agreement. A muscle in his jaw set as he gestured for the soldier to come back.

Behind me, the disciple James sniffed. “Jesus didn’t berate us when they came to arrest Him last night and we fled. As they shouted for His death before Pilate, He didn’t argue. When they paraded Him through town to bring Him here and the crowds jeered Him, He didn’t complain. When they nailed Him to those beams, He didn’t beg for mercy. He hasn’t even responded to all the insults people have been heaping on Him. But when God turns His back…”

“You’re surprised?” Phillip wrapped his arms around himself. “We’ve seen Jesus’ relationship with His Father lived out for three years.” Phillip looked at the sky. “Remember when a voice from heaven spoke to Jesus?”

“Which time?” James whispered.

“My point exactly.” A tear slipped down his face. “Why doesn’t heaven speak now? Of all the questions He has ever asked, this one deserves an answer.”

A few minutes later, a soldier cantered from the the city and reigned in before Claudius. The soldier saluted then handed him a note. As he read it, Jesus cried out, “I–I thirst!”

Claudius nodded at the young soldier, who dunked the sponge in the wine vinegar again and ran to Jesus’ cross before anyone could stop him. He pushed the sponge against Jesus’ mouth. As a stream of liquid flowed through His beard and down His torso, it pushed blood with it. In its wake, the gashes on His flesh stood out. When Jesus pulled away, He gasped, “It is accomplished!” The young soldier returned to his seat, his brow furrowed.

“By Pilate’s orders, we need to break their legs.” Claudius gestured to one of the soldiers, who saluted, grabbed a large club resting against the rock they sat around and rose to obey the order. My mouth fell open. Breaking their legs took away half their support, which strained their arms even more. It also made it more difficult to rise to take a breath, which meant they would quickly die of suffication.

“NO!!!” One of the women crouched near Jesus sobbed. “He’s suffered enough! Don’t add this indignity!” Claudius ignored her.

The first robber screamed when the soldier broke his legs. Jesus shuddered as He watched. As the soldier walked toward the second robber, Jesus pushed Himself up and cried, “Father! Into Your hands I commit My spirit!” With that, His head drooped.

As soon a His chin hit His chest, the earth shook. Earthquakes are common enough, but I had never felt anything like this before. I fell to the ground, my teeth chattering until the earth settled. When I could finally look up, my heart beat wildly. Everyone else sprawled on the ground as well, even the soldiers. It took a few minutes, but we all slowly sat up or stood. Then I noticed the rocks. Several were split open. The one the soldiers had been using all day was actually in two pieces.

The soldier with the club rose, his hand over his chest, and broke the second robber’s legs. When he reached Jesus, he looked up and lowered the club. “Sir! I think this one’s gone!” Claudius cocked his head, then went to Jesus’ cross. “Do you think that earthquake was caused by His death?”

Claudius shrugged. “One thing is sure. This man was innocent.* And I have no doubt that He really was a son of God.”*

I was too numb to cry. I looked around the group of Jesus’ followers as people wailed, falling to the ground. Others tore their clothes or beat their breasts. I blinked and gasped, “James?” The disciple clutched at his air as he sobbed. I raised my voice slightly. “James! Where are Jesus’ brothers?”

James’ hands dropped to his lap and he shook his head. “They’re in the city.”

My chest tightened. “Aren’t they going to claim the body?” He shrugged. My mouth fell open as I looked back at Jesus’ cross. If it wasn’t claimed by a male relative, then it would decompose on the cross. I shook my head and rose to my feet, pulling out my money pouch with shaking fingers. “I’m going to Pilate to get special permission.” I handed my purse to James. “Do me a favor? Go to the lower market and purchase a linen sheet to cover Him. And send to my house to get a stretcher, some basins and towels… Oh, and send word to Nicodemus at his home.”

+ + + + +

“So what was Pilate’s reaction when he heard the centurion’s report?” Nicodemus asked as we washed Jesus’ body. After claiming it, we carried it to my tomb, which now gaped behind me. Beside it was the massive stone that we would roll over the opening after the internment. Around the bend in the path, some of the women who had followed Him from Galilee waited for us to finish. As soon as we covered Him up, they would come to say goodbye.

“He was shocked. I doubt anyone has ever died from that kind of crucifixion so quickly.” I leaned back and dropped the linen cloth I was using in the basin of bloody water.

Most of the gashes stretching around His torso and lower body were deep enough to expose bone. One wound in His side was thin and deep from the spear they had thrust there to make sure He was dead. Around His head were smaller punctures from the thorns they had pushed into His scalp. We had pulled out as many as we could, but I was sure that we missed some.

I sighed. “He’d look normal if it wasn’t for all these gashes and the bruises on His face. Why did they have to hit Him so many times?”

Nicodemus shrugged. “Don’t stop, Joseph. I’m not sure we can get Him into the tomb by sunset as it is!” He was right. The sun was already partially hidden by the horizon. I grabbed the basin of water and dumped it into a nearby bush then spread out the linen on the stretcher. Gently, we arranged the body on it.

Nicodemus opened one of the bags of myrrh and aloe resin he brought. “I still can’t believe He’s gone.” Nicodemus spread the spices on His stomach and between His arms and body. “I always expected Him to settle down and get married, then continue His ministry from home like other sages. Couldn’t you see Him and Lazarus’ youngest sister setting up housekeeping? What’s her name anyway?”

“Mary.” I gulped. She probably wouldn’t have been opposed to the plan, either.

“I also hoped that He would eventually be invited to join the Sanhedrin. Could you imagine a council with both Him and Saul of Tarsus? Israel would flourish with that kind of wisdom on the council.”

I smiled. Gamaliel’s young and zealous protege was being groomed for a place on the council. He and Jesus might have learned to respect each other in time, but they would have fought about every little decision.

“Impossible.” I sighed and shook my head. There were other reasons Jesus would never have been welcome in the Sanhedrin, and I offered Nicodemus one. “Jesus’ mother and her husband weren’t married when He was conceived.” A little fact that disqualified Him from serving on the Council.

Nicodemus’ head snapped to look at me for a moment before he moved to Jesus’ feet. “I thought that was a malicious rumor started by the Pharisees.”

I shook my head, a tear slipping down my cheek. “that one was true.” I opened up another bag of spices. “How many pounds of spices did you buy, anyway?”

“Nearly a hundred.”

I grunted and shoveled more of the aromatic pieces around the body. “Did you hear about what happened at the Temple during the earthquake?”

Nicodemus shook his head. “As soon as I got your message, I went to the market to get the spices.

“The veil before the Most Holy Place ripped from top to bottom during the high priest’s annual sacrifice.”

Nicodemus’ eyes widened. “But… How? That curtain is a handbreadth thick!”

I emptied the last bag on the body and folded the sheet over the body. I sighed. “A sign from heaven? But really, I have no idea.” The question burning in my mind, though, was why it tore. I laid a hand on Jesus’ shoulder and whispered, “I’m sure You would have an explanation.” A tear dripped down my nose and fell on His cheek, but a smile stretched my face regardless. “Wrapped in a confusing riddle, I’m sure.”

Nicodemus’ forehead wrinkled, tears rising in his eyes. “His riddles always frustrated me. I often wished He would speak straight-forward.”

I chuckled, wiping away another tear. “It’s not the rabbinical way.”

“No, but He was more confusing than most. Ready?”

I nodded and we covered Him. We didn’t bother tying the sheet. This was a temporary fix. The day after tomorrow, we’d return and conduct the official funeral. Then, we would fulfill all the rites that we had to skip today for lack of time. I had no doubt that most of Jesus’ friends would come out for it. Perhaps half of Jerusalem, too. I stood and walked toward the women. “Ladies? You can come see Him now.”

They came toward us clutching mementos to put in the tomb with Him. One carried a fresh lily, another had a hammer. A third carried a well-worn robe.

“You know what?” Nicodemus asked when I turned back to him. “Right now, I wouldn’t care if He said something confusing or not. I just want to hear His voice again.”

I nodded, the lump in my throat expanding. “Me, too. Too bad that we won’t until the day of Resurrection at the end of the world.”

+ + + + +

Thank you for reading part 5 of The Holy Week Series!
Check back tomorrow for part 6, The Sword-Pierced Heart!

Part 1: “Behold the Man” 13-year-old Alexander is esctatic to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. But what he doesn’t realize is that this festival will change his life forever.

Part 2: The Last and the First John the Disciple has eaten more meals than he can count with his Master, Jesus of Nazareth. But this one is different. In many respects, it feels like a meal to end all meals. Then again, is it a herald of things to come?

Part 3: The Commander’s Vigil “Jesus went as usual to the Mount of Olives… There appeared to Him an angel from heaven, giving Him strength.” (John 22:39 and 42, CJB)

Part 4: The House of Judgment Nicodemus, a pious lawyer and friend of Jesus, is summoned to be a juryman for the trial of Jesus of Nazareth. As Jesus is tried for His life, Nicodemus can’t help but notice how unusual and, well, illegal the proceedings are. He wonders when the council will give up… or if they’ll succeed.

Part 6: The Sword-Pierced Heart When Jesus was a baby, a prophet warned Mary that a sword would pierce her heart. 33 years later, that prophecy came true in ways she couldn’t imagine possible.

Part 7: The Appearance As far as James is concerned, it’s the end. His brother, Jesus, is dead, and that is–unfortunately–that. But he’s about to figure out that God has other plans.

Author’s Note

*All scripture quotes are from the Complete Jewish Bible, © 1998 by David H. Stern. The following passages were quoted (in order that they appeared in the story):
John 19:19
Mark 15:31
Luke 23:36
Matthew 27:40-41
Luke 23:35
Luke 23:40-42
Mark 15:36
Luke 23:47
Matthew 27:54

Sources and Further Exploration

Articles
Aloes; Lignaloes by BibleStudyTools.com
The Amazing Hyssop of the Bible – Wild Oregano by Maranatha Media
Burial Practices in First Century Palestine by Bible Odyssey
Death & Bereavement in Judaism: Ancient Burial Practices by Jewish Virtual Library
The Facts of Crucifixion by Catholic Education
Joseph of Arimathea by Catholic Encyclopedia
Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ by David Terasaka, M.D.
Where is Golgotha?
Where was Jesus tried? by Baptist Press

Bible
Matthew 27:33-61
Mark 15:22-47
Luke 23:33-56
John 19:17-42

Book
The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus
A Commentary of the Whole Bible, Volume 5: Matthew to John by Matthew Henry
Exposition of the Bible by John Gill

Maps
Ancient Jerusalem by Biblestudy.org

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