If there is one thing you need to know about the Roman Empire, it’s that the dominant ancient power knew how to kill people and to keep them under their thumb.

If people ever stepped out of line, or if there were ever any hints of rebellion, the Roman authorities would take drastic measure.  They would take an individual, a rebel leader or criminal, and do a really horrible thing to them.  They would take the person and hang them on a cross outside of a major city with a sign next to them stating why they were slowly dying on that piece of wood.  During the infamous Spartacus slave/gladiator revolt in the First Century BC, the Roman authorities fought a massive insurrection.  They were finally able to put it down through the use of force, capturing a large number of former slaves.  

What did they do to the six thousand people they captured?  They crucified them ALL to crosses along a major road.  6,000 people, lining the Appian Way in Italy.  6,000!  

Thousands of executed people would have sent one message, “Don’t mess with Rome!”  (Unless you wanted to end up hanging naked, suffocating to death)

When you hear nonsense that Jesus was not killed on Friday, don’t listen to it.  The Romans knew how to kill people.  Jesus would not have “swooned” on the cross, he would not have been spared the ultimate punishment through passing out on the cross.  While certain scholars and religions (namely Islam) deny the historical death of Jesus, according to ancient non-Christian sources, there was a man named Jesus and he was executed.

But his death is not the end of the story!  Just wait for a few more days, and dawn will break.  But for now, it’s OK to feel sorrowful.  I encourage you to attend a Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday service at your church (or a nearby RCC, Anglican, or Presbyterian should have one).

Isaiah 53:4-9
 
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
   and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
   smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
   and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
   yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
   and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
   so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
   and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
   stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
   and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
   and there was no deceit in his mouth.