Then they led him out to crucify him.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Mark 15: 20b-27
There is a sense of emptiness on this day – of being lost in the hiatus between the horror of Good Friday and the Glory of Easter Day.
I imagine the women, anxious to do the last service they could for Jesus – to anoint and wrap his body according to their customs. How frustrated they must have been that the Sabbath meant that they must wait until the next day.
Their grief was suspended by inactivity and the sense of something unfinished.
They were wrung out and exhausted by crying and fear. They had cried all the tears they had as they sensed hope draining away. Even as they wept and wailed on the road to Golgotha they had clung to the tiniest hope that he would somehow escape what logic said was inevitable. Their horror at the passing of the death sentence and the struggle to take in the awful truth that he wasn’t going to escape consumed them.
They had clung to each other at the foot of the cross, huddled in tearing grief that all but overwhelmed them. They couldn’t watch – couldn’t look away. They begged God to spare him – begged him to free him – begged him to let him die.
Their legs ached from standing for so many hours. They were faint with hunger and dangerously dehydrated. But nothing could move them from their place at his feet until he was declared dead and hauled down from the cross.
They washed his wounds with their tears, as Mary held his dislocated body for one last time. They were too sick with grief to express they’re thanks to the stranger who offered his tomb. All they could do was to take note of it and hurry away in the fading light in order to keep the Sabbath Law.
There had been no hope of sleep and they had sat in silence as the fire went out. The light had gone out of their lives. They only hope they clung to was of giving him the honour and dignity of a proper burial. And that would have to wait.