The Crucifixion of Jesus
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
Another picture from a similar place in Tuol Sleng. This time, though, the background is not the color and life ahead, but instead the grey cinder block walls that made up the prison. As I read this passage today, I was reminded (especially in light of recent events in the Middle East with ISIS) of the brutality of the cross. Its so easy for me to not think about the reality of it when I have a cross that hangs on the wall in my living room and ones in my office and in the places of worship at our congregation. We can sanitize the cross in so many ways and miss the deeper reality of what Jesus went through upon that cross (and what people suffer still today in a similar way). This cross of barbed wire feels more like the reality to me today – not a safe, easy thing to wear upon a necklace or hang on a wall, but instead a dark reality of the things that we humans do to one another and the reality of what God is willing to do for each of us.