By the time that the Gospels were written
crucifixion was a common feature of Jewish lives,
as thousands hung on their crosses along the roadsides.
Following the "glorious failure" of the Great Revolt,
the reality of Roman punishment was all around.
The procedure was all too well known in Israel
but the descriptions in the bible are pure invention.
There would be no ability in the crucified to speak.
Jesus was, anyway, half dead from the scourging,
before he began the suffocation of the Cross.
There would be no interaction with the public,
nor would they be allowed close to the scene.
Women, who presented no threat, might watch,
but only from a safe distance.
The body was cast into the common midden,
safely discarded in case it became a focus for discontent.
The theme of burial in a special tomb is pure invention,
though a necessary prelude to tales of resurrection.
The story is not literally true but presents a parable.
Is this then the length that we must be prepared to go?
Is there here another truth, hidden behind the literal?
We may be told by Evangelical exponents that
the Cross teaches us that sin will separate us from God
and the lengths to which God will go to bridge that gap.
but, in these rational times that we live in,
does anyone really believe that?
It is more honest to realise that the work of Jesus was done.
His life had been lived, his message preached and passed on.
It was time to go, but the method was ultimately irrelevant,
so long as it was also truly memorable to his followers.