In the north of England, along Hadrian’s Wall, I learned the truth about the crucifixion. I saw the nails and the spear points they used. It wasn’t shiny, simple or clean.
The Romans were not popular in Britain. And in order to control their territory (or more specifically, the Scots?) the emperor Hadrian had a wall built across England, up near where today is the border with Scotland. There were forts along the wall and the Roman army lived there for many years defending their territory. When they were done with their sandals, spears or just through carelessness—items were dropped into the silty, muddy trenches. The lack of oxygen in the thick mud over the centuries preserved even their leather sandals. (The designs look familiar today).
On display, at the Roman Army Museum, I saw typical Roman nails. They were long, irregular and thick. Not finely shaped and smooth. Because, they didn’t have the sophisticated machine shops we do today to ensure perfect, cylindrical shapes. They looked gruesome. The kind of thing that would be agony to have driven through your hands and feet.
Also on display, were spear points. They too, were sobering.
Most Protestants prefer a “clean cross.” Meaning, we don’t like to see a crucified Jesus hanging on there looking sorrowful. He has risen from the dead! Let’s celebrate that! True. But he did die a humiliating, agonizing, slow and torturous death. For you. For me. Let’s think about that before Easter Sunday.