Exhaustion is the human body’s way of telling us it needs a break. We all are incurably strapped to physical limitations. A serious lack of sleep magnifies these limitations. Jesus of Nazareth is no exception. He must have been incredibly exhausted. The weight of his cross must have been steadily multiplying as his flayed arms, shoulders, and back struggled wearily beneath it. How much further could he be pushed, physically speaking? Not much further …
Jesus was beaten and ferociously lacerated by a gruesome Roman scourge. He was also deprived of sleep.
Ponder this: he was awake all night for the Passover celebration he shared with his inner circle; he prayed all night in Gethsamene; and he was arrested, tried, and marched back and forth between the Council, Pilate and Herod. Then came the beating and scourging. Jesus, after all of this, was then loaded with the wood to which he would be nailed and he was forced to haul it - like a mule - to the place where he would soon take in his last breath.
Exhaustion took over. Jesus collapsed. He could carry the wood no further. His body was beyond dilapidated by sleep deprivation and a serious loss of blood. Jesus’ body was shutting itself down. Darkness was falling. Jesus was dying.
Death by exhaustion was too merciful an exit for a condemned subversive like Jesus of Nazareth. So, Rome, rather than permitting Jesus an escape from the pain, torture, and humiliation of being nailed naked to a cross, forced Simon of Cyrene, a city in Northern Africa, to carry the cross. Simon did so.
Artwork Used By Permission & Credit: Gwyneth Leech