What is crucifixion?
In the ancient world there was one word that could strike fear and loathing in to the hearts of anyone: crucifixion.
Crucifixion meant you were reviled
To be crucified was equivalent to be ranked amongst the very worst kinds of people. It meant your name would only ever be remembered with contempt and loathing.
The crucified were treated with revulsion, generally their bodies were thrown on the refuse tip after they had died and after the animals, birds and insects had their fill.
It was also a form of torture
The process of crucifixion involved being tortured by your executioners. It wasn't a nice clean death with you being tied up on a tree it was meant to hurt.
Victims of crucifixion were flogged and often humiliated. It usually meant being stripped of your clothes and having to be displayed in a public place.
It would be wrong to dwell too long on the horror of the cross but it is important to understand that what Jesus was going through was considered, even by the ancients, to be the worst form of execution there was.
All the more remarkable that Christians follow someone who was crucified
It is not enough to say that Jesus was executed, we need to appreciate that he was crucified. By being crucified he became the kind of person whose name people would want to forget. His family were disgraced and it would have been insulting to be remembered as his friend.
Which makes what happens after the crucifixion all the more remarkable.