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Christ's Compassion on the Cross (2 of 5)
Series: Touching Jesus
OPEN: Ever since the 1950s, the men of the Philippines have had unusual tradition around Easter. It has grown to the point where from 50,000 to 75,000 people attend every year. McDonalds sets up a temporary store to sell burgers, fries and ice cream to those exhausted by the tropical heat.
The ritual that has drawn all these tourists to the Philippines is an odd and gruesome Good Friday reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ. A group of men who refer to themselves as the ''kristos'' allow themselves to be beaten with rods and whipped. Approximately 500 men each year are physically beaten as Jesus was. Then, this year 17 men volunteered to have their hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross (which is fitted with a foot rest for them to stand on) and they hang in space - between heaven and earth - for a period that can last anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour. At that point they are taken down and transferred to a medical tent where their wounds are treated and they receive tetanus shots.
APPLY: Long before the day of Jesus, people had been executed by crucifition. Many nations had used this form of execution - but it was the Romans that employed it most often and cruelly.
ILLUS: When Rome ruled the world 1000s of people were executed in this way. The most terrible of these executions took place in 73 BC. A slave revolt led by a gladiator named Spartacus defeated many of Rome's best armies in a conflict that lasted for over two years. Eventually, though, this slave army was trapped and taken prisoner.
The Romans judged that - having waged war against Rome - these slaves had forfeited their right to live. Approximately 100 years before Jesus was crucified - Spartacus and 6,000 of his followers were crucified along a stretch road called the Appian way.
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