I love this short post on crucifixion from Larry Hurtado’s blog.
And here is perhaps my favorite part of it:
It’s probably significant that Jesus alone was seized and crucified. To crush a movement, governments often round up the circle of ring-leaders, the better to make a statement about the movement’s failure. But it appears that the authorities believed that executing Jesus would suffice to snuff out the movement he represented. That suggests that he was seen as in some special sense “the” leader of those linked to him, not one among others. As I’ve written elsewhere, it suggests that already during his own career Jesus had become “the issue” that polarized people, either for or against him, and at least some people in the most extreme ways. (Anytime some people forsake their livelihoods to follow someone, and others regard him as such a threat that execution is necessary, I’d say that’s a pretty clear case of polarization!)