"And the people stood beholding" (Luke 23: 35).
What varied thoughts and feelings moved the hearts of those who stood that day beholding the cross of Calvary! We can perceive the cruel heartlessness with which the Roman soldiers drove the nails and reared the cross, interested only in getting their share of the petty spoil for which they cast lots. We can conceive of the fiendish ferocity with which the rulers and chief priests gloated over the agony of their victim and felt themselves at last avenged. We can comprehend the heartbreak with which those loving women looked upon the helpless anguish of the One in whom they had so much believed. We can realize something of that mother's grief as she recalled the words of Simeon thirty years before, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also." We can imagine that Peter, gazing from afar upon the tragedy, would have given worlds to have taken back that last dart with which he had pierced his Master's heart, but realized that now he should see Him no more. And we know something from the narrative of the awe and veneration with which the Roman centurion gazed upon the preternatural signs which accompanied His death and exclaimed, "Truly this was the Son of God."