It was all over, another day of Roman brutality left Golgotha littered with corpses of Jewish seditionists and thieves, many nailed naked upon crossbeams, awaiting death or slow feeding by birds of prey and mangy dogs. More executions would take their place on the morrow.

One of the dead had friends, however. Sabbath concerns quickened their steps as they removed his wracked blood-encrusted remains from the cross and carried them to a rock-hewn tomb nearby, then placed lanterns inside: For the next twenty minutes, the walls shadowed this ongoing story of care: stooped in prayer, they washed the body, and like loving parents examined its wounds, its disfigurement, their tears commingling with the dank confines in the tomb.

Then, ever so slowly, they unfolded the linen shroud upon the ledge and positioned his body upon it, the napkin around his noble thorn-wounded head. Then, rough hands poured handfuls of oils and aromatic herbs from ampoules onto the skinned semblance of what was a man, until there was no more. They’d bring more oils after the Sabbath and finish the anointing. Besides, it was night, their aromatic hands softening their grief.

True, it was over—but it was just beginning …