Jesus is Brutally Beaten and Tortured:
“Pilate asked them, what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? And they all shouted, Crucify him.” (Matthew 27:22).
For the last couple of days, we have been meditating on the story of Jesus. We read about how He agonized in prayer in the Garden, and how His disciples He had called to watch and pray with Him were sleeping. We looked at the story of Jesus as He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and deserted by all of His followers. In His darkest hour, Jesus stood alone. In the words of Charles Swindoll, “Jesus was not a helpless victim of fate. He was not a pitiful martyr…Planned by God so that you and I might have our sins forgiven, the death of Jesus opened the pathway to Heaven – a pathway prepared and paved with His blood.” As you read through this passage, I pray that you will do so slowly and prayerfully, saying, “Lord, help me to understand what Jesus did for me – help me to know what an awesome price He had to pay for my salvation.”
“So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him. Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire battalion. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they placed a stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery, yelling, “Hail. King of the Jews.” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and beat him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:26-31).
What is happening to Jesus here? Jesus is horribly beaten, spat upon, and mocked. However, the Biblical narrative leaves out a lot of the gory details. “Before the scourging began, the victim was stripped of all his clothing and bent forward over a low, think stump or post…Jesus was stripped of His garments, bent low over this post, with wrists and ankles shackled into that position. The scourging was done by a man called a lictor, a professional in the grim art of torture. The instrument used for scourging was called a flagellum. It was a piece of wood fourteen to eighteen inches long, circular in shape, to which were attached long, leather thongs. Into these leather thongs or straps were sewn bits of glass, bone, and pieces of metal…The flagellum was brought all the way back and whistled forward, making a dull drum sound as the strips of leather smashed against the back of the rib cage. The bits of bone and chain curled around the right side of the body and raised small hemorrhages on the chest…It was designed to reduce the naked body to strips of raw flesh and inflamed, bleeding wounds. It was not uncommon for a man to die on the stump…It is easy to forget that Jesus was tortured, brutalized, and mistreated for an extended period of time before He was led to the place of execution. Quite likely in shock from the extensive physical trauma He had endured, He no doubt began to shake and shiver following all the blows. He had become so marked and swollen that His individual features were scarcely distinguishable.” (Charles Swindoll, The Darkness and the Dawn).
Was that too graphic for you? Even those words paint a pale and inadequate picture of the brutal beating that Jesus experienced on that day. However, I pray that those words will have burned a picture in your mind and heart that you will not soon forget. Do you know what Jesus went through to purchase your salvation? Too many Christians talk about the Cross so lightly as if it was merely “one step in the process to achieve our salvation.” We wear pretty gold crosses on our necks as a symbol of our Christianity, but the Cross was anything but pretty. It was a bloody instrument of the most extreme, painful method of execution known to mankind. People sometimes ask me why I have dedicated my life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I realized what an awesome thing that God has done for me – dying the death I deserved – and I MUST share this truth with others. “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” (Acts 20:24).
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
Pastor Chris Jordan