Warning: no punches pulled today. May be R-rated……
“But God showed His Great Love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans 5:8 NLT
We call it Good Friday, to celebrate the day Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. SACRIFICED. How many of us understand what Jesus did? Even though His actions has been explained and expounded upon by many great scholars, I know there’s really no way I could ever really understand. Keep in mind, Jesus was INNOCENT, something you and I don’t get, because there is not a single person, before or since on this planet who can claim true innocence. So remember, this is a man who has never sinned; a man prepared to undertake the worst torture man has ever thought up.
God sent Christ to die for us… that almost sounds benign. Jesus was wounded, beaten, crucified. Sacrificed. Not just a few minor wounds. He was wounded, literally beaten to a pulp. The Romans were masters with torture techniques. First, after having been mocked, jeered at, and spit on by the soldiers, Jesus was tied to a post and His clothes ripped from His body. I don’t know if it was scorching hot or freezing cold, or some point in between, but here He is, the Son of GOD, naked and tied like an animal in front of a crowd intent on making fun of Him. He was beaten with a Roman scourging whip or what we call a cat-of-nine-tails. (For a very real and accurate explanation of the REAL Roman cat-of-nine-tails, the torture instrumen known as the flagrum, check out http://naturesdesignsonline.com/Cat-of-nine-tails.htm)
After Jesus endured this absolutely incomprehensible beating, the soldiers crammed a “crown” made of some type of thorny plant onto His head. There is some discussion among scholars about what plant was actually used, but I can’t see that it significant, any more than what type of tree was used for the cross, or whether there were 39 or 40 stripes. Just imagine what it feels like to prick your finger on a tiny rose thorn or have a sand bur stuck in your finger, and multiply that by any number on your scalp. It would hurt, whether the thorns were tiny or large!
He was then dragged back to court to be sentenced to be crucified, another torture instrument the Romans used and perfected. By this time, He would have lost a lot of blood, and then men handling His bruised and slashed body were probably not being gentle! The Romans created the crucifixion to be a prolonged and incredibly painful way to die. The crosses weren’t smooth, but were instead roughly hewn, full of splinters. Archeological and historical evidence suggests that the uprights were left in place, to be ready to put the cross piece on. I’ve handled a lot of lumber in my life, and I can say without reservation that even a smallish cross beam would weigh at least 30 pounds, and possibly more depending on the exact size and type of wood. To add that weight and roughness to a back that is flayed into exposed muscle and tendon, on a man who has been weakened from blood loss, and expect him to carry it through crowded, uneven and steep streets…..
Then, in front of His mother and His friends, naked, mutilated, His wrists laid out on the cross beam and nailed – NAILED – to the wood with rough iron nails; lifted up and dropped into place, then having His feet nailed to the upright…. I cannot comprehend the agony. Once, as a preteen, I stepped on a nail on a path and it penetrated my shoe and into my foot. THAT was agony to me, so how much more must Jesus have suffered? An accident for me, and He allowed Himself to be tortured like He was? WHY???
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
I won’t understand why Jesus sacrificed Himself for me until I see Him. I can’t begin to comprehend the GLORY He gave up to come here, for ME. It makes absolutely no sense, yet I know without any doubt that He did it so that I could be forgiven and spend eternity with Him, rather than eternity suffering in hell. It’s amazing, that the King would do such a thing for someone like me! The really cool thing? He did it for YOU, too…