“Out of the corner of my eye, as the soldiers led me away, I saw Pilate washing his hands. The last thing I heard as I was taken off to be beaten was, “Crucify Him.”
The cries of the crowd were charged, but the roman soldiers were just cold, calculated and cruel. They led me to a whipping post where I was stripped naked. Over and over they pounded instruments of torture against my flesh-cutting, tearing and ripping literal strips of skin off my back. Inner muscles and sinews were torn. That’s what happened when they scourged me by whips embedded with glass, nails and bone.
Careful not to kill me, for I still had a cross to bear, they put aside their whips-but only to make an absolute mockery of me. The soldiers, out of sport and boredom, covered my raw, burning flesh with a scarlet robe and placed a crown made of prickly thorns into my scalp. I was in physical agony, but they had the time to kneel before my shaking body and spit upon me like I was some village idiot. “Hail, King of the Jews,” they sneered as my insides bled to the ground around me. If only they knew.
The physical break was short-lived. It was a time for me to carry my cross. I knew the burden was mine. I struggled with the weight of it for some time, but ultimately I fell to my knees. Another man had to help me finish the journey up to Golgotha.
When we got to the top of the hill, they offered me wine mixed with myrrh to dull my pain and my senses. There was still so much suffering ahead; they needed to make sure I was able to tolerate all of it. I refused. I needed to bear this pain. I needed to feel every excruciating moment.
What they did next was the most horrible torture mankind had yet devised. Crucifixion was designed to kill by way of slow suffocation. As the arms and legs of most victims were bound, the upper body would lose its strength, eventually collapsing the weight of the body onto the lungs. But instead of letting my body collapse onto itself, they drove spikes through the bones of my wrists-adding extra support and extra time to my suffering. They nailed my feet into the cross so that I could stand longer.
As I hung there from my own limbs, I suffered the effects of any human body exposed to such trauma. The insufferable thirst of being hung in the sun fueled the fever brought on by the swelling of my wounds. Tetanus began to set in from the rusty nails, and the wounds from which I was hanging tore further as my body shook harder and harder.
Yet I never lost sight of my purpose on that cross. Even as the soldiers gambled my garments away while I hung there convulsing, even as they hung a mocking sign above me reading, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” I still kept my character. On either side of me were true criminals-thieves being crucified for their crimes. One of them was defiant, mocking me, daring me to come down off my cross. How much I wanted to. The other criminal understood who I was. He asked if I would remember him when I came into my kingdom. Of course I would. He reminded me in my weakest hour, what I was there for.
Then more hours passed as I, hung in agony, the sins of the world gnawing on every nerve in my flesh. It was not that I realized that even God the Father couldn’t look upon me. I cried, “My God, My God, why hast through forsaken m?” The people still there thought I was confused and filled a sponge with sour wine, pushing it up to my lips.
As soon as the wine touched my lips, I knew the cup had passed. “IT IS FINISHED.” By David Nasser (Why Jesus?)
As Easter approaches it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the fuss of speckled eggs, jelly beans and the Easter Bunny. But as I think about the cracking of a leather whip being forcefully laid across Jesus back the significance of all that other “stuff” seems to not matter much. As a mother I can’t even wrap my mind around the thought of watching my own flesh and blood hanging on a cross for the sins, messiness and mistakes of complete strangers. We look at the soldiers who carried out the torturous plan that day in awe but forget that it’s really each and every one of us that holds the whip which tore across Jesus raw back because of our sins. The unconditional love that Jesus displayed is a reminder for us as He took each second of pain and only thought of us in His mind. As Easter approaches there is hope ignited within us as we remember the cost that a man paid willingly so that we could be free. The wages of sin are death but through the blood of Jesus we have been ransomed and will have eternal life!!!
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?
And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord]. Isaiah 53:5-11
As we celebrate Easter this year it is not about all the fuss that pierces our hearts but the hope that we have through Jesus. Even as Jesus hung on the cross in pain as the result of our own sins He still loved us more than we could ever imagine. Regardless of what you have done or where you have been you can rest assured that through His stripes…….“IT IS FINISHED!!!!”