Like most of us, I am sure that you can remember the scenes of brutality made against Jesus’ character in that film; the derided trials of Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod; the shredding of His flesh and muscle through the scourging by Roman centurions; the excruciating crucifixion between two common criminals. Mel Gibson sought the poignant emotions of all those who viewed the movie to become familiar with the deep agony and throbbing pain that had been felt by Jesus, the Christ. And most of us unquestionably did.
But yet, today, the crosses that beautify our churches are elegant and adorned many times with gold and silver embellishments or encrusted with sparkling jewels. Often they are placed in conspicuous places and at times worshiped for their beauty and style. Long forgotten is the factual significance behind this symbol due to our shrouding it with our so called “artistic interpretations.”
These optimistic icons are in profound contrast to the crosses of the Romans government in the times of the Christ. They were known to split rough wood for their crosses which certainly including those found upon Calvary. Thus the surface of these implements of punishment was irregular, filled with splinters, and perhaps even crawling with insects. When the scourged backside of the Christ was forced onto His cross, the full weight of His body exposed Him to the tortures of the wood. He was bearing the repulsive pain of our sinfulness. Let’s take a few seconds to sit in silence and picture these agonizing moments for the Christ.