Summary: A message on the scourging of Jesus as a prelude to crucifixion showing how God was in control even then.
Looking at the Cross Sermon 1
Bob Marcaurelle Matt.27: 27-30
JESUS SCOURGED AND SHAMED
“The Governor’s soldiers/ stripped off Jesus’ clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. They make a crown out of thorn branches and placed it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. The soldiers knelt down and pretended to worship him. They made fun of him and shouted, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” Then they spit on him. They took the stick from his hand and beat him on the head with it. When they had finished making fun of Jesus they took off the robe.”
(Matt. 27:27-31 CEV)
The Horror of Crucifixion
We have looked at the cross so much we don’t really see it. In the 1960’s when the Vietnam War could be seen in our living rooms we turned the channel to Andy Griffin. War scenes became commonplace and even boring to some. Crucifixion was so horribly cruel that no Roman citizen, regardless of his crime could be crucified. Even Pilate hesitated to put a man he thought was innocent through it. When a man was handed over to the soldiers to be crucified they spent a little time making fun of their victim. Jesus, being a despised Jew and claiming to be the king of heaven was the ideal target so they mocked him, beat him and spit on him in mock worship.
The Prior Suffering and Scourging
This man they dragged into their barracks did not look human. Isaiah said, “Everyone who saw him was horrified because he suffered until he no longer looked human.” (52:14 CEV) In Gethsemane, thinking about the cross He broke out in a bloody sweat. He was covered in dried blood and that is why the soldiers who came to the garden to arrest Him fell back when they saw him. At some point His beard been jerked out. He said, “I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” (Isa. 50:6).
Worst of all Jesus had been scourged probably by these same soldiers. Many victims never made it to the cross because they died of the scourging. The scourge was a Roman whip with leather straps attached to a wooden handle. In the end of the straps there were tied bits of metal and bone. The victim was stripped naked and stretched out by being strung up to a post. One soldier stood to hit him from behind, one soldier stood to hit him from the front. When they would come down to strike the flesh, the pieces of bone and metal would catch in the skin, so when they jerked it back they would rip out blood and flesh. By the time you had 39 lashes like that on the back and on the front a victims intestines and internal organs were exposed and pieces thrown in all directions by the whip. Arteries and veins were hanging out.
This is what they did to our Lord. Can you think of 39 lashes to the back, 39 lashes to the front? From the top of his head to the soles of his feet skin was jerked from his body. Was it the bits of bone and metal on the scourge that ripped out his beard? How many lashes hit the beautiful face of Jesus, pulling out his beard? Only God’s providence kept a bone from being broken and His eyes from being jerked out. Isaiah 52:14 tells us when they were through with this dirty work many were horrified at what happened to him because he suffered until he no longer looked human.
ADDED PAIN RECEIVED
The soldiers had a job to do. They should have just done it - take him, bind him, go get the other two, give them crosses, lead them through the streets, go to Golgotha, nail them to the crosses, and sit down and wait for death. That was it, just a simple, routine job.
It sometimes took days for victims to die. Most went insane before they died, because the heat and the thirst and the insects eating their wounds, and the unquenchable pain drove men stark, raving mad. It was a bad enough job. By itself that was enough.
Why so much added injury?
But this man was different. He had not cursed them. He had not spit at them. He had not shown hate on his face. They may have thought He was a sissy. A man would spit back. A man would curse back. He wasn’t a man, they may have thought, he was a lily-livered little scared Jew. Let’s see they said if we can make him spit at us. We’ll make him curse us. So we’re not just going to crucify him, let’s take him into the barracks and have a little fun with him. He called himself a king, this stupid Jew. A king, we’ll make him a king. We’ll show him, we’ll bow before him.