“The Whip, Hammer & Cross”
WHIP - Mark 15:15 – “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
Isaiah 53:5 – “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.”
HAMMER – Acts 2:23 – “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Acts 17:31 – “For (God) has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
CROSS – John 19:17-18 – “Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic I called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”
Isaiah 59:2 – “(But) your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
The WHIP, the HAMMER, and the CROSS. Three well-known instruments of torture. All important elements of a crucifixion. Jesus was killed by the use of these items. They were the professional tools of death. In the skillful hands of a Roman executioner they slowly, painfully drained the life from the victim. You didn’t just die. No, that would have been too merciful. The WHIP, HAMMER & CROSS made sure that you died in slow-motion agony. The outcome was always certain to be death but the emphasis was on the maximum amount of pain and suffering. In fact, if the victim did not suffer greatly before they died, the process was not considered truly successful.
The more you read up and study about Roman crucifixions, the more appreciation you gain for Jesus. He suffered so much more than most of us ever realize. What they did to him with those three deadly instruments was so awful, so gruesome that it would have been too much for most of us to watch without having to turn away. I can’t imagine having children anywhere near such an event. It was such a bloody affair that if you stood too close in the crowd there’s a very good chance that some of his blood would have splashed or squirted or been slung onto you. Disgusting, hideous, inhuman, and utterly shameful. These are some of the descriptions that come to mind. Jesus did this willingly for you and me.
The WHIP, the HAMMER, and the CROSS. Today, these three well-known instruments of torture have come to symbolize the grace, mercy, and love of God. Jesus took what we had coming to us.
PAIN. JUDGEMENT. SEPARATION.
The WHIP – part I. Flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. The instrument was a short whip with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths from which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. The victim was stripped naked, strapped to a wooden post/poll, and flogged on his back, buttocks and legs by two Roman soldiers. The iron balls, sheep bones and leather thongs would cut deep into the skin and subcutaneous tissue, tearing the underlying skeletal muscle and producing quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. This is what they did to my Jesus that awful day in Jerusalem. Meanwhile…
…several centuries later a young Buddhist living in South Korea lay in a shack, covered by a dirty, torn blanket, waiting to die. From childhood he had prayed to Buddha, but now Buddha offered him no help. The doctor showed David X-rays of his lungs, half-destroyed by tuberculosis, and told him he had less than a month to live. His father reassured him by saying, “There is no life or death, no joy and no sorrow – only in Buddha is there reality. Forget about life and death and have peace.” But for young David there was no peace, only PAIN. But something was happening back at that whipping post in Jerusalem for David – and for you and me. Long before David felt the first effects of tuberculosis in his body, Jesus was writing out a PRESCRIPTION for his PAIN. He didn’t know it yet, but David was about to meet the Great Physician. Help was on the way. His PAIN, Our pain. The WHIP, the wounds, the wonder of a God-man who took every sickness into his body.
The HAMMER – part I. After carrying the (75-125 lbs.) crossbar of the cross from the flogging post to the site of the crucifixion outside the city walls, Jesus’ bloody body and wounded back were thrown onto the ground where dirt mixed in with the blood, further contaminating his wounds. His arms were outstretched on the crossbar while his wrists were nailed with square, 7-inch long spikes, severing or crushing the large sensorimotor median nerve. This spike induced excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both his arms and causing his hands to produce an involuntary claw-like grasp. His feet were spiked between a joint causing injury to the medial and lateral plantar nerves, also causing fiery pain. Meanwhile, as hammer met nail and the sound of metal against metal rang out on the hill…