As we head on into this series we need to realize that there is a major shift her in what Jesus is about to go through. When we celebrate communion and we remember these moments are what are symbolized by the elements. Jesus now truly begins to shed his blood and have his body broken for us. Jesus is now moving from being betrayed and condemned to actually suffering the pain and humiliation of the Road to the Resurrection. This is the part of the road that truly is stained with blood and littered with pieces of Jesus body.
Christians as a rule talk about the suffering of Christ, I think however we never truly adequately understand it. In many respects this is still Jesus identifying with us as a race of humanity. It is not just that we cannot go to God and say he does not understand about being human, but we also no longer go to God and call him to the carpet that he does not understand what it means to suffer.
The scourge was diabolical punishment device. Notice I did not say torture device. The scourge’s purpose is to punish the body by not only hitting the back with cords but the ends of the cords are both weighted and hooked so they grip the skin. With a twist and pull the Legionnaire assigned to administer scourging could literally rip chunks of meat off of a human body. Pilate is trying one last and extreme method to get Jesus off. Some people did not survive scourging and those that did were often so pitied that they were released usually to die.
To add to this Pilate has the whole cohort of Roman soldiers mock and punch Jesus out. The robe they put on him must have congealed with the blood on the back of Jesus only to be removed again. The crown of thorns is placed on his head and beat into his brow. It would have been very difficult to remove so my guess is the soldiers didn’t bother. By the time Jesus is finished. He would have looked very little like the man he had been before. Swollen eyes, raw hamburger for a back and a crown of thorns twisted into his forehead. His pain would have been quite high but he remains to hear even after all this that the crowd would rather have Barabbas than him released.
The million dollar question is ‘why?” Love is the only answer that makes sense but at the same time it seems to vast and big a love for us to contemplate. The one thing for sure is that if Jesus loves us this much our excuses to do his will should vanish. Jesus himself said the greatest thing a person could do for his friends was to lay down his life, in the same breath, he said that the disciples were his friends – if they did what he commanded them to do. Food for thought.