Real, Relevant, Raw and Radical!

Day 17 – Just Look 

 

John 19:1-16(NLT) Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” 11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

 

Mark 15:15-20(NLT) So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. 16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

 

We have seen the conflict that Pilate had within himself concerning Jesus. Pilate is a politician. Politicians are about self-preservation. Self-preservation can only be accomplished by keeping the masses happy. He knows what the Jewish leaders want, yet in examining Jesus, he has a very hard time finding any incriminating evidence against Him. So he has Jesus flogged, hoping it would be enough.

 

No words can describe the brutality of what Jesus suffered. Flogging happened before most crucifixions, unless it was impractical due to the amount of people being crucified. In some instances, as many as 500 people could be crucified in a single day. Only women, Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt from flogging. Jesus is being flogged with a Flagrum or Flagellum. A short whip with braided leather strips of different lengths. These leather strips would have small pieces of metal attached to it, and could contain sharp pieces of sheep bones. The person being flogged was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. In this way, a person’s back, buttocks, and legs were exposed. Two soldiers on each side would alternate to inflict maximum punishment. The intent was to shorten the amount of time that the person would stay alive on the cross. Due to the severity of flogging, Jewish law mandated that a person could only receive 39 lashes. In Jesus’ case, there is no indication that the Romans would pay any attention to the Jewish law.

 

As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck Jesus with full force, deep bruising would take place on His legs, arms and back. The leather straps and bones would cut into His skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. To add insult to injury, Jesus was mocked. The entire regiment was called out to participate in this cruel revelry of humiliation. Jesus was cursed, spat on, struck in the face, and a crown of thorns forced onto His head. He was repeatedly struck on His head with a reed stick. This stick was placed in His hand as a mocking scepter, to the King of the Jews, as they bowed before Him in mock worship. This only stopped once they exhausted themselves.

 

Then they brought Jesus out to the crowd, parading Him like a macabre example of what happens when you cross Rome. Imagine for yourself this moment. Jesus with His flesh hanging in ribbons, a purple robe put on Him, and a crown of thorns on His head. No wonder Isaiah looking ahead to that day says in: Isaiah 52:14(NLT) “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.”

 

When people say that following Christ is for the weak, they simply reveal their level of ignorance. Our King is matchless in His grace, and unsurpassable in His courage. The hatred that Jesus faced simply reveals the depth of depravity of sin in the human heart. Jesus did not flinch for a moment. As Jesus is being paraded, cries of crucify Him fills the air. Pilate is suddenly frightened. Wait, what? What possibly could scare a man like Pilate? These words from the Jewish leaders: “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” Suddenly, Pilate wants to know where Jesus is from. But Jesus remains quiet. No self-preservation only self-sacrifice. No confession of greatness, just simply an act of outrageous, unfathomable, unexplainable love! For Jesus, love is not a feeling of euphoria, but an act of excruciating pain.

 

Pilate, thinking that he has the life of Jesus in his hands, demanding a response, is simply met with “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.” Pilate, the only reason you can do what you do, is because I am letting you. Jesus did this willingly. He fulfills what Isaiah says in; Isaiah 53:7(TLB) He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he stood silent before the ones condemning him.

 

Isaiah 50:6(NLT) The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.  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 mockery and spitting. 

 

If you have ever doubted the love of God, because of what you have suffered, you need to pause and look at the Man of sorrows. Understand that Jesus did this for you. If you feel abandoned or abused, just look. If you feel neglected and misused, just look. If life has been hard and people cruel, just look. If you have been lied about and falsely accused, just look. If you are weighed down by sorrow and grief, just look. If fear has you gripped and hope seems lost, just look. If your emotions are frayed and your mind is confused, just look. If your body is in pain and there seems to be no answer, just look. If you are filled with shame and regret, just look. Look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. There is the Man of sorrows, who says; “this is my Body which was broken for you!”

 

Jesus, Man of sorrows, abused and beaten, tried and crucified did it for you. He suffered at the hands of the very ones who would benefit from His pain. Religious leaders, temple guards, Roman soldiers, Pilate, this blood is for you. Isaiah 53:8(TLB) From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that he was dying for—that he was suffering their punishment?

 

Isaiah 53:1-8(TLB) We despised him and rejected him—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we didn’t care. 4 Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! 5 But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!

 

Eternity is not long enough to thank Him for what He did for me! I am forever in His debt. My peace, my healing is birthed from His pain. Thank you my King! Thank you my Savior! Thank you my Jesus! Thank you my God!

 

Prayer:

  • Just take a moment and thank the Lord for His sacrifice for you.
  • Pray for those who are sick, remembering it is by His stripes that we are healed.
  • Ask the Lord to help you live in the reality of His peace that Jesus was beaten for.
  • Pray that the Lord would forgive you for complaining and having a bad attitude over things that won’t matter in eternity.
  • Pray that we the church will have a revelation of His love.