So I’m pretty sure I’m the last person the see The Passion of the Christ. I watched this movie a few days ago and it really put into perspective of what Jesus went through while he was tortured and crucified. I don’t know about you guys, but reading about the torture and crucifixion of Jesus was always hard for me to picture, and I think this is partially because I didn’t want to imagine what He went through to save the world.
The Bible doesn’t go into great detail when it is talking about Jesus being flogged and crucified. Matthew 27:24-26 says, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’ All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and our children!’ Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
Not only was Jesus tortured, he was mocked and ridiculed. John 19:2, 3 says, “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ and they slapped him in the face.”
But because of other historical records, we can get a good idea of what Jesus went through. Hebrew law was strict on the number of lashes a person could receive, that number was 40. So the Pharisees gave 39 lashes to ensure they wouldn’t break the law. But because Jesus was condemned to punishment by Pontius Pilate, He was flogged according to Roman law, which had no limit. Romans would leave the criminal with enough strength to carry their cross to wherever they were being crucified. I’m not exactly sure how many lashes Jesus received, but definitely more than 39. The fact that Jesus had to have someone help him carry His cross testifies to how badly He was beaten. The Romans used a whip called a flagrum. It had leather chords of varying length with either lead balls or bits of sheep bone woven into the leather chords. These would burrow into the skin after being struck and as the person doing the flogging whipped it back, it would take flesh with it. This left Jesus scourged with ribbons of flesh hanging from his back.
After being flogged, mocked, and ridiculed, Jesus was crucified. The Romans nailed Him to a cross. Being crucified is incredibly painful, hence the term excruciating. You would be nailed or tied in a slumped position so you could not exhale completely and couldn’t get a full breath. To get a full breath, you would have to push up with your feet. Eventually you would not be able to do this because of exhaustion, and you die of asphyxiation. If a criminal wasn’t dying quickly enough, they would break your legs so they would suffocate. Jesus’ legs however, were not broken. This was so that scripture would be fulfilled (see Ex. 12:46, Num. 9:12, and Psalm 34:20).
Seeing The Passion helped make real for me what Jesus suffered so that we could be forgiven. I don’t write these things to discourage you. I write them to encourage you! Jesus overcame death and rose again! Just how when Jesus told the Jews to destroy the temple and He would rebuild it in three days (John 2:19). Death couldn’t hold Jesus down! He overcame it and because of it we are forgiven and get to be with God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for eternity! Know that Jesus loved you so much, that He endured all of this so that you could spend eternity with Him.
In God’s grip,