Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers from the trial before Governor Pilate and the Jewish crowd into the Praetorium, where He would be scourged and then delivered to execution. When He arrived at the Praetorium, the guards gathered the entire Roman cohort to enjoy some fun with this unusual prisoner.
A Roman cohort consisted of either 480 soldiers or 800 soldiers depending on their assignment.
The soldiers gathered around ready to mock and ridicule this “prophet” of the Jewish people. First, they stripped Jesus of His cloths to prepare Him for the flogging. One of the soldiers grabbed the royal garment Herod Antipater had given Jesus, put it back on Him and began mocking and calling Him “King of the Jews.”
Another soldier furthered the game by making a crown of thorns and pressing it firmly on His head. Blood vessels close to the surface were pierced, causing bleeding as only head wounds can bleed. They put a rod in his hand and knelt before Him; bowing in mock worship shouting, “Hail King of the Jews.” Others began to spit on Him, mocked Him and struck Him on the head with the rod that had been in His hand and pulled handfuls of beard from His face. Blood streamed from his scalp, down His face and onto His shoulders. After the mocking they stripped Him naked again and led Him to the flogging post.
Flagellation is a cruel and excruciating punishment; being used in the Middle East, even today.
The flagellum was short whip with several strands of either single strips or braided strips of leather. Small lead balls and sharp pieces of bone were tied into the leather strips at varying intervals.
The victim’s hands were tied above his head to the flogging post so his back, buttocks and legs were fully exposed. Usually two men, called lictors, would take turns striking the victim from one side and then the other, pulling the whips from the shoulders toward the spine. The small balls would cause deep contusions. The leather strips and pieces of bone would cut the skin and the deeper tissue of the back. As the flogging continued the back and leg muscles would be torn, leaving long strands of flesh hanging. Blood vessels and arteries in the muscles would be torn so blood would be flowing and flying through the air as the flagellation continued. The victim would go into shock.
Why would Father allow such abuse of His Son?
The crown of thorns was for the renewing of the mind. The writer of Proverbs said, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” From the earliest days we are taught and trained in human reasoning, fleshing concepts, ideology and philosophy of mankind. Our human experiences cause us to form opinions and thought patterns. Our thoughts and reasoning are not God’s thoughts and reasoning. They will conform us to this world. We must be transformed by the renewing of the mind so we can live the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
The mocking and physical abuse was for the healing of the damaged soul. We are mocked and teased on the playground as children. We are made fun of and rejected by our peers as teenagers. We are abandoned and rejected by our lovers and marriage partners as adults. Too often, we have grown up in a home where we are physically, emotionally and sexually abused. The suffering of Jesus at the hands of His captors purchased healing for the wounded, bruised and lacerated souls of mankind. His healing is so complete it will restore the innocence that has been stolen in childhood. He heals “to the uttermost.”
The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrow… by his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Literally, “He has borne our sickness and carried our pain and by his flogging we are healed.” Every strike of the whip laid on Jesus’ back the sickness, disease, and pain of every kind that is suffered by mankind. Our wildest imagination cannot conceive the pain our Lord Jesus suffered. All so you might be healed.
DO YOU BELIEVE THE GOSPEL?