Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. Try to imagine Roman soldiers surrounding an innocent Man chained to a post. Sweat pouring from His back, blood already dripping from his face where they’ve beaten Him.
Now, try to feel the rough leather of a whip in one of the soldier’s hands. Visualize the individual strips, each one attached to a heavy weight and other sharp objects like glass and nails. This is a cat-of-nine-tails.
Feel the soldier’s arm muscles clench as he swings it back and then slams it toward the innocent man’s bare back. Watch the sharp objects embed into the skin and pull away flesh with every swing. The soldier gets exhausted. His arm aches and throbs from the physical exertion. Sweat starts pouring from his face as well. But blood…
It flows onto the stones, from the prisoner’s back. Sometimes, it splatters, along with pieces of His flesh. But He stands there, trembling and writhing in agony. He could cry out, or call a thousand angels to free Him, or to slaughter the Roman soldiers hurting Him, but He doesn’t.
When Pilate listened to the innocent Man’s prosecutors, He didn’t say anything in His defense. No, He took it—the sheer agony from the whip tearing apart His flesh. The emotional sting of their mockery. The way the Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head and then dug it into his skull. It symbolized the curse He was taking upon Himself—the curse of sin and death.
The curse that belonged to us. We were the ones that chose to sin, all the way back in the Garden. We would have chosen the same thing as Adam and Eve. In fact, we do. Each time we lust or take God’s name in vain, each time we get angry, or steal or lie, we are choosing the forbidden fruit just like Adam and Eve did. So, we deserve the same punishment, which is eternal separation from a Holy and Perfect God who can know no sin.
But He came as Man, as Jesus Christ, to live a perfect, sinless life. Because only perfection can make the sacrifice required to save us from our sin. He did it for you and for me, for all of us, even knowing that throughout the generations, people would mock him and still choose not to believe in Him. But God gave us our free will to choose—to believe and love in Jesus Christ, to repent from our sins, or to reject Him for eternity.
Imagine the splinters on Jesus’ back or the pressure on his back as He was forced to lift Himself just to take a breath. Imagine the white-hot pain surging through the nerves in His wrists from the nail. The least little movement would sent lightning like pain throughout His body.
He died, for you and for me.
People these days, even other Christians in some cases, have become numb to the suffering Jesus endured. “Oh, it was just three days” or “people have endured worse than that” or “He knew what was going to happen” or “it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.”
Let’s see you do it, then.
We don’t stop to really think about what Jesus went through. Either, we don’t think about it at all because it’s to horrible for us to think about and we don’t want to think about it, or our minds are so filled with violet images from video games and movies and TV Shows that it doesn’t seem like a big deal.
But this is the biggest deal that ever happened. Crucifixion was the worst form of execution and it was reserved for the worst criminals. Romans used it all throughout history to punish criminals. But Jesus was innocent—He was God in the flesh, who had done no wrong. “Well, innocent people have been hurt before.” Yes, that’s true.
But are we truly innocent? No. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a need for Jesus, would we? Have you ever lied? Even a small little white lie? Or stolen anything, even something small, like a piece of gum, or a shirt from a friend when they stayed the night? Have you ever taken God’s Name in vain? Or disrespected your parents? Or, have you ever looked at someone with lust? The Bible says that means you’ve already committed adultery with them in your heart.
God is so Holy and so Perfect that He even sees the sins in our thoughts. “But I’m a good person,” most of us would say, think, and believe. By human standards, yes. You may be. I may be. We may be good. But human standards are filthy rags to a Perfect, Sinless God who has never done any evil. He is the Judge of the Universe.
Ask yourself, if a criminal is caught by the police, the judge must pass a sentence. We have a judicial system for a reason—to keep order. God is the Judge of the Universe, so He must judge the universe fairly. This means that no one can get by with sin—even small ones.
You and I were guilty because we broke God’s Law. But Jesus paid the fine. So, now God can do what is legal and right and still be just and fair all at the same time. He can legally set you free.
Isn’t that good news?
People may not want to hear that they have sin in their lives. But no one who goes to the doctor wants to hear that they’re sick. First, they have to see that there is a disease. If they don’t even know what the disease is, they aren’t going to believe a diagnosis of it. Sin is the disease and Jesus is the cure. If you had the cure to cancer, wouldn’t you tell the world? You’d want to give it to as many people as would accept it. Even if some didn’t believe you, you would still try.
That’s what we’re supposed to be doing, as Christians; sharing the cure of Jesus Christ with the world.
And this Easter Sunday, we need to think and dwell on all that Jesus endured for us. Don’t become numb to His sacrifice and suffering, to what He did so that you can I can be set free.