"Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame." (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


My heart was crushed this morning as my studies took me through the Gospel of John’s 18th and 19th chapters.

When Jesus is “handed over” for crucifixion, he is placed in the custody of the Roman garrison that ordinarily handled such matters.  Here Mark’s Gospel (15.15) introduces Jesus’ full preparation for crucifixion.  While Jesus had already been given a “remedial” flogging by Pilate’s men, now the soldiers inflict the verberatio (the most severe and brutal of three levels of flogging).[1]

"The delinquent was stripped, bound to a post or a pillar, or sometimes simply thrown on the ground, and beaten by a number of torturers until the latter grew tired and the flesh of the delinquent hung in bleeding shreds.  In the provinces this was the task of the soldiers.  Three kinds of implements were customary.  Rods were used on freemen; military punishments were inflicted with sticks, but for slaves scourges or whips were used, the leather thongs of these being often fitted with a spike or with several pieces of bone or lead joined to form a chain.  The scourging of Jesus was carried out with these last-named instruments.  It is not surprising to hear that delinquents frequently collapsed and died under this procedure which only in exceptional cases was prescribed as a death sentence.  Josephus records that he himself had some of his opponents in the Galilean Tarichae scourged until their entrails were visible.  The case of Jesus bar Hanan, the prophet of woe, whom the procurator Albinus had scourged until his bones lay bare . . . also makes one realize what the little word phragellosas [to scourge] in Mark 15:15 means."[2]

God knew in advance that Jesus would endure this incomprehensible pain and suffering, yet He gave His Son for me.  My friend Jesus knew in advance that He would suffer this excruciating beating, yet He still willingly gave himself for me.  What can I give Him?  Only this paltry, sin-disfigured gift: me.  Me - made incredibly valuable, priceless – by the sheer magnitude of the price He paid.

Oh, how He loves!  Oh, how He loves you and me!

[1] Dr. Gary M. Burge, The NIV Application Commentary – John, p. 508.
[2] J. Blinzler, Der Prozess Jesu, quoted by Dr. Gary Burge, pp. 508-509.

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