The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. Psalms 129:3.
Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ” greatly affected me. It still does.
I have been walking with God for fifty years now, yet my relationship and experience with God through Jesus Christ is as fresh as it was on day one and getting better every day. I am learning more about Him every day.
Like other people I know, I thought I knew what happened on that fateful day when Jesus was arrested and mercilessly scourged by the Romans, but I never really comprehended the fullness of all that transpired.
The Passion Movie merely confirmed what I knew in my spirit, but had not let it get into my consciousness.
The scenes portrayed what could possibly be the most vile and despicable act perpetrated upon a man.
The sheer animal-like cruelty inflicted was no mere act of violence. Atrocities of war, murder, violence, rape, pillaging, wanton destruction of property and more are well known, but this… this was something extraordinary and it makes me ask a poignant question, “What really happened”?
What happened between the Last Supper and Easter Sunday? What happened between Good friday and easter Sunday? These matters deserve thorough investigation.
Matthew 27:26 tells us that Pilate had scourged Jesus before he delivered Him to be crucified, so we need to understand what it meant to be scourged.
The word Scourged is the Greek word Phragello.
It is horrific to say the least. Religion and religious art has not honestly portrayed the events of what we now call Easter.
What happened was one of the most sadistic, cruellest and animalistic forms of punishment meted out by the Romans.
Scourging was considered to be one of their most feared and deadly weapons… so ghastly that the mere threat of scourging could control people.
It could calm a crowd, bend the will of the strongest rebel or cause the most hardened criminal to cringe in fear.
Religious art reveals Jesus modestly covered with a loincloth, with a few cuts across His body and this is far from the truth.
The victim was stripped completely naked and bound to the whipping post. Being stripped caused shame enough but the anticipation of the first blow caused the victim's body to grow rigid, the muscles to knot in his stomach and the colour to drain from his cheeks.
The scourging post was approximately two feet or 600 mm high to which a metal ring was fixed. The victim’s hands were tied over his head and his wrists were securely shackled to the metal ring to restrain his body from possible movement.
The scourge itself consisted of a short, wooden handle to which were affixed several 18 to 24 inch of 500 to 600 mm long straps of leather. Sharp objects like pieces of metal or bone were attached to the ends of the thongs.
Two men were often engaged in the scourging process and they excelled at this, almost regarding it as a their profession, thus taking great delight in torturing the victim, whilst standing on either side of the victim to strike so hard that the thongs lashed the entire back and wrapped around the body, cutting deeply thorough the skin, into the flesh and shredded everything in the process. This way, the thongs also covered the entire torso, which meant that the chest and stomach were also lacerated.
The torturers often jerked backward to tear whole pieces of flesh from the body, with the result that the victim's back, buttocks, chest, stomach, the back of the legs and even the face would soon be slashed.
Historical records describe a victim's back as being so mutilated after a Roman scourging that his spine would actually be exposed. Others recorded how the bowels of a victim would actually spill out through the open wounds created by the whip.
The early Church historian Eusebius said-
The veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.During the scourging, blood vessels were cut open so much that the victim would experience profuse loss of blood and bodily fluids. Because the body started bleeding profusely, the heart started pumping harder, and so blood gushed uncontrollably through the opened vessels. This loss of blood caused the victim's blood pressure to drop drastically. The massive loss of bodily fluids induced an intense almost uncontrollable and painful thirst. Fainting from the pain, going into shock and such irregular heartbeat often causing cardiac arrest often happened.
The Jews were permitted by Law according to Deuteronomy 25:3 to give forty lashes to a victim, but because the fortieth lash usually proved fatal, the number of lashes given was reduced to thirty-nine. See 2 Corinthians 11:24.
On the other hand, the Romans had no limitations. It is possible therefore that Jesus may have had more than forty lashes across His body. This may explain the additional outrage the Jews displayed towards Jesus. Little wonder therefore the prophecies said that Jesus would be almost unrecognizable as a human being.
Isaiah 52:14 says-
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.
Psalm 129:3 therefore takes on deep significance, but we must remember that this scourging was but the beginning.
This scourging was only the preparation for Jesus' crucifixion! Matthew 27:26 says-
and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
The Romans scourged Jesus mercilessly. It was not a pretty sight. It was a gruesome and a sickening sight, when all the hatred, spite and venom of the devil was unleashed at him through human agents. No man has ever suffered as this man suffered.
The bible says that he was spat upon, kicked and beaten and then scourged. He was so marred and disfigured... so wounded, bruised and battered to a pulp, with split lips, blackened eyes, great lumps of his hair torn from his face and his head and so savagely whipped, his back was torn to shreds so extensively that he was almost unrecognizable as a human.
What was the reason for these horrible inflictions? Was it just for some men's' sadistic and barbaric pleasure, or was there an ulterior motive?
Religious tradition and religious art has not always presented the truth, sometimes portraying Calvary as some form of noble act. To some extent it was noble, but the reality if vastly different.
Jesus is often pictured hanging there modestly covered with a loin cloth, a crown of thorns perched lightly on his head and a few marks on his body caused by whipping, but that is not correct. He was stripped stark naked and open to public gaze and ridicule as this was and still is a gross act of inflicting shame and disgrace on the victim.
The crown of thorns was rammed on his head tearing his scalp open. It has been said that the crown of thorns was plaited from what was called the Snake vine, as the sap caused excruciating agony and made the face swell horribly. His back was torn to shreds, some commentators suggesting that many of the wounds not only tore great lumps of flesh from his body, but opened him up to the bone in places. Again, I ask a question, "Why"? The contents of this page may surprise you as we show the truth, dispel myths and misconceptions, share a testimony or two and pass on some healing scriptures and prayers that may help you.
The word scourge is equivalent to the Italian word Scoriada, taken from two Latin words, Excoriare, which means to flay and the other is Corium, which means skin.
A scourge is a multi-thong whip or lash, designed primarily to inflict corporal punishment. The typical scourge in Latin is Flagrum and in the English is Flagellum and has several thongs fastened to a handle. The scourge, or flail and the crook are the two symbols of power and domination depicted in the hands of Osiris Egyptian monuments and it seems that the flail depicted in Egyptian mythology was an agricultural instrument used to thresh wheat and not for corporal punishment.
In 1 Kings 12:11 which says My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions, the word scorpio (scorpion) is the Latin word for a Roman Flagrum. Hard material was affixed to multiple thongs to give a flesh-tearing 'bite'.
The name testifies to the pain caused by the Arachnid, which is the family of scorpions, spiders and other eight-legged creatures, most of which can inflict painful, if not deadly bites.
The crushing place
Jesus once said that a wise man builds his house on a rock, referring of course to laying good foundations. We Christians base the very foundations of our belief upon a defined plan and purpose, or an Eternal Plan that commenced before the universe was created and this planet was formed.
When original sin entered, it never took God by surprise (we do not wish to dwell on the reasons here, other than to say that God gave man free will and to this day, he never usurps our freedom of choice), so in accord with God’s foreknowledge, Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world. Revelation 13:8.
God stated his plan very clearly there in the garden, speaking to the woman and to the serpent-
I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15.
This was the first of many prophecies about Calvary and the Kingdom of God. The seed of the woman is Jesus. The seed of that serpent (the devil) struck him at Calvary, but he conquered sin and death, when in fulfillment of that first prophetic utterance, Jesus crushed his head.
See also Genesis 49:10, Deuteronomy 18:15, Psalm 110:1; 118:22, Isaiah 7:14; 9:2, 6-7; 42:1-4; 52:13-15; 53; 59:16-17; 61:1-3, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Daniel 2:44; 7:13; 9:25, Micah 5:2, Haggai 2:7, Zechariah 3:8; 6:12; 9:9; 11:12; 12:10; 13:7 and Malachi 3:1.
From these few selected verses; we can see a divine pattern that pointed continually like a scarlet thread towards Calvary and beyond.
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Matthew 26:2.
When He said that He was preparing to enter into the next phase of His ministry. He knew His mission from the day He started His earthly ministry, having divested Himself from His Divine Attributes (see Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:14-18).
It was Passover and as the true Passover Lamb, He ate the final Passover with the twelve saying that He would not do that again until they all drank the cup anew in the Father's kingdom. See Matthew 26:26-29. Judas left, going to betray Him and after singing a hymn, they departed.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. Matthew 26:36.
This place called Gethsēmani is a garden near Jerusalem and the name is derived from two other words. One is Gat, which refers to a winepress where grapes are trodden on to produce wine, or the vat used for holding the grapes when they are being pressed.
The other word is shemen which refers to oil, ointment, fat, grease and the like. It relates to liquid as from the olive (often perfumed) that has been extracted after being crushed in a press.
The name of the garden therefore speaks about a crushing place and this is where Jesus led His disciples to pray.
He went there as a man, fully aware of what was ahead of Him and it was crushing Him. The pressure of what was coming was so great that He cried out for help. He did not want to go through with the things He knew were ahead of Him. Remember that He was an ordinary man... the Second Adam. He felt grief, sorrow, heaviness, great distress as the revelation of what was to come sank in.
Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me.
And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire... Again a second time He went away and prayed, My Father, if this cannot pass by unless I drink it, Your will be done.... He went away and prayed for the third time, using the same words. Matthew 26:38-44.
The human part of His nature wanted to avoid Calvary and He desperately sought an alternative plan... seeking for some legal alternative to paying the ultimate price for our redemption. There was none.
It was weighing so much on Him that it is said that His sweat seemed to be like drops of blood coming out of His skin. A doctor acquaintance once told me than when this happens death is inevitable as the capillary system in the body breaks down.
Moments later, He was arrested.
Old Testament scriptures
Under the Law, certain judgements were made regarding miscarriage of justice and offences made against other people. For example-
If men contend with each other, and a pregnant woman [interfering] is hurt so that she has a miscarriage, yet no further damage follows, [the one who hurt her] shall surely be punished with a fine [paid] to the woman's husband, as much as the judges determine. But if any damage follows, then you shall give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burn for burn, wound for wound, and lash for lash. Exodus 21:22-25.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 states-
If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.
Let me suggest to you that someone was offended and that controversy did exist between two parties... God and man. Because of original sin, the righteousness of God was violated and someone had to pay the price. The punishment was death. The results are poverty and sickness.
This is not what God wants however, but the righteous Judge had passed sentence that had to be fulfilled to satisfy judgement. God provided a substitute, His Son...Jesus Christ. Several matters had to be addressed and the full price paid. They were the sin issue, which was dealt with on the Cross when Jesus died in our stead and the removing of the curse.
To fully satisfy the demands of righteous judgement in every aspect, Jesus had to become this substitute for everything. Someone had to pay the price and the payment for sickness and disease was this punishment that was inflicted by way of beating.
Psalm 89:19-37 says
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.
Isaiah 53 reveals how this was fulfilled.
Who has believed (trusted in, relied upon, and clung to) our message [of that which was revealed to us]? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been disclosed? For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah's] people, to whom the stroke was due? And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord]. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious). Isaiah 53:1-12 (emphasis mine).
Isaiah revealed that it would be God... who afflicted Jesus. He did that for you. He used the Jewish religious leaders (not the ordinary people) and the Roman as a tool to achieve this.
Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn't make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly. Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God's approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you have come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives. 1 Peter 2:22-25.
This is why Jesus was beaten so savagely. Every time that scourge hit Him, God dealt with the source of sickness and disease. It is said that the number of stripes that tore Jesus' flesh apart represented the same number of disease groups that afflict us. As the whip came down, cancers were dealt with. When the whip struck again the legal precedents were established to heal every form of blindness. The next time the lash hit Him every muscular disease no longer had legal hold over us. I could continue with more illustrations but this paints the picture.
When the Psalm writer said Their plowmen plowed long furrows up and down my back (Psalm 129:3), it was as if Jesus was thinking of you...
Healing in the gospels
Healing in the old Testament
The following is a list of scriptures relating to healing in the Old Testament
1 Kings 8:56
Healing in the church
The Healing Ministry of Jesus
The following is a list of scriptures relating to healing in the ministry of Jesus
Matthew 9:1-6, 18-35
Matthew 12:10-15, 22
Mark 3:1-5, 10, 14-15
Mark 6:1-7, 12, 54-56
Luke 4:15-27, 38-41
Luke 5:12-15, 18-26
Luke 6:6-10, 17-19
Luke 7:1-17, 20-23
Luke 9:1-2, 37-43
The Healing Ministry of the Church
The following scriptures show the healing ministry of the Church. They still apply today.
1 Corinthians 12:9
Galatians 3:11-14, 29
Philippians 4:6-9, 19
2 Timothy 1:7
Hebrews 10:23, 35-36
1 Peter 2:24
1 John 3:21-22
1 John 5:14-15
3 John 2:2
This brings my presentation to a close. I hope it has been helpful and a blessing to you.
Remember that God's plan does not mean that you have to go through all the things Jesus did. Suffering is not part of the covenant we have with God, because of what Jesus bore in HIs own body. God's will is very clear on these matters. For example, He said in 2 John 3 that one of the things He desires for us is that we live well, our bodies are well and that we prosper in all areas of life. Check it all out.
If this has been of help to you, please write to us. I would like to hear your testimony.