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Introduction

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.

Scourge Him

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.

God's plan The crushing place Jesus' stripes Old Testament scriptures Healing in the gospels Healing in the church

Conclusion:

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.

Blessings,

Robert


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