The Scourging, The Crowing With Thorns, & The Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering) – Day 5 of Holy Week Meditation Blog
King Herod sent Jesus back to Pontius Pilate. Pilate still wanted to release Jesus, but needed to appease the Jewish leaders for their political support. He concluded to have “innocent” Jesus scourged, hoping this would satisfy the vengeance of the Jewish leaders. Then, he would release Him.
We must continually visualize the tremendous punishment and pain from scourging. Whips and chords with pointed spikes tore open more the flesh of Jesus. Countless wounds opened up on Jesus’ neck, back, arms, legs, and stomach. His most precious blood poured out uncontrollably. Large pieces of flesh dangled from His skin. The pain penetrated right to Jesus’ bones. This is the result of Jesus showing how much He loves us – displaying immeasurable, non-stop suffering.
Whips and chords with pointed spikestore open more the flesh of Jesus.
Add to this the deep sorrow and grief that Jesus was experiencing over those who purposely reject Him. They do not want Jesus to be their king and savior. Their venomous anger is expressed in every whip and scourge on His bloody body. His eyes were puffed-up and swollen with blood. His hair was wet with blood dripping down His cheeks, falling at His feet to the ground. The pain from the blows was so deep that His veins and organs were practically visible. Every sin you and I commit drives another pointed spike deeper into the body of Jesus. Every sin causes more skin to tear off and more blood to pour out. Jesus surely was tortured and slain to save the world. May we be humble and accept such love.
The apostle Peter writes, “By His stripes we are healed.” Jesus’ wounds united with our sufferings become our strength. We no longer need to fear suffering and persecution as a Christian. His grace is sufficient for us. Peter also encourages us to “rejoice when we suffer because we bear the name as a Christian for Christ.”
For the non-Christian, if all His sufferings do not convince you how deeply Jesus loves you, I cannot help you any longer in sharing the life of Jesus. I can only pray for you. I can only depend on the Holy Spirit to break through your heart. Your pride makes you resist God’s grace. You have rejected God’s gift of eternal life. To you, Jesus has suffered and died for nothing.
The Crowning with Thorns
The rejected King was now given a crown with large, thick-pointed thorns. The Roman soldiers pressed the crown of thorns heavily onto the head of Jesus, piercing it deeply into His scalp and forehead. More blood drips down His face. The soldiers give Him a king’s staff and a royal robe. They mock Him and continually strike His head with the staff. They bow down sarcastically, “Hail, King of the Jews.” They push the thorns deeper into His scalp. Our sins drive the thorns deeper into His scalp. Our sins cause the staff to strike His head stronger each time. Just imagine the countless strikes of the staff hitting Jesus. Just imagine the deep pain from the thorns.
Our sins drive the thorns deeper into His scalp.
Our sins cause the staff to strike His head stronger each time.
The soldiers bring Jesus back to Pilate. Jesus has now been beaten further beyond recognition. Any ordinary man would be dead by now. However, Jesus continued to strengthen Himself in His Father. Not even death would dissuade Him from His goal. Pilate compromises again in an attempt to release Jesus. Jesus only remains silent. Only when Pilate advises that he has more power than anyone (including God) to either free Jesus or have Him crucified does Jesus respond. Just as we do often today, Pilate wanted a way out. Jesus ensured Pilate knew He was from God. There is no way out. “Pilate, you would have no power had not My Father given it to you. You must crucify me so my free gift of salvation can be offered to you, to those who turned me over to you, and to all who will hear My words in the future.”
Pilate, however, found a way to “wash his hands” of condemning Jesus to death. He let the people decide between Jesus and Barabbas. Barabbas was a notorious Jew and an enemy of Rome. He was already sentenced to death. However, Pilate could not wash away his part. He knew Jesus was innocent and was too afraid to stand up for Jesus’ innocence. He cracked under pressure. He pushed off his responsibility to someone else (the people).
This frequently happens today. It is certainly one of the challenges I face daily. Throughout the years, I often pushed aside my responsibilities. How about you? Do you stand up for truth, for an innocent someone when an “angry mob” wants to condemn him? That’s a challenge for sure. Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to Me.” Fortunately, Jesus also said, “With man, it is impossible, but not with God. All things are possible with God.”
Pilate let the people decide. They, of course, chose Barabbas. This shows such a distinction between man’s ways and God’s ways. Man’s way is Barabbas. God’s way is Jesus Christ. Only five days earlier many of these same people were welcoming Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. They waved palm branches shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.” Now five days later, they shout, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him. Free Barabbas.” It’s so easy to see why God never lowers Himself to our stupidity. We often change our minds in the blink of an eye. (Yet, God did lower Himself to our level by becoming man as Jesus to die for our sins. That is love exemplified.)
In humility, Jesus accepts a death sentence of love. Soon, all must make a similar choice. As evil as He was treated during His passion, Jesus embraces His cross.
As evil and cruel as He was treated during His Passion,
Jesus embraces His cross.
..The Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering)
The Via Dolorosa is the name given to the Jerusalem road that Jesus carried His cross on the way to His death. The Via Dolorosa is translated from the Latin as “The Way Of Suffering.” Another name for this road is “The Way Of The Cross.”
The Via Dolorosa is an appropriate name for this road. The Christian life is to follow Jesus. Often Jesus will lead us down the road of suffering. The Via Dolorosa cannot be avoided. One cannot go around the cross to experience the resurrection. One cannot avoid the pains and sufferings of ordinary life associated with the cross. Yet, so many turn away from the “road of love” Jesus mapped out. Pride blinds so many. Fortunately, Jesus never gives up on you, whether you are Christian or not. He continues to exhibit the depths of His love for you. Jesus will accompany you through many Via Dolorosas.
Jesus carried the heavy weight and burdens of all our sins and sufferings on His shoulders. His cross was to bear it all. His bloody and beaten body dragged the heavy cross across the rocky roads of the Via Dolorosa. At times, the weight of our sins was too heavy for Him. Three times the weight of our sins drove the heavy cross down onto Jesus and crushed Him into the dirt.
The soldiers escorting Jesus continued to beat Him. The sorrow and crushed heart of Jesus continued to long for our hearts. Our precious Savior continued to suffer horrendously on our behalf. Genuine love keeps no record of the weight that wears one down. Genuine love keeps no record of wrongs when one is about to lay down one’s life for another. The death of Jesus on our behalf is imminent.