BY HIS STRIPES
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
The suffering of Jesus is totally indescribable, the ugliness of man’s depravity was unleashed on our beloved Savior. I can never forget the scenes of the brutal beating depicted at the whipping post in the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, the brutality was quite disturbing. As I watched Jesus being stripped, beaten, and mocked, a range of emotions flooded my soul. I was horrified by the suffering Christ endured, the shocking reality of being flogged by a Roman whip was stunning. I was angered by the mocking brutality of the soldiers, it was hard to stay seated as the beating intensified. Finally, I was humbled at the revelation that hit me during this horrendous scene. It wasn’t the Roman soldiers or the Jewish elders who crucified the Lord, it was the sinfulness of my life that precipitated this beating. Christ died to save sinners, Christ died to save me. Charles Spurgeon brought out the horrors of this scene in his devotional, check out his words.
“Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of his flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over his poor stricken body.”
The sobering revelation, Christ endured this for me, changes everything. It was my sinfulness that invoked such suffering on my Lord. As we enter this passion week, it will do our souls well to reflect on the suffering of our Lord. Let’s take another trip to the whipping post, listen to the hostility and hatred vented toward our Lord. As the soldiers mocked and shouted profanities, our Savior breathed out, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. As they spit upon Him and pulled out His beard, He wept with tears of compassion for the souls of His executioners. As the whip tore the flesh from His body, He cried out prayers for you and for me. The suffering of Christ was not in vain, our souls were being purchased, our redemption was being secured.
As we draw near to Good Friday, we are reminded of His suffering, as we head toward Easter we remember His victory. Sin has been defeated, death has been overcome, our souls have been purchased, Christ has been enthroned. “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”