Jesus was scourged.
“Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.”
Do you have any idea what that means?
The upper half of Jesus’ body was bared and then his hands were tied to a pillar.
Jesus was forced to bend double and his spinal column was exposed. Jesus was then whipped with a 3-pronged whip that was comprised of three leather thongs connected by pieces of bone and metal on a chain.
Scourging or flogging always preceded capital punishment so that the prisoner would be weakened and die more quickly on the cross.
The relentless and violent lashing of Jesus’ body tore at his skin and bared his flesh to the very bone.
Many victims died before they even encountered the cross because of the flogging. others were paralyzed but few remained conscious after this horrific punishment.
After the flogging, then came the mocking.
“After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.”
The soldiers raucously and relentlessly ridiculed the Royal Son of the God of Creation.
Jesus was too weak to even carry His own cross because his torment had already been taken to the utmost limits.
There was little life left in His precious Body as He reached the top of Golgotha.
The Man Who had turned over tables … held children in His lap … calmed the storms … and raised the dead … was now bleeding from nearly every pore in His precious Body.
His lungs were struggling for one more gasp of earth’s atmosphere and His eyes were glazed with vicious pain.
I wonder if the guards could hear the Savior gasping for breath.
Mary, His mother chosen by God the Father, had witnessed His first precious breath and now heard Him gasp for his last earthly breath.
As a young mom, Mary had giggled over His first gurgles and coos and now, in middle-age, had to stand and hear Him fight the pain.
He could have called 10,000 angels at that moment and they instantly would have come to His rescue!
But He chose not to call 10,000 angels … He chose to hang on the cross and die.
He could have removed Himself from the cross, but He chose not to!
He chose to contain His power.
Why? Why didn’t He save Himself from the mockery of hell itself?
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He stayed there for you … because you were the joy set before Him.
You were on His mind while He hung on Calvary’s cross.
The world was cloaked in an unnatural, early and consuming darkness the day that Jesus died.
“Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.”
There was no reason for the sun to shine on this day in history.
The Light of the world had been temporarily extinguished.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”
Matthew 27:50 & 51
The curtain in the temple, that symbolically separated the most Holy Place from the sinful place, was rent in two!
When Jesus took His last breath on the Cross, the curtain was torn to shreds!
Mankind would never be separated from their Holy God again!
The Spirit of Jesus Christ ripped the dividing wall in two and made a way for you to touch God.
The earth shook when Jesus gave up His spirit.
The rocks were crying out in agony and pain as the Savior of the world took His last earthly breath.
“The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to
Matthew 27:52 & 53
Dead people rose from their tombs!
Can you even imagine the power that burst forth from heaven’s gate that day?
There was no more power in death!
Jesus had defeated death forevermore and even tombs could not hold back the dead.
These bodies were set free by the power of life that was released in the heavenlies that day!
All of humanity knew that something gargantuan had happened on the day Jesus had died.
“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.
This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.”
Matthew 27:57 & 58
Joseph of Arimathea offered his grave that had never been used.
This borrowed grave was in a cave on the side of a hill that had been hewn in the rock.
The Body of Jesus Christ was laid inside and then a boulder, larger than the opening, was rolled downhill into a trench.
They made the tomb as secure as they humanly could.
They sealed the huge rock with clay that had hardened.
Jesus was literally cemented into the grave.
And then, they set a guard to watch the tomb of Jesus.
“Make it as secure as you know how,” were the words of Pilate to the Pharisees.
What the Pharisees failed to understand was that no clay … no rock … no guard … no grave … and no soldiers could have prevented the Son of God from rising again!
Jesus was about to give back His borrowed grave!
“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.”
When the women arrived at the ancient cemetery on the dawn of the Sabbath, they were greeted not by a cold, sealed tomb but by an angel, relaxing in the morning sunshine on the stone that had been rolled away!
And what were the words of this angel?
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.”
“Do not be afraid!”
Let’s leave the Easter story for just a minute and travel back in time to Bethlehem about 33 years earlier. An angel was sent from heaven to announce the birth of Jesus.
What did that angel say?
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;”
“Do not be afraid!”
When God arrives on the scene of our lives, He comes to take away all fear.
Jesus was born … lived … and died to deal with your fear issues!
If you are bound by fear, be set free today by the Savior Who could not be held by death!
The sealed grave was not opened to let Jesus out but to let the adoring women in.
“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
Matthew 28:6 & 7
As these women, who were the first commissioned to tell the Gospel story, ran in celebration away from the cemetery, they were experiencing both fear and great joy.
“And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.”
Always allow your joy to be greater than your fear!
Nothing in your life should be stronger than His joy.
“And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.
And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.”
The joy that these women were experiencing this Sabbath morning caused them to fall on their faces in worship.
“When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.”
Some of the disciples worshipped … while others doubted.
Disciples still have the same decision to make today:
Will you worship or will you doubt?
Will you get on your face in worship or give into your fear?
The power and authority that Easter heralds should compel all of us to go and make disciples.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit …”
Matthew 28:18 & 19
Once you have been told about the miraculous yet true story of Easter … you must go tell!
God’s will for your life, and for my life, is to make disciples in our personal worlds.
“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The final truth of the Resurrection story is that He really is with you … He has risen from the dead and He is with you always.
He will be with you in all your tomorrows.
We are sent out on the greatest task in all of History and are assured of the Greatest Presence that has ever lived on heaven or on earth.
He deserves our highest praise!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart, but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is.
Used with permission from carolmcleodministries.com.