It amazes me to think that there are some that still think that Jesus Christ was just a man. They say that he was a lunatic or a blasphemer. He, Himself told those living in his day that he was the Son of God! He performed miracles and raised people from the dead. He has saved me from a life of desperation and destruction. He couldn't do that if he was just a man.
We had a missionary that was very learned in the torture that Jesus endured prior to and during his time on the cross give us the message last two Sunday's ago. It has taken me this long to process the information. It was horrible. The paintings that we have depicting our Jesus do nothing to set that picture in our minds. Our puny human minds could not imagine what his poor body looked like before he went on the cross.
The first thing that was mentioned by our missionary was that no Jew was ever arrested at night. Except for Jesus. A Jewish tribunal would never have been held at night yet Jesus stood before that group after his arrest at night. Jesus had three trials. First in front of the Romans, then in front of the Jews and then back in front of the Romans. Between this trials Jesus was beaten, given a crown of thorns, mocked, ridiculed and given lashes. Yet, he did not say a word in his own defense.
Second, the Crown of thorns was talked about. We Americans think about the thorns of the rose bush. Those thorns can poke you until you bleed but those are not the thorns that were used for Jesus. The Thorns used in Jesus crown were much longer, sharper and stronger. The crown was not simply placed on his head, it was mashed into the skin of the scalp and face. His beautiful face had already been beaten and was swollen, battered and bruised. This extra insult would have resulted in many rivers of blood running down his face. My poor Savior took the insults, the pain and the humiliation so that I would not have to go through that. He did not cry out and did not say a word in his own defense.
Third, the lashings. This was probably more horrific than it is made out to be in most churches. Most people think of a lash as a whip. In fact that is the way that it is depicted in most of the major movie productions. That was not the rule of the day. They did not use a whip, they used a cat'o'nine tails. This was a whip with nine strips of leather at the end of a handle. At the tip of the leather straps was a small hook. The hook would bite into the skin of the back and rip the flesh from the body. After the number of lashes that Jesus took his back would have been ripped open and the muscle and bones would have been showing.
Then he was forced to carry the cross to the hill of Golgotha. Once there the cross was laid on the ground next to a hole that had been dug there. Jesus was laid on the cross and nails were driven into his wrists. Nails that were 15-20 cm long and 6 cm around. Not everyone who died on the cross were nailed to it. This particular procedure was held for only the worst of the worst! This was for the meanest and cruelest criminals, yet my Savior endured it. He lived on that Cross for 3 hours and granted salvation to one of the thieves with him.
Here is what I find very interesting. Not that all of this is not, but when they put Jesus up on the cross....you remember I talked about a hole that had been dug....the foot of the cross sits in that hole. When the Roman Soldiers hoisted the Cross with my beloved Savior on in the literally dropped the cross into the hole. Not gently mind you, but hard enough that it was to break every joint in the body. If you have ever dislocated a joint you know how painful that can be. Yet, Jesus endured this and stayed on that cross for 3 hours.
He also endured a spear being jabbed into his side.
What is amazing is that not one internal organ was pierced. It says so in the bible. It says that not a bone was broken nor an organ was pierced. You see that is how the Romans made sure that a criminal was dead. They brought them off of the cross and broke the legs or stabbed them in the chest. With Jesus it wasn't necessary. They knew he had died. There was no blood left in his body. That is why he was leaking water.
Then, the MOST GLORIOUS thing happened! He rose from the dead! He neatly folded his burial head cloth. He appeared to more than 3000 people! The diciples didn't take his body from the tomb, it was the sabbath! No work is to be done! The Roman soldiers didn't see a thing. When it happened they ran away! Want to know why they ran? Because, some of Jesus fate would have fallen on them. They would have had to been lashed for shirking their duties. So they ran away. They were men. Jesus was and is God!
This is Easter. This is the celebration of what our Wonderful, Marvelous Savior did for us. At one point on the cross Jesus asks the Father, "My Lord, My Lord why have you forsaken me?" For that one moment the Father turned his face from his Son because he could not look upon the sin that Jesus had received from the world. Your sin, my sin, everyone's sin. Jesus took it all. Now all you have to do is accept his gift of salvation. Your works won't get you into heaven. You can be the most giving, caring, wonderful human being, but unless you have Jesus Christ and have accepted him into your heart, the gates of heaven will remain closed. Jesus said, "There is no way to the Father except through Me."
I pray that you all have a very Happy Easter. Easter is a time to rejoice in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a time for family. It is a time to join together in the Lord.
God Bless you all!