Daily Devotional for 04.03.2020
RESURGAM 2020 - Journeying through the 14 Stations of the Cross
Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. (John 19: 1-3)
In the Book of Genesis God makes a curious comment to Cain after he murders his brother Abel. God said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground. Gen 4 v 10 Abel’s blood cried out to God for justice – not only on behalf of Abel himself but on behalf of the countless generations of his descendants who would now never be born as a result of Cain’s violence.
The writer to the Hebrews takes up this comment and contrast it with the blood of Jesus, “Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant [uniting God and man], and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]. Heb 12:24 AMP
The idea proposed here is that the blood of Jesus cries out to God continually – not for justice and vengeance, but for mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God. What a contrast, on the hand a call for God to exercise His justice, on the other a petition for mercy.
Charles Wesley wrote:
Five bleeding wounds He bears, Received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers, They strongly plead for me
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry, Nor let that ransomed sinner die
The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed one
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son
His Spirit answers to the blood And tells me I am born of God
I love that …. “the Spirit answers to the blood” what a magnificent insight. The Spirit of God is ever answering the cry of Jesus’ blood and drawing people from across the planet into Salvation. Yet what other cries are emanating from Jesus' blood? What other requests is the Spirit responding to?
As we continue our study through the 14 Stations of the Cross, we come to one of the most barbaric events of the Passion. The flogging of Jesus. This prelude to execution was the Roman way of first, maximizing the pain and suffering of the condemned and secondly, of ensuring that the victim was as close to death as possible before the final act of crucifixion. Indeed, many never survived the flogging, the loss of blood caused severe Hemorrhagic shock, creating a spike in blood pressure, a heart rate exceeding 120 beats per minute, fast and difficult breathing, extreme mental distress, and the intermittent loss of consciousness. In many cases, the victim’s heart could not survive the trauma inflicted upon it.
It is difficult to imagine Jesus being subjected to such a session of prolonged violence, yet the writers of the Gospels detail it – and with good reason, for this cruel act was the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy.
In Isaiah 53 we read of the traumas inflicted upon the “Suffering Servant”, this of course was a Prophetic description of what Jesus would undergo as the Lamb of God, God’s Holy sacrifice. Isaiah writes, “Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains -- he hath carried them, And we -- we have esteemed him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 And he is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace [is] on him, And by his bruise there is healing to us”. Isa 53:4-5 Young’s literal translation
After the proclamation had been made to crucify Jesus, the soldiers took Jesus and flogged Him. The Romans hated the Jews, they hated their country and they hated their religion. That hatred, fired by demonic anger, fired the soldiers who took in hand the whip, made from 12 strands of knotted leather, studded with pieces of bone, jagged metal, and stone at the end of each strand. They tied Jesus between two posts, stripped Him and prepared to torture Him.
With the force of unrestrained anger and hatred, the whip tore into his back, his arms, His chest and tore at flesh and muscle, sending showers of blood around the courtyard.
Yet there was something beyond the torture here.
As Jesus’ blood sprayed upon the ground it’s voice cried out to the Father, “Healing for pain, Healing for disease”. 39 times His body was torn open by the whip and with each blow there was a different cry, “Healing for Cancer”, Healing for Stroke, Healing for Heart Disease, Healing for Multiple Sclerosis, Healing for Depression” The Prophet looking forward to this event proclaimed, “He has borne our sicknesses and carried away our pains …… and by His stripes …. Literally by the furrows of the whip in His back ….. we are healed”.
What horror, what violence, what pain, what suffering, but oh, how glorious this is! The Son of God is taking upon Himself our sicknesses and our diseases, His blood is crying out to the Spirit of God, “Healing, deliverance from pain, freedom from the effects of the curse”. The miracles Jesus began to perform for a few during three short years of ministry, now become available to all, guaranteed by the blood, enshrined in a promise … “by His stripes we are healed”.
One final act of cruelty remained. The soldiers made for Jesus a crown of long needle-pointed thorns and drove it onto His head. As the blood covered the thorns and ran down Jesus’ face, it spoke again, “FREEDOM from every effect of the curse”.
Yes, there is coming a day when all pain, all sickness, all suffering will end. Yet, the promise of Isa 53 is not just for then it is for now. The Spirit of God still answers to the blood. Jesus suffered immeasurable pain so that healing could flow. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Heb 13:8 Jesus was a healer, He is a healer, He will always be a healer. Healing is a manifestation of the mercy and kindness of God and the Church has been given the responsibility of dispensing it. The blood is speaking, the Spirit is answering, will you receive the promise?
You may need to turn your face away from the flogging ……. But listen to the blood!