Friday, April 22, 2011

Made Strong Through Weakness and Grace

As many were astonished at you--
his appearance was so marred, beyond
human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of
mankind --Isaiah 52:14 (ESV)

From the little research I have done crucifiction was a horrible way to die. Until just recenlty when I would read the lines "and they crucified him" I didn't honestly know what that I meant. I mean I knew it meant Jesus was nailed to a cross with spikes, or large nails, but for some reason "crucified" meant "died instantly," and yet, if you read the scriptures you see that Jesus lingered for hours. I read, recently, that someone crucified could linger for a day or more and they was to hasten death was to break the legs of the condemmed. We see that the Gospels, Pilate is surprised to hear the Jesus has already died when Roman soldiers go out to "finish the job." If I understand correctly, someone who was crucified died of exhaustion and asphyxiation. In short, their legs couldn't support them and they wouldn't be able to breath because of the deadweight resting on their diaphram.

One question I have heard asked more than any other is this: "why did Jesus die so quickly?" I'm not a medical doctor, but considering that he was flogged, beaten, not to mention hadn't had anything to drink, or eat in at least 24 hours might have something to do with it. There are any variety of medical reasons, I would think, that Jesus died quickly: blood loss. When Romans flogged someone they didn't play around. They played for keeps. Why do you think that Roman citizens couldn't be flogged?

Not only was Jesus flogged, but he was clothed in a purple robe. Probably something akin a velvety material. In short, almost a bandage. You know what happens when you pull off a bandage over a fresh finger cut? It rips and scab and the finger starts to bleed, again. Imagine that with the robe, but on a bigger scale, let's say a flayed back made raw and bloody with a cat-o-nine tails that probably had small bits of bone, or stone in the straps. The Romans played for keeps.

I can't truly imagine what Jesus went through, but the above passage from Isaiah certainly does give a mental visual: "his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance..." Jesus must of been a pulp.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governors's headquarters, and they gathered a whole battalion before him. And they stipped him adn put a scarlet robe on him and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head adn put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him saying "Hail, King of the Jews...

Isaiah goes on in chapter 53:3,5
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
and as one from whom men hid their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not....
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought
us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.

And here's the thing, ready? He did it for you and me. Willingly. Willingly. He allowed himself to be taken to slaughter. He allowed himself to be flogged. He allowed himself to be nailed to a tree and become the cursed one (Gal 3:13). Why? Who would do such a thing?

I'll tell you why he did it. He did it for this reason: so that we can "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). He did it so that we didn't have to. He did it so that we can take comfort in knowing that his grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness(2Cor 12:8).

No comments: