by Tad Lindley
Jesus was stripped naked and nailed to the cross. Then the cross was elevated and he hung on it, the force on his arms tearing at his chest, and Him pushing up with his legs for every gasp of air. It was the Jewish feast of Passover in which lambs were slain in remembrance of the lambs that were slain centuries prior in Egypt when the death angel visited the homes of the Egyptians and took the firstborn of every home except those with the blood of the lamb on the door frame.
The shameful treatment of Jesus
But I’m only telling you things you already know. Let’s look for a moment at some of the other events that surrounded the abuse and humiliation that our Lord suffered as he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5, But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. It all started in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas showed up with the troopers to arrest Jesus. From there he was taken to the high priest’s house where his suffering began. Let’s take a look at what happened in the next 12 or so hours (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 18-19).
•He was falsely accused by liars.
•They spit on his face.
•They shoved him around.
•They slapped him.
•They blindfolded him and punched him.
•One of his best friends, Peter, denied before others that he even knew Jesus.
•Another of his best friends, Judas, betrayed him and then committed suicide.
•He was scourged, which means he was whipped savagely across the back.
•Soldiers stripped him naked and then put a scarlet robe on him.
•They put a crown of thorns on his head and bowed before him in mock worship and rained spit on him again.
•They beat him with a rod.
After all of this happened they took him away to be crucified.
The Jews of the Old Testament fully understood that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. This is why the Old Testament has abundant animal sacrifice. Jesus, however, offered his own body once and for all as a sacrifice for our sins. This is why John the Baptizer said, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) The gross humiliation that Jesus suffered was for us.
But I didn’t ask him to suffer
The natural response of many is a callous, “Well, I didn’t ask him to do that, so I don’t owe him anything.” And no none of us asked him for it. He did it fully knowing that generations would rise and pass from this life still rejecting the supreme sacrifice that he made, but he wanted to give us a chance. This is why it says in Hebrews that Jesus despised the shame of the cross, but he did it for the joy that was set before him, for the salvation of many (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus came manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, John 1:10,14) so that he could purchase the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28).
He did it anyway!
And in spite of the fact that many have rejected the mercy of God even to the very gates of Hell, he did it anyway. Jesus allowed them to spit in his face and utterly humiliate and defeat him, because he knew that many others would receive the message of salvation, that because of his death on the cross, heroin addicts will pull the needle out their arm, pornography addicts will pull the plug on their internet, the bitter will be made sweet, the discouraged will have hope, the spiritually deaf will hear and the blind will see, the alcoholic will give up beer and spirits for the Holy Spirit! If the disciples had fully comprehended what was going on, they would not have hidden out while Jesus was being tortured to death, they would have been at the cross celebrating the defeat of death and hell!
And he did it for us!
Let me close with this. Jesus endured the shame for us. Let there be no doubt about it. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10) If you are presently struggling hard with sin, there is a way out. God made a way for us. Our response to his awesome gesture of mercy is to repent, to be buried with him in water baptism, and to rise up in newness of life in the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:37-38, Romans 6:1-4). For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.