From John’s account, we learn that Pilate had Jesus scourged and then brought Him before the Jews once again, probably in an effort to forego the execution (John 19:1-2). However, the people still demanded Christ’s death. The Greek term translated “scourging” in Matthew 27:26 and Mark 15:15 is translated “having scourged.”
The practice of scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution because it weakened the victim through shock and blood loss. Without scourging, strong, condemned men might live on the cross for several days. The only allowable exemptions to this law were women and Roman senators or soldiers. the instrument used by the Roman soldiers for flogging as “a short whip (flagrum or flagellum) with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals”
To position a man for scourging, soldiers tied the victim (frequently naked) to an upright post in a bent position . The common method of Jewish scourging was via the use of three thongs of leather, the offender receiving thirteen stripes on the bare breast and thirteen across each shoulder. However, there was no such limit on the number of blows the Romans could deliver during a scourging, thus Christ’s flogging at their hands would have been much worse. Christ would have received repeated blows to His chest, back, buttocks, and legs by two soldiers (known as lictors), the severity of which depended mainly on the mood of the lictors at the time. we know that Christ did not suffer any broken bones because He was crucified in such a manner that “a bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36), as was foretold by earlier prophecies (cf. Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20).
During scourging, the victim would experience an massive loss of blood from cutaneous capillaries and veins. In many cases, scourging “was itself fatal” .
Peter referred to the beating of Christ when he reminded first-century Christians that it was Jesus “by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
The blood loss suffered by Christ during His scourging would have been substantial, and would have resulted in a lowered blood pressure and reduced flow of blood throughout His body. Jewish law originally allowed for 40 blows (Deuteronomy 25:3), but that number later was reduced to 39 to avoid inadvertently violating the law . The prophet Isaiah provided a graphic description of the outward appearance of our Lord after He had undergone the scourging: “Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men)” [Isaiah 52:14]. Christ’s body was so disfigured that He almost did not appear human anymore. Yet, sadly, the worst was still to come.
In an act of pure sadistic torment, Roman soldiers placed an imitation crown on Christ’s head and mockingly bowed down to Him in reverence. But this was no ordinary crown. John 19 states:
Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple garment; and they came unto him, and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and they struck him with their hands. The thorns used to form this special crown were more than a few mere briars. Botanists familiar with foliage of the Middle East have suggested that the thorns could have come from the lote tree. This tree had thorns averaging one inch in length.
Unlike the traditional crown, which often is depicted in artists’ portrayals as an open ring, the actual crown of thorns probably covered His entire scalp . The gospel accounts record that following His crowning, Jesus received continued blows to the head and would have caused extensive bleeding.
The significance of Jesus bearing a scarlet robe during the course of this agonizing persecution signifies His taking on the sins of the world. Isaiah commented on the meaning of the scarlet color: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Each time Jesus was stripped or made to wear this robe, the fresh wounds would reopen and bleed, inflicting still more pain. And yet He continued on towards the cross, even though He had the power to stop the pain and agony at any given second.
The Jewish historian Josephus aptly described crucifixion, following the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 66-70, as “the most wretched of deaths” (War of the Jews, 7.203). The apostle Paul penned these beautiful words describing Christ: “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). Knowing that He had to continue on for humanity’s sake, a beaten and scourged Jesus began that long walk to the site of His death. Archaeological evidence strongly suggests that criminals during the time of Christ were not forced to carry an entire T-shaped cross as is commonly portrayed in art-deco jewelry or Hollywood films, but rather only the crossbeam , which would have weighed between 75 and 125 pounds. It was customary, however, for convicted criminals to carry their own cross from the scourging site to the place of crucifixion . Their hands normally were tied (or even left unbound) during the procession, rather than being nailed to the patibulum. The effects of the scourging on Christ’s physical condition can be inferred from His severely weakened condition—as demonstrated by the fact that later, Simon of Cyrene would be compelled to carry the patibulum. As a bloodied Christ struggled with that crossbeam, a centurion led the procession, which usually consisted of a full Roman military guard. One of the soldiers in the procession carried a sign that later would be attached to the top of the cross, denoting the convicted man’s name and crime . Measurements indicate that the distance from the Praetorium to the site of Christ’s crucifixion was approximately one-third of a mile
Golgotha is the common name of the location at which Christ was crucified. It was here, flanked by two thieves, that Christ would bear the sins of the world. The Roman guards who accompanied Him in the procession were required to stay with Him until they could substantiate His death.
Having suffered considerable blood loss from the scourging, Jesus likely was in a dehydrated state when He finally reached the top of this small knoll. Jesus was offered two drinks at Golgotha. The first—a drugged wine that served as a mild analgesic to deaden some of the pain—was offered immediately upon His arrival . However, after having tasted it, Christ refused the concoction. He chose to face death with a clear mind so He could conquer it willfully as He submitted Himself to the cruelty of the cross. “And when they came to a place called Golgotha, they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it” (Matthew 27:33-34). This particular drink was intended to dull the pain in preparation for the next step of crucifixion—the nailing of the hands and feet. Thus, it would have been around this time that a battered, bleeding Jesus was thrown to the ground and nailed to the cross.
Nailing the Hands
Luke recorded for us Christ’s invitation to examine His hands and feet (Luke 24:39), which indicates the wounds Christ suffered were ones that could be identified easily. John’s written account is even more telling, as we learn that Thomas, one of the disciples, stated: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
Clearly, from the text we see that Christ’s hands and feet were nailed to the cross. And so, with His hands firmly nailed to the cross and His back bleeding and emaciated, Christ was hoisted onto the rough-hewn, upright stake.
Our Lord hung there for about 3 hours suffering all the time and then he made the ultimate sacrifice of taking the sins of this world upon himself.
Friends this is why it is so important for us to partake of the lords supper in his memorial. It is not to ask for forgiveness it is to remember the grate sacrifice made on our behalf. So as you partake of these emblems put the thoughts and cares of this world out of your mind and focus on the true meaning behind Christ request and command to do this in memory of him.