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It Made Me Stop and Think

Over the winter, Jamie and I watched a series about the War for Independence and the Founding Fathers. It was so interesting and inspiriting to think about all l they sacrificed for our freedom.

It's been about 4 months since we watched these docu-dramas. Seeing history come to life and reenacted made such an impact on me. The visuals impacted me more than words on a page.

For instance, one of the things they reenacted was the floggings that men endured when they were captured by the enemy or being punished for military offenses. Now, obviously, I've read about floggings before. But actually seeing a man tied to a post while he was whipped with strips of leather with sharp edges on them, was a whole other level.

Seeing the open wounds on his back--the blood--the agony--left such an impression on me. It was horrifying.

Later, as Easter approached, I was reminded of these scenes.

When I read about Jesus being flogged, I had a visual that reminded me of the true agony He suffered to pay for the sins of the world.

Sometimes I think we move too quickly past the crucifixion story without really stopping to think about what Jesus suffered. I know I am guilty of this. Sometimes it can even seem like we've read it so many times in the Scripture that the story can just become words.

That's why I think we should take a few moments and look at the death Jesus died.

Because death by crucifixion really was the most horrible death a man could die. Our modern society wouldn't even imagine doing this to a criminal. Think about this. It was nothing short of sheer torture.  From beginning to end, the entire process was designed to completely humiliate the person being crucified and cause them to experience the most pain humanly possible.  

Imagine what Jesus went through:  

-It started in the middle of the night when one of His closest friends led an angry mob to arrest Him.

-His trial started when He was taken before Caiphas, the high priest, and accused of blasphemy.  They blindfolded Him, mocked Him, spit on Him and spit in His face.  

-Overnight the Jewish leaders had a mock trial where he was Condemned. (Big surprise.)

-The next morning the Jewish leaders sent Him to Pilate for trial.   Pilate sent Him to Herod, where He was mocked and treated contemptibly, only to be sent back to Pilate.  

-Standing trial yet again on false charges, Jesus could hear the blood-thirsty crowd outside his trial demanding his death.

-Bowing to the angry crowd, Pilate condemned Jesus to crucifixion—the most heinous, horrific death known to man.  

-Then came the flogging (which I can now imagine in graphic detail), where Jesus was stripped naked and bent over a low post with His hands tied behind His back.  Two men whipped Him from each side. Their weapon was a whip with leather attached to it.  Interwoven into the leather were strips of bits of iron or bone.  At the end, Jesus' flesh was so cut up that you could see His veins, arteries, and inner organs.

-Then came the intense mockery.   Given a red royal robe, they placed a stick in His hand and smashed a crown of thorns on His head.  The soldiers made fun of Him while they beat Him on the head, causing the thorns to go deeper into His scalp.  

-Next, Jesus was forced to carry His cross uphill to Golgotha.  It is likely because of the brutal flogging that He was unable to carry it, and a man from the crowd had to carry it for Him.

-After he arrived at Golgotha (where He was crucified), the cross was laid on the ground, and Jesus was placed on it.

-Jesus' arms were stretched out, and they drove heavy, iron nails into His hands or wrists.

-The cross was then made upright. His feet were then extended, and a large piece of iron was driven right through them.

-Jesus remained in this position for HOURS. Each one was filled with more and more agony as His arms ached with fatigue, and he suffered intense muscle cramps.

-Meanwhile, the skin that was torn from His back was screaming in agony.

-Eventually, His chest filled with fluid, affecting His breath and heart.  

-The Scriptures say He experienced intense thirst along with constant ridicule and abuse.

Then think about what we can't imagine: having the entire world's sins put on you and having God the Father look away.

On and on, Christ suffered all this for us until He took His last breath, said, "It is finished," and died.

We cannot truly understand all that Jesus went through for us on the cross. The pain, the agony, the humiliation, and the horror is beyond our comprehension.

But we can pause. We can take a moment and think about it. We can read the Scriptures slowly and thank God for what Jesus did for us so that we could have freedom from sin, death, and Hell.

As we pause, let's and remember--this really happened.

He really suffered.

He did it because God loves humans. He loves you and I. He loves everyone.

The crucifixion was the means of our salvation--our freedom.

Let's take time to remember and celebrate.

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life. When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."


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