Most of us have not fully comprehended what a gruesome and disgraceful means of execution a Roman scourging and crucifixion was.
It is a wonder Jesus even made it to Golgotha considering the scourging he received. The Jews’ punishment of 39 cuts – or stripes - in the skin was limited for risk of killing the victim.
However the Romans - noted for their brutality and lust for blood carefully engineered scourges with a leather cord knotted with pieces of bone or metal to ensure that chunks of flesh were removed with each lash of the whip. And they were not limited by Jewish rules or traditions to only 39 lashes.
Jesus' physical appearance must have been nearly beyond recognition by the time he arrived at the place of crucifixion.
Isaiah 52:14 (NCV)
14 Many people were shocked when they saw him. His appearance was so changed he did not look like a man; his form was changed so much they could barely tell he was human.
(NLT) 14Many were amazed when they saw him - beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person.
Psalm 22:14-17 (NLT)
14 My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat.
This is what Christ went through 1992 years ago.
Scripture says we were “bought for a price.” There is no higher price that could be paid by both the Father and the Son. What kind of love is shown to us by this voluntary act?
We have a duty to Christ in return. We must show our honor of what He did for us.
How do we do this? How did Paul do this?
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(NCV) 20I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me.
We must show our honor and respect to our fallen Hero by crucifying ourselves along with Him as Paul did. Three points to this end:
- Have an attitude of honor.
2 Samuel 11:6-11 (NLT)
6So David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
7When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing.
8Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax.” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace.
9But Uriah wouldn’t go home. He stayed that night at the palace entrance with some of the king’s other servants.
10When David heard what Uriah had done, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
11Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and his officers are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I will never be guilty of acting like that.”
Uriah had an attitude of the utmost honor for his fellow comrades. For his superior officer Joab. And he includes God by reference to the Ark. He denied himself out of honor for them.
We must adopt the attitude of Uriah.
- Be Prepared to Suffer
We ARE going to suffer. The cessation of sinning results in suffering!
Romans 8:16-18 (NKJV)
16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:1 (NLT)
1So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning.
Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT)
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.£ He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.
3Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.
4After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
Do we see that by comparison, our crucifixion is nothing compared to Christ’s?
Let’s show our honor by suffering through the cessation of sin. Whatever it is.
- Have the attitude of battle
Paul exquisitely explains this in his letter to the Ephesian Church.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
10A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power.
11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.
12For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
13Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
14Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.£
16In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.£
17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
It is a constant war, and we must be up to the task. Let us remember
TWO IMPORTANT TRUTHS
(1). Your battle is always for a REASON.
(2). Your battle is always for a SEASON.
Let’s not ever forget this.
I coached youth basketball for 13 years.
Practices were hard. I got them into playing shape by making them suffer. The kids were taught that a floor burn received by diving for a ball was a “badge of honor.”
My job as a coach was more than just teaching the academic fundamentals of basketball.
My job was to have my players ready to play - ready to put forth the maximum effort. I had to inspire them to want to win, and to “leave it all out on the floor.”
Let’s arm ourselves with the attitude of Uriah. Let’s prepare ourselves for suffering. And let’s wage a valiant battle against sin, using the accouterments of war given to us by God as described by Paul.
Let’s get fired up to engage in our war against the Devil. Let us be prepared to suffer and get some badges of honor. Let’s leave it all out on the floor.
Let’s make sure we crucify ourselves in honor of what Christ went through for us.