Friday, September 28, 2012

The Scourging

I was looking today through a hymnal from my collection (yes, I collect old hymnals--it's one of my quirks), and found a hymn that stood out from the many selections.

Roman scourge

The hymn is called "The Scourging":

I made my way into a cursing crowd,
And in the midst of my Lord I found;
With boisterous threat their voices cried aloud.
He to a whipping post was bound.

(Chorus)  Dear Lord, I see Thee standing there in shame,
I hear Thy sob 'mid rabble jeers.
Thy woeful suffering sets my heart aflame,
And fills mine eyes with tears.

I saw a brutal soldier swing his whip,
And heard his victim groan with pain;
Vile curses shook the soldier's curling lip
As down the scourge was brought again.

I sought with pity Jesus to defend
The soldier turned to me with his eyes;
My shame, for I was smiting my dear Friend:
I saw myself, to my surprise.

That scourge I found to be my stubborn will;
Those stripes, my sin upon Him laid;
While bitter tears of shame my eyelids fill,
Repentent prayers my heart invade.

(copyright 1929 L. James Kindig)

We can look at passages in the Gospels and see the Roman soldiers scourging Him.  (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15)  We see in Matthew 27:28 where He was mocked, given a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns.  Can you imagine a bloody body clothed in a robe, with thorns inches long pounded into the head?  These were not tiny thorns from a tea rose, these were much larger, more painful. 

Can you imagine the beating Jesus took?  The Roman soldiers were ruthless, using the most painful and damaging means they could to make an example of each person they tortured.  The beating Jesus took was nothing minor.  Each lash took pieces of skin and flesh from His body.  Pieces of broken pottery, hooks, anything sharp was attached to the whips to tear away the body and cause intense pain.
A mixture of blood, dirt, open flesh, sweat.  This was our Lord, as He took the beating.
It should have been me....and you.  We should have been the ones on the receiving end of the beating, the crucifixion, the nails in our hands and feet.
Instead, it was me that beat Him.  It was me that crucified Him.  My sin gave Him the beating.  My sin put Him on the cross.  My sin put a division between God and myself.
Jesus chose to take my sin.  He chose to take the beating my sin deserved.  He took the mocking.  He chose to take my death. 
It was me that scourged Jesus.  It was me that crucified Him.
It was Jesus who forgave me and took the penalty for me.

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