Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. …16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him…30 Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The betrayal and death of Jesus Christ was gruesome and cruel. In our world inundated with stories of superheros we want to read through the account of Jesus’s torture and want to believe that there was a bulletproof cape or skin shield that protected him from the barbaric torture he endured. There was none. The very same pain you or I would have felt at the hands of this torture, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, felt it all.
And in the face of such cruelty we may be tempted to look away. I know I am. It’s ugly and brutal and cruel.
But what would happen if we stared the torture in the face and gave ourselves over to lament and mourning? To feel and express sorrow that comes when we see Christ’s sacrifice. To Lament is our soul crying out for relief, for reprieve from the cruelty that threatens to overwhelm.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
I believe when we look at the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the face without flinching, we more deeply understand the Gospel. God’s love is comprehended intimately, it changes us.
I want to encourage you to sit in the details of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion today. To imagine you were standing in the crowd watching the cruelty that was inflicted upon Jesus. To know the details and imagine looking Jesus in the eye as he was taunted, spit on, a crown of thorns was pushed into his skull, his skin ripped open from the barbed lashes.
Your laments are holy. Lamenting is part of the initial process of healing from a wounding. When a lament moves on to become part of your sacred history, no longer the foreground of your daily life, then healing has begun.2
Jesus Christ endured all of the pain as a human, without a superpower shield. All of the cruelty, and evil was endured for you and me.
A Song of Contemplation: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, Selah
How deep the Father’s love for us How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure How great the pain of searing loss The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom