“…and by HIS STRIPES we have received healing and been made whole” (variation of Isaiah 53::5b)
Last year, Good Friday was introduced to me in a way that I’d never experienced before. Since we rent a school for church we aren’t able to do the usual Good Friday service, so instead of celebrating Palm Sunday we have Good Friday the week before. Last year the last five minutes of the service was the scene from one of many movies made of Jesus suffering previous to his crucifixion and then his being put on the cross. AND it was horrifying and grotesque but I’m not sure it was even close what actually took place. Because I’m not sure we can even fathom that kind of horror these days.
And while it was a representation of what took place, they were looking for accuracy. This past sunday our pastor shared with us that when people were lashed it was by a ‘cat o’ nine tails’ which was basically made to inflict people as much pain as possible. and These men that were responsible for torturing Jesus before his crucifixion were professionals. This is what they did. There was no mercy in the lashes, no deft hand when laying the crown of thorns. Their job was the create the ultimate impact of pain…to get the people as close to death as possible, but then leave them almost able to continue on to final death.
As John Blase so distinctly writes “they were not trying to maim a man, but rend a god… they ruined him. They ruined the one I loved.”
And this morning I was thinking of how my pastor was describing the ripping open of flesh…of it being beyond what I can imagine in excruciating. And sometimes we paint a pretty picture of Christ’s resurrection body as just having the wounds in his arms and feet. But I wonder if he walked with a limp…if his body still bore the marks of the whip across his back, the literal destruction of his human form…if the marks on his head from the piercing blows of the crown thrust deep didn’t serve the remind of the actuality of what happened, of the price paid we can’t even begin to imagine.
And the the words ‘and by THIS we are healed’…
And I can’t comprehend it. Because this total destruction of his flesh form was the catalyst to the ultimate sacrifice when every sin of the entire world, past and present, would be placed upon this marred human body and the only way that it could be endured…in any form, was his Godhead. Because he would have been annihilated otherwise. And we live, and we believe, and we endure and we are SAVED because of this tearing, this ripping, this flesh being removed from being.
and I wonder if I’m truly able to grasp the horror and cost of His LOVE for me.