March 27: Mocked and Scourged
Isaiah the prophet, about 700 years before Jesus came to earth, wrote: “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.” (Isaiah 52:14, NLT)
39 times. The law said that you could whip a man 39 times. Why? Because the 40th slash with the whip would probably kill him.
Governor Pilate seemed to think that the barely-contained mob screaming for Jesus’ crucifixion might be appeased by a near-death sentence of whipping. So the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus and tied his hands to the post. Then 39 times, the whip whistled through the air, made contact with bare flesh, and was pulled across his back, the lead tips digging deeply into flesh until his back hung in ribbons.
Isaiah 53:5b says, “He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
When the whipping was done, they decide to have a little more “fun” at Jesus’ expense. They took Him behind closed doors, into the regimental headquarters where they called out the cohort – which would have been 500 men. Matthew writes, “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on Him [as a king’s robe]. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand [as a scepter]. Kneeling before Him, they ridiculed Him, saying, “Hail (rejoice), King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him repeatedly on the head.” (Matthew 27:27-30, AMP)
Isaiah 53:3-5a (NLT) “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.”
Adoration: Praise God using Philippians 2:6-11 “Though he (Jesus) was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Confession: Ask God to bring to mind any area that needs to be confessed. Agree with Him about your sin and ask for His help to walk in a different direction in this area.
Thanksgiving: Thank God that Jesus endured so much ill-treatment. He understands when we are mocked, bullied and even beaten. And He modeled for us true grace under fire as He was scorned on our behalf.
Supplication: Continue to pray for those who are coming to Easter services, including those you have invited. Ask God to soften the hearts of all who will attend so that they can understand just how much God loves them.