As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men. (Isaiah 52:14 KJV)
This is a scripture that reminds me of what Jesus did for me. For us on the cross. It is a verse that I reflect upon. When I feel as though this christian journey is not worth it. Earlier this week. I went through a bout. Where I didn’t feel like reading my bible. I didn’t feel like praying. I didn’t feel like pressing through the trials that I was facing. In that moment I just wanted to give up. Even if it were just for a moment. As I was telling God. What I didn’t feel like doing. The Holy Spirit spoke to me these words “What if Christ didn’t feel like dying on the cross for you? Where then would you be?” I understood then in that moment, because of what Jesus did. When he took my place on calvary’s cross. That I didn’t have the right to give up. Simply, because I was tired of being tested. In the above scripture. The prophet Isaiah gives us a visual peak into what Jesus would look like. He described Jesus that his visage was marred more than any man. In other words. His face was so disfigured that one would not be able to even tell that he was human. An innocent man who did no wrong, but he was willing to be disfigured for the likes of me and for the likes of you. So that we wouldn’t be held accountable for the sins that we have committed. It makes me realize that I don’t have the right to give up when I didn’t have to face all that Jesus faced for me on that cross.
(1) Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. (2) And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, (3) And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. ( John 19:1-3 KJV)
The word scourged means to whip someone as punishment; to cause great suffering; to inflict pain or punishment; it is an instrument of punishment or criticism; a cause of wide or great affliction. In ever definition that I found for the word scourged, with the exception of one. It all used the word punishment. Jesus was scourged or better yet shall I say that he was punished on our behalf. Scourged also means great suffering and affliction. All of this was even before Jesus made it to the cross. We like to talk about the road to Calvary, but do we actually ever stop and ponder what he truly had to face on his way to the cross? To tell on myself. I focused more on Jesus death on the cross than I did on the pain he suffered all before he even got to the cross. He was scourged and afflicted. They mocked Christ by platting a crown of thorns on his head. Some theologians describe it as being shoved into his skull. They mockingly put on him a purple robe. The purple robe represented royalty or kingship. They jokingly referred to him as the King of the Jews. They laid hands on him. I need for you to truly understand that this wasn’t a private shaming. Jesus was publicly scourged, he was publicly mocked and afflicted. He was publicly disrespected and made a joke out of. The bible tells us that he went from judgement hall to judgement hall being whipped and beaten along the way. In the gospel of Luke it tells of how Simon of Cyrene an was forced to help bear the cross of Jesus. I remember Jesus spoke to me a few years ago with this verse ( Luke 23:26) when I was struggling to let Jesus carry a burden of mine. He told me I know what it is like to need help with the cross you are bearing. Most would say that Jesus is God. He could have beared it n his own that he didn’t need any help. I would argue however, that he was also human and it was in his humanity that he faced the cross. Jesus truly went through every suffering that man will ever go through so that he may identify with us in our sufferings. In Hebrews 4:15 scripture tells us that we have not a high priest which could not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Scripture tells us that at all points. Yet without sin. So when we face anything. We have the comfort of knowing that Jesus truly understands. Scripture also tells us that they parted Jesus clothing into four and gambled for them. Above his head was a sign that read JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. It was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. So that all those around might participate in this cruel joke.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)
So what made Jesus face the humiliation of the cross for us? Jesus himself answered that question. He said that there is no greater love than a man would lay down his life for a friend. Jesus gift to us wasn’t just in the fact that he loved us, but it was in the fact that he willingly gave up his life for us. Do we ever take a moment to think about the cost of the gift. That Jesus gave for us? When we think about a gift. We think about something packaged nice and pretty. Presented in a beautiful way. For the receiver the gift is free,but for the purchaser. It cost them something. For Jesus it cost him his life. His gift didn’t come wrapped in some pretty package. With a bow on top. No, his gift was bloody and disfiguring. His gift came with shame and humiliation. His gift for you and for me cost him his life. It was a very costly gift. Yes, we know that he rose from the dead with all victory in his hands, but let us not forget what Jesus had to walk through. In order to obtain this victory. As I was reflecting on what Jesus did for me. For us on the cross. I was reminded that Jesus didn’t die just so that I may be comfortable. So that I may obtain desires that really don’t matter. No, he died so that I may have a relationship with the Father. He died so that my sins will be forgiven. He took the punishment that I deserved. So that I (we) may have eternal life. I don’t have the right to give up. When Christ didn’t give up on me. Do you know the most beautiful part of his gift to humanity. Was that he knew some would reject his gift. That some would turn away from his gift. Yet and still he gave his life as ransom for us anyway. No greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. If Jesus could lay down his life for me. Than I can lay down what I thought my life should have been for him. Jesus I thank you for your gift!