Holy Week Experience
Now, the crucifixion is probably the most brutal and torturous death penalty ever devised by men. But even before Jesus went to the cross, He experienced incredible pain and bruises. Because after six trials and staying up all night and lack of sleep, it says that they gave Him to the Roman soldiers who just wanted to make fun of Him. They put a robe on Him and they crowned Him with a crown of thorns, which stuck into His head. They put a blindfold on Him. Then it says they began to beat Him and slap Him. They hit Him in the face. The Bible says that they even began to pluck His beard, just out of sheer torture.
They did this and said, “Who hit you, Jesus?” And somebody slapped Jesus on the face. “Who slapped You? If you’re God, tell us who we are?” Jesus could have given their names, their father’s names, and their grandfather’s names. He could have traced their family tree back to Adam. But He remained silent because He was taking the suffering of the world upon Himself.
The Bible says He was mocked and He was scorned. Scourging was far worse than whipping. They would bend a man over a post so that he couldn’t kneel down but he couldn’t stand up either. They would tie your hands, strip you down to the waist, then two men called lectors would hold whips that had a cat-of-nine-tails in it, nine long strands of leather. In each of these strands of leather they’d tie two things – sharp bone that would cut the skin and bits of lead in order to bruise the skin. They would whip and when they did it would not only cut the back open but it would bruise it at the same time.
By law, you could only give 40 stripes because it would usually kill a man. So they always gave only 39, because if you miscounted and gave more than 40, the lectors who would be giving the punishment would be given the same punishment they just doled out.
Jesus’ back was one bloody pulp even before He went to the cross. When you figure 39 times 9 (351) that’s how many cuts and bruises He had on His back even before He went to the cross. Then they gave Him the heavy cross that He was to carry up the hill to Calvary. As He carried the cross up the hill, He stumbled and fell due to the loss of blood and fatigue. The soldiers just grabbed somebody out of the crowd to help Him carry the cross. I’ve always been touched by the fact that they chose Simon of Cyrene, a black man was given the privilege of carrying Jesus’ cross.
When He got up to the top, they would stretch Him out on the cross and nail Him to it.