Jesus paid it all for me. Jesus died a horrible death on the cross. Jesus calls on me to join Him in that death. I must take up my cross as well. I must humble myself and die to my ungodly and evil way of life.
Crucifixion is all ghastly to contemplate. The cruelty is stunning. Will I pick up my cross?
It goes beyond the shame and pain though. The WAY of the cross is a journey. Will I join Jesus?
They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. | John 19:17
Jesus died and paid the price with His precious blood to redeem me from the penalty of missing God’s goal (aka sin) for my life. I deserve death. Jesus has given me life. Not just any kind of life, but Jesus has given me eternal life. Life that will be abundant and never ever end. But … it is a life of “cross bearing”.
Calling the crowd along with his disciples, Jesus said to them:
If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the good news will save it. | Mark 8:33-35
Jesus knows there is a price to be paid. Jesus paid it. Jesus calls on me to follow Him and pay it as well. To get to the crown of life and victory, I have to follow the way of the cross.
Just before His crucifixion, Jesus was scourged by the Romans. The Bible does not directly indicate how many lashes Jesus received. Deuteronomy 25:3 states that a criminal should not receive more than forty lashes. In order to avoid possibly accidentally breaking this command, the Jews would only give a criminal 39 lashes.
The Apostle Paul mentioned this practice in 2 Corinthians 11:24, “five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.” Again, though, Jesus was scourged by the Romans, not by the Jews. There is no reason to believe that the Romans would follow a Jewish tradition.
Scourging was the punishment ordered for Jesus by Pontius Pilate: He was to be flogged but not killed in that way. His death was to be carried out by crucifixion after the scourging.
- John 19:1 — Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.
- Luke 23:16 — “Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
The victim of crucifixion was first severely scourged or beaten, an ordeal that was life-threatening by itself. Then he was forced to carry the large wooden crossbeam to the site of the crucifixion. Bearing this load was not only extremely painful after the beating, but it added a measure of shame as the victim was carrying the instrument of his own torture and death. It was like digging one’s own grave.