The gospels don’t go into detail about what happens during the beating and crucifixion of Christ. Most people know very little about what is involved. To speak of grace, I feel it necessary to know what Christ went through for us.
First, the flogging that Christ went through.Back in the day the Romans would, most of the time, whip the person being crucified before the crucifixion. The only time they wouldn’t do it is if they were going to have mass crucifixions and didn’t have time to whip. They would tie the person to a post and start to whip. Now, they were only allowed 40 lashes. If they whipped the person more than 40 lashes there were strong punishments for the Soldiers. So, they would only give 39 lashes to keep from possibly going over 40. They wouldn’t use just a normal whip. They would use what was called a flagellum. It had a short handle and generally two or three thick thongs, each weighted at some distance from their extremity with lead balls or mutton bones. In action, the thongs cut the skin, while the balls or bones created deep contusions. The result was significant hemorrhage and considerable weakening of the vital resistance of the victim. A lot of people wouldn’t even live to be crucified. Christ……did.
They next put the heavy cross onto His back that was already torn to the bone. And he had to carry this all the way to the hill. On the way a man named Simeon was asked to help Him carry the cross.
Once to the top of the hill He was placed on the cross. They started nailing into His one wrist and then nailed the next wrist. Even though popular belief is that the nails were in the hands. The word hand in Greek is “cheir”, which isn’t just the hand. It referred to the arm and hand together. So, the more likely placement of the nail according to history would be in the wrist between the two bones of the forearm. This could handle the weight being that crucifixions could last anywhere from a few hours to days. They also put nails in His feet. History says that they would, sometimes, nail a board to place the feet on so all the weight wouldn’t be on the feet. In any case, once they got Him nailed to the cross, they dropped the cross in the hole in the ground. This, I am sure, caused quite a painful experience for Christ. All that weight landing at once.
What happens next is quite painful over a period of time. For a while, Christ rests His arms so all the weight is put on the lower part of the body. But after a while the pain begins to worsen. So, He lifts up with His arms putting the weight on His upper body. He does this back and forth for quite a while. Each time lowering and raising His back is rubbing against this wooden cross as splinters tear into His back which is already torn to bits. Doing this for hours….or even days. Christ’s didn’t last for days though. After a while, exhaustion, pain, hunger, thirst all set in. After a while, blood starts to fill His lungs. Most people died from drowning in their own blood. After hours of pain and humiliation He begs forgiveness for those who are doing this to Him (grace), and dies.
All of this He went through not because we deserved it. Not because we did ANYTHING to show God we are worthy. But, because HE loved the WORLD. He loves us so much. Not because we do anything right or wrong. Because we are His beloved.
THAT my family is GRACE. He sent Christ to earth to take on flesh. Deal with what WE deal with. He did what none of us would…or will ever do. Die for those who are hating Him. Most of you have a problem with someone right now. You probably avoid them. You probably talk about them because why? You don’t like them or agree with something they do? Christ was killed, mocked, tortured and died loving those who were doing it. Died begging for their forgiveness. Makes me think a bit. Do I show that kind of grace to those around me?
HE LOVES US!! I don’t know how else to define God’s grace than that right there. While being mocked, crucified and humiliated by the people He spent His time loving and pouring into…all He says is….”Father forgive them….”.
To me, that is what grace is. That is the image that floods my mind when someone asks me what grace is. A Christ going through the worst, most painful death you could ever imagine…just because….HE loves US.
He went through hell so we wouldn’t have to.
For no other reason than….because….HE….LOVES…..US.
Jerod Rains is the Worship Leader at Canvas Church. You can catch more of Jerod’s writing at his own blog: jerod’s mind unraveled.