Lent Devotions 2012: Tuesday 27th March

“As many were astonished at you –
his appearance was so marred,
beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind…”
Isaiah 52:14

This verse is found at the beginning of the last of four Suffering servant song in Isaiah (Is. 52:13-53:12). Here we see a prophetic glimpse into the future; a vision of the battered and bruised Jesus Christ at His crucifixion.

There are many verses in the Bible that we just skip over and don’t really pay much attention to. One such verse is Mark 15:15, which reads, “and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” Most of us do not know what scourging is, so we lightly pass over it without giving it much thought. But scourging was commonly administered before one was crucified. The prisoner would be stripped naked, bound to a post with his arms above his head, and beaten with a flagellum. This was a whip with leather thongs plaited with bits of bone, lead or bronze, The lashes would cause deep contusions as they would literally rip off ribbons of flesh. At this time, there were no prescribed number of lashes, and often this procedure would kill the prisoner.

Jesus was also dressed in a purple robe as the soldiers spat on Him and battered Him with their fists. A crown of thorns was fashioned and beat down around His ears with a reed. At the conclusion of this flogging and mocking, Jesus was forced to carry His cross beam out of Jerusalem, causing Him to collapse under it. Finally, He was nailed to the cross and forced to suffer the humiliation of this most heinous of deaths.

 

Truly His body was marred beyond recognition. But these wounds were not merely the stripes of cruel injustice; no, Isaiah continues by saying “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Is. 53:5). His punishment was my punishment. And it is His suffering and death that brings me peace and healing.

 

So now we too are “astonished at You”, for You, Jesus Christ, did this willingly for me. Truly Your grace is “astonishing”; Your cross is “astonishing”; and Your forgiveness is “astonishing”.

Still not sure? Gaze up at His scourged, beaten, and crucified body hanging on the cross.

Lord Jesus, You were scourged, beaten, mocked, and crucified because of my sin. Forgive me, and always cause my eyes to look to You and Your cross for my peace and salvation, Amen.