I really loved the movie, The Passion of the Christ, but I would be the first to admit that the scourging scene was hard to watch. Many felt that Mel Gibson had gone too far with that scene. Others probably wonder what kind of God would allow something like that to happen.
As mentioned in my previous post, the account of Jesus’ death would lead us to conclude that Jesus died from the beating He received as opposed to asphyxiation due to crucifixion. This would lend support to Gibson’s interpretation of how Jesus’ passion progressed. Assuming for the moment that this is fairly accurate, why would this happen? It is assumed by many that the brutality of Jesus’ passion was caused by the extreme wrath of God against the sin of mankind. Without a doubt, we dare not underestimate how God feels about sin. The sufferings of Sheol and eventually Hell tell us that sin is no small matter to God, but another possibility exists with respect to Jesus’ passion.
Satan had much to lose if Jesus could successfully endure dying and being forsaken on behalf of mankind. If Jesus would only deviate from the plan, then all would be foiled. Provoke Jesus to sin, and Satan wins. Get Jesus to use His power to quit, and Satan wins. I would think that making the run up to death as miserable both physically and psychologically would be Satan’s best available strategy.
For God, death and forsakenness is all that is required for sin. It is a big enough “all”. Being mocked, struck, skinned alive with a whip is not necessarily a part of that equation.
For me that makes Jesus’ suffering for my salvation all the more amazing. Why do it? Why take that? What kind of love made Jesus stand in there and not strike back. He tolerated the verbal abuse. He let sinners have their way with Him. He willing braved being forsaken and dying, all for the sake of setting us free and giving us eternal life with Him despite our sin.
The cry of the jihadist is “God is great”. They don’t have a clue of how great.
“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” – Jesus
The incomprehensibility of grace. May we never cease to adore. He never lashed back.