I. THIS SCOURGING WAS A PART OF THE DIVINE PLAN OF GOD.
A. It was a fulfillment of prophecy.
1. Psalm 129:3
: "The plowers plowed upon My back, they made long their furrows."
2. Isaiah 50:6
: "I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, I hid not My face from shame and spitting."
3. Isaiah 53:5
: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed."
4. Jesus prophesied His scourging in Matthew 20:18
. "Behold we go up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes and they shall betray Him unto death. And shall deliver Him unto the Gentiles to mock and to scourge, and to crucify Him and the third day He shall rise again."
B. What was the scourging?
1. It was the Roman flagellis according to Josephus it was inflicted before crucifixion.
2. The prisoner was tied with thongs to a post. When Paul was brought into the castle or the Antonio Fortress by the chief captain, who ordered Paul to be examined by scourging, to find out what he said that caused such a tumult among the Jews, we are told that while they were binding him with the thongs, he asked the centurion if it was lawful to scourge a Roman citizen who had not been condemned.
3. Pulpit commentary declares the Roman punishment flagellis inflicted hideous torture. It was executed upon slaves with thin elm rods or straps having leaden balls or sharply pointed bones attached, and was delivered on the bent bare and tense back. The flagellation usually brought blood with the first stroke, and reduced the back to a fearful state or raw and quivering flesh. Strong men often succumbed under it.
4. Paul refers to receiving five times from the Jews forty stripes save one. It is generally accepted that this is the number of stripes inflicted. Forty is the number of judgment, it rained in the time of Noah's flood for forty days and nights. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The forty save one being 39. 39 is thus considered the number of mercy (Not much mercy).
5. The purpose of the scourging was to torture the prisoner into a confession of his crimes. Paul was examined by scourging to find out what he had said to the Jews that caused them to riot. The idea was that as a prisoner confessed to his various crimes, the guard that was inflicting the stripes across his back would ease off with every confession.
6. Think of the case of Jesus, with nothing to confess, He took the full brunt of the beating. "As a lamb before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth."
C. It was obviously the will of God that He should be thus tortured, which leaves the big question, "Why?"
1. Why would God allow His beloved Son to suffer needlessly?
a. Would you allow your son to suffer needlessly?
b. There must be some purpose why God allowed Jesus to be thus cruelly treated.
2. Naturally we should look to the scriptures to see if we can find some answer to this question.
a. When Isaiah prophesied the scourging, he said, "And by His stripes, we are healed."
b. In 1Peter 2:24
: "Who His own self bare our sins in His body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed."
3. When at the passover meal when Jesus took the bread, He said, "This is My body which is broken for you."
a. Where was His body broken? As a sacrifice not a bone could be broken. It was not lawful to offer for a sacrifice an animal whose bone had been broken.
b. When they decided to break the legs of the prisoners who were being crucified to hasten their deaths, when they came to Jesus, they found that He was already dead, so they did not break His bones that the scripture might be fulfilled, which declared not a bone of Him shall be broken.
c. Jesus could not then be referring to bones being broken.
d. It would seem that His reference must have been to His body being broken open during the scourging.
e. His death for our sins accomplished our salvation, what did the scourging accomplish?
4. In Matthew's gospel, chapter 8, as he tells us that they brought the sick to Jesus he declares that He healed all that were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "That Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
a. You will not find that declared in the book of Isaiah, so we must conclude that Matthew is interpreting chapter 53 of Isaiah, that declared, "By His stripes we are healed."
b. The scourging of Jesus was related to healing.
c. It has been the position of the fundamental commentators of the Bible to interpret the healing as spiritual healing.
d. The reason that this position is taken is the fact that they have determined that physical healing in answer to prayer ceased with the apostles.
e. Thus their interpretation is influenced by their presuppositional premise. The question must be asked, "Is their presupposition correct?"
f. Is there a passage of scripture that might suggest such a thing? Has God rescinded His covenant to heal His people.
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.
g. Was there a limit put on the instruction of James that if there were any sick among us that we should call for the elders of the church to anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord shall raise them up?
h. A.G. Gordon in his book on the Ministry of Healing shows that throughout the history of the church there have been testimonies of healing in answer to prayer. This is usually termed divine healing.
5. Paul's interesting instructions for the Corinthian church regarding the taking of communion, He warns them not to partake in an unworthy fashion. Then he speaks of them not discerning the Lord's body, and for this cause many were weak and sickly among them and some have actually died.
6. I offer this to you as a suggestion. Could it be that God has provided for us in the scourging of Jesus, by His stripes, His broken body, a provision for our healing, if we only discerned the Lord's body; i.e., His body that was broken for us. Is it possible that many could be healed, who are now weak and sick if they only discerned the Lord's body?
a. What could Jesus have meant, "This is My body broken for you?"
b. We know what He meant by the cup, "This is a new covenant in My blood for the remission of sins."
c. His blood was shed for our redemption, but why was His body broken?
"Why are they whipping my Jesus? Why does the lash descend?
Why must His quivering shoulders,
Is not the cross tree of Calvary,
Sufficient to pardon my guilt?
Why are they whipping my Jesus?
Tell me my friend if thou wilt.
For this they are whipping my Jesus,
As lashes rise and fall,
Here He is purchasing healing,
Without the judgment hall.
Jesus Himself bare thine anguish
Ye Jesus Himself bare thy pain,
Cast now thy burden upon Him,
Health through His stripes now regain.
7. What is the significance of His body being broken for us?
8. What did God accomplish through that?
9. Until I can find a better scriptural answer, I will look to Him for His strength and healing.