God Walked Through The Blood (Part 2)

You can read Part 1 if you have not already.

Scripture paints a grotesque scene as it describes in vivid detail what happened to Jesus in the moments prior to and leading up to the Cross. All four gospels tell that Jesus was scourged before His execution. Let me take a few moments to explain this process that I have been studying throughout this year.

Under Roman penalties, there was a distinction between being whipped as a punishment and being scourged. Many Christians (including myself up until recently) try to associate them as the same, but they are not. Whipping for punishment was with the purpose of hurting the individual badly enough that he or she would not repeat their offense; however, the intent behind it was that that individual would survive the whipping…or at least have a good chance of doing so. It was an odd sort of “rehabilitation” if you will.

If a person was to be whipped as a punishment, they were chained to a post, often a short one to force them into a leaning position, and the whipping would commence. The number of lashes could be any number from one to no more than forty. This is significant in understanding the difference between the two methods of punishment. An individual would count out loud in order to ensure that the lashings did not exceed the allotted amount or forty, whichever was lower. It was not uncustomary to subtract one from the prescribed number to ensure that they did not go over because under certain conditions the overage could be exacted upon those who were involved in the punishment! In other words, if they accidentally went to forty-one, the extra lash could be then given to those who were charged to carry out the sentence.

This is what most Christians think of when they think of Jesus being whipped prior to the Cross. It is not uncommon to hear people refer to the thirty-nine lashes that Jesus received from the cat-of-nine-tails. However, this is inaccurate because scripture uses the word scourged, which was an entirely different punishment entirely!

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