Part 2 - A continuation of Part 1.
Once the crown of thorns is placed upon Jesus' head, blood is starting to ooze from his brow as the thorns smash into his skull. Jesus feels the pain and screams in agony again. He can't take it anymore. The brutal flogging, the tearing off His cloak after His flogging, and the crown of thorns is too much for our Savior. The soldiers begin mocking Him in front of the many people willing to watch the agony of Jesus. The Son of God, enduring immense physical pain, watches the cheers, jeers, and cackles of the many onlookers, who are cheering for more. "Spit on Him 5 times," says an onlooker. Another citizen watching jeers, "Beat his head out of its skull." Jesus is humiliated, but he never retaliates. Isaiah 53:7 says, "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth." He was silent. He endured the mockery in complete silence...never sinning once. Absolutely astounding. Something we could never do without God's grace upon our lives. I am thankful that He has poured out His grace upon my life. Praise Him!!! Continuing in Matthew 27:31, "And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe and put His own clothes on Him and led Him away to crucify Him." Once again, the word stripped comes into play. The healed veins, arteries, and tissue are ripped open again. Jesus screams in pain. Blood comes pouring out in immense volumes until the soldiers place Jesus' own clothes back on Him. Once that happens, the soldiers lead Jesus on towards Calvary.
Our battered, bruised, and helpless Savior is forced to carry His own cross. The weight of the cross (around 30-40 pounds) is placing too much strain on our Savior. After his severe scourging and great loss of blood, Jesus can barely hold anything and, eventually, stumbles to the ground. The soldiers are irritated by the slow progress so they compel a man, by the name of Simon of Cyrene, to carry Jesus' cross for Him. Simon of Cyrene accepts and the death march continues to Golgotha. Finally, we are at Golgotha, known as the Place of the Skull. Jesus is thrust on the cross by the soldiers. One soldier begins nailing the first nail into Jesus' right wrist. Pound. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Jesus screams in absolute agony. Pound. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Jesus screams again. Another soldier begins nailing the left wrist. Pound. Jesus screams. The third soldier nails a nail between both ankle bones. Pound. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Once all the nails are set in place, the cross is lifted.
Death, by crucifixion, is usually suffocation. The victim would have extreme difficulty breathing, which could only be alleviated by pushing up with one's feet to take the weight off the arms. This one motion would cause severe pain in the feet, arms, legs, and back, causing the exhausted victim to slump down once again. Then, the process begins again until the victim eventually succumbs to suffocation. At this time though, Jesus has two enemies. The cross and our sin. One of them is far greater than the other. We will look at the far greater part next time. However, Christ labors as he tries to breath. Every breath that our Savior takes is a struggle, but he continues on through the toils of the crucifixion and our sin until he finally, breaths His last and yields His spirit. My main question now is: How did Jesus die? Did he die the natural crucifixion death by suffocation? Or, did he die from some other cause of death? Half of the answer is found when the centurion pierces Jesus side with his spear. Blood and water come flowing forth like a fountain from His side. When water is in the bloodstream, you have a problem. The heart was filled with fluid. That is why water came out with blood. The second half of the answer is found when Jesus started sweating great drops of blood in the garden. He was in extreme anguish that one of his capillaries burst, mixing sweat with blood. When any person is under this type of anguish, the heart is racing at abnormal levels. Some of that sweat dripped down into the bloodstream and started filling up Jesus' heart. You also see that some of his arteries and veins burst when he was flogged; filling the heart with more fluid. You add our sin on top of that and you end up with heart failure. Jesus died of a broken heart. I will close with this Sovereign Grace Hymn:
Words and music by Peter Gagnon
As recorded on Valley of Vision
Before the cross I kneel and see
The measure of my sin
How You became a curse for me
Though You were innocent
The magnitude of Your great love
Was shown in full degree
When righteous blood, the crimson spill
Rained down from Calvary
Oh, the precious blood
That flowed from Mercy’s side
Washed away my sin
When Christ my Savior died
Oh, the precious blood
Of Christ the crucified
It speaks for me before Your throne
Where I stand justified
And who am I that I should know
This treasure of such worth
My Savior’s pure atoning blood
Shed for the wrath I’d earned
For sin has stained my every deed
My every word and thought
What wondrous love that makes me one
Your priceless blood has bought
A crown of thorns, pierced hands and feet
A body bruised, and Mercy’s plea
© 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).