Jesus’ Suffering: Forgiveness
After Jesus was beaten several times and was flogged also, he was led away to be crucified. The flogging was a standard procedure for those who were executed by crucifixion. This flogging was so severe that some even died because of it. However, Jesus had to go on the cross, it would not have been enough to save us when he had died after his flogging. Before I explain why Jesus had to be crucified and why he was not just stoned or beheaded or received any other less painful form of execution, I will tell a bit more about crucifixion.
This is only Part C of this teaching. To read the complete teaching, go to What Jesus’ Suffering Was All About
Although the flogging was terrible, the crucifixion itself was even much worse. It was said that those who died because of the flogging were ‘lucky’. At the cross, the executed person was stripped of his clothes to hang the person naked on the cross. This was done by spreading his arms and putting two large nails through his wrists. Also there was a small support block attached to the cross and the executed person’s feet were nailed to this block. This was so the person hanging on the cross could push himself up while hanging on the cross. This seems helpful, but actually this was one of the reasons why the crucifixion is the most painful death. Because the crucified person could only breathe while he hold himself up. But the nails through his wrist pressed on the nervus medianus, a nerve which goes through the wrist. So every time the crucified person moved, he experienced severe pain. This pain is almost unbearable. If the person was only nailed through his wrists, he would soon not be able to hold himself up and die from suffocation. However, because of the little support block, the crucified person could push himself up. In this way he was able to breathe a little more for a while before he has to push himself up again. Only, by pushing himself up, his full weight pressed on the nail in his feet. So, while the crucified person survived by holding and pushing himself up, he is torturing himself. Let alone that the crucified person is also hanging with his flogged skin to the rough wooden cross. The crucified person would eventually die because of exhaustion why he couldn’t push himself up anymore and died from suffocation.
So after Jesus’ terrible suffering because of beatings and his flogging, his suffering became even worse. The question remains, why did Jesus have to suffer in this way? First of all, we know that God breathed the breath of life into man in the beginning. Breathing is torturing during the crucifixion. The blessing of life is reversed to a path of suffering that leads to death. Also, from the above we learn that Jesus was put on the cross naked. In the first section we learned that, because of the fall of man, man became ashamed of being naked. We also learned in the first section that God prophesied that there will come a sacrifice that covers our shame. Jesus is put on the cross naked. We may state that this happened to show that he would take our shame away. Now, let’s look at the prophecy from the prophet Isaiah again, this will help us understand Jesus’ sacrifice even more.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ~ Isaiah 53,5-6 ~
Here it clearly states that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. In other words, he was nailed on the cross because we have gone our own way in sin and Jesus paid the price for this. Through his punishment we received peace. This has to do with taking our shame away. After the fall, man became ashamed and the relationship with God was broken. Jesus covered our guilt toward God with his sacrifice and this gave us peace. We do not have to be ashamed to come to God anymore. Jesus crucifixion was the sacrifice we needed as is explained in the following passages.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ~ Hebrews 10,1-4 ~
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. ~ Hebrews 9,22 ~
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10,19-22 ~
In the first two passages we see that sacrifices are connected with the shedding of blood. The sacrifices of bulls and goats could not take away our sin. In the second passage we learn that the shedding of blood is required for our forgiveness. From the last passage we learn that Jesus’ blood, his sacrifice for us, makes it possible to come before God unashamed. This makes sense, the shame and guilt is taken away through Jesus’ sacrifice. There is forgiveness through his sacrifice and therefore we can come to God unashamed. Jesus teaches also about this during his life.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Mark 10,45 ~
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” ~ John 10,11 ~
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Matthew 26,27-28 ~
Jesus prophesied that he would sacrifice himself to redeem us. He paid the price for our sins so we could receive forgiveness. Jesus’ sacrifice was required to reconcile us with God. This was prophesied by Jesus and even before Jesus was born. We can recognize a strong image of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice in the Day of Atonement. This was a very important day in the Jewish calendar. On this day two goats were set apart. One of the goats was sent away to die, but I will elaborate about this more during the next section. The other goat was offered to God for the sins of the people. Read what is written about this in the following passages.
Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. … The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. ~ Leviticus 17,9 & 17,27 ~
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. ~ Hebrews 13,11-12 ~
From these passages we learn that Jesus is sacrificed outside the city, he was crucified outside the city, to reconcile us with God and to make us holy. His sacrifice on the cross was the sin offering which would cleanse us forever. Therefore Jesus needed to be pierced on a cross. The following passages makes it also very clear why Jesus had to be crucified and should not be executed in another way.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. ~ Galatians 3,10-14 ~
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
A little remark before I explain this passage. In the first section we read that the serpent, that is Satan, was cursed because it deceived man. Also the ground was cursed so man would suffer during life. However, it is remarkable that man himself was not cursed, but only suffered (a lot) from the cursed ground. However, we also learned that man was not able to live righteous because of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, sin became part of life. Later, the law was given. But the law did not help to overcome sin. Actually, even though the law is holy and perfect, sin used the law to tempt man to sin even more. In this way, the law became a curse, because it let us to sin and condemned us because of our sins. From the above passage we learn that Jesus became a curse for us, because he was crucified and by law that meant that he was cursed. Man was not cursed when he fell into sin, because Jesus would be cursed instead of man. Jesus was forsaken by God, so we could come to God again. In the next section, we will learn more about being free from the law. It is really powerful! For now, I want to conclude with the following passage which is amazing.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left sin committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. ~ Romans 3,21-26 ~
Here it says again that we are justified through Jesus’ blood. Everyone is born in sin through the fall of man and therefore everyone needs the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. When we put our trust in Jesus we are justified because of his sacrifice. That means that we receive forgiveness out of grace, we cannot do anything to deserve this. If you find it hard to put your trust in Jesus and have faith that you are forgiven, note that God shows that he is just by forgiving us because of our faith in Jesus. In other words, whatever sins you have done, when you put your trust in Jesus, God forgives you because he is righteous. So, if you didn’t know that you can receive forgiveness or if think that God is still angry at you for whatever reason, why don’t you start to pray and come before God. Know that you do not come because of yourself, but because of Jesus and his sacrifice. You come under the New Covenant made by the blood of Jesus. Come to God the Father and accept forgiveness for your sins. Receive his love for you. Know that God sacrificed Jesus out of love even before you came to him. It is his desire that you come to him and that you two are reconciled and have peace. If you find it hard to take this step or just prefer to not take this step alone, go to Contact to share what you think about taking this step and be assisted during this important and beautiful step.
God bless you,
Founder of Experience Jesus