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FROM THE PAVEMENT TO GOLGOTHA



III . SCOURGING



Pilate, stalling for time, handed Jesus over to the Soldiers to be scourged.


The Romans had three types of whipping. In ascending severity, they are:

-        fustigatio (beating);

-        flagellatio (flogging); and

-       verberatio (scourging with a nine-strand whip with bone or metal at the end of each strand so flesh is torn off with each lash).










Scourging was part of a capital sentence, and it was a severe, willful, and extreme punishment that rendered the victim half dead, or sometimes fully dead. By Jewish Law the lashes on the back were to be forty minus one. Deuteronomy 25:3

  

With the scourging, Jesus embraced the role of the Suffering Servant, which was described by Isaiah:

"I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting." Isaiah 50:6


Isaiah informs us that the Suffering Servant is the one who is bruised and takes all sins on his shoulders. Jesus interpreted his mission as fulfilling the role of the Suffering Servant. Isaiah, for the first time, brought together the role of Messiah and Suffering Servant. Before Jesus’ time, this would have been impossible because the people wanted a glorious, militaristic figure who would free them of all foreigners and restore the glorious kingdom of David. Jesus rejected this concept of a military messiah and replaced it with the Suffering Servant motive -- as described in the book of Isaiah beginning at chapter forty. Pope Benedict XVI sums this up:

 

“The Suffering Servant, who has the guilt of all laid upon him (Isa 53:6), giving up His life as a sin- offering (Isa 53:10) and bearing the sins of many (Isa 53:12), thereby carries out the ministry of the high priest, fulfilling the figure of the priesthood from deep within. He is both priest and victim, and in this way, he achieves reconciliation”.


It has been said -- a God who cannot suffer cannot fully love. In his passion, Jesus absorbs all the hate and venom levelled at God. Evil did it worst to Him. However, instead of succumbing to this onslaught of evil, God transforms evil and suffering into something good; thus, demonstrating that love can overcome evil and transform it. A new thing is happening here which makes the Christian God unique – The Christian God is the only God who takes on human suffering in solidarity with all those who suffer. Jesus is indeed the Suffering Servant.


How do I deal with taunts and barbs?


Do I want to spit back venomously or just brush it as nonsensical gibberish from out of the mouths of amadáns (Irish for a big stupid fool or donkey)?

 

Or do I want to accumulate them for payback day?

 

 What would Jesus’s advice be?

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