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Daily Reading: 17th January 2016

John 19.1-3

1 Therefore, Pilate then took Jesus and flogged Him,

2 And the soldiers weaved a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and threw a purple cloak around Him.

3 And they came and said to Him: “Hail, King of the Jews”. And they slapped Him on the face.

Having asked the crowds whom he should release, Pilate had to submit his wish to release Jesus to the populous clamour of the crowds to their demand that he should release Barabbas.

His hands were tied. His desire was to release a man whom he considered innocent, but he was forced into a course of action that he did not want to take.

In our life in Jesus we also may find ourselves embarking on a course of action that we know is not the right course. On such occasions we must never be afraid to change our minds and choose righteousness over convenience. The Holy Spirit will always give us the strength and confidence to switch courses for the honour and glory of Jesus. It may not be easy, and we may lose credibility with the world, but it is better to trust in the Lord than it is in men or princes (Psalm 118.8-9).

Pilate decided to have Jesus flogged by his own soldiers. This may have seemed a lesser punishment, and there was a chance that those flogged may survive the flogging, though many didn’t. Maybe Pilate thought that this lesser punishment would appease the desire of the crowds for ‘blood’. In a Roman flogging there would have been plenty of blood.

In a typical Roman flogging the person to be flogged would have been tied to a pole and their back laid bare. Then they would be flogged with a whip that contained many strands, which had pieces of glass embedded in each strand. The flogging would be of thirty-nine stripes. It can be seen that it would not take many stripes to rip open a person’s back, laying bare the flesh and bones.

Many who were punished in this way died as a result of it.

The whipping, or flogging, of Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah:

But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! – Isaiah 53.5 (NLT).

Peter also wrote about our being healed by His stripes:

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed 1 Peter 2.24 (NLT). Jesus suffered that Roman flogging so that we might be healed.

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