The Flogging

John 19:1

gpsblogThe Romans used flogging before a crucifixion to utterly dehumanize and shame the prisoner. Jesus had told the disciples he would be flogged in Jerusalem (Matthew 20:19, Mark 10:34, Luke 18:33). In Matthew 10:17 and Mark 13:9 he warned his followers that some of them, too, would face flogging.

  • Isaiah 53:5: “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.” In what ways does it speak to your heart that Jesus chose to bear a penalty that was rightfully ours? What limitations (if any) do you see in that image of the meaning of Jesus’ suffering and death?
  • Jesus’ prophecy that his followers would be flogged came true (see Acts 5:40, 16:23; 2 Corinthians 11:23-24). What do you as Christ’s follower in the 21st century face that, in your mind, is hard for you in ways akin to what the early Christians faced?


I am puzzled. For such a short part of the overall story of the crucifixion, all of eight words in John, this episode seems to draw the fascination of many. In this study, there is a fair bit devoted to it; in both the book and in these devotions.

Taking a break from all the flogging.

I remember watching “the Passion of the Christ” there was a lot of hype about this movie, and I had made special arrangements to see it on its opening weekend. I remember really liking parts of the movie, and about halfway through I was on the fence about how I felt about it, that is until we came the depiction of the flogging.  Now I have seen my share of blood and gore in both real life and in the movies, but I had to look away, not out of compassion for what Christ went through for me, but out of pure revulsion of how it was depicted.

Why did I have an issue with this, I don’t think it is because I want to minimize or ignore this part of the passion, but, because I know it is part of a much larger story.  In the movie, they slowed things down… blood and flesh were flung about in slow motion, it was just gross, beyond any reality, as horrid as it might have been. Maybe I don’t like these depictions because I personally fear that they will get in the way of the larger story.  Will people get hung up on the gore, and not hear the story of love, will they be distracted by the awfulness and not see that God can even work through the worst of what we are and can do to redeem, renew and yes resurrect, because if you want to linger somewhere… linger at the empty tomb… but don’t hang out there too long, because Jesus didn’t and he wants  you to join in him in the story right now.


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