At the very end of Jesus’ life, we see His body ripped to shreds. He was absolutely mutilated. The Bible says He was not even recognizable as human at the end. The Romans were experts as torture and they had an uncanny ability to create horrifying pain. When Jesus was flogged before His crucifixion, the soldiers would have used a cat of nine tails. This was a special whip with nine strands of leather. In each strand, there were pieces of metal and bone that would deliver a blow, tearing and ripping the flesh. Pontius Pilate ordered that Jesus be flogged in the hopes that those wanting Him to be crucified would be satisfied if He were beaten thoroughly. However, when Jesus re-appeared before the crowd, the soldiers had put a robe and a crown of thorns on him stirring the anger of those who wanting Jesus to die for claiming to be the Messiah.
His body would have been so weak, but then He was made to carry His own cross. This was a very heavy beam. Many people died from the flogging that Jesus took. And not everyone was both flogged and then crucified. What Jesus endured was excessive brutality. Yet we read in the Scripture that the flogging did not kill Jesus and neither did the crucifixion kill Jesus. He was not killed. He gave up His spirit. He decided when the time would be that He would surrender His spirit and his body die. Just before He gave up His spirit, He said, “It is finished.” He finished the work the Lord had given Him to do. He could not allow the flogging, nor the crucifixion kill Him so that He could finish His work.
And we are the body of Christ and the Lord has prepare for each one of us, good works prepared for us since the beginning of time. And we too, face spiritual, mental, and emotional death all day long. Some Christians also face physical death all day long. Yet, like Christ, we can not allow ourselves to be destroyed. The flogging of persecution that can destroy our faith, kill our joy, and end our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is a very real truth, but we must not let it kill us. We have much to do, things God has prepared for you and me, specific to our life, that we must complete. Therefore, we must not ever allow ourselves to be destroyed, but we continue on in the strength of the Spirit fighting the good fight of faith doing those things that God has called us to do.
There are things that God has prepared for you to accomplish in this life. These things are specific to your life and others are dependent upon you to finish the work the Lord has given to us. We must finish the race. We cannot quit. We cannot allow the nails and the wood of this world kill us. We fight past it, continuing to do the works of the Lord until we finish the work He has given us. Is there anything in your life that is keeping you from doing what God has called you to do? Have you been distracted by pain or pleasure and stopped doing the work the Lord has given to you? It is time to fix our eyes upon the author and perfecter of our faith, hold on through the floggings and crosses of this world and finish the work He has given us.
Isaiah 52:13 - 53:6
See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him--
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness --
so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
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. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, if I am honest, the pain of this world can be unbearable. Remind me that I am part of the church, the body of Christ, exposed to the floggings, beatings, piercings, the hammer and nails of this world. Yet, I have this power deep within me and if I endure, the power that is You will manifest. If I let the things of this world destroy me, you will not be seen in me. Help me Lord to know where You want to use me and how You want to use me and give me strength to endure the hardships and keep serving You. Help me to finish the work You have given me to do as a man, a Father, a Husband, a Friend, and as a Servant of the Most High God. -Amen!
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