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THE SUFFERING SERVANT
ON THE ROMAN CROSS..
No grief is so sore.
No shame is so perfect.
No death is so ugly, so cruel, so horrible, so thorough.
First, there was the scourging.
The scourging post was two feet high. An iron ring, placed close to the top, projected from both sides.
Clothing was ripped away from a prisoner so that he stood naked.
Wrists were firmly tied to the iron rings. Then the victim was stretched, face down, with his feet pointing away from the post.
Even the tension of awaiting the first blow is cruel. The muscles knot in tormenting cramps.
Colour drains from the cheeks. Lips are drawn tight against the teeth. The body, in fear is rigid.
The Roman whip was a flagra (flagrum),-- a short-handled whip made of several thin iron chains or 9 leather cords with cracked sheep-bones inserted in the leather, that ended in small weights and hooks-- a scourge for stripping the flesh off a person's body, piece by piece.
Scourging was called the "little death".
It came before the "big death": Crucifixion.
Roman lictors were professionals. They confined their labours to the fine, brutal art of scourging, and they could easily beat a victim to death.
As the whip descends, the chains fan out across the back, and each link cuts through the skin and deep into the flesh.
- [ ] The weights crash with bruising force into the ribs and curl tortuously around the chest and abdomen.
- [ ] The hooks dig in, and harrow the abdomen as the whip is pulled back for the next blow.
- [ ] A man being scourged knows pain beyond the memory of pain.
- [ ] Sweat bursts from the brow and stings the eyes.
- [ ] At each stroke of the flagra, a victim's body twitches like a beheaded chicken.
- [ ] The second stroke patterns the back and half of the chest with a V-shaped network of small cuts.
- [ ] Only Wonderful has been able to hold back the high-pitched wail of unbearable agony, as the very juice of life is torn away with every lash, as the whistle of the flagra in the air, and the harrowing of the back and shoulders blinds the victim with burning pain.
- [ ] Blood with minced flesh spatters the floor.
- [ ] The flagra can flay a man alive.
- [ ] Hebrew law limited the strokes to 39, but Roman punishment was not so limited. There was only one rule for the lictor who scourged a man about to be crucified: he must not die.
- [ ] A spark of life must be sustained for the agony on the cross.
- [ ] Men have bitten their tongues in two under such beatings.
- [ ] Only blessed unconsciousness could bring relief.
- [ ] The limp body of a victim was cut away from the post. His wounds were washed but not otherwise medicated. The next step was the parade to the execution ground. Roman politicians always liked to make examples of condemned men.
- [ ] The long, slow parade along public streets was designed to serve as a warning to others that Rome dealt quickly and mercilessly.
- [ ] A centurion usually served as the executioner or carnifex servorum.
- [ ] While four soldiers held the prisoner, he placed the sharp five-inch iron spike in the centre of the palm of the hand. A skilful, experienced blow would send it through to the wood of the cross-beam (patibulum). Four to five more strokes would hammer the spike deep into the rough plank, and a final blow turned it up so that the hand could not slip free.
- [ ] A small projection resembling a rhinoceros horn, and known as the ‘sedile’, is solidly fitted halfway up the already planted vertical beam. This took much of the victim’s weight off his hands when, nailed onto the cross-beam, he was lifted up and made to ‘sit’ (by the crotch) on the sedile.
- [ ] Then, with the knees slightly bent and one foot over the other, a spike is driven through the feet into the vertical beam.
- [ ] It was a death reserved for slaves, thieves and traitors.
- [ ] The wounds in the hands send fire down through the arms.
- [ ] Fainting only relieves temporarily.
- [ ] The cross is planted so that the sun shines directly into the eyes of the crucified.
- [ ] Even when the eyelids are closed (to evade the gaze of the crowd) a red glare penetrates.
- [ ] It is darkness and pain; then pain and darkness.
- [ ] The pain in the back, arms, hands, feet and crotch is a steady burning, throbbing, horrible, endless pain. The pain builds up. It multiplies. It is cumulative. There is not one moment of respite.
- [ ] Below, the curious crowd wait, fascinated by the torture.
- [ ] The macabre scene is played out slowly. Dying should be a private thing, not a public spectacle.
- [ ] There is something obscene about having a mob of people standing around, waiting for you to die.
- [ ] Then the thirst begins. The greatest of all needs at this moment is a drop of cool water.
- [ ] The lips are dry. The mouth is parched. The blood is hot. The skin is fevered.
- [ ] Water is denied.
- [ ] But vinegar (sour wine) with bile in it, is provided.
- [ ] The tongue thickens.
- [ ] What was once saliva is turning into a sticky, flesh-gripping glue.
- [ ] At the foot of the cross the terror-squad drinks a thin beer in the presence of the dying man, to add to his mental torment.
- [ ] Swelling begins in the hands and the feet.
- [ ] The sedile digs deeply into the genitals. It is impossible to turn, or to change one's position.
- [ ] Muscles begin to twitch.
- [ ] The real horror is only beginning.
- [ ] What has happened up until now is child's play.
- [ ] One by one the muscles of the back gather in tight, knotty cramps.
- [ ] There is no escaping them, no pulling out of them, no gentle massaging hands to ease them away.
- [ ] They move across the shoulders and the thorax. Then down into the abdomen.
- [ ] After two hours on a cross, every muscle in the body is locked in solid knots and the agony is beyond endurance.
- [ ] Men shriek themselves into insanity.
- [ ] The pain and symptoms are identical to tetanus (lockjaw or the state of a muscle when undergoing continued contraction).
- [ ] Man, with all his genius, has never devised a more cruel or more agonizing death than that of tetanus -- the slow, steady contraction of every muscle.
- [ ] Death by crucifixion makes the agony last as long as possible.
- [ ] At times the cramps make the neck rigid and the head is held flush against the vertical beam. Then the sores of the thorns driven into the scalp ignite.
- [ ] The cramps drive the harrowed back to scrub the rough plank, scouring the wounds.
- [ ] A man longs for death. It is his only desire.
- [ ] Dogs yelping, with the smell of blood in their nostrils. Birds of prey, scavengers of the skies, circle lower and lower, waiting.
- [ ] Flies, undeterred by the crowd, gather upon every open wound..
- [ ] Prayers seem to mock a man, but you either pray or curse.
- [ ] As the hours pass, the tiny blood vessels which feed the nerves will be squeezed flat, and with the lack of blood circulation comes a numbing paralysis.
- [ ] A new agony develops for the crucified with time. It is the agony of the mucous membrane. These were new pains.
- [ ] On the cross there is no end of suffering. It is only the manner of suffering and the degree of pain that changes.
- [ ] During crucifixion, the mucous membrane -- that thin, slippery tissue which lines and lubricates much of the human body -- dries to the consistency of fine sand and scours the tender tissues of the anus (the posterior opening of the alimentary canal).
- [ ] Layers of tissue are ripped from the eyes every time they are moved or blinked. The dried membranes tear at the tortured throat. They lie like stones in the sinuses.
- [ ] The tongue begins to stick onto the jaws, so the mouth must be kept open to avoid suffocation.
- [ ] Then the flies swarming around the eyes, nose, mouth, wounds on the face .. head, crawl into the mouth.
- [ ] At that time, Wonderful said, 'I thirst'. A sponge dipped into the vinegar-bile mixture is pushed (by a reed) into the gaping mouth.
- [ ] He dies wailing.
- [ ] Could there ever be more intense suffering outside of hell?
- [ ] Most condemned men died naked.
- [ ] [In the evening, towards night fall, soldiers were inclined to hasten death ( because men have been known to remain alive for 3 days on a cross). They began breaking bones. Standing on a ladder, a practised legionnaire would swing a mallet in a short arc and shatter the right femur (thigh-bone), or the tibia (below the knee). A second, sharp blow would shatter the left leg-bone. The crucified would then suffocate to death. Wonderful Jesus let go before this point .. after He was sure He had paid God's full purchase price of man, He says, 'It is finished', then dies .. so He was in complete control even of His death. No lunacy, fault or loss of purpose (aim) is seen in Him despite the torment.
- [ ] Had JESUS been a sinner, the cross would have revealed it, for nothing can prevent the inside of the heart from being seen for a man dying on a cross .. because the first to die is the brain, so power to exercise the will (to pretend or otherwise) vanishes .. dies, and the true state of the heart (the inside) becomes bare, visible. Jesus Christ died the most brutal.. thorough death ever devised by man under Satan, allowing the slow death-erosion of cell, muscle, emotion, bone, tissue, mind, spirit, blood and heart-beat..
- [ ] JESUS wasn't bitter, didn't disown man, but said, 'Father forgive them',.. pleaded with GOD to have mercy on man.
- [ ] HE TRIUMPHED OVER EVEN DEATH ON THE CROSS.
- [ ] JESUS' DEATH ON THE CROSS IS SATAN'S PERFECT IRREVERSIBLE DEFEAT.
- [ ] God said that the sure reward, wages .. salary of sin is death. But man was created to rule God’s creation (by His guidance .. inspiration), so sacrifice of animals, plants, earthen stuff cannot bridge a breach between corrupt man and a Holy (morally excellent) God. Only the Man Christ Jesus can mediate between God and the corrupted descendants of Adam.
- [ ] God's Mercy is His darling Son JESUS, who took the blame, identified with man's sin, so took the crash of God's Holy Justice against all our sin, when He was made a brass (suffering) snake (sin) on a pole.. sin burning on a pole,.. God's Rod swallowing every snake, including Satan himself, and their sting (all diseases, death).
- [ ] JESUS faithfully took my place, God's punishment for my sin, (rebelliousness, wickedness..) into Himself, died my death, was buried in my stead, rose from the dead leaving ALL my destruction in the deep pit.
- [ ] Thus the victory of the Resurrection is the most complete victory for man against all enemies of man ever recorded.
- [ ] Up from the grave He arose,
- [ ] With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
- [ ] He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
- [ ] And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
- [ ] He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
- [ ] No other sacrifice, offering for sin can touch GOD'S heart.
- [ ] Are you willing to be free from the guilt of your sin before God, and so be spared from His judgment? Ask God to forgive you of your past sins, take away all iniquity (sin, rebelliousness, curse), heal you and turn your heart to walk in His ways. JESUS paid for your total freedom.THIS IS A FREE OFFER FROM GOD!
- [ ] A clean, new origin awaits all who receive it, they become as if they never did wrong.. so that as He is so they maybe (1Cor1:17--). When we open up, yield ourselves to JESUS, ALL of His death swallowing resurrection life fills us, destroying all our destructions.. the power and anchor of sin in us, but if we reject Him, we will share in the harvest of what Satan brought against himself when he filled JESUS with fire. GOD faithfully gives to everyone what they themselves justify
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