It is sad that when we talk about Jesus' death we just casually say something like, "oh Jesus was crucified for our sins..." As we near the coming of Good Friday and Easter, I want to dive into the not-so-casual truth about crucifixion.
I've been put in charge over a specific portion of our Good Friday services this year. The portion or "area" that I'm the lead researcher for is called "The Torture of Christ" and it is a museum style area that will feature historical accurate recreations of the torture implements that Christ endured for us. One that I've been very sobered by in my research is the instrument that was used for the scourging of Christ. I found one guy (www.naturesdesignsonline.com) who did a TON of research on the validity and historical accuracy of what he has recreated as the first century "Roman Flagrum." Part of his ministry is taking one of his whips to prisons and youth detention centers and demonstrates on cardboard boxes the severity of the damage inflicted by a torture instrument like this, tying in how Christ, though having the power to send legions of angels to rescue him, endured this torture for us. We are actually purchasing 7 of these whips for our good friday services this year for our congregation to view and touch and be informed about.
In researching this subject, I've periodically caught myself reading the screen and my mouth is wide open in amazement that anyone could endure what Christ endured for us. Here is a picture of a modern recreation of a 1st century roman flagrum as well as the description that I wrote that will be used in our Good Friday services this year. Read this and give thanks for our Savior who endured such excruciating torture and death for us.
This recreation of a first century Roman flagrum is the most accurate speculation of the instrument used in the scourging of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. Also known as a “cat-of-nine-tails” this instrument was used with the purpose of bringing the accused to the threshold of death.
In the first century, a Roman scourging was referred to as “the sting of the scorpion” and most often preceded a crucifixion. There were three types of scourgings that Christ endured:
1.) “Fustigatio” – a beating with rods or canes of a less sever kind.
2.) “Flagalletio” – A more harsh flogging with rods or whips
3.) “Verberatio”- A scourging of the most severe kind, done with a particular scourging implement known as “the Scorpion” which was imbedded with nails, sharp scraps of bone from the forehead of a ram, and heavy circles of bronze and lead. Often the thongs ended with metal fishhook type spurs that would catch on the skin and pull off large strips of flesh, muscle and fragments of bone. Most of the time the bare rib bones of the victim, and spine would show… This type of scourging fulfilled the scriptures that spoke of the persons back as if it were a freshly ploughed field – “The plowers plowed upon my back. They made long their furrows” (Psalm 129:3)”
A victim who was sentenced to a “Verberatio” scourging had very little to no chance of surviving even if he was still living by the end of the scourging. The blood loss and infection to come would result in the certain death of the victim. Crucifixion to follow a scourging served to expedite the victim’s death by suffocation.
Come back soon as I keep you up to date on my research and more scientific truth behind the severity of our Savior's crucifixion.