Tom: We’re in the Gospel of John, and we’re currently starting John:19:1: “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews, and they smote him with their hands.”
Dave, the Bible doesn’t give us a lot of details about what took place with regard to the physical side—Jesus’ scourging, His crucifixion, mocking, pretty much—there’s more about that than the scourging and the crucifixion itself. There are less than, I think less than nine verses. Why is that? I mean is this something the Holy Spirit…obviously, this book is given to us, inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Dave: Well, the physical sufferings of Christ would not save anybody. What men did to Him—the mocking, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the crucifying—that doesn’t save us. That would, in fact, add to our condemnation because that is what men did to Him. But it is what God did to Him as He hung upon the Cross. He cried out, “Oh my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
He was made—and I don’t understand it—He was made sin for us. The very thing He hated—that His judgment was against—He became that, and I don’t understand that. He wasn’t a sinner. He didn’t become a sinner, but He was treated by God as though He were sin itself, and He took the penalty. The scripture says, “All thy waves and thy billows…” The waves and billows of God’s wrath flowed over Him, overwhelmed Him. And He took the penalty, spiritual penalty—which, again, we don’t understand—that His own infinite justice required for sin, for the sins of the whole world, the punishment due to every person who ever lived, for their sins, or who ever will live, was paid for by Jesus. He suffered it all in their place, and that’s what the Bible really talks about.
When He’s in the Garden—we just passed through that—and He’s in agony, sweating as it were drops of blood. It’s not because He’s a coward. We’ve talked about that. He’s not afraid to have nails driven in His hands and feet, horrible as that is. That happened to many others. And Jesus certainly did not suffer physically more than any other human being. But it was that He was going to be made sin for us. He would pay this penalty that we don’t understand.
And Hebrews 2 puts it like this: It says, “He tasted death for every man.” He died…the death…in fact, He was laid into a new tomb, as we’ll find here, “…wherein,” it says, “wherein never man had yet laid.” Again, symbolic of the fact that He died a death—nobody has died this death yet. People have died physically, but they haven’t died this death yet. And that’s why the Book of Revelation, chapter 20, calls the lake of fire “the second death.” That is a death that no one has died yet. And no one need die that death. But after you die physically, it’s too late. The scripture says, “It’s appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.”
So this is the death that Christ died. Eternal separation from God, and because He is God—He had to be God, in fact, in order to pay this penalty; in order to die this death. Everybody else is already dead. So they can only suffer physical death and the second death.
So the Scripture does not go into great details about the physical suffering and describing it, and so forth.
Tom: Dave, this was hard for me growing up Roman Catholic, because my whole life as a youth as a Roman Catholic, we looked to sufferings. The greatest saints in our hearts and minds were those who suffered the most. If you had a saint that they said had the stigmata, that is, in their bodies they had bleeding from their hands or maybe even from their side, their crown of thorns for example—saints that we knew about—our focus was right there on the physical sufferings. That’s what we could relate to. We didn’t understand…I didn’t understand the real penalty that Jesus had to pay.
Dave: Yeah, Tom, I don’t want to be accused of Catholic bashing or being negative, but you see…
Tom: No! You just explained…you’re explaining things.
Tom: That’s the point of this program.
Dave: If the Catholic Church explained the truth to their people, the Church would be out of business. They keep people in fear, for example, through purgatory. Even though Christ, they say, suffered the eternal punishment, the eternal consequences, yet they say there are temporal consequences, and we must be purified, purged, and that is done mainly in purgatory, which is where it gets its name from. How is that going to happen? In the purifying flames.
No, flames will not purify anyone. That doesn’t happen. It’s a wrong understanding of 1 Corinthians 3, where it says, “Every man’s works will be tried, tested by the fire.” That is, the fire of God’s judgment, God’s evaluation—like gold is tested in fire, you know, and any dross is burned out. It’s not the person themselves who are being engulfed in flames in order to somehow purify them through their suffering.
So, the Catholic Church—you will always see a crucifix. Christ is still hanging on the cross. He’s still suffering. But the scripture says no, He’s not. The suffering is passed. He is resurrected. He is in a resurrected, glorified body, and how they can put Him back on their altars again and say that this little wafer through transubstantiation literally becomes the body and blood of Jesus so that He can be immolated—that’s, as you know, the language—literally, sacrificed again and again. It’s called the Sacrifice of the Mass.
So the focus is on the physical so that they can have a physical object that becomes Christ. They can have a physical suffering to hold over people. And, Tom, it’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy because it’s a false gospel, and it will not save. If we don’t believe that Christ paid the full penalty for our sins, then He can’t be our Savior. He’s our Savior, plus we’re our own savior, because we kind of participate in the suffering as well.
But getting back to this scripture here, Tom, where we’re reading, John 19—Pilate in John 18, if those who are listening remember (we just talked about that last week) he says He’s innocent. He’s already told the people that He’s innocent. He knows that Jesus is not guilty. He wants them to release Jesus, but then he succumbs to the temptation. He wants to gain some points with Caesar. He wants to gain points with the Jews. He want to be able to satisfy them and…
Tom: He was a politician, wasn’t he?
Dave: That’s right…appeal to them for popularity’s sake. So what does he do? This is an innocent man. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him.” He has Him scourged. He does not deserve that. He’s innocent. This is wicked! This is punishing an innocent man!
And then the soldiers, mocking Him: “Are you the King of the Jews? Oh, okay, well the Jews have rejected you, but we’ll set you up as a king. We’ll put a purple robe on you, and we’ll give you a crown, but a crown of thorns, and we’ll smash it into your head, and we’ll bow before you and mock you.”
Tom: Yeah, Dave, that’s a point that maybe we don’t think about. As I mentioned before growing up Roman Catholic, you think about the physical suffering and all the saints and so on, and Jesus’ physical suffering as we thought it was. But the mocking! This is God! This is divinity! Right before them! And mocking, to me, as you said last week, Jesus…the physical suffering He could handle. We have men down through history who’ve handled things more horrendous, no doubt, than what Jesus did. But this being the God-Man—to mock Him is just unbelievable when you think about it.
Dave: Tom, He’s being mocked today. And as I think of Jesus, you know that’s one of the things that is, well, most amazing? No, I mean everything is amazing about Him. You ever been falsely accused? You know how you want to lash back, how you want to defend yourself? He was falsely accused, but He was taking our place, and we deserved the judgment of God. Therefore, it says, “Like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, he opened not his mouth.” He doesn’t lash out. You think of the injustice! You’re saying the mockery, the injustice, and Christ is being mocked today. People curse Him. They use His name as a curse word. They make fun of Him. It continues today. But one day, the heavens will no more be silent, and one day, judgment will fall, and we need to warn people about that. And this is what we want to do to be faithful. And there’s only one way, as we said last week—as the Bible says: you’d better get right with Jesus.