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Why Was He Scourged

Why Was He Scourged

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Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him." John xix, I.


Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him." John xix, I.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 18, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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WHY WAS HE SCOURGED?BY REGIALD J. CAMPBELLMIISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LODOPilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him." John xix, I.OE Sunday evening our subject was "Jesuson the Judgment Seat," and our text wastaken from this chapter. In reading the chapterI emphasised the verse which is our text thismorning. On the Thursday morning following aScotsman came to me after the service, and referringto Sunday night s subject and to this particulartext, asked, " Why was He scourged ? " I replied,"Because Pilate was a coward; he thought toplacate the multitude, and at the same time possiblyto save the life df Jesus; thinking that thescourging might satisfy them, he tortured hisinnocent prisoner with the purpose of releasingHim." But this did not satisfy my questioner.He said, " The occasion of the scourging was asyou describe it, but this was not the cause; whatI mean is : If Jesus were the sinless Son of God,why was this torture inflicted? Why was it evenpermitted in a universe which is said to be governedby a righteous God? Was it not that in enduring256 WHY WAS HE SCOURGED?this agony He endured the punishment that wasdue to human sin ? If not, why was Hescourged?" I answer, ot because He bore thepunishment due to human sin.
Many persons read the ew Testament asthough the Gospel of Christ implied all this ; theyspeak as though our Saviour endured on our behalf vicarious punishment that is, a penalty which wasour due, and the enduring of which released usfrom bearing it. It is true that He endured, assometimes we have to do in a lesser degree,vicarious suffering, and endured it for allhumanity. But it requires to be made clear that.vicarious punishment can have no existence any-.where, whereas vicarious suffering is the law of all moral life.The mistaken notion to which I have referred isoften illustrated thus. We read in Dickens s" Tale of Two Cities " of the French aristocratunder the Revolution who went to the guillotineto save a friend by personating him ; or we readof the Royalist servant, under the EnglishCommonwealth, who, attired as his master, suf fered execution to save that master s life; or insong and story we dwell upon the records of thoseHighlanders who, in the hope of screening BonniePrince Charlie, suffered themselves to be taken,and not only averred themselves to be he, butallowed themselves to be shot, in the hope of WHY WAS HE SCOURGED? 257saving him. These illustrations have always insermons and in treatises the glory and the majestyof the sacrifice that was undergone by the heroesin question. " Greater love hath no man thanthis, that he lay down his life for his friend."There is something noble in every such case;something was undergone by the victim that wasnot his own desert. But do you not realise thatin every such case justice, or certainly government,
was cheated ; no real substitution took place ? Hadit been told to Robespierre and his gang that anaristocrat had taken the place of another aristocratit would not have saved the life of the man whomit was sought to screen. Had Cromwell knownthat a Royalist servant had taken the place of hismaster he might have honoured the magnificentsacrifice of the servant, called him back to life-had it been in his power or saved him from deathif there were time to do it ; but he would not havespared the master the first death would not havecompensated for the second. Lastly, the EnglishGovernment would not have withdrawn the pricethat they had set upon Bonnie Prince Charlie shead because this or that Highlander died in hisplace. Justice in every case was cheated, or itwas sought that justice should be deceived. ButGod cannot be cheated, and God is never deceived."Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."258 WHY WAS HE SCOURGED?Vicarious punishment will avail for him no whitat all.There are three considerations I would like youto note before we go further. First, if it were trueas it is not true, and the ew Testament nowheresays it is true that Christ endured the punishmentthat is due to human sin, then God Himself wouldbe unjust. It is not just to punish any sinlessvictim in the stead of another. Moreover, secondly,such punishment, even if it were just, ought to bean equivalent for the punishment that would havebeen inflicted in the other case. Did the passionof our Lord take the place of the punishment thathas descended upon sin since humanity began ?

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