The Passion of Christ – What did he feel?

In about the year 30 BCE, a young man was condemned by the Roman government and sent to his death on a cross. This man had spent the last three years of his life traveling with twelve companions. On this, the last day of his life, he was abandoned by all of them and faced his upcoming death alone. The passion of our Lord, Jesus, began at night when he went out into the night and went to a place where he often went with his disciples to pray. He entered the garden which was pleasant and cool and was the home of an olive press and thus we know it as The Garden of Gethsemane. A Gethsemane was an olive press. The disciples spread their cloaks upon the ground for once they arrived here, the usual practice was to stay the night. Jesus called Peter, James and John to follow Him. They walked but a short distance and Jesus told the three to stay behind while he went just a little further to pray. He walked a little further and fell to His knees. He began to pray, and wave upon wave of terror came upon Him as he saw into the future,He saw His death, he saw each of us, our lives and our sins and they burdened him greatly. Sweat began to form and at first it was normal sweat but as he considered the future the sweat became first pink and then red as blood. His whole body was covered in red sweat. Three times he came and found His three favorite disciples sleeping, they just could not stay awake. The bloody sweat is caused by a condition called hematohidrosis. One effect this has on the body is that it in effect causes the body to be extra sensitive to stimuli as if the entire body had been bruised. Pain would be amplified in a person thus afflicted. Beyond the physical pain, there was the mental anguish. It started in the Garden when the cohort, led by Judas came and Judas betrayed Our Lord with a kiss. We all have had the experience where a friend turns on you. It is a fact of life. The anguish Jesus felt in the Garden was great. First his favored three could not remain awake to comfort and pray with Him. Second, he is betrayed into the hands of the Gentiles by a trusted friend. Finally, he sees all of his companions running away in sheer terror at the thought of their own arrest. He was alone, abandoned, and this was the first step in His becoming the Man of Sorrows that Isiah wrote about. The Roman guards had been dispatched with the temple guards and they watched as the temple guards took charge of the prisoner. Jesus was bound and led away. He was brought to the house of the former High Priest a man with the name of Annas. Annas was just curious about this man who was causing so much difficulty for them. Annas made a lot of money from the temple concessions and when Jesus overthrew the money changers tables he had cost the old man a hefty sum. Officially, Annas could do nothing. However, nothing happened in the temple that Annas didn't have a say in at least unofficially and informally. Annas questioned Jesus about his teachings, Jesus replied that he had spoken publicly and that he said nothing in secret. A guard seeking to curry favor with the old man struck Jesus a sharp blow and asked Him if that was the way to answer the High Priest? The blow stung and slightly disoriented Jesus, but he shook it off and asked why he had been struck. The old man shook his head and ordered that Jesus be led off to Caiaphas, the High Priest. Caiaphas had ordered the counsel to assemble to judge Jesus. He did this in violation of law by starting the trial in the dead of night. They condemned Him and gave him to the guards who mocked him and abused him. A condemned man back then had no rights except the right to take all of the punishment that was heaped upon him. At daybreak, the tried Jesus again “officially” and rubber stamped the verdict of the previous night. As strong as the Sanhedrin was, they were under the thumb of Rome and had no right to carry out their own death sentences. Jesus was sent to Pilate.

The Passion of Christ – What did he feel? Pilate was no friend of Caiaphas or the Sanhedrin. He would have liked nothing better than to foil the attempts at putting this Jesus fellow, who he knew as one that spread division among the Jews, to death. He tried his best, but in the end, the Jews vowed obedience to Caesar by shouting that they had no other king then Caesar and had Pilate freed Jesus it would appear that Pilate was a rebel. Jesus was to be scourged. Jesus was taken to the courtyard of the guard. His garments were removed and he was chained to a pillar. Two men, chosen for their strength, came forward, each carrying a whip with multiple thongs, each thong ending with a piece of bone or lead. The first man stepped forward and looked at the face of Jesus. He stepped back a few steps, raised the whip and with all of his strength brought it forward onto the back of Christ. There was the sound of the whip hitting flesh. The pieces of bone or lead dug deeply into the body of Jesus. Jesus let out a moan. This pleased the man holding the whip, it was not a scream, so this punishment would be one of the longer ones. Again and again he reared back and flogged the back of his victim. Sweat formed on his brow and his arm tired. He took two steps back and the second man continued the flogging. Under Jewish law, flogging, called “the little death” was limited to thirty-nine lashes. Jesus was condemned under Roman law and this limit did not exist. The Centurion watched the punishment carefully and after awhile called a halt. Jesus was released from the pillar and he struck the ground and laid still. A servant brought a bucket of cold water and threw it on the back of the prostrated Savior. The blood washed away from his back and he was immediately brought back from sweet unconsciousness to conscious awareness of the great agony of fire springing from the torn flesh in his back. He shivered from cold, pain and shock. He was roughly hauled to his feet and placed on a stool. Since this criminal claimed he was a king, he needed to be crowned as one. There was a bush with thorns on it in the courtyard. One of the cohort went and fashioned a hat or crown. With phony pomp he brought it over to the King and he placed it onto the head of Jesus. The thorns were about four inches long and they pressed the crown-hat deeply into the forehead. The forehead is a rich supply of capillaries and injuries to the head can be very bloody. Blood ran down the brow of Jesus and flooded his eyes. Members of the cohort came and using reeds struck him about the face and head, causing the crown of thorns to deepen their invasion into his flesh. They finished mocking Him and as it was the customary time for executions, they took brought Him to the place where he and the other two criminals were presented with their “trees.” The criminals in crucifixion were required to carry their cross to the place of execution. They did not carry the whole cross, rather they carried the cross member which weighed over one hundred pounds. It was placed on their backs and they were forced to march to Calvary. Jesus was quite dehydrated at this point and very weak. He placed one foot in front of the other and the sad parade began their final march. After only a short distance, Jesus, who was having trouble seeing because of the blood dripping from his “crown” tripped and fell face forward. His body yearned for rest and he remained there for a moment until the guards prodded him to get up. He got up and trudged forward again. His back was on fire from the scourging, the front of his body was scraped from his first fall, and again, he stumbled and fell, the tree making a loud sound as it crashed to the ground beside Him. Again the guards forced Him to his feet. The leader looked into the face of Jesus, and saw that there was still some reserves. They forced him forward again. After just a short distance, He fell a third time and this time the Roman guard that was in charge saw that Jesus was in danger of dying before he was crucified, so he drafted a stranger from the crowd and had him carry the cross the final distance for Jesus.

The Passion of Christ – What did he feel? Finally the party arrived at the Skull Place and the trees were removed from the criminals back and placed on the ground. Then each in turn was taken down and placed in the cross. The executioner knelt on the arm of Jesus and found the space in the wrist that they used and with a couple of blows Jesus was attached to the crossbeam. His arms fairly exploded with pain as the nails were rubbing against nerves and tendons. They brought him to his feet and lifted him up above the ground. All of the weight of Jesus was being borne by the his wrists. The pain was explosive as his crossbeam was lifted up and joined to the upright. They next put one foot over the other and with a couple of blows attached the feet of Jesus to the upright. Jesus was now crucified. The sun beat down upon him, bugs and flies attracted by the scent of blood landed and did their work on his body. When he allowed his arms to rest he realized he could not exhale. He braced himself on the nail in his feet and painfully pushed himself up so he could breathe. The pain in his feet was almost unendurable and after a brief time, he allowed himself to drop again. Again he could not breathe so he pulled himself up again. Thus he did a dance going up to breathe and going down to relieve the pain in his feet. The criminals crucified with him had not been abused as badly as had Jesus. The had more strength and one mocked the so called King of the Jews, the other asked for forgiveness and was rewarded with a promise of paradise. The end was near, Jesus had completed all of the things that were written about him and his throat was on fire, his back was a raw festering wound that was being irritated by the up and down movement as he struggled to breathe. Every movement of his wrist caused agony throughout his whole body, the wound in his feet caused hurt beyond belief. He spoke to John the Apostle, placing his mother in her care, he drank the fourth cup of wine that he did not drink at the Passover meal the night before as sour wine was lifted on a reed to his lips. With that all was done and he did not die as a mortal might die, but chose to die by delivering his spirit over to God. Jesus died for each of us personally on the cross. He knew you, he knew me, he knew the sins we would commit and He went to his death with you and me in mind. The pain he suffered for you and for me personally cannot be described in mere words. In the end, Jesus became the Man of Sorrows that Isiah the prophet spoke about.

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