The Roman soldiers “kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face.”
~John 19:3 (NRSV)
It is little wonder that the motion picture, Passion of the Christ (2004), reviles the sense of curiosity within many a believer and nonbeliever alike. Especially the flogging scenes, where Jesus’ body is in part stripped to the bone, there is the aridity of interest—do we really want to see vision as appalling as this?
But, it happened.
According to the Gospel accounts, the scourging and humiliation of Jesus was as profound as it was unjust—the only sinless man, the Lamb of God and Saviour of humankind, was dealt with as badly as any human being has ever been treated.
Stepping Into Such A Reality
Though we can barely imagine such pain and derision, there is scope for wonder; that Jesus went through all this for one person—you and I, individually—and the whole system of humanity, too.
It helps us to understand the cosmic size, and the range of pain, within the event that remitted grace most assuredly to us; that the sheer torment in the rejection Jesus endured at an emotional level probably matched the carnage in the physicality of abuse borne on Jesus’ body, and vice versa.
What was worse? It probably doesn’t matter. As Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, he also endured a ‘perfect’ level of total humiliation and unparalleled physical pain. On both continuums—the emotional and physical—and because of the spiritual and Christological ramifications—he endured more than any other human could or ever would.
Exemplifying Such An Endurance
Although we will never be expected to endure as Jesus endured—continuing faithfully all the way to the cross—we have the perfect example of the endurance we are capable of; that we may draw deep into our own problems and redeem the reminiscences of Christlike humility to struggle well despite humiliation and pain.
This is no easy reality to talk about; it is only proven in action; only made worthy in the matter of living testimony.
Because we will fail more often than we will succeed, the vision for endurance is never more important. We draw faith from possibility; that one man endured, even though he was sinless, provides us reason to believe we, on our best of days, might arrange the same courage as we draw on the Spirit of Life.
The most inspirational act in the history of humankind was The Passion of Christ. This is a story not of defeat for one man, but of victory for all others. That he was crushed for our iniquities ensured we could be made whole. It is the definition of endurance; one for us to model ours on.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.