Instruments of Suffering
“They pierced my hands and my feet.”Psalms 22:16
Traditionally, the Romans attached criminals to their crosses with ropes; using spikes was an added instance of cruelty. Setting a crown of thorns – sharp enough and strong enough to literally dig beneath the skin – onto Jesus’ head was a further act of hateful malice, completely unnecessary and without precedent. The cross was painful enough, but to crucify this “criminal,” the Romans made it altogether excruciating.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”Isaiah 53:5
Envision the mallet used to drive the spikes into the wood of the cross. Imagine being the one who drove in the nails. The mallet provided the force, and the spike provided the edge. Together, they cut through the skin, crushed bone, and sliced through nerve endings. Jesus felt the pain. There was no anesthesia, no pain-killer, nothing to lessen the sheer agony of two cruel instruments of – let's call it what it was – torture.
“Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”Isaiah 49:16
Think about the crown of thorns; consider the insult it represented to Jesus' rightful authority, and the way forcing it onto His body must have sent pain from the top of Jesus' head down to the bottom of His pierced feet. By so spacing out His wounds, there was no spot on Jesus’ body that wasn't racked by pain.
The spiritual truth is that our sin – yours and mine – made this pain necessary.
“and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. 'Hail, king of the Jews!'”Matthew 27:29
Jesus, it is overwhelming to think about how Your body was crushed on my behalf. Thank You for being pierced for me. I am truly sorry for the sins I have committed that made this sacrifice so necessary. I did this to You, Jesus. Now that I see my guilt and the pain it has caused You, please grant me the grace to forgive others as You have forgiven me.