It is Good Friday. This is the day we look to the cross to see the Lamb of God taking on the weight and shame of our sins.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5, ESV)
By the time the sun set on that fateful day, Jesus’ body bore the wounds of our punishment. In his book Jesus: The Greatest Life of All, Charles Swindoll said, “Some images are too difficult to see, yet too significant to ignore.” The crucifixion is one of these unbearable yet necessary images.
Through the course of his trial, crucifixion, and death, Jesus suffered five wounds. Each wound was inflicted because of the sins of man. Jesus’ wounds bring us promise and hope.
The Significance of Jesus’ Wounds
Stripes on His Back
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. (John 19:1, ESV)
In an effort to appease the people, Pilate ordered the lictor (a trained expert in the art of torture) to whip Jesus, a punishment for criminals. This was done so that scripture might be fulfilled (see Isa. 53:5, Isa. 50:6). Even Jesus predicted this in Matthew 20:19. This is a physical representation of the spiritual act of propitiation, that is, Jesus took our place. Just as the blood was sprinkled on the altar in Exodus 29:15-16, Jesus blood was sprinkled each time the whip dug into His flesh.
Crown of Thorns
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. (Matt 27:28-30, ESV)
The thorns that came into existence when sin perverted the Garden now dug into the brow of the King of the Jews (Gen. 3:18). Just as the ram that would take Isaac’s place was caught in the thorns, our sacrificial lamb now suffered their sting (Gen. 22:13). He was crowned as king in mockery but is indeed the King of kings (Rev. 19:16).
Nails in His Hands and Feet
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (Luke 23:33, ESV)
Cicero described crucifixion as “the worst extreme of the tortures inflicted upon slaves.” It was intended to humiliate the criminal and prolong their suffering. Nails were used in the hands and feet to speed up death while intensifying the pain. Even in this moment of agony, Jesus prayed for His executioners (and us), “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, ESV).
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. (John 19:33-34, ESV)
This brutal act was necessary to prove beyond a doubt that Jesus was dead. Just as Adam’s side was opened to create his bride, Jesus’s bride, the church, was born from His open side. Blood and water flowed from His wound: “blood for remission, water for regeneration; blood for atonement, water for purification” (Matthew Henry).
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46, ESV)
Even though He endured unimaginable suffering, Jesus is without complaint until the moment the weight of our sin separates Him from His Father. In anguish, He quotes David’s psalm (Psalm 22:1). While Jesus has been with the Father since before the creation of the earth, this separation from God has been the plight of every man since Adam. This separation from God is the deepest wound of all. And because Jesus took the punishment for our sins, we no longer have to live separated from the Father.
A Promise for You
Each of Jesus’ wounds is significant. Each wound was miraculously healed upon His resurrection. Jesus walked out of the tomb whole and complete (Luke 24:38-40). He still bears the scars of sacrifice, but his body is now glorified.
This is the same promise we are given if we look to the cross—too difficult to see, too significant to ignore—and believe.
#FridayFive Link Up
Just as Jesus experienced healing from the wounds He received while taking on the punishment for our sins, God promises to heal our wounds.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
(Ps. 147:3, ESV)
Today we celebrate the power of resurrection and healed wounds. Share a way God has healed or can heal wounds using the comments or the link-up button below. I will rejoice with you in the healing power of our God!
Be sure to come back next week for a lighter link up: laugh out loud moments.
Jesus: The Greatest Life of All, Charles Swindoll
The Advocate, Randy Singer
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Photo credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash.