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With his stripes we are healed. — Isa 53:5
Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourging was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down—these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the victim. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the pillar, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this scourging of the Roman lictors—was probably the most severe of His flagellations.
My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body. Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you—the picture of agonizing love? He is at once as white as the lily for innocence, and as red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which His stripes have wrought in us—does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus—surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.
“See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty’s hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face!
With thorns His temples gored and gashed
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back’s with knotted scourges lashed.
But sharper scourges tear His heart!”
We would sincerely go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self—upon the tablets of our hearts all the day; and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dear!
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. — 2 Sam 21:10
If the love of a woman to her slain sons, could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period—shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the vultures, and shall not we chase away those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? Away, you birds of evil wing! Leave the sacrifice alone!
Rizpah bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes—her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure and shall we give up at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards—that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord?
She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her gender and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake?
Her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched. What ought we to do—who have by our sins crucified our Lord! Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect His honor our occupation, to abide by His cross our solace.
Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah! But in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting but everything attractive! Never was living beauty so enchanting, as a dying Savior! Jesus, we will stay with You. We ask that You graciously unveil Yourself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth but in a royal pavilion!