34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
I found some interesting info about the crucifixion and the events leading up to it. Just like Jesus, we have to endure before we carry the cross. Jesus already denied His flesh when He prayed in the garden prior to being turned over to the guards. Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion because it was considered a disgraceful way to die. Isn't it ironic?
Jesus was flogged before He picked up his cross. Here is some info I found on flogging during that time:
"It is at this point that Jesus suffers a severe physical beating. (Edwards) During a flogging, a victim was tied to a post, leaving his back entirely exposed. The Romans used a whip, called a flagrum or flagellum which consisted of small pieces of bone and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of strikes is not recorded in the gospels. The number of blows in Jewish law was set in Deuteronomy 25:3 at forty, but later reduced to 39 to prevent excessive blows by a counting error. (Holmans). The victim often died from the beating. (39 hits were believed to bring the criminal to "one from death".) Roman law did not put any limits on the number of blows given. (McDowell) During the flogging, the skin was stripped from the back, exposing a bloody mass of muscle and bone ("hamburger " : Metherall). Extreme blood loss occurred from this beating, weakening the victim. perhaps to the point of being unconscious."
Isaiah 50:6: "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting."
So what is Jesus asking us to do? Now most of us will probably NEVER experience Jesus did physically but we go through emotional beatings to serve Him. I know when I gave my life to Him, I had a lot of folks saying some mean things about me that hurt me to the core. I wanted to retaliate but didn't. So when you go to this next level after denying yourself, be ready to deal with a lot of heat from people. Even other Christians that may say, "you don't have to do all that."
"The site of the crucifixion was usually along a well-traveled road, where criminals became a public spectacle. Their humiliation by such a death could be seen by all." So after being beaten, we are now exposed to all as sinners. This is when folks come out of the wood works bringing up our past. Or they make up lies and say mean things to others and spread gossip. After all of this, Jesus died. Just like we have to. We have to die to our past, die from our fears, and die from our heartache. The cross was a physical way of showing someone had sinned or broken a law. Jesus was without sin but He carried it for us.
So are you ready to carry your cross? Are you ready to allow yourself to be exposed for who you were so you can become who you need to be? Can you die to the things that keep you from Christ? I pray these questions will stop and make you think about how much Jesus loves us and how great a task we have before us as those who serve Him. The Lord's business is serious business. It is not for the weak but with Christ, we have strength to do all things!!! Be blessed!!!! Q