I have a heckler. He seems to be a deeply disturbed individual who has joined a Christian group on Facebook with the sole purpose of intimidating Christians who post there. To be fair, he tries to intimidate many others beside me.
That little annoyance – that lonely voice on the internet – is nothing but an itch, unworthy of mention compared to the pain and death that Jesus suffered.
Jesus was stripped of His garments, beaten about the head with a rod, and had a crown of thorns embedded in His scalp.
He was beaten so severely with a cat o’ nine tails that His bones were exposed. He was so weak that when forced to carry the cross bar to which He would be nailed, He fell to the ground.
Three nails – spikes, really – secured him to the Roman cross, one in each wrist and one through His feet, which were placed atop one another.
He watched as His clothes were given as award in a game of chance.
It was a brutal scene. Yet, this rather obscure and peculiar incident is mentioned both in Psalms 22, which prophetically looks forward to the cross, and in three of the Gospels, Matthew, Luke, and John, each of which record the crucifixion from their own perspective. It is a minor thing, compared to other brutal acts on that sad day, yet it was important enough to include four times in the Bible.
That it is such an oddity is what makes it a memorable prophesy. David was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this psalm 1000 years before the crucifixion and five hundred years before the founding of the Roman Republic. Yet, he describes the final hours of Jesus in some detail.
This odd little prophecy was just one of many that inspired Matthew, Luke, and John in the days following the death of Jesus.
For weeks Jesus had warned those closest to Him that His “time is at hand.” Now, as He die on the cross, His disciples understood that His predictions of a violent death were literal, and they were beginning to understand that the His Kingdom is spiritual. They trembled with fear.
As they watched from a distance Jesus dying on the cross, they noticed the Romans casring lots to determine which of them would go home with the clothes of the Messiah. The spirit reminded them of this passage in the 22nd Psalm. What they already knew, was confirmed; this is not the death of an ordinary man. Surely, He is the Son of God.
Fear Not, For His Was No Ordinary Death.