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Jesus is scourged & crowned with thorns
Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.
Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.” It’s one little verse and easy to pass right over. But, It was graphic. It was bloody. It was agony beyond our imagination.
According to Roman custom, scourging was to weaken the body to the extent that crucifixion would be a relatively quick death.
A Roman scourge was a short whip attached to sharp metal and/or bones designed to rip flesh and muscle from a naked body. The greater the scourging, the shorter the crucifixion.
The church historian Eusebius of Caesarea describes the horror of scourging this way. “They saw them lacerated with scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were exposed to view.”
Scourge by Michelle Morris
As I pondered the passage I asked God how he wanted me to portray such a graphically violent scene. A picture began to form in my mind of the crown of thorns on His head and the blood dripping down—one last cruel act by His executioners. Meant as mockery, in my mind I saw Him wearing a translucent crown of Gold beneath the crown of thorns. For me this crown of thorns over the golden crown of a king, sums up the gospel.
I chose watercolor on paper and portrayed Christ in profile instead of face forward, so His face would not distract the viewer from the crowns and blood. I kept the gold paint on the crown light enough to let the white of the paper reflect the brilliance I envision the kingdom to hold-a gold so pure and brilliant-it is as white as pure light. I superimposed the crown of thorns over the gold crown and finished the piece allowing the watercolor to drip down like drops of blood would have.
I was moved with compassion for Christ’s suffering in a deeper way by creating this piece. I listened to the meditation each time I sat to work and felt a range of emotions from sorrow, fear and shame to triumph and joy. I felt a deeper communion with Christ and His suffering for my sins and as I completed the piece. I also felt the hope of the kingdom of God that awaited Christ and that awaits us. A greater awareness that it is both now and not yet.
What do you notice about the art?
What thoughts or feelings does it stir?
What does this reveal to you about the passion of Jesus?
How close is this description of Jesus being scourged to the image that you have held in your mind?
How do you feel about the graphic nature of the artwork? Does it cause you to recoil and look away, or are you drawn to it?
What does the art reveal to you about Jesus?
Notice your first impulse to the following statements. Which rings more true in your heart?
God so hated the sinful world that he killed his only son.
God so loved the world that he gave his only son.
Jesus suffered as an expression of the ultimate divine love: “having loved his own in the world, he loved them to the uttermost”.
How does this uttermost love of Jesus invite you to live your life differently?
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within thy wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from thee. From the wicked foe defend me. In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to thee, that with thy saints I may praise thee for ever and ever. Amen.