Last night, I had difficulty falling asleep and decided to watch the dvd of Mel Gibson's "The Passion". I had watched the movie when it was first shown in Singapore but this was the first time I was watching the dvd even though I bought it a few years ago.
One reason I didn't watch the dvd was that the film was rather long but once I started watching, I couldn't stop. One scene that really moved me was the flogging of Jesus by the Roman soldiers. Jesus was chained to a binding post and a few soldiers took turns flogging Jesus, starting with a thin cane and then moving on to the "cat-o-nine-tails" which tears flesh out when it hits the body and then gets pulled back.
Jesus' back was a bloodied mess and he was whipped until he could no longer stand and collapsed to the ground. The commander of the Roman soldiers then stood up from his chair and did a "Hail Hitler" salute, i.e. he stretched out his right arm with his palm facing down. I was wondering what that sign meant when he turned his palm up. One of the soldiers then proceeded to unlock the chain on Jesus' left hand,and I thought they were going to release Jesus from the binding post.
But what happened next was that the soldiers flipped Jesus, who had collapsed to the ground, over so that Jesus was now facing up and then they continued whipping him on the front! I couldn't bear to watch the scene.
This got me thinking about Isaiah 53:5 -
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
I have read the verse many times but I have not appreciated how much Jesus suffered for me until I revisited "The Passion" and watched the flogging scene. This is because I see the words "wounded" and "bruised" which do not adequately describe how severe and brutal a beating that Jesus received. In the movie, the soldiers were panting heavily and catching their breath from their exertions in whipping Jesus!
During Holy Communion, it is common for the scripture passage of 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 to be read: 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Again, the words don't really stir up any deep feelings because they are so understated - "this is my body which is broken for you". From the movie, you can really see how Jesus' body was truly broken with blood and flesh flying in every direction but Mel Gibson said that he actually toned down the scene, the real thing would be much worse.
Some Christians criticize Pastor Prince's teaching on health and wholeness through the Holy Communion but I say these critics are the ones who do not fully understand and appreciate the suffering that Jesus went through to secure for us health and wholeness.
The next time you are attacked by lying symptoms of illness, take the Holy Communion and remember Jesus, remember the brutal punishment that Jesus endured so that you can boldly and confidently declare "by His stripes, we are healed"!
Do not let Jesus suffer in vain.