Scripture verses: John 19:1-3:
 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face. (NIV – New International Version Bible.)
EASTER START –
I have always enjoyed movies around Easter time that depict the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some, I enjoyed before becoming a born-again, as a spectacle; Roman guards, crowd scenes in chaos, background music…”WOW!” I thought after leaving the theater, then immediately headed to the record store to buy the Soundtrack to the movie.
Knowing what I know now, and after becoming a true believer in Christ Jesus, and… what He did for me on the cross, my viewpoint has changed on the impact the events, so long ago, have played out in my Christian life today.
It is interesting to contrast how the suffering of Jesus is portrayed in the movies of the past.
The King of Kings, a Cecil B. Demille’s 1927 spectacular. The movie was such a big hit that no Hollywood studio would make another life of Jesus movie until after DeMille had passed away. In 1961, a re-make of the movie was made, and I was first in line at the box offices to get my tickets.
Most of the movies made would have been rated “PG” if there had been “ratings” at the time. There’s hardly any blood; and JESUS looks more annoyed than in pain. And I also noticed that there seemed to be a heavenly glow around His head, as He gazes into heaven.
Then there are depictions that more accurately portray Jesus’ suffering, like Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ; rated “R” for violence.
But Gibson really didn’t go far enough…
To understand the physical impact of the scourging had on Jesus and the unfolding events ahead as He went with His disciples to the Mount of Olives in the garden of Gethsemane.
And being in agony [of mind] He prayed and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground (Luke 22:44 AMP).
The drops of blood Luke (a doctor) refers to, is the result of a medical condition called Hematidrosis. Severe anxiety breaks the capillaries in the sweat glands, resulting in “bloody sweat.” [SEE Footnote [i]
People often think JESUS got 39 lashes, but that was a Jewish limitation. ROMAN scourging (9:1) was more severe.
The Roman objective was to shred the muscles of the back, buttocks, and legs. Historians say that six of ten would die from this beating [Third-century historian Eusebius].
What I find amazing, is this “scourging” that takes place, is not just the extreme nature of it, but that it was allowed to happen in the first place.
1 Peter 3:18 (NLT – New Living Translation):
 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
John 10:18 (a) (Amplified Bible):
 …because I lay down My [own] life–to take it back again.  No one takes it away from Me. On the contrary, I lay it down voluntarily…”
No one was doing this to JESUS against His will, for at any second He could have put a stop to it!
One reason I gave you this vivid backdrop, I wanted you to understand that the Romans were also faced with the ultimate question,
“What will we do with Jesus?”
Ignorance is a favorite defense of ours. “Don’t blame me; I didn’t know!”
We often want to justify our guilt by pleading ignorance.
“Did you take out the trash?” – “I didn’t know it was trash day.”
“Did you eat the last Popsicle?” – “I didn’t know it was the last one.”
“Are you aware there is a dress code in the office?” – “I didn’t know that.”
“Did you know the blood splattered on your face is payment for your sins?”
“Did you know that the bruises you give Him are for you transgressions–that by His wounds you are healed?”
“I didn’t know…”
When it comes down to our RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, we can’t plead ignorance.
While IGNORANCE might be an explanation, it is not an acceptable defense. Attorneys will tell you that ignorance is not an allowable defense in a criminal case; it’s not a legitimate excuse.
Imagine you get a new job and you are given an employee manual, and you never look at it. On the first day of work you come in after 9 AM. You are wearing ratty jeans, a pair of flip-flops, a bleached-stained old sweatshirt, and a cap. After a two-hour lunch break, you come back and find a note on your desk from the boss. After your offenses are laid out, you say, “I didn’t know.” But it’s your responsibility to know. The book was given to you.
Even if you ignored it and didn’t read it, you are still accountable for its guidelines.
This same principle of responsibility applies to our Godly Relationship. We will all one day have to give an account to God; pleading IGNORANCE will not be an option.
IGNORANCE WILL NOT REMOVE YOUR GUILT!
Acts 3:13b-15 (MSG):
“The very One that Pilate called innocent, you repudiated. You repudiated the Holy One, the Just One, and asked for a murderer in his place. You no sooner called the Author of Life than God raised him from the dead–and we’re the witnesses.”
Peter then goes on to say in verse 17,
“And now brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance [not aware of what you were doing], as did your rulers…” (AMP)
Then in verse 19, he gives the appropriate response in their ignorance of killing Jesus:
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (NIV Bible).
Though they acted in ignorance, that didn’t get them off the hook.
REPENTANCE was still needed…IGNORANCE was no excuse.
Because man’s IGNORANCE is willful.
Romans 1:20 (NIV):
For since creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
What Paul refers to here, is “general revelation.” If a person seeks to know the God who revealed Himself in CREATION, God’s promise is, He will give that person whatever other revelation is needed that they might know Him personally and intimately.
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV).
God’s REVELATION can be like CAR HEADLIGHTS.
If I were to leave the church parking light at night after choir practice, my car’s headlights don’t shine down the Nooksack Road, Tom Road, Hampton Road and up my driveway.
No, they shine out so far, and when I have traveled that distance, they shine out further.
And just like I can put on the brakes when driving my car, we can put on the brakes to GOD’S REVELATION. In fact, that’s the way mankind at large, is described in Romans 3: 11b:
“no one seeks out God”
But for those who do respond to GOD’S REVELATION, more will be given so that they might come to know God in a personal relationship through Jesus.
One example of this in Scripture is Cornelius in Acts 10, of a God-fearing man who sought the Lord. Holy Spirit sent Peter to explain the Good News to him, so he might know Christ personally.
On the FIRST EASTER, though most Romans remained IGNORANT, one did not. He didn’t ignore what God had made known to him that day. HE BELIEVED! (Mark 15:39).
The same happened with one of the THIEVES who was crucified beside Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).
Maybe if you are reading this right now, God’s revelation has drawn you to Him this day.
KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS, there ARE ANSWERS.
Perhaps there is a need for you to commit to knowing God. God has brought you to this place where you have had enough questions answered–that you recognize that JESUS IS THE ANSWER and you are ready to give your life to Him.
OTHERS need to COMMIT to showing God.
You may know Christ and you recognize the need to used like Peter was.
Be a willing WITNESS who tells a ‘seeking soul’ about our Gracious God!
Remember, IGNORANCE is no excuse!
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –
Footnote [i] : Medical Dictionary at medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hermatidrosis.
Photo Images: Google Images Search; Photobucket.
Bible Translations: New Living Translation (NLT); The MESSAGE bible (MSG); The AMPLIFIED bible (AMP).