Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
How can people hurt you? What can they do to steal your dignity? Your personhood? To take everything away from you in a personal and public way, all at the same time?
The biggest, deepest hurts come when they attack what you value most. When your most vulnerable and vital areas of life are under attack. These things are sensitive to start with. Making them a target to produce the most pain possible is just too much.
You have to remember that Jesus has been tied up at this point. He has no where to run or hide. He has no way to block their attacks. No way to deflect them. No way to lessen their impact and pain.
They start the hurting and torture of Jesus by spitting on him. There is no physical pain but is a crushing blow to your ego. It’s a great insult. It pushes you down emotionally and relationally.
After the insults comes a blindfold. Jesus is now denied light and sight. He doesn’t know what’s next. Where the next blow is going to come from. He wasn’t even able to prepare for the next attack. Fear must have filled his heart as he waited, not knowing where or how the next slap or fist was coming from.
He was also pummeled with fists. Their knuckles drove into his face. His stomach. His back. His groin. Knuckles focus the force, causing even greater punishment and pain. Their knuckles drove into his skin. Bruising it. Tearing it. Great lumps of swelling soon appeared, disfiguring his face beyond recognition.
And all the while they taunted him, demanding that he “prophesy” who hit him. Blindfolded, bound, and being beaten wasn’t enough. They teased him like a disturbed child that pulls individual legs off an insect. Or torments an animal with the focused light from a magnifying glass.
This was started by amateurs, people in the crowd. They took advantage of Jesus being tied up and blindfolded in order to get their kicks by hitting an unarmed, defenseless man.
But after a while, the pros get involved. The guards. They had been taught and trained how to deliver the most pain and suffering. They weren’t just more knowledgeable about delivering pain, but they physically were in great shape. They had practiced and developed fighting strength, able to drive their punishment home with devastating results.
All this time, Jesus kept quiet. He kept his mouth shut. He didn’t cry out. Yes, he reacted and responded to their repeated blows. But he kept it all inside. None of it was lost through screams of agony.
This was not some kind of macho thing where he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of hearing him cry out. And it’s not like the pain wasn’t searing and real. This was no video game or some desperately demented dream or illusion. It was as real as it gets.
No, something else was going on. Something deeper and more intense.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent so he did not open his mouth.
The reason Jesus had to be silent was because in an eternal sense, he was guilty. He was taking our rebellion, our pride, our disobedience, our sin on himself. And when he did this, he became responsible for the price, the payment, and the punishment.
In a way, Jesus co-signed for our debt before God. He put his name on the contract that made us responsible for our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes. He then put his name on the invoice that was due. And when Jesus pays a bill, it gets paid. It gets stamped with his blood, “Paid in full.”
having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
All the beatings, spitting, physical and psychological torture that Jesus went through was rightfully ours. But he took it all on himself. So, in a real sense, we’re responsible for hurting Jesus.
How can we not fall down and thank him? How can we not worship him in song and obedience? How can we not lift up his name in praise? How can we not speak his name to everyone we meet?