Find episode one here: The Nazarene: sleepers on duty
Find episode two here: The Nazarene: Kings and Priests
The heat from the sun was searing and several robes could be seen sticking to the bodies of the men who stood outside watching the unfolding scene, glee on the faces of some, consternation on others, and sadness on the rest. One thing was common to all of them: every forehead shone with sweat.
Jesus was on his knees, a diadem fashioned out of thistles and sharp branches forced on to his head. Blood poured freely down his scalp unto his face and down to the floor, each drop joining the puddle beneath.
His hands had been bound in front of him and wrapped securely around the platform erected by the soldiers. A soldier stood over him wielding a flagellum, a wicked-looking whip- long, many branched and each branch was tailed with several weighted spikes. The simple thought of being struck by such an evil object caused many-an-onlooker to quake in the knees and be stirred in their bladders.
The whip sang with each swing and the cries of the man would forever be embedded in the souls of the onlookers.
Sphhiiimm!!!!!!!! the last stroke fell. Several women gasped. A man fainted as one of the spikes had sunk in too deep to the man’s back and the soldier had needed a particularly vicious yank to get it out.
Jesus cried out in terrible agony, the cry lasting several seconds and tapered into a whimper. He opened his mouth and sucked in air hungrily. Each breath rasping as spittle dribbled out insensibly from his disfigured mouth.
A soldier stepped in front of the platform and unhurriedly but surely began to undo the bonds that secured him to the pole. Immediately the last knot was undone, Jesus collapsed to the floor witless. Another soldier stepped forward grabbed him roughly into a seating position while a robe was draped over him.
Jesus cried out again as the cloth touched his mangled back.
“Quiet” A soldier hit him in the mouth, another pair of teeth fell out. The three soldiers burst out laughing.
“Two more hits and he would entirely be toothless” one said.
“No. Three would do that for him” another answered back.
“You have a bet” said the first.
Two punches were delivered in quick succession. Jesus felt neither. The punching soldier grabbed Jesus’ face and opened his mouth.
“Hahaha, there is still one in there. Loose, but there.” He said.
“Pay up Quintus.” The winner laughed.
There was more laughter as Jesus was jerked to his feet, one soldier on either side.
“Ha, look at him. His mother wouldn’t even recognize him. Hell, his god wouldn’t even recognize him.”
“Many were astonished for his visage was marred more than any other man, and his form more than the sons of men (Isaiah 52:14).
For Jesus, every step was an exercise in agony. His legs refused to obey his commands, his knees refused to stay straight and the impatient soldiers dragged him across the cobbled yard.
“Look at him. Lord of the galaxy he claimed, upon whose words the earth was framed, let him command his legs to keep straight then” He heard one of the onlookers say as they dragged him by.
One of the soldiers stumbled and Jesus, jarred, cried out. Another punch was hit his face.
“Be quiet.” The soldier growled.
It was almost noon now, and Jesus half-stumbled and was half-dragged along the uneven road. He could barely see through his swollen eyes and every picture was in a haze of red. The tears came unbidden. Hot, salty tears of compassion, not agony as he saw a soldier shove aside a woman who attempted to touch him with outstretched hands. He perceived within him that she was sick, and smiled for she was healed.
His tears had washed away some of the blood in his eyes and he saw the men who hurled curses at him, those who mocked him, he saw their pointing fingers and their sneering mouths; he saw they who mourned that he was being led to his doom, as surely as a lamb led to the slaughter. In them, he saw all of mankind and was moved. He fell to his knees again, body wracking as he was engulfed in sobs. A boot pressed against his back and hot bolts of fire streaked across his body, from his mangled back to his brain and he screamed out.
He crashed unto his face and folded into a fetal position even as he was kicked severally. The kicks ceased and he felt a heavy weight over his body.
He opened his lone eye; one of the crowd had rushed to him and was now protecting him even with her body. Absorbing the heavy, brutal boots of the soldiers. A moment passed before she was wrenched viciously away and a solitary kick hit his chest.
Two soldiers yanked him back to his feet
“Keep moving fool.” One commanded but Jesus’ body would not respond any more. He fell again to his face, too weak to even stretch out his arms to break his fall.
Unsympathetic to his plight, one soldier grabbed his hair and dragged him across the stony ground and flipped him over. This time, Jesus couldn’t even work up the energy to scream. He was nothing, felt nothing but pain; pain such as could not be captured by thought.
His arms were spread apart. They felt oddly light like a barrel from which all water had been drained.
Phutt!!! A spike was driven through his wrist. A dark cloud fell over Jesus’ eyes and he passed out.
When he came to, the pain had intensified, he felt the tears flow freely down his face, mixing with blood as they went down. He had been stripped naked again. He forced one of his eyes open and saw through a red haze scores of people spread out across the plain.
“It is for these I have come.” He muttered through swollen lips.
“It is for their transgressions that I am wounded. It is for their iniquities I am bruised.”
It was as though a dam had been opened, all feeling returned to him and he could feel the pull on his shoulders. His whole body hurt all over. He gasped. Heaving himself up, he sucked in as much air as he could.
“Water, Water” he rasped.
A nearby soldier laughed.
“The king is thirsty. He calls for a drink. Do not keep him waiting.” He called.
There was more laughter.
Jesus felt a prodding around his mouth and opened it hungrily to suck the sponge. The next moment he spat out, for it was bitter. A peal of laughter attacked his ears again.
Breathing had become a task he could no longer carry out. His heart was heavy against his chest; his time had come. Bowing his head, He whispered “It is finished,” and breathed his last.
Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12
Isaiah 52:14-15 (KJV) As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every oneeveryone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? forFor he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
John 3: 13-18 (KJV)
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God..