AND BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED (ISAIAH 53:5)
A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. †James 3:3-6 (MSG)
†††††††† Lent offers a special time to reflect on our shortcomings and the price Christ paid for our sins. So much of the agony on that horrible Friday was left hidden within these simple words: Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged.† (John 19:1 NIV).† If the flogging were done in conformance of Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 25:1-3), the number of stripes and would be limited and so would the type of whip. However, the Romans were not bound by Jewish law and therefore, there was no legal limit on the number blows or the type of instrument used to administer them.
The typical Roman whip was short with several single or braided leather throngs of variable lengths, in which a number of small pieces of iron or zinc and sharp pieces of sheep bones were attached at variable intervals.† As the Roman soldier repeatedly struck the victims back and the back of his legs the metal and the sheep bones would cut into the skin and underlying tissues. Deep lacerations, torn flesh, and excessive bleeding would leave the recipient half-dead. Such was the treatment of our Lord endured before He was taken to be crucified!!
I shuttered when I mentally replayed our Lords ordeal.† I wondered how such cruel treatment could be inflicted on even an animal let alone a human being, yet as I reflected on the afflictions that our Lord endured, I was reminded of words of James, the brother of Christ, to the effect that words also have the power to injure or to destroy a personís spirit.
††††††† I wondered if my sharp tongue might be likened to whip wielded on our Lord.† I was aware that my words frequently did cause pain to my fellow man, one of Gods children.† But were my words comparable to the manning the whip that inflicted such pain on our Lord?† I cringed at that possibility and recalled James warning that no human being was capable of controlling the tongue and that it is always ready to pour out its poison (James 3:8). I recalled the numerous times that I had attempted to rid me of using the weapon of my tongue without much success. I then fully realized that something additional was needed so I called on the Holy Spirit to help me bridle my tongue and also to forgive me for the numerous hurts that I had inflicted on others through my careless words and He has done so. Amen