Weekly Word with Randy Muse

The Weight of the Cross: Recently I heard of someone being crushed in a work accident. It’s hard for me to imagine the thought of being crushed. Just think about it. How many of you have dropped a piece of firewood on your foot? You just thought it was broken, or maybe you’ve stubbed your toe when you were bare-foot. Or maybe you’ve hit your knee on a table leg when you’ve sat for a meal. These were sharp momentary pains that may or may not have left a bruise. Still some of you may have been in an accident at some point when a part of you actually was crushed. I can’t fathom what that must feel like.

Something that I asked myself when I heard about this man who was crushed to death was, “What about Jesus?” Isaiah 53:5 tells us that “He was crushed for our iniquities.” I thought of a scene from the Passion of the Christ, where Jesus was carrying the cross and fell with it on top of him. What little bit of research I’ve done indicates that a crucifixion cross would have weighed up to 300 pounds. However, my investigations also leads me to believe that the person being crucified wouldn’t have carried the whole cross. They would have likely carried only the carried the portion to which their wrist and hands would have been nailed to. This horizontal bar known as the patibulum had a weight of between 75 and 125 pounds. We don’t know exactly how far Jesus carried this portion of the cross, but the estimated total distance is 650 yards (or the length of six and a half football fields). Oh what a weight to carry.

Now consider this that I also read… “By the time the victim was crucified, he would have been flogged by the Roman guards with an instrument called a flagellum, which was a short whip consisting of several heavy leather thongs with small balls of lead attached to the end of each thong. The thongs were 18- to 24-inches long and not unusually in addition to the lead balls there were fragments of metal, bone or glass embedded in the leather. According to Jewish custom. a prisoner was flogged 39 times (40 minus 1 was a sign of Jewish mercy). At first the thongs would bruise the skin only, and then as the blows continued, they would cut into the subcutaneous tissues, finally reaching the muscles, and even the skeletal structures. By this time the skin was shredded, and ribbons of skin could be hanging off. Significant loss of blood was the result, first from the superficial capillaries and vessels of the skin and subcutaneous tissues and finally from larger vessels within deeper structures such as the muscles. The result was hypovolemia (low blood volume) and if severe enough that alone could lead to the death of the victim.”

Furthermore, my thoughts are that this wasn’t the worst part of the crucifixion. The worst part was the spiritual aspect of it all. The aspect of dying for sin that was never His. The agony that lead Him to even the thought of being forsaken by His own Father. I can’t explain these parts, but I know this… I owe Him everything that I am, have and ever will be. I have Been Blessed.