22 Mar 06

Was Christ's Beating As Severe As Gibson's Movie Presents It?

Mr. Waddey:
Did the risen Lord have more marks on him than just the nail and spear marks? (I'm thinking of the movie Passion).

Dear Mary:
Thanks for your inquiry. Matthew tells us that they (Pilate) ordered Jesus to be "scourged" before he was delivered up for crucifixion. (Matthew 27:26). The Gibson movie correctly depicted the brutality of the scourging. The instrument was what we call a cat of nine tails. It consisted of a grip and as many as twelve leather straps, each of which had a piece of lead or stone imbedded in the end. The victim was usually striped of his clothing and beaten at least 40 times, half on their back, half on the front of their bodies. Historians from that period note that the victims often died just from the beating. Each blow of each strap inflicted a deep laceration in the victim's skin.

Most of the artists' descriptions of the crucified Christ we are use to seeing, have omitted the signs of the beating. I call them sanitized pictures and statues. They are not accurate.

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