How many times was Jesus scourged?

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Jesus was scourged two times. The purpose of the first scouring was to prompt the approval of the mob for releasing Jesus. For Pilate said, “I will therefore chastise Him and release Him”; “Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them”; “Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go” (Luke 23:16, 20, 22). “So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him” (John 19:1). And this was the first flogging.

And the second scourging was a punishment preliminary to crucifixion. The Bible records, “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15). In Matthew 27: 26–31, as often elsewhere, Matthew departs from strict chronological order, his purpose was to complete Pilate’s portion in the story before switching to that of the soldiers (v. 26). The mockery of Matthew 27: 27–31 actually was before the scourging and release for the crucifixion of vs. 26, 31.

Josephus (War ii. 14. 9 [306]) confirms that Florus, a later Roman governor of Judea, flogged certain prisoners of Jerusalem before their execution. The law of Moses provided for scourging the guilty (Deut. 25:1–3). Forty stripes was the maximum penalty. It was customary to administer no more than 39 strokes—withholding the last implied mercy.

The prophet Isaiah prophesied about the strips of the Messiah that would bring healing, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ who suffered “to heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18), and all “that had need of healing” (ch. 9:11), both physically and spiritually (Mark 2:5, 10).

All the evil and malice that wicked men could bring upon Jesus, He endured that He may save us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

 


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