Emergent Churchianity: Part IV :: By Denis Bowden

Sentence is exacted


The piercing of His side was not the initial blood-flow Jesus suffered.

When he was turned over to the soldiers to be flayed with the Scourge (horribili flagello), Our Lord was not only abused in his body, but also when the cruel crown of thorns was forced down into his skull. The purple robe was placed on Him, and He was humiliated further with sneering taunts about his claims.

And we know that those claims were not relative to the office of kingship within the temporal nature of this sick world, but in relation to His own divinity alone.

Follow these links. They will help you understand what took place when a non-citizen of Rome was sentenced to be scourged.

I am not encouraging an exercise in morbidity but it is important to understand the full extent of how God suffered Himself on our behalf.

Many will sit and watch a horror movie. This was a real-life drama of extreme cruelty. His stripes that cut the flesh down to the ribs and flagellated along His spine were for you and me. His suffering is our suffering. But through that suffering and in His death, we who choose Him, in our brokenness and poverty of spirit, will live forever.

Cbcg.org: Scourging and Crucifixion in Roman Tradition”

Truthmagazine.com: The Scourging of Jesus”

Asor.org: What Do We Know about the Scourging of Jesus?”


(The route to the Cross called ‘Via Delarosa’)

Already suffering extreme fatigue from the hours of interrogation, torture and the beating administered by the scourge, His body is now being further debilitated by a continual loss of blood.

We must assume his bruised, broken, body was leaving a blood trail. And now, as the soldiers nailed him to His cross, He bled further. Finally, when (to accelerate death) one of the Roman contingent pierced the side of Jesus with his spear, the last of His blood was drained.

In my mind, I draw the conclusion that our Saviour God literally washed the streets of Jerusalem with His blood, as He is walked down the Hill from the Antonia, through the streets of the city, to the place chosen for execution.

Obviously in no condition to continue to carry His own cross of execution, Jesus falters with the weight; and Simon of Cyrene, who was in Jerusalem for Passover, is summarily ordered by the Roman soldiers to carry Jesus’ burden.

Eventually the contingent of the condemned arrive at Golgotha, ‘the place of the skull.’ It is located just outside of the Damascus Gate. Golgotha is still clearly visible at this site. It is certainly not, as claimed, at the co-jointly run (Catholic/Orthodoxy) Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

From Israeljerusalem.com: “Golgotha/Calvary”

Golgotha faces the major east-west road that runs just north of Old Jerusalem. It is precisely the type of location where the Romans liked to crucify rebels so that their gruesome handiwork can scare the passing masses and deter future rebels against Rome.

This means that Jesus was crucified with the skull-faced cliff in the background – i.e., His cross was at the bottom of this cliff, at ground level, not on top of it.

As explained above, the Romans crucified people on major roads, not on hard-to-reach hilltops, because they wanted the passers-by to see the victims’ gory end up close, not from afar. Besides, access to the top of this cliff is difficult from Old Jerusalem and requires a prohibitively long detour.

Then why is the cross of Jesus always portrayed as being on top of a hill?

That is more picturesque and continues the tradition started by Roman Catholic art. The Bible, however, never says that Jesus was crucified on a hill. – Source

My comment:

Just another example of pure, unadulterated ‘Churchianity.’

The late Ron Wyatt conducted a search at this site in his search for the Ark of the Covenant. Wyatt was convinced that the site described above is the real Golgotha, and it was whilst he and a Jewish companion were walking out through the Damascus Gate one day that he maintained always that he was suddenly, spiritually, directed to realize this.

Wyatt did extensive archeologically approved ‘digs’ underneath this site looking for the Ark of the Covenant. It is alleged that he found something significant. Jewish religious authorities subsequently withdrew permission for further work. Although this has little to do with my series, I had great admiration for the work of Wyatt and consider him a most devout follower of Jesus.

Of course, the great denominations have always wanted to claim that they hold the title deeds to the true site. All the better to ensure a constant, lucrative flow of pilgrims and tourists. (end comment)


Jesus and two condemned criminals are nailed to the Cross. The whole would have been prepared. The soldiers raised the cross with its end poised to slide into the socket in the ground that would hold it. They would have tamped it down. And given this was a rocky outcrop, the soldiers would have wedged the length of the cross beam into a slot previously cut into the rock itself.

The process that will inevitably lead to death has begun. Exposure to the prevailing weather, flies and other insects landing on His face means that it is impossible for Jesus to brush them away. Runnels of sweat and blood-flow mingled down into His eyes.

There could be nothing worse than this.

He lasted somewhere between three to six hours according to the recorded accounts. Death appears to have ensued following the thrust of the spear to His side.


Jesus’ Side is Pierced (John 19:34-35) “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. The one who saw it has testified to this, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe” (Berean Study Bible).

There is a missing part of Matthew 27:49. When it is restored, it becomes clear that the final cause of Jesus’ death was from the spear that the soldier had thrust into His side.

This full verse reads: “But the rest said, ‘Let Him alone! Let us see if Elijah comes to save Him.’ Then another took a spear and thrust it into His side, and out came water and blood.

The latter half of this verse, which includes the words “Then another took a spear and out came water and blood,” has been omitted from the King James Version. However, some ancient manuscripts contain this part of the verse.

The latter part of the verse is also found in other manuscripts that are designated by letter (L, T, Z) and by number (33, 49, 892 and 1241). Older translations which contain the complete verse are the Moffatt translation and the Fenton translation. Newer translations generally footnote this portion of Matthew 27:49 rather than including it in the text.

The weight of evidence indicates that the latter half of the verse is an authentic part of the Greek text and should be included in translations of the New Testament. The veracity of this portion of Matthew 27:49 is substantiated by the records in John 19:34 and 20:27.


It is generally accepted from Scripture that (particularly soon this occasion) the legs of the condemned should have their legs broken. This ensured that the condemned could no longer support their chests and aid their breathing, and thus would soon asphyxiate and die.

This was requested of Pilate by the Sanhedrin in order that Passover might not be delayed by the taking of life. It was not a normal part of the procedure.

The ‘justice’ most normally administered by Rome was that the sentence of death should be exacted over the longest possible time frame. 

This facilitated the idea that the condemned should endue great suffering and long for death as the punishment for his convicted ‘crime.’ Also, as he hung there for long hours in the heat or prevailing weather, passers-by would witness what their own fate would be if you were foolish enough to infringe Roman law. So then, death by crucifixion from Rome’s perspective meant, ‘be suitably chastened and warned.’

From Compelling truth.org (a ministry of Got Questions): “When Jesus was pierced, why did blood and water come out of His side?”

John 19:31-34 offers this unique account that occurred at the end of Jesus’ crucifixion: “Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”


Crucifixion typically resulted in death through one of two ways. The first way was hypovolemic shock. The prolonged rapid heartbeat resulting from hypovolemic shock can cause fluid to gather in the area around the heart. This is called pericardial effusion.

The second way death often occurred during crucifixion was due to asphyxiation. This simply means the person is unable to breathe in enough oxygen to survive. Crucifixion victims typically had to pull their weight up with their hands or wrists that were nailed to the crossbeam along with pushing up with the feet or ankles that had another nail through them. Over time, the ability to push up to breathe would end and oxygen flow would be restricted. This asphyxiation can also result in the build-up of fluid around the heart.

In either case, the account of John is quite accurate. The Roman executioners saw that the other two crucifixion victims were still alive and broke their legs so they would no longer be able to push themselves up to breathe, resulting in death within minutes. In the case of Jesus, they saw He had become unconscious and likely was already dead. To confirm, a spear was shoved into His side, likely under His ribs, that ruptured the pericardial sack, resulting in a flow of both blood and water.

While this manner of death was a brutal end for Jesus, there was also prophetic significance to this event. John states in John 19:36-37, “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.'” And again, another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” The first reference is likely to Exodus 12:46. The second reference is from Zechariah 12:10. Both were written hundreds of years before this event.

In summary, there were both physiological and prophetic reasons for the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus at His crucifixion. The pierced side confirmed His human death while also fulfilling the messianic prophecies mentioned by John. – Source


This excellent reference compares Mark, Matthew, Luke & John’s account of the circumstances surrounding the burial, prior to Jesus rising from death.

Mark’s account contains the only reference to the surprise exhibited by Pontius Pilate learning of the death. Pilate was amazed Jesus had died so soon, given that many hung on the cross for several days before death came. But, of course, we remember that all three of the condemned died early. The two thieves having had their legs broken so they could no longer support their bodies, and so, quickly died of asphyxiation. And Jesus, close to death, apparently finished by the thrust of the spear to His side.

Also See Wikipedia: “The Burial of Jesus.” (These are authentic scriptural quotes from the relevant passages, so don’t discard the reference out of hand.)


The Bible teaches that ‘life is in the blood,’ therefore it is sacred unto God and no man has the right to spill the blood of another.

God made this point clear following the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. Deemed by God to be an act most grievous, it was totally abhorrent to Him. And yet, it was upon this basis that God proscribed that man should sacrifice an animal before Him as an acceptable act of worship.

By releasing its life-force, it became an atonement for his sins, and it pleased God that the burning of its flesh released a savoury essence that rose as an offering before His throne.

However, the sacrifice was always accepted upon the basis of a quid pro quo. It required prayers of humble confession to expiate the sin that lies in the heart of all men. It requires repentance. It requires heart-felt sorrow for offences committed against the commandments of God. 

Without these prerequisites, the sacrifice is not acceptable. It is valueless. It carries not the savoury essence of acceptance before His throne, but the foul stench of personal rot and decay. And It is, thereby, an abhorrent affront and an abominable act before the Throne of God.

Think of this as you approach to take the Communion Supper. Make your peace with God beforehand and cleanse your stinking heart; express your sorrow and beg forgiveness. Otherwise, you affront He who died for you, and you spit upon His memory instead of commemorating it reverently.

To further our understanding, I would respectfully refer to the work done by Robert L Deffenbaugh, Pastor/teacher elder of the Community Bible Chapel Richardson, Texas, as he submitted in his commentary FROM THE SERIES: LEVITICUS: SACRIFICE AND SANCTIFICATION, The Law of Burnt Offerings (Leviticus 1:1-17).

This in-depth series takes you from Genesis to Hebrews as Bob shows us how the sacrificial system continues to relate to true, faithful worship of the Christ King in His sacrifice as God’s ultimate paschal lamb of redemption for those who would, in faith, come to seek it.

I urge you to read it at your leisure. (This commentary is long enough as it is.)


The blood offering given of and by the Christ-King, was a pure offering, without the blemish of sin. It is also without precedent.

Unlike animal sacrifice, it did not demand the rituals associated with sacrificial slaughter of a huge number of selected animals.

The repetitious nature of animal sacrifice was because sin is omnipresent in fallen man. And until Jesus, obeying the will of his Heavenly Father, gave of Himself (once offered), ongoing sin had to be continuously atoned for.

The atonement offered by Jesus, the Lamb of God, was accepted before the throne of God as the ultimate, once-only offering to atone for all sin: past, present and future.

It will never be repeated.

“It is finished.”


As an altar of unset stones raised high the sacrifice of Abraham, so the cross of Roman ‘justice’ raised high the Lamb of God, with the sign of His ‘conviction’ nailed above his head.



(“I speak”)

Many of us, our lives broken to the point of despair and filled with an inner-need to turn our lives around, try many things to achieve it. How blessed and fortunate are we who, at this point, when all seems lost, are led by the Holy Spirit to Jesus.

Jesus had, within his three years of active ministry, formed the nucleus of a church of believers. He also inherited, by divine right, the legacy of the itinerant baptizer, John.

This truly was the Son of God!”


EMERGENT CHURCHIANITY: Part V: (Dissention Begins)


Denis Bowden