Mastering Our Midnights – By Russell V. DeLong

Chapter 8

The Wounds of Christ

Pain is common to all men, old and young, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. The

problem of evil is the most baffling of philosophy.

C. S. Lewis, the Oxford don, has written a very interesting and thought-provoking book

entitled the Meaning of Pain.

It is not my purpose today to discuss the philosophy of pain nor attempt to give a solution to the problem of evil. My thesis for this address is simply this: Jesus in His final hours of passion leading up to His death suffered every known kind of pain: physical, mental, and spiritual. No other could suffer nor has suffered as He did. He paid the supreme painful penalty of all the sins of all the human race. For a few minutes let us analyze His suffering and relate it to man generally.

In the realm of bodily pain there are five types of physical suffering.

1. Concussion — caused by being hit violently from without or by internal pressure within.

2. Laceration — when the flesh is cut and torn.

3. Penetration — when the skin and joints are opened by sharp proddings.

4. Perforation — when holes are opened up by the pressure from external objects.

5. Incision — when cuts are made into the skin and muscles by sharp instruments.

Jesus suffered all five of these physical wounds.

He was the victim of concussion, for He was struck, hit, slapped, and buffeted about by an angry, blood-thirsty, murderous mob.

Jesus was lacerated by steel thongs at the end of the scourging whip. This Roman instrument of fiendish design would tear the flesh in a hundred places at every vicious stroke. It would leave the flesh white and quivering, drained of blood.

Jesus suffered the third type of bodily pain produced by penetration. A cruel crown of thorns was pushed and pounded into His holy brow. These sharp thorns were two inches long, straight and strong and as sharp as needles. They were pressed into His skin, His temples, and His veins. Blood spurted out and ran down His wonderful face.

Jesus also endured the physical suffering of perforation. Great spikes were driven through the tender palms of His clean hands and through the tendons of His guiltless feet.

And finally Jesus suffered the fifth kind of physical pain – incision. The sharp spear not only penetrated His side but sliced it open until both water and blood flowed down His body, staining the cross and dripping to the ground.

Do you get the awful picture? There Jesus hangs between two thieves, suffering physically the combined five kinds of bodily anguish — concussion, laceration, penetration, perforation, incision. No wonder the poet wrote:

“Five bleeding wounds He bears,

Received on Calvary.

They pour effectual prayers,

They strongly plead for me.

“Forgive him, oh, forgive,” they cry,

“Nor let that ransomed sinner die.”

But, strange as it may seem, His bodily, physical suffering was the least painful. It was His mental anguish that shook Jesus to His inner depths.

Psychologists and psychiatrists call mental illnesses traumata. In brief, a trauma is an emotional hurt causing extreme intellectual grief. There are three main kinds resulting from three chief causes:

1. Loneliness — to be left to one’s self and deprived of social communion with others is one of the main causes of mental distress.

2. Misunderstanding — this is acute when related to enemies but becomes unbearably severe when applied to friends.

3. Rejection — here is the acme of mental anguish. To be rejected as undesired by others and undesirable by society is the zenith of possible intellectual distress.

Jesus was an acute Sufferer of all these three types of traumata.

He experienced loneliness. His friends forsook Him. His disciples fled and even God seemed to leave Him. Hear Him cry out in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The hymn writer wrote:

“It was alone the Saviour stood

In Pilate’s judgment hall.

Alone the crown of thorns He wore,

Forsaken thus by all.

Alone, alone, He bore it all alone.

He gave himself to save His own.

He suffered, bled, and died alone, alone. [5]

Jesus also passed through the second type of trauma, misunderstanding. He was a conundrum to His friends and an irrational zealot to His enemies.

But Jesus also suffered the third and worst type of mental distress — He was rejected. This kind of suffering is terrific. He was rejected by His own people, the Jews. He was rejected by society and finally by His friends and even His disciples. Peter even gave up and fled. He denied Him and rejected Him at the court scene — but Jesus gave him that tender, compassionate glance. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, His treasurer and trusted friend. And the form of his treason was a kiss, the highest expression of love — but now a kiss of death. Jesus was rejected.

So in the mental realm Jesus suffered all three traumata: loneliness, misunderstanding, and rejection all rolled into one.

But as terrible as were the physical and mental wounds, those of the spirit were worst of all. Jesus carried the combined sins of all men. They pressed in and crushed Him. His spiritual heart was broken and it affected His physical heart so that the elastic sac surrounding this organ was broken and out poured blood and water. In the garden before His crucifixion He sweat great drops of blood. So in His awful passion Jesus’ blood was watery and His sweat was bloody.

Yes, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.”

Physically Jesus endured all types of bodily wounds: concussion, laceration, penetration, perforation, and incision. He suffered the three mental wounds: loneliness, misunderstanding, and rejection. And in addition His soul was distressed by the sins of the race — yours and mine.

Yes. “He was wounded for me, wounded for me; there on the cross He was wounded for me.”