(If you don’t mind, I would like to go back over thoughts we had here last year on Good Friday.)
Speaking of the death by which Jesus saves us, St. Paul, in Romans, 6:10, wrote, “As to is death, he died to sin.”
Since all sins are acts of selfishness, we might read that cryptic phrase as saying, “He died to selfishness.” The dearest thing to me is my self. That holds for you and your self. It held for Jesus. In contemplating Jesus on Good Friday we must sadly attend to the string of submissions by which he surrendered his dear self to abuse.
In the Garden, with his sweat becoming like drops of blood, he surrendered his self, saying, “Father, not my will but yours be done.”
That self next submitted to being left alone when his disciples all fled. It submitted to being blindfolded and mocked by the servants of the High Priest.
If you were ever spanked as a child, you might recall, as I still do, the stunning humiliation that spanking inflicted on your whole self. So, in reading about how the soldiers scourged Jesus, that childhood memory might help you know what it did to Jesus, not only to his back, but to his private self.
Added to that, was his humiliation when the soldiers laughingly turned him into the king of fools, wrapping a robe around his bleeding shoulders, and crowning him with thorns.
Through all this we must keep in mind what Matthew quoted Jesus as saying in 26:53, that at any moment he could have called on the Father, and he would have protected him with twelve legions of angels.
The soldiers, as part of preparing to crucify him, robbed that dear self of all dignity by stripping him naked for the amusement of the crowd.
In having his wrists and ankles nailed to the cross, the pain of it was secondary to that self’s final loss of the ability to again move and act.
When he said, “It is finished,” what was finished was a life of self-denial the like of which the world will never again witness.