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Scourging at the Pillar
Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary

The Scourging at the Pillar - Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
Christ Before Pilate -Jacopo Tintoretto - 1556-1557

Introduction

The Scourging at the Pillar, the second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, delineates a critical point in the narrative of Christ’s Passion. This event represents Christ’s initial encounter with physical torment, prefiguring the ultimate sacrifice at the Crucifixion. The scourging itself is a brutal act, a visceral manifestation of man’s inhumanity. Yet, its significance is not confined to its sheer violence. It serves as a stark expression of Christ’s willingness to accept suffering for humanity’s redemption.

In the Old Testament, the prophecy of a suffering servant foreshadows this event, and Christ, enduring the harsh lashes, personifies this servant, accepting affliction for the sins of mankind. This exchange is not merely physical but profoundly metaphoric. As each lash strikes His body, it symbolizes the sins of humanity that He was taking upon Himself.

The narrative of the Scourging at the Pillar also accentuates the harsh reality of human judgment, contrasting sharply with the divine innocence and purity embodied in Christ. Thus, this event imparts a potent lesson about the devastating consequences of sin, prompting believers to introspect and seek forgiveness.

The Scourging at the Pillar is a poignant chapter in the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. It underscores the gravity of Christ’s sacrifice, highlighting His enduring love and commitment to humanity’s salvation, and remains a stark reminder of the transformative power of suffering and redemption.

Scriptures of the Scourging at the Pillar

Matthew 27:11-36

And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost not thou hear how great testimonies they allege against thee? And he answered him to never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 

And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask for Barabbas, and take Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified. 

And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children. Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Scripture Commentary

Matthew 27:11-36 narrates a crucial segment of the Gospel that encapsulates the trial, condemnation, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This passage unfolds with a vivid portrayal of the events leading to the crucifixion, revealing the political machinations, human choices, and the profound theological implications of Christ’s sacrificial death.

The narrative begins with Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate, tasked with maintaining order during the tumultuous Passover feast, questions Jesus about the accusations made against him. In the face of the charges brought by the religious leaders, Jesus remains mostly silent. His stoic demeanor and lack of self-defense astound Pilate, who recognizes an extraordinary quality in this accused man.

The political dynamics of the time are unveiled when Pilate offers the crowd a choice between releasing Jesus or Barabbas, a notorious criminal. The crowd, influenced by the chief priests and elders, chooses the release of Barabbas, a symbol of rebellion and violence, over the innocent Jesus. This moment reflects the fickle nature of public opinion and the manipulation of the crowd by religious authorities.

Scourging at the Pillar
Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ – William-Adolphe Bouguereau – 1880

The scene shifts to the cruel mockery and abuse that Jesus endures at the hands of the Roman soldiers. He is stripped, dressed in a scarlet robe, and crowned with thorns. The soldiers mockingly hail him as the “King of the Jews,” inflicting both physical and psychological pain on the condemned man. This episode, laden with symbolism, underscores the contrast between the earthly mockery and the divine kingship of Jesus.

As Jesus is led to Golgotha for crucifixion, the gravity of the moment intensifies. The soldiers offer him wine mixed with gall, likely to dull the pain, but he refuses, choosing to bear the full weight of his suffering. The crucifixion takes place alongside two criminals, emphasizing the nature of Jesus’ death as a criminal’s execution.

The passersby and religious leaders mock Jesus, challenging him to prove his divinity by coming down from the cross. This mockery, ironically, echoes the very temptation Jesus faced in the wilderness—to demonstrate his divinity through sensational acts. However, Jesus endures the scorn, fulfilling his mission to offer salvation through his sacrificial death.

Matthew’s account of the crucifixion serves as a profound theological statement. It portrays Jesus as the innocent Lamb of God, willingly offering himself for the redemption of humanity. The narrative reflects Old Testament prophecies about the suffering Messiah and emphasizes the atoning significance of Jesus’ death.

In conclusion, Matthew 27:11-36 unfolds a poignant and impactful segment of the Gospel narrative, highlighting the political maneuvering, the unjust condemnation, and the profound sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This passage invites reflection on themes of innocence, injustice, and the transformative power of the cross in Christian theology. The crucifixion becomes a pivotal moment, shaping the narrative of salvation and expressing the depths of God’s love for humanity.

Scourging at the Pillar - Inscription of Pilate's Name
Inscription bearing the name of Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea, in the time of Yeshua of Nazareth - November 6 2012 - BRBurton - 158kb
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Last Publish:  January 27, 2024

 

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