Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.    John 15:13

The leather straps of the scourge cracked as they whisked through the air. The metal tips clanking just before they tore open the innocent, unmarred flesh. Blood droplets erupted in a shower across the sadistic, but ignorant crowd. Their ugly faces twisted in anger. Pitiful really that their fear possessed them to the point of murderous desire. They didn’t know. Not really. Their ignorance and unbelief clouded their wisdom and true understanding.

As I stood by watching this horrific scene, wincing with each slice of His skin, questions pelted my brain. My biggest question: why?

A warm, almost burning, droplet of blood hit my face and jarred my mind back to the ghastly scene unfolding before me. Several more droplets spattered across my face, onto my clothes and hands.

Tears, mixing with His blood, began to stream down my face. He looked up at me. His sad eyes pierced to my soul and He seemed to know all my sins. I wept. Did He just smile at me? A smile that seemed to beckon me to receive His invitation of love?

Love? Surely, He didn’t feel love for his accusers, not for me. While I didn’t partake in the physical violence, my black heart was guilty just the same.

How many more of these lashes could His body endure? And then, it got worse. The soldiers jammed a crown of thorns into the tender flesh of His scalp. Streams of blood flowed across His eyes and down His cheeks. Blood continued to pool on the dusty earth at His bare feet.

I couldn’t fathom the excruciating pain He endured. Why did He hold still for them to abuse Him? I’d seen the power in His miracles. He could stop this madness. He could call a thousand angels for protection. Why didn’t He exert His power to stop the brutalization?

The people around me were laughing, spitting, saying vile words, and even pummeling this blindfolded Man with their fists. Wasn’t the physical pain enough? Why did they want to induce emotional agony too?

The same innocent blood that was pouring out for me was pouring out for them too. No brick wall was preventing them from running to Him to receive life; only the hard walls of their loveless hearts.

The scars on my body faded away as the holy blood showered across them. Miraculous! Healing blood! A deep yearning stirred my heart.

As I watched them nail Jesus, King of the Jews to the cross, I loved Him. How could I not? Because He loved me first. My guilty heart was in desperate need of His cleansing blood. I longed to know more about this innocent Man whose boundless love caused Him to endure the cross and scorn its shame.

I fell to my knees and lifted my tear-stained face to Him. I believe, Jesus! Please, Jesus, wash me clean—whiter than snow. You are the sacrificial lamb Who came to take away my sins … the sins of the world. Thank you for the blood red love you offer to me—eternal life through the shedding of Your blood.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us 

and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.   I John 4:10