By Kris Segrest
Crucifixion might be the worst form of torture to ever be dreamed up in the imagination of deranged men. The process was slow and agonizing. It was intended to squeeze every ounce of life out of its participant and maximize each painful moment. Agony, through the crucifixion, was slow and calculated.
After a victim had been tortured, usually through flogging, they were forced to carry their own cross beam, known as the patibulum, to the site of the execution. The patibulum usually weighed between 75 to 125 pounds. The journey was usually about one mile over uneven terrain. Once at the execution site, the crucified one’s wrists were nailed to the patibulum, between the radius and the ulna. If the spike had driven into the hands, as traditionally pictured, the weight of the victim would rip through the hands. Then, a large spike was driven through the tops of the feet into the vertical beam. This was done to give the victim leverage to breathe. He would push up against the spike to open the lungs enough to grasp for air. Crucifixion was suffocating. Then, the vertical beam was then raised and dropped into a hole. The victim would cry out in pain, as the beam landed in the hole. Their fresh nail wounds would agitate with the violent jostle. Death would still be hours away unless, in the case of Jesus, it is sped up. Most of the time, death took hours and days. Victims died from loss of blood, asphyxiation, and dehydration.
Yet, Jesus did all of this because of delayed gratification. He knew that after the cross, He would experience the joy of being reunited with His Father. He would once again take back his spot in Heaven. Momentary suffering was worth the joy of eternity. Jesus knew that the pain was worth the pleasure to come. What about you? We live in an on-demand world. Most of the time we want what we want, and we want it now. Yet, the best things and the highest joys must be deferred – in our relationships, in our money, in our lives, and certainly in our eternities.
What have you delayed your gratification for?
Reflect on one time you went through suffering that was worth it? How sweet was the delayed gratification?
Is Christ worth ‘momentary suffering’?
Segrest is Pastor of The Cross Church