By Joe Smith

    If you asked the average person to describe a hockey player in one word you would probably hear a variety of answers, but there is one that would repeat itself; tough. Pain is part of the game and it’s common to hear about players (especially during the playoffs) who are playing through some serious injuries. Players have had injections to numb the pain or numerous stitches to hold their face together, but all of those can’t compare to what Jesus “played” through.

    When we say: “Jesus died for me”, I’m afraid there are many who don’t fully understand what exactly that entailed. Jesus was not quickly snuffed out in a fast and painless death before rising from the grave. Jesus went through unimaginable pain which would have any hockey player calling it quits within the early stages. Just watching it would be nearly impossible!

    In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ he interviews a medical professional in one of his chapters in order to get more detailed information on what exactly Jesus went through. Now, Jesus wasn’t simply brought to Golgotha and nailed to the cross. He was in the hands of the Romans who had mastered the concept of torture and slow painful death. We won’t even go into the details of all the punches, kicks, and spit that he received (Matthew 26:67) or the crown of thorns that was forced onto his head (John 19:2) because that was the small stuff compared to what else He went through.

    Prior to the crucifixion Jesus was whipped by the Roman guards (19:1). Getting whipped certainly stings, but these weren’t ordinary whips. They were braided leather strips “with metal balls woven into them.” Those by itself would be enough to cause some major damage, but that wasn’t the worst part. At the end of each cord there were pieces of glass or sharp bone. There have been documented cases of people dying just from these lashes. Without going into too much gory detail, Strobel’s interview showed that these lashes cut deep; deeper than skin and bone. We will leave it at that.

    Jesus was also ordered to carry the horizontal beam of his eventual cross. For a short time he carried that burden, but eventually, someone else had to because Jesus was physically unable. (Luke 23:26) He was already in “serious to critical” condition by the time he arrived at Golgotha.

    I think there is a lot we can learn from Jesus through this time, and one of the most amazing attributes showcased here was His self control. Jesus went through this stuff as an innocent man and someone who had the power to destroy these people. I mean he could have at least stopped people from spitting on him or disabled the arms of those throwing the punches. But he took ALL of the mistreatment. What an amazing lesson we can apply to hockey and our temper! You are not always going to be treated fairly. But, when you are facing unfair treatment, your character shines through it. (James 1:2-4).

    Now back to the story. We haven’t even gotten through the whole story yet. All of this mistreatment happened before the crucifixion itself! A death by lashings would have been gruesome enough, but Jesus still had much more to go through.

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