My wife and I have a devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and often times during our times of prayer we will reflect on the events of our Lord’s passion and think about not only what the evangelists highlight about our Lord’s passion,……. His betrayal, His aloneness and humiliation, but will also reflect and speculate on the physical sufferings of the whips, beatings, falls, stakes, and the thorns that emptied our Lord of His precious blood.
As we mentally walk with Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to his burial in the tomb, let us reflect and contemplate all the areas, materials, surfaces, clothing, tools and people that His Precious Blood most probably fell on during His Passion.
In the garden, we know from scripture, (Luke 22: 44), that Jesus sweated great drops of blood that fell to the ground. I know we are all familiar with the famous painting of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying with His hands folded over a large rock. ( A Catholic church, the “Basilica of Agony” was built there.) Well, obviously His blood would be on that rock and of course on the ground and other rocks and perhaps on vegetation in that area, and one would assume that it was on His clothing as well. This thought might seem insignificant, but what value would a small stone covered with one just one drop of the blood of Jesus be worth to you?……….or indeed in the capital markets of the world? Exactly, priceless. His Blood is the price of our salvation.
After Judas betrayal, the chief priests, the captains of the temple and some Roman soldiers bound Jesus and led Him to the high priest, Caiaphas’s house. Scripture does not say anything about the treatment of the Lord during His movements from the garden to the high priest’s house and from there to Pilate’s, the Roman governor, then to Herod and back to Pilate, but it does say that they had Him tethered in chains and the elders of the Jewish faith had just accused Him of blaspheme. I would imagine that they ill-treated our Lord immensely; pulling Him this way and that to hurt Him and perhaps making Him fall and perhaps striking Him. If that is indeed the case, His wrist, hands, knees and possibly other body parts were probably bleeding. His precious blood would have been on the chains and would have fallen on many materials on the ground and could have been smudged against a post, a bridge abutment, a tree, a soldier’s clothing or any number of other items.
Contemplate what the precious blood on any or all of these items might mean. …..For example, let’s speculate the soldier’s clothing; this soldier obviously was following orders and most likely didn’t recognize Jesus as the Savior and may or may not have mistreated our Lord, but what if the soldier, because of a grace from God, attributed to the blood on His clothing, came to realize after the crucifixion or after the Lord’s resurrection that He was indeed who He said He was and the soldier realized that he had a hand in Jesus’s torments and the blood of the Savior of the world was on his clothing, (much like the blood that was on Veronica’s veil). How would the soldier view and venerate that piece of clothing and how many souls would that soldier’s conversion impact? The soldier’s conversion would have touched the lives of his family, perhaps a few friends and these individual souls would touch the lives of others as well; the spiritual impact of Jesus’s saving blood on that clothing could be seen as similar to the effect of a rock thrown into calm water., touching many people’s lives, just as a conversion of any person throughout history has an impact on multiple lives.
After being questioned by Pilate, Jesus is handed over to be scourged and crucified. Saint Bridget recorded from a private revelation that our Lord told her that He received 5,480 wounds during His Passion. Many of those were the result of the scourging of our Lord. Scenes from the movie, “Passion of Christ”, are difficult to watch because of the torture our Lord was portrayed to suffer, at the hands of His tormentors. But let us think about where Jesus’s precious blood fell during His scourging. It would be on the handle and whip, with the bits of steel that were embedded in the leather strap that tore our Lord’s skin. His blood would be found on the torturer’s skin, clothing and perhaps on his footwear, on the ground, on the post to which He was secured, on the wrist chains or ropes that secured Him to the post, on Jesus’s clothing and his sandals and if we can imagine the scene, it could have fallen on the side of a building, nearby plants or various other materials. I love the scene in the “Passion of Christ” where Mary, his mother, is soaking our Lord’s precious blood from the stone pavement with a towel because she knew the value of His blood.
What if we spent some time reflecting on our Lord’s precious blood on the whip or any other of the articles that his blood covered? There is no right or wrong thought about these, but just the time that we spend reflecting on them with love, for our Savior, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would be beneficial to us because we are reflecting on the price of our salvation, regardless if our thought is factual. For example: what became of the whip that was used to scourge Jesus? Well for me, that would be a very special tool that I think God the Father would use to bring souls to Christ. I’m sure that the Roman soldiers had more than one whip with which to do scourging because it was a common form of punishment for them and I would think that these tools all would have had human blood on them, but Jesus was God and man and the tool used in Jesus scourging would be very special indeed. I can’t help but think that everything that Jesus’s blood fell upon was used by God for His glory.
Most of this thought is speculation on my part, but I offer it as an example for contemplating the precious blood of our Lord, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We do know for a fact that Pilate’s wife, from an inclination in a dream, considered Jesus to be a Holy man and she didn’t want Pilate to condemn Him to death. But after His death, the solar eclipse, the earthquake and the later information that the curtain in the temple was torn in two, then the testimony from others about His resurrection after three days in the tomb, and the bold testimony of Peter and the other apostles at Pentecost, I could imagine that she, (and many others), furthered their inclination that He was indeed Holy and she may have come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Savior of the world after a period of time. And with that knowledge she may come to realize the sentimental value of this tool and the importance that the whip, that had scourged Jesus, would be to her and His followers. It would not be hard to imagine that she may have requested this whip from her husband, Pilate, that she might share it with the early church and it could have been a Christian relic for hundreds of years. And while we are speculating, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to think that she might have fostered a love of Christ in her husband, Pilate as well. Anything is possible with God.
Then Jesus had to endure the humiliations of the crowning of thorns. Now more blood is flowing from the wounds on his head. The blood is on that crown of thorns, on the spears or sticks the soldiers used to beat the crown of thorns onto and into his head, and on the purple robe and the reeds they placed on Jesus to mock Him. How might these items, after the fact, with the blood of Jesus on them, sanctifying them, have been used for God’s glory?
And then after having been condemed to death, Jesus endured and poured forth more blood on the way to Golgatha. It’s a great wonder that Jesus didn’t die before His crucifixion on the cross, pouring out His precious blood from His head, back, legs, hands and knees. It was revealed to St Gregory that His most grievious wound, not recorded by man, was the wound on Jesus’s shoulder, resulting from the scourging, beatings and carrying of His heavy cross on those wounds. Imagine the agony of Jesus as He fell three times with the weight of the cross on those bloody wounds.
Then one has to shudder at the thought of Him being nailed to the cross. What would the Church give to have the blood stained hammer that nailed our Lord to the cross? What became of that hammer and the stakes that held our Lord on the cross or the spear the soldier used to pierce his side and what happened to the wood of the cross that Jesus died on? How did God the Father use these instuments for His Glory?
Well, many of His followers have comtemplated these questions and I would encourage you to do the same. But the truth that I would like all of us to consider is this: It is evident that Jesus Christ spilled His blood on multiple items and all of these instuments, materials, clothing, etc. that I and most of Christodem would consider invaluable are gone, but if they were indeed here and we could venerate them as relics, we would. But as valuable as the wood of the cross with Jesus’s blood on it would be, it pales with the reality that we can receive not only His precious Blood, but also His Body. In the light of revelation, by Jesus himself, (Mathew 26: 26), He gives us His Body and Blood and continues to give His Body and Blood through His priests at the consecration of the Mass and told us to eat and drink Him as often as we can. This is not just a symbol, but truly the real physical presence of the body and blood of Our risen Lord. Yes, it is hard to understand, but it is truth, all things are possible with God. Only a God, the one and Holy God, could even fathom such a rich blessing to be bestowed on His followers who believe in Him. I believe!