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Did Jesus receive thirty-nine (39) lashes from the Romans?

Leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus was beaten and flogged by the Romans (Matthew 27:24–31; John 19:1). However, we cannot say for a fact how many lashes He received because it is not explicitly stated in the Bible. In fact, the concept of giving someone no more than thirty-nine lashes is Jewish in origin, not Roman.

Looking back to the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 25:3 instructs the Israelites that a criminal should receive a maximum of forty lashes as punishment, "not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight." This caused the Jews to adapt the method of giving a criminal no more than thirty-nine lashes, so that they may not risk breaking this commandment. We know that in New Testament days, giving thirty-nine lashes was still common practice among the Jews, because the apostle Paul accounts being given thirty-nine lashes by the Jews multiple times. He writes: "Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one" (2 Corinthians 11:24).

However, Jesus was crucified by the Romans, so there is no reason to believe they would follow a Jewish disciplinary tradition just because Jesus was Jewish. The Jewish leaders and Pilate knew that Jesus was an innocent man; yet they agreed to sentence Him to death. Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged, but didn't specify a certain number of lashes. We do know that Jesus was not to be killed by the beatings He received because His ultimate death was to come by crucifixion. So, the scourging was a precursor to the crucifixion. It was not supposed to kill Jesus but to torture Him.

Jesus came to the earth with a purpose: to provide salvation to the whole world. Through Jesus' suffering and crucifixion, "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6; see also John 14:6; Titus 2:11). First John 2:2 says that Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." Jesus gave His life willingly so that we might be saved (John 10:11, 15, 17–18). We thank God for His grace and mercy, and the sacrifice of Jesus that provided our atonement: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).


Related Truth:

What happened in the last hours before Jesus' death?

Why did Jesus have to suffer so badly? What is the reason for Jesus' suffering?

Who is responsible for Jesus Christ's death?

Is the death of Jesus Christ or His resurrection more important?

How can I accept Jesus as my personal savior?


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