Eight times in all, then, the Evangelists speak of Jesus’ scourging, always briefly and with restraint, avoiding the painful details. These would be too much for the reader to bear. In this respect we may contrast the Evangelists with David and Isaiah. The Psalter and the book of Isaiah dwell lovingly on every wound in the Savior’s body. The Old Testament accounts of Jesus’ Passion are vivid and detailed; his very bones are numbered. Unlike the four Evangelists, these Old Testament prophets saw the Passion from a greater distance, so to speak, but they described it in greater detail. The four gospels, on the other hand, were closer to the event. When they were written, those sacred wounds were still very fresh in the minds of Christians. To many Christians, those wounds were simply unbearable to think about. After all, the Evangelists and their first readers knew exactly what was entailed in those brief references to the scourging, especially when that form of torture accompanied a death sentence. In that setting there were no limits to the number of strokes or the ingenuity of the soldiers to inflict more pain and greater damage. Sometimes the beatings were so severe that the prisoners did not survive them. Indeed, the copious bleeding served to hasten a death on the cross. In this respect, we observe that the Savior’s two crucified companions outlived him, and a strong case can be made that the immediate cause of Jesus’ death was exsanguination.
From The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon.