This is a continuation of a series that dives into the meaning behind the scenes in the film. The Passion of the Christ. This is part 3 of 5.
My Heart is Ready
The Red Letter Edition of the King James version of the Bible prints in red all the words Jesus spoke himself. However in the movie, just before the soldiers are about to scourge him, he utters: "My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready." This, of course, is not a "red letter" quote. It is added to the scene to remind us of Psalm 57:
Have mercy in me, O God, have mercy on me;
for my soul trusts in you.
And in the Shadow of your wings will I seek refuge, until harm pass away.
I will cry to God the most High; to God who provides for me.
He has sent help from heaven and delivered me;
he has shamed those who trample upon me.
God has sent his mercy and his truth,
and he has delivered my soul from the midst of young lions.
I slept troubled.
The son of men, whose teeth are weapons and arrows,
and their tongue a sharpened sword.
Be exalted over the heavens, God.
May your glory appear all above all the earth.
They prepared a trap for my feet; and they bowed down my soul.
They dug a pit before me. May they fall into it themselves.
My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready;
I will sing, and rehearse a psalm.
Arise , O my soul; arise lyre and harp.
I will wake the dawn.
I will praise you among the people, Lord;
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens;
and your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
and may your glory appear above all the earth.
It is interesting to include a part of this psalm in the scene, but it makes sense because Christ also uses the opening of Psalm 22 to help the Jews see themselves. When while hanging on the cross Jesus says, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" the Jews, who would have known scripture, would remember the rest of the psalm, which includes verses like: "if he loves him, let him rescue him" (something the Jews did say), "As dry as a potsherd is my throat" (reminds us of "I am thirsty"), "they have pierced my hands and my feet" (a clear description of crucifixion), and "they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots" – words that unmistakeably make the psalm a foreshadowing of the crucifixion scene.
So this scene in the movie reminded us also of the rest of that psalm as an expression of what is in Christ's heart – to do the will of the Father even at great cost. Interesting is that Caiaphas and the other priests hear him say this, but do not “see.”
Claudia and the Linen
The wife of Pilate, Claudia Procles, had been telling him to have nothing to do with Jesus because she had a really bad dream about it. Despite this, it seemed Pilate fell into the verbal trap of the Sanhedrin and ended up having Jesus scourged. In the scene where Jesus is being brutally flogged, we see Claudia seek out a distraught Mary and Mary Magdalene to give them linen.
Scripture doesn't record this scene, and it is odd at best, unless we try to understand it. At this point in the Passion, Pilate has not yet condemned Christ. He was only to be brutally flogged because Pilate thought this might appease the Jews. At this point, no one knew Christ was going to be crucified. So it does make sense that Claudia is offering linen sheets to bind the wounds of Christ. So although Claudia cannot do anything about the flagellation, she offers linen as a means of healing.
Mary Wipes the Blood of Christ
When the scourging is done and Christ is taken back to Pilate to be presented to the Jews, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John stay in the courtyard. The two women use the linen that was given to them by Claudia Procles to wipe the blood of Christ that stains the ground.
This is another scene that isn't supported by scripture, but it is in the movie for a reason. Apparently, it was the duty of Jewish priests to wipe the blood of the temple sacrifices. Sacrifice was on-going in the temple and it was said you could smell Jerusalem before you could see it because of the many sacrifices being made in the temple. This practice is carried on in Catholic worship as well. If you watch the priest during Mass, before he puts away the chalice, he wipes it with a piece of cloth. He is, in fact, wiping the blood of Christ that was just offered as a sacrifice to the Father.
So the scene is included to remind us that Christ is the bridge between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant wherein bulls are no longer sacrificed, but Christ himself who is a perfect sacrifice once and for all.
This series is continued in part 4.