April 21

Mark 14:65 65Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.

Though most historians believe these to be Roman guards assigned to a temporary service of the High Priest, I do not think the text implies this. Instead, I think they were a group of Jewish thugs that were in service to the High Priest. This abuse took place after the mock trial before the Sanhedrin.

The spitting in the face is an act of declaring the shame upon the one spit upon (Numbers 12:14). It is interesting to note that the Lord used spit to heal, but man uses it to insult. The blindfolding of Jesus seems to be directly related to His claim of being the Messiah. Roman soldiers would not have come up with this thought; it is purely Jewish. The Messiah was prophesied to judge correctly without hearing or seeing (Isaiah 11:3). When they struck Him, they asked Him to judge who it was that had committed the crime. If He is the Messiah He should know their name.

He could have told them their names and that of their entire lineage back to Adam, but He remained silent. He was determined to endure this to the end for you and me.

Then the guards took Him and beat Him. These men were trained fighters. They knew how to inflict pain. The rabbinical laws forbid the abuse of a condemned man, but this was no ordinary prisoner. It was envy that caused the religious leaders to murder Him. They were convicted by His words and shamed by His increasing number of followers. They were being exposed for what they really were. No abuse would have been too much. Jesus endured for the joy that was set before Him. He endured because He knew you would one day come and find the cleansing provided through the cross.

Meditation: Treasure your salvation. Never forget the high price paid for it.