April 5

Matthew 27:28-30 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

Once the Roman governor, Pilate, pronounced the sentence, the soldiers had their fun with Jesus. I'm sure they would rather have worked over Barabbas, the zealot, but this Jewish teacher would have to do. The charge was that He claimed to be king, so the put a robe of regal red on him and made Him a crown out of thorns. The plant they most likely used is called "Crown of Thorns" today. Its spikes are two to three inches in length. As the first couple was being expelled from the Garden of Eden, God told Adam that thorns would come up from the ground, making his efforts to till the soil difficult. In our passage today the second Adam is taking the curse of the thorns on His head. He is taking the curse of sin upon Himself that we might be free of its curse.

Jesus had already been beaten and spit upon by the religious leaders. Now it was the secular government's turn. After the scourging He would have had no strength to resist. They put a stick in His hand pretending it to be a staff of authority and bowed in mockery. Then they would wrench the stick from Him and beat Him over the head again and again. This is the Lord of glory that formed them and gave them life. He knows their lineage back to Adam. He knows the number of hairs on their heads. He is about to pay for their sins with His own death that they might have a chance to truly live. When the soldiers had grown tired of their game of mockery, they placed a beam across His torn shoulders and tied His arms to it. A rope was probably placed about His waist, with a soldier at the other end, leading Him to the place of execution, as one would lead an animal.

We wonder how man can be so cold and heartless. Jesus would soon say they did not know what they were doing. If Jesus can overlook such abuse, knowing that man is ignorant, how much more should we overlook words and actions that offend us? He did nothing to deserve the abuse. It's what we deserved. He has been so gracious as to forgive our ignorance. Let us forgive others for theirs.

Prayer: Take a moment to thank Him again for enduring this abuse for you.