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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE DERISIVE HUMILIATION OF JESUS

Matt 27:27-31 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. (Also See Mark 15:16-19; John 19:1-3)

Although Pilate found no fault in Jesus, yet to appease the riotous mob of Jewish protesters, he released Barabbas. It is well to note here that Pilate thought Jesus to be innocent of the charges brought against Him, and even washed his hands as if to cleanse himself from the guilt of His death. Pilate had civil power to free Jesus, but chose to yield to the Jew's demand to crucify Him. This we know: due to Pilate's consent, the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary stained his hands just as much as it did to those that performed the very act of crucifixion. Then, Pilate had Jesus scourged and delivered Him to be crucified (See Matt. 27:24-26). Beginning in the lesson text, we find the Roman soldiers of the governor (those in his immediate presence) took Jesus into the common hall, which Mark tells us was called Praetorium (Mark 15:16). This was a building or a large hallway where a Roman official, a principal magistrate known as a praetor, administered justice.

Here, the whole band of soldiers, some estimate to be four to six hundred, gathered around Jesus. To show disdainful contempt before Jesus was to be crucified, they stripped Him of His clothing, and, with spiteful contempt, put on Him a scarlet robe. Mark wrote that they clothed Him with purple, which was also noted by John (Mark 15:17; John 19:2). Both of these colors, scarlet, which was derived from certain fruits, and purple, made from a kind of shell fish, were considered to be royal colors. Clothing made from these dyes was considerably more expensive than ordinary clothes, and were generally worn by high-ranking military men, as well as by governors and other royal monarchs.

After derisively putting royal clothing on Jesus, they platted a crown of thorns (and) put it upon His head, placed a reed in His right hand. The crown of thorns was designed, not only to cause Jesus considerable pain, but also used by these heathen Roman soldiers to pretentiously humiliate Jesus, since they knew that He had been accused of, and admitted to being a King, sent by God to establish a new kingdom. They placed in His right hand, a reed, as further humiliation, to imitate the sceptre usually carried by a king. Finally, having arrayed Jesus in a royal robe, a crown of thorns, and a mock sceptre, they scornfully bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Although this was the common manner of showing respect for royalty, to derisively kneel before Jesus and salute Him as King of the Jews, was the lowest form of mocking ridicule.

After their mocking humiliation, these pagan soldiers of the Roman army demonstrated their true opinion and disposition toward Jesus. Demonstrating their deepest contempt for Jesus, they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. Certainly these were unwarranted acts of harm and disrespect for any human being, but no one can truthfully say that they were more brutal than those demonstrated by the Jewish Sanhedrin, which wrongfully condemned Jesus for blasphemy and demanded that He be put to death. Written some seven hundred years prior to this derisive humiliation of our Savior, the truth of Isaiah's prophecy now was revealed: He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not (Isa. 53:3).

And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. Having already taken the reed septre from Jesus, as further proof that the soldiers were mocking Jesus, they also removed the royal colored robe, replacing it with His own clothing. It seems one mocking article was left for Jesus to wear to all the way to the cross of Calvary. Shamefully, and with derisive humiliation, the soldiers made Jesus to continue wearing the crown of thorns, which painfully, but firmly, adorned His brow. Indeed, He wore a crown of thorns, that His obedient Christian followers might wear a crown of righteousness. He was then, and still today, remains our King!