Lord, the world rejects You, but Your people love You.
Read Mark 15:16–20
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
New International Version (NIV)
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Thank God for all believers who have endured suffering like Jesus.
We can never underestimate the ability of human beings to inflict suffering on others. Those in a position of power almost invariably oppress the weak. As if the suffering of scourging and crucifixion were not enough, Jesus is made the soldiers’ plaything. How proud they must have felt over their creative idea of a purple robe and crown of thorns. We think again of the text of Isaiah 53:3 as He was despised and rejected – and yet this very mockery refocuses our attention on the kingship of Jesus. He is arrayed in a purple robe and given homage. His words of Mark 10:34 are fulfilled.
In the mockery by the non-Jewish soldiers we may see their contempt for the Jewish people en masse. This bruised and afflicted figure is appropriate for the title “king of the Jews”. This is the second time that Jesus has been spat upon. Previously it was the Jewish leaders and guards who attacked Him (Mark 14:65) and mocked Him as a prophet. Isaiah 50:6 is twice fulfilled. In all this we see the combined rejection by Jewish leaders and Gentile military, including priestly and political leaders: all reject Him.
However, we know that appearances can belie reality. This is the King of Glory. One day every knee will bow to Him. He has received a kingdom from the Ancient of Days. His victory is assured and so is that of His followers. Many Christians see their own sufferings as a reflection of His. They are despised by everyone around them. They may also be put to death on account of Him, but we know the end of the story: we know that we will be vindicated on the last day and revealed as the children of God (1 John 3:1, 2), of whom the world is not worthy (Heb 11:38). Truly, we have overcome the world.
Pray that all those who suffer for Christ may know the joy stored up for them.
Lord, we revel in the realization that the victory is already ours, delivered to us by Your act of love on the cross.