Devotional # 40. 7/1/13. Jesus’ mocked, beaten and hanged on the cross.
This week’s Reading: Mark 15:16- 32.
Introduction. Last week we discussed Jesus’ trials and Pilate’s ruling that Jesus should die by crucifixion. This wasn’t because He was guilty of anything but because there were so many people that Pilate was scared he might be killed if they got angry with him or that they might riot. So now we’ll hear about Jesus’ trip to the cross and His crucifixion.
vv. 16-20. According to verse 15 (and Matthew 27:26) Jesus had already been “scourged” prior to this beating! Now the soldiers gather the whole “garrison” (a group of troops, Source 1) to beat up Jesus. MacArthur says the garrison was 600 men so those not on duty got together to beat up Jesus (Source 2, p. 1499). They do this in a hall called the “Praetorium” which was “the governor’s official residence…probably in the Antonia complex” (Source 2, p. 1499). Remember we discussed the Antonia Fortress in Devotional # 29? Read it because a week earlier the people wanted Him to overthrow the Romans in the Antonia Fortress but instead He went towards the temple to offer Himself as the sacrificial sheep. Now Jesus is in the Fortress as a crushed prisoner…who could have made this up?! Why would people think of Him as a conquering Savior if He hadn’t come back to life?
Anyway, for now the soldiers dress Jesus in “purple” because that was the color that kings would wear. They walked around making fools of themselves saluting and bowing to Him. If they had only realized they were mocking the Creator of the universe how different they might have behaved. The amazing thing was that Jesus was going through all of this shame so that He could save them from this stupidity and all of the other horrible things they had done and would do.
vv. 21-22. So Jesus walks for some time with the crossbeam on His shoulders towards where He is going to be killed. The cross was really heavy and after not sleeping all night and being beaten it’s amazing He could even do this. It is probably because of His time as a carpenter working with Joseph that He had the strength to do this. But eventually His human body gives out and the soldiers have to grab someone watching Jesus walk through the streets. It was Simon who was probably black (being from Cyrene) who had to help carry the cross. (See Romans 16:13 for “Rufus” who is thought of being one of Simon’s sons…if you want to know more about this just ask me).
Then they take Him to “Golgotha” which looks like a “skull”. Google search “Golgotha” and you’ll see some cool images that are possibly where Jesus died.
vv. 23-24. I don’t have the time here to go into the details of being crucified but I suggest you watch the film called “the Passion” and look up what being put on a cross was like. It was horrible. I do want to note that here it says they hit him in the head “with a reed” (v. 19, imitating a royal scepter) which would be incredibly painful, also remember He had on the “crown of thorns” on which would have driven the thorns in even more.
Note that they tried to give Him “wine mingled with myrrh” which could ease the pain. But Jesus refuses because He wanted to be fully aware of what was going on. He was there to painfully die for our sins not get some painkillers. It’s interesting that one of the gifts that is given to Him as a baby (from the wise men) is myrrh. Also note they cast lots to see who would get His clothes. This just meant they would do something like pull straws to see who got what but it is important to note that Psalm 22:18 prophesied this would happen.
vv. 25-26. It says it was “the third hour” which would be around 9:00 AM (Source 2, p. 1500). When we look at all four Gospels we see they hung a sign over Him that said: “THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Pilate probably did this to make the Jewish authorities mad and when they angrily tell him to take it down he flat-out refuses (see John 19:22)!
vv. 27-28. These robbers are very important because it shows that no one needs to do anything but confess that they are bad (sinners) and accept Jesus as their Savior to be saved. Read in Luke 23:39-43 for the detailed conversation. Notice how the one robber acknowledges he is a sinner (“we receive the due reward of our deeds”) and ask Jesus to save him (“Lord, remember me”). The man calls Jesus his master (“Lord”) and as his master Jesus tells him positively that he will be with Jesus “in Paradise” (Heaven)! The prophetic Scripture that is mentioned comes from Isaiah 53:12.
vv. 29-32. It’s interesting that the text says “they blasphemed Him.” “Blasphemy” (even according to secular references) means “an act of cursing or reviling God” (Source 3). So this must mean that Jesus is God. But many, many people were mocking Him and making fun of Him. It is important to note that He could have come down and proven to them that He was God but even that wouldn’t have made them believe. He had already cured people, raised people from the dead, fed 5,000 people but each time after miracles like these the people always wanted one more magic trick. They were never going to believe and Jesus knew this so there was no point. Jesus loved all of us enough to stay on the cross.
Conclusion. We can let our imaginations run wild with what it must have been like to be the God of the Universe and have Your creations beating and mocking You. But we never can fully know what it was like. I think the humility that God shows us here is staggering. Many think that it must mean Jesus was weak to do this. I think He was meek, not weak. Meekness means “strength under control” so Jesus had the control and power but chose not to use it so He might save us from our sins! Hallelujah!
Source 2: John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible.