Wednesday, March 22, 2017
“And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.” (Mark 15:16-19)
“And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar,” according to John 19:12 If the Jews rioted, Pilate’s leadership would be questioned and a charge of treason would almost certainly get him fired and possibly executed. He knew the Jews would hesitate to bring such a charge if he refused to do as they demanded, so he gave in and turned him over to the soldiers to be executed.
The Roman soldiers made a mockery of Jesus as the king of the Jews in an effort to drive home the fact that they ruled the Jews, dressing him as a fake king, then beating him and spitting on him to show their disdain for Jewish power. Had it been anyone but Jesus, the Jews would have revolted, but because of their hatred for him, encouraged it in much the same way the Never Trump forces ignore their most sacred beliefs to attack president Trump.
“And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” (Mark 15:20-21)
Tradition says the cross was so heavy Jesus fell trying to carry it. Scripture does not say that. It was so heavy and awkward it would be difficult for a person to carry, delaying the crucifixion. To expedite matters, the soldiers drafted Simon of Cyrene to carry one end of the cross, as Roman permitted them to do.
“And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.” (Mark 15:22-24)
When they arrived at Golgotha, which was frequently used for executions, Jesus was stripped, nailed to the cross and offered a drink of wine mingled with myrrh, before the cross was raised. While the drink would provide immediate relief, the lingering taste would only exacerbate thirst later. Jesus refused the drink, having stated he would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until he celebrated the communion with the saints in his kingdom. Once the cross was raised, the soldiers becan to gamble for his clothing even before he was dead.
“And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” (Mark 15:25-28)
By about nine o’clock in the morning the trial was over, and Jesus had been nailed to the cross. The charge against Jesus, as posted on the cross was that he was the king of the Jews. Two thieves were hanged alongside him, fulfilling the scriptures that he would be executed like a common criminal. Even their best efforts to make him appear as a common criminal demonstrated that he was in fact the Messiah.
“And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” (Mark 15:29-32)
The crowd spent the next few hours watching Jesus suffer and making fun of him. They said that if he really was Messiah, he should demonstrate it by coming down off the cross. Even one of the thieves got caught up in the mockery. They didn’t understand that his staying on the cross was the real proof he was Messiah.