World English Bible translation
15:16The soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they called together the whole cohort. 15:17 They clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 15:18 They began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 15:19 They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him. 15:20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him. 15:21 They compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross. 15:22 They brought him to the place called Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, "The place of a skull." 15:23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he didn't take it.
Jesus had been taken into custody on the Mount of Olives. The guards of the Temple had brought Him to the house of the High Priest and there had been a trial in the dead of night. Jesus had been condemned for blaspheme and He had been taken before Pilate, the Roman governor. The priest told Pilate that Jesus had claimed to be the king of the Jews, which would have made Jesus guilty of rebellion against the rule of Rome. Before Pilate Jesus chose not to defend Himself. So Pilate felt as though he had no choice but to condemn Jesus to be crucified.
Today's Scripture tells the story of what happened to Jesus before He was crucified. He was taken into the Praetorium, which was the Roman barracks. There He was beaten. The Roman soldiers mocked Him and struck Him. They wove a crown of thorns and jammed it down upon His head. They paid Him mock homage as they laughed and jeered. Then He was taken out to a place outside the city gates called Golgotha. They beat Jesus so badly that He could not even carry His own cross so they forced a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry it the rest of the way for Him.
These details that we are given are not gratuitous. It is important to know that Jesus suffered. His death was not a neat and tidy affair. It was a brutal scene of capital punishment. They had arrested Him, tried Him and now they were set to crucify Him in less than one day. Not only was the way that He was to die a cruel and terrible means, but the way that He was treated before His crucifixion was cruel and terrible. There was no dignity in His death. It was brutal and bloody and painful.
We are not told these things so that we will feel pity for Him, though we can rightfully feel pity for His pain. We are told these things so that we will realize the terrible price that Jesus was willing to bear. Jesus had known what would happen even before He came to Jerusalem. He was not surprised by His treatment. But even though He knew what would happen, He came to Jerusalem anyway. Each day He returned to the Temple to teach. He even shared His final meal with Judas even knowing that Judas was set to betray Him.
Jesus suffered all of these things, the beatings and the shame and the betrayal, because of you. And because of me. And because of all of us. Each of us has allowed sin to separate us from our Creator who is holy. The only way that we could return to the God who created us was if the division between a holy God and sinful men could be repaired. So Jesus took upon Himself the sin of the entire world and took it to the cross to die. He took all of your sin and all of my sin to Golgotha that day. Because He was willing to bear the mockery and the shame on that day, you and I can be free today.
At great price, Christ has made you free. What will you do with that freedom? Having been redeemed at a terrible cost, how will your understanding of these things affect the way that you live?
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