Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on 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!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. (Matthew 27:27-31)
It seems incredulous the Divine would allow the carnal to strip Him of His clothing, place a crown of thorns upon His head and spend hours mocking and laughing with acid derision and He not invite the hosts of angels from the hand of the Almighty to destroy them all. When the garrison of the Roman army’s elite saw an opportunity to take a puny looking man who claimed to be a king and treat him with vile contempt, mockery and abuse him by spitting in his face, slapping him and beating on him with a stick with great laughter they lavished all the contempt of a seasoned warrior would inflict on his enemy. These were men who were accustomed to the rigors of hardship. Their training was to kill other men and they were very efficient at their murderous task. Whenever a criminal was condemned to crucifixion, the garrison of soldiers was first tasked to scourge the victim to a near-death state before releasing him for the final journey to be crucified. No one would escape the clutches of these ruthless killers. Torture was their weapon of choice as their pitiless victim could do nothing to fight back or to escape. A garrison of soldiers could number as high as six hundred men trained in the art of war. Once condemned, the helpless object would endure harsh torture before the agony of the cross. The garrison of Romans soldiers had Jesus of Nazareth in their clutches and they poured all their fury and wrath upon Him because He claimed to be a king. And Jesus remained silent in the face of His accusers. He could have called twelve legions of the heavenly hosts to His bidding but the call was never made. How anxious the angels must have been to hear the word from the Father to go and save the Son. Jesus suffered at the hands of men and no voice in heaven was heard to stop it.
hen the Romans had Jesus in the Praetorium, they could only see a man who was powerless. Mocking him was an easy thing to do because they had control of the man from Nazareth and could do as they wished. There would be no punishment for their treatment of Jesus because it was allowed under the harsh rule of the Romans. These soldiers represented the power of the Roman government to execute swift judgment on those who would dare oppose them. No one was there to plead the case for the convicted man and no armies would swoop down from heaven to save the Son of God. The power and might of the Roman army did its best as it mocked, scourged, abused and killed the only begotten Son of God. Jesus was crucified and for many in the city of Jerusalem and throughout the Roman Empire was forgotten as another victim of Roman law. Slowly the garrison of men who mocked Jesus began to die. Some may have died in battle, others from circumstances of nature or abuse from other men. Regardless, over a short period of time all those gathered in the Praetorium met their deaths as happens to all men. It was then the shocking truth of what they had done became crystal clear. These men knew what Jesus looked like and to their horror, they now saw the one they mocked in the glow of eternal light. There would be no mocking, no beating, no spitting and no joy in their eyes. The man they beat on and treated with contempt was now the most powerful being they had ever seen in their short lives. And there was no escape. For all their laughter and derision of Jesus on earth, words escaped them for the horror they faced in eternal damnation. A once proud and arrogant warrior stood before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and trembled with every ounce of his being. Jesus would not mock these pitiful men as they stood in the judgment of His grace. His heart was grieved for the tragedy of sin and the consequence that lead most men to deny Him and mock His name who must now face the wrath of the Father. Righteousness demanded a just reward. Judgment is passed. Souls are lost.
Two thousand years ago a garrison of Roman soldiers gathered around a man viewed from their eyes as a pitiful and worthless man. They mocked him with great satisfaction. Tired of their sport, they put His clothes on Him and took Him to Golgotha where they nailed Him to a tree. He was nothing more than a common criminal to these men who regarded Him with little notice. Myriads of souls continue to mock Jesus today as an ineffective, weak and powerless story of a man more of myth and legend than fact. The Son of God is not visible on earth as He was before the garrison of Roman soldiers but in our day His presence is denied by most people, His message ridiculed by the majority of humanity and the acceptance of a righteous judgment laughed at. There is little belief in the reality of Jesus. He is mocked as a superfluous story of man’s imagination created to fill a need for a god-figure. The Bible is discarded as a book of fables and the Creator of the universe is fiercely attacked as useless, worthless and laughable. Mocking Jesus did not end with the Romans soldiers killing Jesus on a cross. His mocking continued throughout the centuries and is in full force in the modern world of hedonism, sensuality, debauchery, humanism and man’s obsession with self-gratification as his own god. Religion has changed the image of the Son of God to fit their pleasures of dogmas, creeds and false doctrines to choose the church of their choice. Mocking Jesus did not end at the cross. It continues today by souls who – like the Roman soldiers – believe they are their own god. Like the soldiers who mocked Jesus, all those who mock Him today will die and stand face to face with the real Jesus. There will be no escape and no quarter given. Judgment will be final and eternal. If there is one reality that is assured it is the knowledge that all those who are cast into the lake of fire will never mock Jesus again.