“On Your Mark”
The King (Chapter 15 Verses 16-20)
These men are hardened soldiers, and no strangers to public executions (v16), no doubt hardened more by the number carried out. To them human life meant nothing, Jesus was just another victim. The King is here caricatured in the extremist fashion which must have caused him the deepest suffering in his spirit. The incarnation of the Word, the concealment of God, His express image (Hebrews 1.1-3) buried under this mockery and ridicule by the world. Because Rome represents the world. Every drop of blood is being forced from the Son of God’s veins by humanity, as the last Adam approaches his Cross to offer up his blood to God and to people. When it comes to this kind of ceremony soldiers are ingenious, and have no trouble producing ornaments to make the prisoner look like the king (v17) he was supposed to be (v18). But where you ask yourself is God in all this, how does he find his Father in this depth of suffering? The blood streaming down his head, his back like a ploughed field, it would seem less than appropriate to even speak about God in these circumstances, would it not? But God was right there in the centre of it all, and Jesus is in the hands of his Father. Giving to us much more, but most certainly an example in the midst of our sufferings (1Peter 2.19-24).
There surely must have been an awesome, solemn silence in heaven, yet without any intervention. The door of heaven is closed to the Son of Man, and the dark clouds that gather begin to shut out Heaven’s light. Jesus must now believe, only faith will bring him through this, even when there seems nothing to believe. It was deeply, grievously, hard work for him, to find, never mind to exercise faith. To believe that he is the Son of God, to believe that he is the Saviour of sinners, and of those who are doing this to him (Matthew 27.54). To believe, to have faith in the supreme power of the Cross that these men are now leading him to (v20). Here is an extraordinary piece of active obedience, controlled by passive obedience. He believed. That is why he bore the thorns, the caricature and the Cross, because he looked away beyond the cross to the point where the thorns would be removed and nothing but the sweet fragrance of heaven’s roses would remain (Hebrews 12.2). There were hardened rebels around him but he could see his own elect, he could even see me there, who caused him this awesome pain, for my sake and for yours he endured it.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)