Markby Robert M. Solomon
The Lord received very different treatment compared to a few days earlier when He rode into the city (Mark 11:7-10). This time, hardened soldiers flogged Him (v. 15), an unimaginably painful punishment that tore flesh and left the victim near death. Then they made fun of Him since He had acknowledged being the king of the Jews (vv. 17-18). Soon after His birth, He had been worshipped as king by some Magi (Matthew 2:2, 11), but now rough military hands used to killing forced a purple robe (a royal colour) on His torn back and a crown of thorns on His head (v. 17). They hit Him repeatedly on His head and spat on Him, and mockingly paid homage to Him on their knees (v. 19). He was a bloody sight. Then they took off the purple robe, tearing it from His bleeding back.
They led Him to be crucified outside the city on a small hill called Golgotha (v. 22). On the way, they conscripted Simon from Cyrene and father of Rufus (v. 21; possibly the same Rufus in Romans 16:13) to carry the cross for Jesus, severely weakened from the brutal torture. They offered Jesus a wine mixture to dull His pain and senses, but He refused it (v. 23). After crucifying Him at the third hour (9 a.m.), they cast lots for His clothes (v. 24; foretold in Psalm 22:18, which also meant that they stripped Him naked to suffer public humiliation). They wrote His charge and hung the notice on the cross: ″The King of the Jews″. This notice carried more meaning than they had intended. Two thieves were also crucified by His sides (v. 27; Isaiah 53:12). He became the object of ridicule from both passersby and the religious leaders (vv. 29-31; cf. Psalm 22:7). They challenged Him to come down from the cross in order to save himself and prove who He claimed to be. But Jesus kept himself fixed to the cross to save them and all of us, perhaps discerning Satan's tempting whispers behind all the noisy taunts. He could have come down with overpowering heavenly power, but that would have been the end of us all, for we would then be without the Saviour, bound for hell. In addition to physical agony, Jesus had to suffer the insults of the beneficiaries of His death. Even the crucified thieves insulted Him (v. 32; though one later repented, see Luke 23:40-43).
In the light of the large number of prophecies detailing the crucifixion and sufferings of Jesus, how would the suffering Saviour be comforted? How does this reassure you about who He is?
Jesus held back His power for our sake and accepted extreme violence, public humiliation, and unbearable insults. Take time to thank Him for His profound love for you and all of us.