Some of the governor's soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, "Hail! King of the Jews!" And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
— Matthew 27:27-31 NLT
Matthew describes this horrible scene so matter-of-factly. His account is devoid of emotion or nuance. The brutality and cruelty are just simply recited. However, each fact shakes us like a lightning strike a little too close for comfort:
They took his clothes and put on a robe.
They put a crown of thorns on his head.
They put a mock scepter in his hand.
They mocked him as King.
They spat upon him.
They beat him with a stick on his head.
They led him away to be crucified.
For those of us who believe, our hearts break with each thunderclap of hell's fury. This emotionless account stirs deep emotions within us. This is our beloved Jesus. This is our Savior. This is our Lord. He did suffered this abuse for us ... for me! How could the soldiers do such things?
More than simple historical facts, these events and the upcoming crucifixion are the basis of our salvation and the cost paid to redeem us from our sin. They remind us of God's love. Simple and emotionless words stir something deep within us and make us cry, both with delight in our salvation and with horror at its cost. This is our King. We bow to him. He rules forever. Yet he withheld his power and suffered this horrible set of events for one reason: He loves us and wants us in his family.
Gracious heavenly Father, as a mere mortal, there is no way that I can understand or feel what must have penetrated your heart when these events occurred. But I thank you. I thank you for sending Jesus to be my salvation. I thank you for withholding your power so that power could be directed to remove my sin. I thank you for loving me when I have not always been lovable. I thank you that this abuse is not the end of Jesus' story, but the beginning of the very events that made your limitless grace accessible to me. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.